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28 April 2018 Posted by 


How customer-centric are you?
ACCORDING to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, more than 60 percent of small businesses cease operating within the first three years of starting.
In my experience business success depends on 10 customer touch points.
1. A Brand that Differentiates Your Business. By this I don’t mean you have to be a household name or that your logo needs to be a certain color. The main thing is that you have a distinct brand that customers can recognize and identify you by. Most businesses should have this under control.
2. A well-defined Product and/or Service to Sell. How well can you articulate your product or service? How clearly can you explain to your prospects and customers the benefits of your product or service? Will your customers understand what it does for them, i.e. what's in it for them? Or do you mostly talk about how it works?
3. A Unique Selling Proposition (USP) And A Killer Introduction That Engages Your Ideal Buyers And Makes Them Want To Know More About You. This is critical: It can't be a motherhood statement such as "We really care for our customers." It needs to be credible and you need to be able to back it up. What is your unique value proposition? I.e. can you clearly state what makes your business and its offerings unique and why a prospect should be interested in you? What makes you different from any other business out there? And then, how do you convey that difference at the first point of contact with a new prospect? How can you intrigue and engage them right from your opening introduction? How do you get them to lean forward and say: "Tell me more."?
4. A Clear Understanding Of Who Your Ideal Customers And Prospects Are. You would agree with me that there is little point in engaging with the wrong kind of prospects. You are better off dealing with the right kind instead, right? So, how clear are you on what your ideal customers look like?
5. The knowledge Of Where To Find Them. Once you know who your ideal Buyers are you need to know where they hang out. Do you know where to find your ideal prospects and customers?
6. The Understanding To Access And Engage Them Effectively. It's not enough to know where to find your ideal Buyers. You need to know how to get to them and get them interested in your goods or services. How effective and scalable is your sales process? How well does it leverage your unique value proposition (see Point 3 above)?
7. The Know-How To Eliminate Your Competitors. Rarely will you be the only one in the race to a deal. Instead, you will most likely have to beat off any number of competitors. So, how do you fend them off and becomes your Buyer's final and only choice?
8. The Skills To Create Effective Sales Proposals That Close Deals. In most B2B sales situations you are likely to be asked to submit a sales proposal to your Buyer. Do you get excited by the fact that the Buyer asked for a proposal and send it off to them asap? Or is there a better, smarter way? Further, how can you ensure that a) your proposal covers exactly what the Buyer needs, and b) that you have maximized your chances of your proposal being the last one standing, the one that gets accepted?
9. A Superior Pre, During and Post-Purchase Customer Experience. If you reflect on the customer experience statistics at the beginning of this article you will understand just how mission-critical your customers' perceptions and experiences are to the success of your business at every step of the way. So, how successfully are you managing your Buyer's interactions with your business?
10. The Ability To Keep Your Customers Loyal And To Win Their Repeat Business. Your customers' experience does not end with a transaction. In fact, their post-sale experience is so critical that it will determine whether they will choose to come to do more business with you, or not. So, how do your prospects and customers perceive their interactions with your business at every touch point? Is their experience a pleasant one that will make them rave to their friends and colleagues about your business, or is it one that will more likely make them warn people off you?
There you have it. 
So, how customer-centric is your business? Take a good look at the 10 points and be honest with yourself: Check which of these you have firmly under control. Which need more work? Which ones are missing completely?  Which of these do you have firmly under control? Which need more work? Which ones are missing completely? 
Peter Strohkorb is the CEO of Peter Strohkorb Consulting International and an acclaimed author.


Michael Walls
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Western Sydney Business Access (WSBA) covers the business and community issues of the Greater Western Sydney region of Australia. WSBA is the popular media source for connecting with the pulse of the region and tapping into it's vast opportunities and networks.