I was talking to a prospect the other day and was amazed at how she talked about her customers. When I asked questions about her market, she couldn’t get down to individual characteristics – just big generalizations. Â It was like she was all forest and no trees! Â I asked her to describe her best client and was actually told, “they are all pretty much the same”. Â I asked her to tell me about different groups that like her service and she said she didn’t know and really didn’t think it was important. Â Excuse me?
At the end of the day it is vital to see your customers as individuals and to understand what is important to them. Â When you think about your customers, specific individuals should come to mind that represent the different groups you work with. Â That way, when you want to add a new service or product, or have a new idea, you can think about how Jack would react or what Jenna would say to it. Â You will have a much better shot at building your business to cater to your best customers and therefore attract more of the same.
Not understanding who your best customers are means you will never know what they need. Â You will constantly play roulette with your business. Â And having played roulette, it was over way to fast and I lost way too quickly to play more that once! Â If you don’t know them, the best thing to do is first identify your best client and then talk to them. Â And not just about how they interact with your product or service, but also about their other interests, family, etc. Â Really getting to know them will help you understand what need you fill for them and why. Â It will also help you understand what would motivate them to leave you for another provider. Â Finally, it will help you word messages so they are understood.
How can understanding the people help you word messages differently? Â A friend of mine went to see her doctor twice in one month. Â On the first visit, she asked a question unrelated to her appointment and was told they couldn’t discuss that because the insurance might not cover it. Â When she got home she was ready to switch doctors and called me to complain because she was furious. Â When I explained she had a specific reason to be at the office and an additional topic wouldn’t be covered if the appointment became two she calmed down and did see the doctor the second time, but almost quit. Â The second visit an insurance situation came up and this time the doctor explained how the billing goes through and why she was answering the way she did. Â My friend totally understood and felt much better working with her doctor for both treatment and getting the doctor paid. Â Now, if the doctor had understood my friend and her need to feel the doctor was concerned for her health first, she would have handled the first appointment differently and would never have been in danger of losing that patient.
So take the time and get to know your clients. Host a feedback breakfast, invite people to the office, offer a discount for taking some time with you or just call them to talk. Â Show an interest and you will learn a lot about how to keep your clients and build your business. Â Understand that it takes a lot of trees to make a forest!
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