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How to Solve the “Money Problems”

Price is what you pay. Value is what you get. – Warren Buffet 

Nobody counts the number of ads you run; they just remember the impression you make.” – William Bernbach 

What ways have you used to solve “Money Problems” in your business? 

Here are a few common ideas we tend to use as a small business owner: 

  1. Reduce expenses 
  2. Increase sales 
  3. Reduce marketing costs 
  4. Eliminate unnecessary spending 
  5. Without payments to suppliers 
  6. Declare bankruptcy 
  7. Close the doors

Here are some ideas to help you solve Money Problems

Have an Effective Selling System 

You know that you need sales in order for your business to survive, let alone thrive. You can ask yourself how many people in your business are involved in sales. What do you think the number is? 

All of your people and those that refer business to you are in sales! 

Anyone who has contact with your customers, clients, or prospects has an effect on your sales. Do they present a good reputation for your business? Do they have integrity in their business dealings? Do they represent the image you want for your business? Do they present the best possible products and services to your customers, clients, or prospects?  

Very few small business owners and solopreneurs believe they are in the selling business. In reality the exchange of money for your products or services means a sale has been made. Having successful sales conversations is one of the most significant things a business needs to address.   

What is a sales conversation? 

How do you or youpeoples interact with customers, clients, and prospects? Do you convey that you enjoy the position in the business at all times? Do you spread rumors or downplay the competition? Do you focus on the features of your products or services? Do you focus on how your products or services provide benefits to your customers, clients, and prospects?  

Do you train your people on how to address your customers, clients, and prospects? Do you have materials and a website in place that are effective in addressing the benefits of your products and services?  

You have some scripts for your people to use in addressing the benefits of your products and services. You regularly track your conversion rate of leads that turn into customers or clients. You regularly evaluate your marketing efforts to determine if they are generating leads so you know your return on your marketing investments. You advertise in the same magazines, directories, and newspapers that you have for many years. You know that you receive leads from your advertising, but you are not positive on where the leads come from.  

When you have a selling conversation, it is mostly you talking about your products or services. You try to get a YES as quickly as you can. Once the sale is final, you move on to the next possible sale. It is the responsibility of the other people in the office to take care of the customer after the sale, right? NO 

You build rapport with the prospect in order to determine if you are able to help them get what they want. You spend enough time with them to build a relationship built on trust and integrity. You have found that people buy on emotion and that you need to develop a Know, Like, Trust bond with them. You are constantly looking out for their best interests not just making a sale. I remember having a salesperson for my business that was unethical in that the salesperson called a prospect and gave a false statement in order to connect with the decision maker. The salesperson said that the decision maker had won a gift and that they were calling from a radio station. When the decision maker was connected to the salesperson by phone, the salesperson started to talk about the products offered. The salesperson noted that they were electronically disconnected (hung up on). The salesperson had repeatedly tried to reach the prospect but was not getting a response.   

It is just better to move on to the next prospect than to try to get someone to buy that is not ready to. You need to know when to stop trying to contact a prospect. It is far better to get a NO as soon as possible then a maybe or a call me back. Do they really want you to call them back or are they just putting you off? 

You always go for a NO rather than a noncommittal YES and be struggling to meet the new customers or clients needs later. You spend your time connecting with people who are ready to buy. You are able to pre-qualify them during the selling conversation with effective and active listening skills.   

Be curious. Be interested instead of interesting. 

You listen for what they need and do not try to fit your product or service to their needs when it is not a good fit. In my IT consulting business; I was contacted by a prospect that was looking for someone who can address his or her needs. They had a system that was sold to them as if it was a good fit, but it did not match their needs. It was like trying to fit a square peg into a round hole. I would have to find them the correct solution to their needs, implement the solution, train their staff, and service the account on a regular basis. 

You help your prospects to see that they are working with someone knowledgeable about their business. You listen attentively and engage them in seeing how their business can benefit from your offering. 

You show that you care about them. People don’t care how much you know, until they know how much you care. You are genuine and can empathize with them. 

