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Dig Your Well Before You're Thirsty
In every business and in every individual's life we are tempted to relax when all is going well. We sometimes forget the intensity and hard work that helped us reach these "good times." Especially in these moments, it is absolutely essential to prepare for the future.
Business is usually cyclic; good times are often followed by not-so-good times. Want to break the cycle and keep the good times rolling? Try these strategies.
1. What have you done for me lately?
If all your customers (internal and external) asked you that question, what would your answer be? Are you in the habit of asking yourself this question?
Our recommendation: each month, ask yourself what you have done to increase your value to your customers. Make a list. Then compare that list against what your competitors are doing (and/or promising to do).
Your goal is to win your customers loyalty long before a bidding war develops for it. It is substantially less expensive to keep the customer you have than to find a new one.
2. Keep Score
Each time you do something in the customer's favor, make a note of it. Each time you add value to the products and services you deliver to your customers, make a note of it in the customer's permanent file.
A day will come when the customer is tempted to consider a better-sounding offer. A day will come when your customer will move on, or retire, and a new decision-maker will take over. A day will come when you will make a mistake with the customer's most critical need.
Since you know this in advance, take the time in advance. Dig your well before you're thirsty. Have your list ready to share with the customer and chances are they won't fire you.
3. Little things don't mean a lot; They mean everything!
It is almost never the big events in life that make the big difference. It is almost always the little day-to-day events that win us the customer's loyalty. The little kindness, the little courtesy, the little thoughtfulness, the little promise kept, the little confidence honored, the little follow-up call for no purpose at all.
Customers (internal and external) need to feel good about your business relationship. The little things you do to build and support that relationship will ensure that the customer will give you the benefit of the doubt when a critical decision needs to be made.
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© SMBC Incorporated 2007