In the last post we started our series on catching big clients, or “fish”, that will sustain your business over the long run. Today we’re going to take that a step further by talking about how to understand and think like a big fish company and how that can help you plan your approach and find success.
Before you can start the process of landing big clients, you have to make sure your entire team is onboard with your approach and vision. There are six keys to finding big client success. They are:
- First Impression: You must remember you have one shot to land a big client. If you make a mistake, they aren’t going to consider you again. Never give them a reason to doubt your abilities.
- First Priority: Your fish must always feel like they are your first priority. Returns calls and emails immediately and find solutions to their problems or questions as quickly as possible.
- Flexible: You need to be flexible in your negotiations. If they need a special service or for you to customize a product, say yes for the benefit of the long term. A little hassle now will be a big pay off later.
- Long-term: This goes along with the last one a bit. As you are approaching and negotiating with big fish you need to think about the long term benefits for your business. If you go for a ones-time big score you will lose their interest.
- Have Fun: Work should be fun, even when trying to land big clients. In fact, this should be the most fun. You are sharing your vision with new people and including them in your future success and likewise. People simply work better in a fun, happy environment. Your passion will also be contagious and pull the fish into your vision even more.
- Help Them: If you take just a little bit of time and offer your clients ways to save money or time by introducing them to potential business partners, this will show you really are invested and interested in their business. Strive to find balance between your business needs and your client’s needs.
There are also a few tactics you can use to bring in a big-company vision to the people on your team. You can:
- Post these six keys for all to see.
- Put together a performance based incentive program.
- Conduct frequent team meetings.
- Use a “right now” policy that dictates big fish calls be answered immediately.
- Offer awards/recognition for big-company ideas and executions.
- Put together a training and certification program based on the six keys above.
These 6 keys and tips will help you instill a big-company mindset through your company which will help you be more prepared and more likely to land your big fish. Once your team is thinking this way, you’ll be unstoppable. If you need help putting together an incentive program or other way to push your team toward the big-company mindset, try our GUIDED TOUR to work with one of our coaches or check out our resources and tools.
There are a number of factors to take into consideration when prepping yourself and your company to approach the largest clients you’ll ever work with.
Today we’re going to start with a brief look at the three paths every business faces and show you which one is the path to success. Then we’ll talk about the mindset it takes to attract the big fish.
There are three major paths a business can take:
- Snail Speed
- Shooting Star
- Catch the Big Fish
Most business owners ended up working themselves into the ground without much reward or success. This is what happens when you fool yourself into thinking you will find quick success. You may also find yourself following this path when you are afraid of change.
This describes a business that shoots to the top so fast you are overwhelmed and don’t have the right resources in place to adapt. This can also happen from being overwhelmed by small clients and not taking the time to find large clients, which will sustain your business after the small client sales slow.
Catch the Big Fish
This is the path that allows you to build at a steady pace that you can manage by not allowing your customers to outpace you. You can do this by putting these tips to work:
- Attract, keep and lock in big clients.
- Integrate “big business” culture into your company and employees.
- Acquire the expertise you need to grow.
- Have the courage to make changes as you grow.
Now we are going to transition a bit and talk about the “big fish” mindset. It may sound easy to just find and catch that big fish, but if you are stuck in the small business mindset, you may find it harder than you think.
Think of all the benefits of aiming at bigger clients:
- Highly Profitable
In order to catch the big fish, you need to believe your company can make a difference with theirs. It’s easy to get into the thought that a large company doesn’t need anything from a small business like yours, but this is entirely wrong!
Once you take a look at how big companies operate, it’s important to know which ones are the best fit with your company. One of the best ways to get in the door is by knowing someone on the inside who can put in a good word for you.
If you’re not sure where to start and feel a little intimidated about catching big fish, try our GUIDED TOUR to get help from our amazing business coaches.
The Rule of 1% is simply defined as adding to your customer service one percent at a time. Before you can do this you must have your consistency perfected or it will never work. This one percent may seem small, but if you approach the vision for your company with baby steps, you will find a huge increase over a solid chunk of time. It’s not a sprint, it’s a marathon.
Avoid doing too much at one or you’ll set yourself up for failure. Think of the confidence you and your employees will have when you improve one percent each week. By the end of a year, you’ll have improved more than 50%!
