Bake in great customer value

For business owners, the questions we’re asking center around “How do I grow my business next year?”

The answer: provide customer value

Now, that seems like an easy answer, but getting it right takes practice. When I ask many of those I work with what their customers want from their business, I’m given an instant list of must provide items/factors. However, when I ask for data to support the list, I’m told “we just know”.

Well, maybe yes, maybe no. Probably a little of each. It’s the recipe and combination of ingredients that make your offering a delectable treat for your customers of choice. And you won’t know what that winning recipe is unless you talk to your customers.

When was the last time the CEO visited with your three or five largest customers’ CEOs? Not to sell anything, but to listen to the answers to the question “How can we better help you with your business?”

When was the last time your sales and marketing people did the same first with the customers who are consistent buyers but not the largest in volume, and second with the customers you hope to have in the upcoming year?

Here’s the tough part of the recipe, you can’t bake it before you make it.

In other words, don’t sell at these meetings. I repeat, don’t sell at these meetings. Just listen thoughtfully, ask questions to better understand, and repeat back what you’ve heard to verify you’ve gotten the message. Remember to send back a thank you for the visit (but don’t sell). Click here for the full recipe to bake in customer value this holiday season.

Give your customers the most palatable gift of all: listening for understanding.

And in the background: get your elves baking on what you’ve learned. There’s a new year coming.

Happy Holidays

Key words and topics: customer value, customers, value, flexibility, listen, listening, customer satisfaction, strategy, data, executive, customer management, culture

Cynthia Kalina-Kaminsky with Process & Strategy consults with and provides training for organizations eager to increase their competitive value by helping enable growth, align performance, make and move product (even if the product is electrons).

Infographic – bake in customer value