How do you feel about your customers? I often hear many companies say, “Of course I love my customers," but their daily behavior suggests something quite different. Being indifferent to or annoyed with your customers can affect your business's growth; growing your business often takes having a real affection for serving your specific set of customers.
Thinking about growing your business? You may want to see if your company can pass the “I love my customers" test. Decide which of the following statements best fits your attitude for the people who buy your product or service:
- “I love talking to my customers every day. I look forward to their special requests. They energize me!" OR “My customer requests bother and irritate me daily. Sometimes I get so annoyed, I think about closing my business!"
- “My team never complains about customers. In fact, they see them as part of our family." OR “I hear complaints about our customers from my employees regularly. In fact, part of our company culture is to make fun of them amongst ourselves."
- “I want to find more customers exactly like the ones we have. I feel like I am helping them and making a profit for our company." OR “I dream of finding a new customer base that I like better that can still make money for the company."
If you chose the second alternative for each question, then you may have a problem growing your business with your current customers. It may be time to make a change.
Growing Your Business With New Customers
Growing your business by changing your customer base starts by "firing" the customers who don't help your business. This requires a clear strategy so it does not permanently damage the business. Phasing out these customers can be done with intention and over a period of time. You may want to focus on supporting existing customers and finding a new customer base you can love.
When growing your business with a new set of customers, asking these questions can help:
What pain does your solution solve? This is a core question to answer in any strategy shift. Prospects only buy when they are in enough pain. Remember that customers almost always pay more for painkillers than vitamins.
Who can your company solve that pain for besides your current customers? Do these new targeted prospects have enough pain and money to pay to fix it?
Sometimes, only a slight shift to a new customer bases is needed. You can do this by choosing your favorite customers and deciding what they all have in common. Writing a summary of why your current customers have been successful with your solution can help identify the key benefit points. You may also want to ask for referrals from these customers you love to grow your business. This can be effective since typically similar business cultures usually work together.
Do you require a major pivot point? If you can't find similar prospects that have the same pain as current customers, then you may have to make a further shift to find a different pain and set of prospects that your solution can solve.
While sometimes necessary, this can be much more difficult and involves almost a relaunch of the business. Start by reviewing the original business plan. What was the passion for helping customers that made you want to start the business originally? Were you trying to help the same customer profile that you have today or did it change as the company grew? Has the business actually changed too much and as a result, your passion was lost? This exercise can also help you find other ideas for growing your business.
What is your reputation on social media? Being very public about the mission and values of your company can help you find the customers you want. Prospects that share those points of view may be attracted to your mission and can help grow your business. Consider getting active speaking gigs and sponsoring networking events to reach new customers.
Once you find these new prospects, it is time to bring them into the company as customers. As the company has done before, solve their pain at a price where they get value from the product or service. Then focus on loving them by asking:
How well is our company servicing you?
What else can we do to help you?
Will you tell others about us?
Who else do you know that we might help?
Read more articles on finding new customers.