While, rules and standards are necessary for growth, always be flexible with your best customers. Most retailers only allow a set number of items into a dressing room to reduce the risk of shoplifting, but it generally restricts the large percentage of people who are not stealing from you. Flexibility is the key to what you deliver to your customers and consistency is the key to how you deliver it.
The bottom line is customers rely on you to deliver what you promise. If you spend too much on bulky advertising that promises more than you can deliver, even your best intentions will unravel quickly and you will fail.
Focus on your vision and baby steps to turn your satisfied customers into Raving Fans.
I hope you’ve learned a lot out good customer service and how it’s essential to your overall success. If you need help with any of the steps we’ve gone through over the last four lessons try our GUIDED TOUR and get access to some of the best resources, tools and coaches available.
In upcoming posts we’re going to explore strategies of bagging the big clients and keeping them.
In the last post we talked about how to figure out what your customers want out of a positive shopping experience. Today we’ll talk about the concept of Deliver +1 and how this concept can take your customer service to the next level. I’ve decided to split up this post so the next one will cover the 1% Rule.
Consistency is the key to any great customer service experience. If you want to take your satisfied customers to Raving Fan status, you have to go above and beyond the average customer service experience.
There are three ways to develop consistency:
Avoid offering too many customer service options.
We sometimes get so caught up in giving customers what they want we get away from our original vision. Instead, stay true to your vision and offer one or two solid customer service techniques that will set you apart from the competition.
You need to fine tune the current systems you are using before you can add anything to the mix. There’s nothing worse than launching a new program when you haven’t even worked out the kinks of an old system.
Put solid systems into place.
Once you know what you’re going to offer, you need to have a system in place to execute it flawlessly every time. This system needs to consistent of the right people in the right roles and responsibilities and technology that guarantees a positive experience every time. Emphasis needs to be placed on the results, which ultimately is the satisfaction of the customer.
Good training is the key.
Once you have your system in place you need to train people to use it properly and efficiently. This helps your people deliver the results your customers are looking for. While, train is essential for the system to work and for all your people to work together cohesively, appreciation will go a long way.
I hope this has given you a look into what you need to do in order to have a quality customer service system in place. If you need help, try our GUIDED TOUR and gain access to a wealth of resources, tools and coaching.
In the last post we talked about the first secret to building a solid customer service plan and how to decide what your vision is.
Today we’ll talk about the second secret in taking your satisfied customers to raving fans. You must know what your customers want. Know who your customers are and you will know better how to serve them. Demographics are really important here. An upper-class woman in her 30’s is going to have completely different expectations than a working class man in his 50’s.
There are four main areas you need to consider and plan when figuring out what your customers want:
- Listen to Your Customers
- Ask Your Customers Sincerely
- Offer More than Just a Product/Service
- Know When to Ignore Them
These are all important when deciding what your customers want out of their shopping experience.
Listen to Your Customers
You need to listen to both what they say and what they don’t say. Customers may say they want one thing and really mean something else. For example, if you customers are begging for lower prices, you may find out their real priority is quick delivery.
Also, listen to your “silent” customers. These are the customers don’t bother to complain because the service is so bad they’ve just given up and don’t feel like their voice matters. They feel unwanted and when a competitor shows up, they’ll be gone.
Lastly, you need to listen to customers who only reply with “fine”. These customers are similar to the “silent” customers in that they are so used to bad customer service they only give a monotone response.
Ask Your Customers Sincerely
If you aren’t sincere when you ask their opinion, they are going to see right through you. You may be thinking, “What about the customers who aren’t saying anything?” You need to ask them sincere questions that get them thinking about their experiences. Make them feel like you really care, and you should!
Offer More than Just a Product/Service
Your customers are looking for much more than a simple product or service, they are looking for an experience that makes them feel good. They gauge every step of the process with a value. When you take this into consideration and treat them like people, they will feel like they belong.
Know When to Ignore Them
You may think this goes beyond providing good customer service, but in reality you can’t give them everything and someone people you will never make happy. You have to set limits and stick to them. If your vision and company don’t meet the needs of the customer, they will be best suited somewhere else.
These are the steps and tricks to figuring out what your customers want and how you can use them to work on your customer service vision and plan.
If you get stuck, try our GUIDED TOUR and let us help you through the process.