Source: Bea Fields
Today’s customers are demanding, and their expectations are furiously escalating. Everyone wants value, and they want it now! They want convenience, and they want their needs and requirements met. You don’t have to look very far to hear what customers are saying I want my Dell Computer with Windows Vista and a Flash Drive, and I want lifetime customer service with it, or I want my Honda with navy leather seats, and I want to be treated like royalty when I come in for my 30,000 mile tune-up. Adding value is key to business success, and these ten strategies will make your customers love you and will keep them coming back for more.
(1) Ask Your Clients What they Value.
Value is often in the eye of the beholder. If your customers say they don’t value price, and they continue to buy a lower priced item from your competitor, you cannot ignore this fact. If people say they value good service, and your service is stellar, and they are still not buying from you, the big question is WHY? It is important to perform a needs analysis to clearly determine the pains and challenges of your target market. A or If you could change one thing about your business right now, what would you change? If the majority of people say A lack of money, you know that price is going to be a determining factor in their buying decisions. If they say A lack of time, then providing quick service will be of paramount importance to your company. If they say In my business, I would improve my customer service, then it is your job to deliver a way to improve customer service. Go deep with your needs analysis, and then quickly deliver a solution to your clients most pressing needs.
(2) Personalise the Relationship.
Your relationship with your clients is more than just a sale. It is building a connection with someone who has trusted you enough to buy from you. This relationship cannot be taken for granted. Greet your customers with enthusiasm, charm, energy, an optimistic attitude, and be LIKABLE. People do business with people they like. They don’t do business with people who are nasty and rude.
Take thorough notes about the lives of your clients. Make a note not only their birthdays and special occasions but the birthdays and special occasions of their spouses, children, parents, and pets (yes their pets) and make sure to contact them on these days of celebration. Start out each conversation with the question “How is your son/wife/partner/mother” or “Tell me about your week-end. What did you do that was great for you?”
A key question to constantly ask yourself is “How can I make my customers happy?” The answer: Be real. Be human. Be connected. Be curious. Be genuinely interested. It works!
(3) Use Assessments to Create an Emotional Bond.
Assessments have been used for years as a tool for developing people in organisations. By understanding behavior differences, organisations can align employee’s values and motivations with the company’s mission. This same approach can be used with your clients and customers. You can create assessments which can create an emotional connection with your buyers while looking closely at how your customers motivations align with your mission. As an example, if you are a Certified Financial Planner, you could build an assessment by the title of “Assess Your Family Wealth,” or you are a Skin Care Consultant, and you build a “How Young is Your Skin?” assessment. Both titles create an emotional pull of family wealth and the subject of aging. Once the assessments have been completed, look for trends in responses. Are most baby-boomers concerned about the future financial wealth (or health) of their families? If so, provide a program or package on solving this dilemma. Are most women concerned about sun damage? Provide a month spa package which includes instruction and articles on the proper use of sunscreen and how to avoid over exposure to the sun.
(4) Provide a “Free Gifts” Offering Upon Purchase.
This is one of the oldest yet most successful marketing techniques in the history of the world of business. People LOVE free stuff! Customers usually will flock to your business if they know they will receive a gift, an offering, or something extra. The trick here is to add ongoing value to the lives of others. The majority of the time, people will place value on something financial, emotional, or functional. Over ten years ago, an insurance company sent me a jar opener as a “free gift,” which I did not think was valuable, but it has saved me a great deal of time and energy in the kitchen. I have used it for ten years, and if someone takes my jar opener, I have a tendency to get “testy.” I have come to rely on the jar opener in my every day chores in the kitchen, and I still remember to this day who gave it to me, The Insurance Company. The gift was functional, and I did not even know I needed it, but now that I have it, I can’t live without it!
(5) Provide a Frequently Asked Question Page Backed Up by a Special Report or Article.
With your FAQ page, you can not only answer questions which are often asked, you can add value in process.
Example: You are a Registered Dietitian or Nutritionist, and a frequently asked question is “How quickly will I lose weight?” Rather than simply say “I don’t know” or “That depends on how closely you follow the diet” or “Your success depends on both your diet and your exercise,” answer the question by providing a paragraph
explaining your answer and backing it up with a special report authored by you. An example of a special report might be “The 10 Habits that Can Kill Your Chances of Losing Weight.” Not only have you answered the question, you have added value in a way which demonstrates your expertise.
(6) Package and Present Your Materials with Professionalism and Elegance.
The more professional and attractive your packaging, the more the perceived value of your products and services will be. This packaging not only includes the presentation of your products but includes the look and feel of your website, business cards, stationery, your physical office, and the way you dress and present yourself to others. If people see beauty, elegance, confidence, and professionalism, they will immediately feel as if the experience they are buying is one of rich value.
(7) Be an Information Broker.
Some people call this an information maven. I call it being masterful at what you do, staying current in your industry, and being able to answer any and all questions as they come your way. I recommend that you go one step further by providing a resource library and an information hotline for your clients and customers. There is nothing more attractive than a person who is in the “know.” This resource library can include magazines (both hard copy and online articles,) books, great websites, audios, CDs, and anything which can provide your customers with ready access to information. It is best to include a wide variety of resources, including access to information on food, clothing, travel, health, decorating, pets, and self improvement. The more diverse you are, the more you will appeal to a wide variety of people, which is quite attractive and makes you much more interesting.
(8) Share Your Network.
In a world of resource constraints and intense competition, business owners and organizations of today are employing a variety of cooperative relationships to achieve their goals domestically and internationally. Through the power of shared networks, it is possible to grow a business more quickly and at a much lower cost and risk. By sharing your network with your clients, you offer them a chance for their business to grow exponentially, which is a huge value added proposition.
(9) Send Your Clients Referrals.
What would your business be like if your customers were your walking billboards, driving hundreds of customers your way every day? Sounds great, right? You bet it does! One of the best ways to achieve this goal is to first send your clients business. That’s right, send them business first! It is probably the best value added service possible, and it models the process of sending referrals. In order to get referrals, you must first be willing to give. It’s that simple.
(10) Custom Build It! Quickly!
Customers of today want products and services that meet their unique needs and requirements, and as a business owner, it is important to know how to deliver custom built products and services quickly (without sacrificing quality.) Customers also see speed as valuable, which can mean receiving a document by overnight delivery, delivering a proposal within hours of its request, or bringing a new fashion or piece of furniture to store shelves within 7-10 days of its design. People all over the world are custom building products or services to create a competitive advantage, and it’s time for you to do the same. Be smart, be quick, be hip, and you’ll win the value game.