Perhaps the most important question you should ask yourself is “why should a customer buy from me?”
Thinking that you have a great product or service or that you provide an exceptional customer experience doesn’t necessarily make it so. Every day, business owners open their doors hoping that their phones will ring or that customers will walk through their front door or go to their website and want to do business. Answer honestly – do you do this?
Your customers hold the power. Your customers choose whether or not to do business with you. One of your most important jobs is to create and implement a strategy with the aim of giving your customers a reason to do business with you, over and over again.
Developing a successful customer attracting strategy
Your success is directly linked to the effectiveness of your strategy for every goal you have for your business. To guide you, you firstly need to adopt the habit of educating yourself in two areas.
1. What the leaders in your industry are doing.
“A smart man makes a mistake, learns from it, and never makes that mistake again. But a wise man finds a smart man and learns from him how to avoid the mistake altogether”– Roy H. Williams
2. What the needs, wants and desires of the customers you intend to serve are.
“There is only one boss. The customer. And he can fire everybody in the company from the chairman on down, simply by spending his money somewhere else” – Sam Walton
Strategy is not a set it and forget it task. You need to evaluate everything you do in order to educate yourself and improve. A simple way to stay organized is to keep a Strategy Journal. A highly effective method for creating and improving your strategy is to use a technique originally developed for the field of clinical medicine known as Evidence Based Practice.
“Evidence-based practice (EBP) requires the conscious, conscientious and explicit application of the best available research evidence, together with professional expertise and customer choice, to work practices.”(1)
5 steps of Evidence Based Practice
- Ask a question – Converting the need for information (about product, service, delivery, customer experience, etc.) into an answerable question
- Find information/evidence to answer question – Tracking down the best evidence with which to answer that question
- Critically appraise the information/evidence – Critically appraising that evidence for its validity (closeness to the truth), impact (size of the effect), and applicability (usefulness in your business practice)
- Integrate appraised evidence with own business expertise and customer’s preferences – Integrating the critical appraisal with your business expertise and with your customer’s unique needs, values and circumstances
- Evaluate – Evaluating your effectiveness and efficiency in executing Steps 1-4 and seeking ways to improve them both for next time
Adapted from: “Evidence-based medicine: how to practice and teach EBM” (2)
When outcomes you are seeing surprise, follow these 3 steps.
- STOP. Figure out what is happening to skew the outcomes so much. Repeat the EBP approach outlined previously. Remain opportunity focused and not regret focused. View it as a time for learning.
- EVALUATE. Remain focused on what you can control.
- USE the event as motivation. Once you have learnt from the event, it is not necessarily a negative because this will assist you in the future.
Focus on Improvement
- Strive for Continuous Improvement (CI).
- One way to do this is to remember that Profit is more important than Revenue.
- Your major aim should be to bring in an increasing business profit relative to time.
If you encounter setbacks, take ownership of them and don’t blame others. That acceptance will allow you to move on.
To your success,
- Fowler, G, “Evidence Based Practice – Tools and Techniques”, viewed September 2014.
- Sharon E. Strauss … [et al.]. “Evidence-based medicine : how to practice and teach EBM.” – 3rd ed, Edinburgh ; New York : Elsevier/Churchill Livingstone, 2005