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Are You Customer Obsessed?

Talk to most small and mid-sized companies about their biggest problems and overwhelming, too few customers will be at or near the top of their lists.  In fact, it is the number one cause of most business failures.  Of course, if they just had more sales leads, their problems would disappear.  But are those the real problems or are they symptomatic of something bigger?

I believe they are merely symptoms.  And discovering the true culprit will require you to take an in-depth, “outside-in” look at your business.  Here’s what I mean.  In the words of Dr. Phil, this ain’t about you”.  It’s about your prospects and customers.  If you lack one or the other…or both, it’s likely because you are looking at your business through your eyes, rather than theirs.  YOU don’t have enough customers. YOU don’t have enough leads. YOU need more sales.  You, you, you.

What about what THEY need, want and expect.  What about THEIR questions, THEIR fears, THEIR frustrations?  What don’t THEY know that they absolutely need to know in order to make the best buying decision possible?   What keeps them up at night?  What do they need to be educated about?  And equally important, how are you simplifying their choices when information overload sets in?

In short, “outside-in” means starting with the end in mind and asking how do we build an organization that is WORTHY of a customer’s business?  What expectations must we meet and exceed?  How will we consistently deliver a customer experience that not only creates raving fans, but eliminates the competition from consideration?   How will we create and maintain a company culture that fosters a customer-first mentality and attracts such talent to our firm? How can we become better listeners and better partners for our customers?

One thing you can count on for certain is CHANGE.  Technologies will expand, new competitors will emerge and competition from existing companies will grow even fiercer.  And rest assured that any signs of success, whether it’s the launch of a hot new product or service, a shift in pricing strategies, or a new promotion that resonates with buyers, will be quickly copied.  So, what will you do to stay one or two steps ahead of your competition…and thwart likely disruptions from those outside your industry (think Uber and Airbnb ) that are eying your market with a set of fresh lenses?  What obvious clues might they see that you don’t that will forever change how business will be conducted in the future?

Serving customers is a privilege, not a birthright.  Patronage must be earned and re-earned.  Start each day by asking this question—what ONE THING can  we do today to make ourselves even more customer and lead-worthy than we were yesterday?  Then take action on that one thing!