Do you know what’s one of the big problems for small business owners and entrepreneurs? Having too many answers.
In fact, they often have so many ideas, notions and answers, they can’t stay focused on any one thing long enough to know if it’s THE answer.
For many entrepreneurs the constant storm of ideas and answers is a trait, for others it’s an affliction.
Experience tells me however that having the right answers isn’t nearly as valuable as focusing on the right questions.
When you can focus on creating priorities through a framework of customer focused questions, the answers you need in order to create growth, or for that matter, strategy, campaigns and internal processes, will magically present and order themselves.
Below are seven questions that can help organize your priorities and create the answers you need to keep locked in on growth.
1) How will people learn about our value proposition?
Creating and communicating just how your business is different from everyone else that “says they do what you do” is job number one. As you plan for growth you must know this difference and you must chart all the ways you will get it in front of ideal prospects.
This typically takes the form of advertising, public relations, referrals and partnerships.
2) What will make them want to know more?
It’s not enough to run an ad and think this will build the kind of trust needed to make a purchase. You must have an entire education pipeline in place so that a prospect can wade in and learn and experience how you’re different.
Often this step is achieved through content such as blog posts and eBooks.
3) What will lead them to give us permission to share our story?
This question really gets to the heart of the trust issue every business faces. The right to tell your story, what really makes you unique, is something that’s earned. This is also the place where your reputation is measured. Prospects that have come to this point are interested in what you do, now they need to learn how you do it in a way that corresponds with their values and beliefs.
Often, reputation management, reviews, SEO, content and customer stories make or break this element.
4) How can we offer proof that they can get the result they desire?
It’s not enough to simply make a promise these days. You must find ways to offer substantial proof that you can deliver a result. Case studies and customer testimonials are a great place to start, but nothing beats a real life experience.
This is the place where trial offers, evaluations, workshops or freemium versions of what you do can allow people to sample your brilliance in a lower risk form in order to make the decision to make a full purchase more easily.
5) How can we make the buying experience fun, effective and convenient?
Once someone says yes you need to go to work on reselling them and making the experience they received in the sales and marketing phase of the relationship just as good in the customer aspect of the relationship.
One of the best ways to initiate this is through a formal new customer orientation process that includes education and information coupled with some sort of surprise. It’s incredible how often attention to this question leads to referrals and word of mouth buzz.
6) What can we do to measure and ensure our customer gets the result they expected and more?
Sometimes, through no fault of our own, a customer doesn’t get the result they had hoped for. There can be many reasons for this, but focusing on building a process of measurement is crucial. This allows you to fix any lingering issues, but it also allows you to celebrate the value you bring to most customers and use that as both proof and validation for raising your prices.
Create a results review process and make it part of your growth plan.
7) What will lead every customer to talk about us to their friends, neighbors and colleagues?
This question could go on the front end of this post as one of the best ways to improve your business is to begin every client relationship with a referral in mind. At the very least, you must start to think in terms of moments of truth, or touch points where you plant the seed for referrals.
One of my favorite places to do this is during the lead conversion or sales process. Tell every prospect that you know they are going to be so thrilled with the work you do with them that they will want to tell others how they can receive this kind of valuable experience as well.
Now, astute Duct Tape Marketing readers might recognize the logical path of these questions as a perfect match for the more visual representation of marketing that I call The Marketing Hourglass. (You can download a free eBook on this concept here)