Each of us has our own criteria for deciding what to spend our money on, so when it comes to engaging with prospects and clients…
Matching What is Valued Makes Dollars … and Sense
When making a purchase, it's probably safe to assume that you use a set of criteria to assess whether or not what you have decided to buy is of sufficient value for you to part with your money. Obviously, we don't all use the same set of criteria and we certainly don't weigh them equally, which is why the marketplace is filled with such a plethora of choices for just about any product or service you can imagine. Each different one is hoping to attract the buyer whose criteria matches what they offer.
This is a simple, and yet powerful concept. Here is an example to help illustrate:
When you buy a product, such as a new computer, your list of criteria might include: size, speed, memory, hard drive space, price, quality and ease of use. Let's say that you are most focused on the speed and quality of the computer, with less emphasis on memory and hard drive space, and have very little concern for price. Others might place a great deal of importance on size and price, with less emphasis on quality and memory, and have very little concern for hard drive space. Your criteria are obviously different, and as a result, you'll end up buying very different computers.
We've all made these ‘criteria-based decisions' countless times. It's how we distinguish one product from another and determine which one is best suited to our individual wants and needs. Many of these decisions are subconscious, or even intuitive, and so we aren't always aware of what's driving our decisions.
We go through the same process when buying services, though our criteria differ. So let's turn the tables and think about this from the perspective of your professional services business, and how you serve your clients. If your business offer is focused on providing exceptional service, with an emphasis on quality, and you place less importance on product and price, you will not attract those who are focused on product and price as their primary criteria. It is a mis-match.
And that is okay. As a matter of fact, it's actually better than OK. It's perfect. You don't actually benefit from attracting customer's whose buying criteria doesn't match your offer. You will never be able to satisfy that client. They are focused on, and measuring your performance based on a set of criteria that you aren't focused on delivering exceptionally well. No matter what you do, no matter how hard you try, you will never be more than an average service provider because you won't ever be able to live up to their expectations.
And that's what it's all about: Establish expectations and deliver on them.
You want to be very clear on what it is you are offering to your marketplace so your customers can identify whether or not it resonates with what they value. And it's not enough to tell the world what you're good at … you must also be willing to openly discuss the things you DON'T do well. That's how you ensure that the things you deliver on best in your business – the areas where you shine and create an unparalleled experience for your clients – match the things your clients value most. If you don't help them identify and pay attention to your strengths, they won't know where to put their focus … and that's when you end up with problem clients.
So, which client is more likely to be, not just satisfied, but delighted by what you deliver? And which client is more likely to become a repeat customer and rave about you to their peers, making them a source of referrals of like-minded customers? Pre-qualified customers who already value what you deliver.
That is the client you want to attract. And that only happens by design.
So what about the clients for whom your offer doesn't resonate? They aren't paying attention to all the great and wonderful things that you're doing for them. They are only focused on the things they think are important … which may not be the core focus of your offer. And even though you do those things reasonably well, you probably don't excel at them. This is where trouble starts. A mis-matched client ultimately becomes the client who demands more and more of your time and drains your energy. They are not likely to become repeat customers, and if they say anything about you to their peers, you can bet it won't be a glowing endorsement. These clients won't drive referrals from within their circle of influence. It's strategically smart to let others serve them. You'll all be better off.
By leaving these mis-matched clients to a service provider who better aligns with their criteria, you make room in your practice for clients who really do appreciate what you do and how you do it. These are the clients who have the greatest potential to turn into raving fans, and they know more people just like them.
Of all the clients we've worked with, there isn't one of them who doesn't want a client-base full of raving fans who actively refer new dream clients. And we've worked with them to make that happen … which is how we know, firsthand, that this strategy makes dollars … and sense.
So, in thinking about your business, what do you execute on exceptionally well? That's what you should be building your promises on to establish expectations that you will deliver on and wow your clients … every time. And that experience will create the raving fans who will, not only be repeat customers, but who will drive new business to your doorstep.
In the meantime, we wish you … success, differently,