Profit is a need, not a purpose. Even if it ensures business survival, profit is the result of successful business connections, thus, a measure of the relationship between you and you clients. According to Peter Druker, there is but one valid definition of the purpose of a company: creating clients. Each company creates its client, and I’ll go as far as saying it has a certain amount of control over them. So next time you wonder why a client is not ‘good’, take a close look at how you’ve created that client and what were the errors made during the aquisition or collaboration with that specific client.
Get a clear picture of what and to who you are selling if you wish to create a ‘good’ client, make a comprehensible definition of your ‘offer’ and differentiate from competition
In spite of the obvious need for clients, don’t rush in on selling proximately anything to anyone. A clear definition of products/services and client segmentation (see article on client segmentation), in other words specialization, differentiate you from competition.
Innovation, price, brand? In the end it’s all about identifying your competitive advantage (and sometimes validate if you have one), otherwise you’ll have too little value to stay in the business. Keep in mind that, again, clients should be your main concern, and your long-term competitive advantage should be built around their needs, their needs expressed trough the value you can bring to what they produce, not what you offer. It might sound odd, but if you look closely you’ll notice that your business is a ferrule of the chain and that positioning your business correctly is a ferrule in your client’s value chain.
- Find out who’s your main competition
- Understand and define your purposes
- Grow or choose your target market or major
- Define you offer and value (I’ll be speaking more about value in my next post)
Competitive advantage built trough client relationships
It usually takes a little research to find out if you really know what your clients’ needs are. There is a tight connection between needs and fears or risks. The bigger the level of risk the client perceives, the smaller the odd that he buys a certain product or service, and the bigger the odds that if they do buy it, they will not be satisfied. This will result in a less happy client, and it’s your responsibility to ensure that the risks are as small as possible in order to create a good client.
- Build in the targeted market, trough the use of references, recommendations and positive image, a reputation of trusted company that offers a quality product/service.
- Offer guarantees, assurances, and/or post-sale support, in order to enhance your client’s level of safety.
- Build professional relationships with clients as the root of competitive advantage and regard your business as a complex social network.
- The reputation of preferred deliverer does not start on the outside, but form the inside, trough the development of the appropriate mentality within your organization, and only than continues with your market identity. There is a very tight connection between motivated staff and happy clients, and that is all down to value.
Meet clients’ expectations
Clients’ needs are all about excellence of product/service, and excellence not the way you look at it, but in meeting the client’s fundamental need and value chain. The more your product or service will help your client produce value, the more of a competitive advantage you’ll have.
Do you know what produces value for your client, what markets is he involved in and what you can do to give him more awareness in targeted markets?