You have a sense of humor and are able to connect with them on a personal level. You smile and laugh in order for them to feel comfortable with you. You are not just trying to be funny but are interested in their best interests. 

You find interests that you have in common in order to relieve their tension in conversing with you. 

You converse with them about your offering and not talking about your competition. You show them how you are different without addressing what your competition does. You help them to feel comfortable discussing their needs with you. You help them to feel that they are not being sold to but rather that they are buying. You stand on your own two feet. Are they ready to buy? 

You follow up with the new customer or client after the sale to make sure they are satisfied and to determine what other products and services you may be able to help them with. You refer them to other businesses that can help them with some of their other needs. You refer prospects to your competition that can fulfill their needs if you are unable to at the current time or you don’t provide the specific products or services. This can lead to other sales in the future as people usually fell that they want to help you also. 

People buy based upon their needs and wants not based upon the features of your products or services. They want to eliminate a painful situation and to feel better about their decision. They want your solution to address their needs not yours. The benefits of your products or services must match your prospect’s needs.  

People buy for a number of different reasons. Here is one example. Recently a restaurant was opened in my area. The restaurant is a chain that is popular in other states and is called Chick-Fil-A. Two people go into the restaurant and one has already been to the restaurant when they lived in a different state. The first person knows what they will order because they had a good experience previously. They order a grilled chicken sandwich since he knows what to expect. He is happy to find that the chicken sandwich is just like he remembers it from the other location. A friend told the other person about the restaurant because they liked the food and atmosphere at the Chick-Fil-A, so he decided to give it a try. He visited the restaurant and liked how responsive they were to helping him decide on what to order. He decided to have a deluxe chicken sandwich and waffle fries. He will return with his family because of the way he was treated by the people working at the restaurant. It did not have as much to do with the food but with the service. 

I am sure that you are a lot like me, in that you also have been served by an inexperienced salesperson who rushing into showing you the features of their product or service. They never asked you what you were looking for and what you wanted from the product or service. They just want to tell you all about their solution. Do you really want to buy what they are selling? Do you feel like you are being sold to?  

Would you rather feel like you are buying something you really need? You are the buyer. You need to put yourself in the buyer’s shoes in order to get a clear picture of what you would need. Is your product or service the logical choice?  

What are some questions that you ask your prospects in order to determine if your product or service fits their needs? 

Here are some suggested questions you may use: 

  • What are you hoping for that our products or services can do for you
  • How long have you had this need?
  • Is there a particular issue that you want this solution to address?
  • How did you find out about our business? Our products or services?
  • How would it make you feel if your no longer had to deal with this issue?
  • What would the perfect solution look like to you?
  • What do you think the issue is costing your business? Do you want to eliminate this issue? (How badly?)
  • Are you committed to resolving this issue?  

You need to determine your own set of questions that will fit your business. You can have a meeting with your people to evaluate the questions to determine which questions would be the most relevant to your prospects. You will want to practice using the questions prior to meeting with a prospect. Have your people do some role-play with each other to determine when you may use each question. You will want to make sure that your people use the questions consistently. This consistency can make your sales soar, as most businesses do not have a set of specific questions or a set sales methodology. 

You know that buying decisions are made on emotion. There is a pain point or other issue that needs to be resolved. You know that your solution could be a fit for the prospect. By having a set of questions you can lead the prospect through you can more readily determine if your products or services could be a good fit for your prospect. Your questions can also increase the desire of your prospect to see how you can help, which leads to more closed sales. You also need to provide the necessary information that will lead the prospect to take action sooner than later. You have a specific time frame in which the prospect needs to make a decision. You help them to justify purchasing your solution by helping to see a vision of what their business will be like with your solution.  

I recall many times when I had a prospect that did not think that my solution was something they needed. I asked them about what would happen if they did nothing. This allowed them to think about how nothing would change and they would still have the issue. I gave them information about what a current client had experienced by addressing a similar situation or issue. They were able to relate to the other clients situation and get a clearer picture of what my solution would do for them. When they could visualize how the solution would help their business, there was no longer an objection to why they shouldn’t move ahead. The only issue that was stopping them was their own indecision. 

