Do You Create Results with 100% Certainty?
In the last edition of The Infinite Business blog article, I talked about the vital importance of innovation (aka continual improvement).
The commitment to always be striving for new, better and different allows your company to stay relevant and service your clients even better.
I’m always shocked to discover most businesses fail to use one of the most powerful tools in their tool box when it comes to finding out EXACTLY how to service their clients better (Maybe it’s obvious, therefore it’s often missed)…
And if you aren’t doing this to some degree in your business, it’s never too late to start…
One of the quickest ways to innovate and take steps to improve your business is by asking the most important person or people in your business.
Who are the most important people in any business?
Your clients are the BEST people to go to when you seek improvement suggestions, ideas for new products or services, or to discover future wants, needs, and desires.
How do you really get inside the mind of your future clients? By asking your best clients…As they once were your prospect.
The wealth of invaluable information and insight you can gain just by having a conversation with a client is absolutely priceless.
Which is why I’m so surprised more business owners don’t utilize this approach.
One business owner I know created something called a “Client Council”. He runs a very successful service business that specializes in HVAC. Each year he selects 10 of his best clients and asks them if they’d like to be a part of his Client Council. As a council member, they agree to give him insight and input on anything he sends them (marketing pieces, offers, new service ideas, etc.) and they give their honest feedback.
In exchange for their council “work” he gives them 20% off any service in his company for an entire year. He also extends a new customer one time 20% off coupon to any friends or family that live in the area (brilliant how he wove a referral strategy into this program)!
By having this ongoing council, he gets continual insight and feedback on what he is doing, or would like to do. He also attains new customers from these referrals.
What’s also important to note, is he selects new council members each year, giving him a variety of people to test his marketing on.
The positioning is perfectly structured for his clients too. First, it’s not a HUGE commitment (only 1 year). It also makes the client feel special to be a part of an exclusive and unique group. Let’s face it, they have probably never been asked to be a part of something like his council ever before. It also gives them the opportunity to become the hero to any friends or family that need HVAC work done…As they hold the key to getting them 20% off their first service call.
People like to be the heroes and have solutions to help people, which is why people will go out of their way to recommend any product or service they know could help someone (especially with the added bonus of saving them some money).
It’s a win-win-win for everyone.
Another business owner I know takes his clients out for Client Appreciation dinners. He invites 3 or 4 clients and their spouses to a restaurant for dinner on him, as a way of thanking them for their business. In their time together, he is able to ask them as a collective group what they think about new products and services he’s thinking of offering in his business. He gets to find out what’s changing in their lives which gives him even more ideas on how to improve his business as well. He schedules these dinners twice a year, and has for the last 20 years.
Now you might be thinking, “I don’t have the ability to meet with my clients one-on-one.”
If you don’t have the ability to meet in person with clients, simply call them.
Many times with our clients, I’ll randomly hop on a meeting they have scheduled with my team just to check in and ask them how they are doing. If one of these clients is someone I think would be a perfect candidate for a new program we are offering, I’ll ask them if they’d be interested in scheduling a one-on-one with me to discuss in greater detail.
Another EASY way to get insight and input from your clients is by sending them regular surveys on a consistent basis. You can send them by email or direct mail. I highly recommend implementing this strategy in your business no matter what, and in addition to any other thing you do.
Sending out “How are we doing?” surveys on a regular basis shows your clients you really care about the level of service you provide them (that you are always looking for ways to improve). It also gets you information you need.
It’s easy for anyone to set something like this up in their business. Remember, people want to share their experiences…They desire to feel heard.
One last example that I couldn’t resist including because it’s so good…
I heard about this approach from a mastermind I attended.
The business owner ran live events at least twice a year for high school students interested in the field of medicine.
His main marketing vehicle was direct mail. His company established a successful “control” and had tested a few new strategies and vehicles to no avail in beating their
One day as he was talking to his CMO about what to test next, and she suggested it was time to start testing different messaging. Messaging that really resonated with the parents and the students.
“How would we know what to test?,” He said. She then said, “We ask them.” A bit confused, he asked, “Who?”
she said, “Our prospects”.
Here’s where it gets interesting…
They brainstormed various ways to attain all the relevant information they would need to guide them to create the perfect messaging. They knew in order to get it right, with 100% certainty (and in the shortest amount of time before the next event), they would need to do something extreme.
They landed on what they called a “Prospect Tour”.
They chose 10 prospects at random that agreed to meet with both of them in person. They then flew around the country to visit each of the prospects and their families.
But what they were able to discover in a few weeks of talking to prospects one-on-one was absolutely eye-opening. Not only did they gain insight on objections they never considered, they achieved their ultimate goal (which was to collect exact verbiage directly from their prospects that they could use in their copy). Messaging that ended up resonating on such a deeper level with their prospective audience.
I hope these examples gave you some ideas on how you too can gain insight quite easily from prospective clients and existing clients to help propel your business forward.
Think about integrating any one of these strategies (or variations of them) in your marketing efforts. At the very least, get a survey out to your clients every 6 months, even if it’s just one question you ask them. It’ll pay dividends in the long run, and quickly elevates your business to new heights if you take what you learn and make necessary changes to continually improve.
To your success,