You have several price structures from which the prospect can choose, but not too many as to overwhelm them. You can meet their requirements for budgeting for your products or services. You are less likely to get a NO if you can provide pricing that will fit into their budget. You will also find times where you need to present a value statement as to why your solution will more than pay for itself.  You know that their return will far exceed the price for your solution. 

In my IT consulting business, I frequently had customers that said they could not afford to purchase my solution. I asked them some questions like the following: 

  • How much time does your staff spend tracking this information manually?
  • How much does an hour of your staff time cost your business?
  • If this solution saves your business the time of one employee per year, would you purchase it? How much would that save your business?
  • When do you plan to do something about this issue?
  • What if your business increased, would you have to hire another person?

These are just some of the questions that you might ask your customers or clients. If you take the time to develop rapport, discover their needs, and provide a vision for what can be different you will have less resistance to your solution. There may still be some resistance, but you will be a step closer to a sale. 

You can have questions to determine where the prospect is on a scale of one to ten as to where they are in the decision process. Is there anyone else that has a say in the purchase? If the answer to the scale were less than 10, what would it take for the decision to be a 10? What is stopping them from purchasing your solution? 

Many times you will find that most people are not good at making decisions. You need to help them to see what it will be like after your solution is implemented.  

As the business owner you need to lead the initiative of having effective sales conversations between your people and your prospects or customers. You can’t depend on your people to do this on their own. Businesses that rely on their people to create the questions will find that each person has their own set of questions. This means that you will have an inconsistent set of questions and why some people have more sales than others. Be consistent.

You have a consistent method but how effective is it? You have sales training periodically. Consider having on-going sales training as strategies change. Does your marketing meet the needs of the sales people? Do your people sell products or services that you are unable to deliver? 

Here is another way to solve the Money Problems 

Is It Time to Fire a Current Customer or Client? 

The customer or client may always be right, but not every customer or client is right for you. Not everyone is the ideal customer for your business. Many business owners feel that they have to keep all their customers or clients because if they don’t, their competition will.  

Do you have any customers or clients that take many resources and time but are not providing a good income for your business? In my own businesses I have needed to look at the possibility of discontinuing work for some clients.  

I recall having a client that we would provide services, send them an invoice, and wait for payment. Periodically, we would meet to discuss the next steps in the process and create project plans. The topic of payment of their outstanding invoices would be a topic of discussion, in which, the client would continue to say just bill us and you will get it paid. This continued for some time until we decided to stop providing services to the client. One month after we decided to discontinue the services, the client declared bankruptcy. Please don’t wait for this to happen to you. 

Have you or do you have customers or clients that take more of your time and resources than profit or no profit at all? Do they always want a discount or free products and services? Do you spend most of your time trying to keep them happy?  

Maybe you have a client or customer that asks for unrealistic timelines or not having a budget to support the project. A client I encountered wanted to implement an electronic forms printing solution but wanted to be able to use their existing equipment, which was over 15 years old. When we discussed the issue of the outdated equipment and how many hours are required to utilize the existing equipment instead of purchasing more current equipment, the clients response was to “Just make it work”. This situation demands objectivity and not just a quick decision. We decided it was time to FIRE the client and recommend them to someone else. 

Do you have a competitor that takes on any business? Recommend them to the customers or clients that you need to fire.  

After all, business is not just about growing revenue, but about growing profitable revenue with the right target customer or client. By focusing on customers and clients with the highest potential in terms of repeat business and larger average transactions, one is able to create a more successful business because marketing and customer service efforts (and costs) can be allocated to where they matter most. But for many small business owners, there seems to be a mandate for growth creates a bias for quantity of revenue over quality of revenue. 

The initial step is to do the math. You need to calculate the annual revenue from each customer and the cost of serving them, including materials, staff, and outside services. 

To determine how much customers or clients actually cost your businessYou need to estimate how much time it takes to do common tasks, including a full explanation of a their account statement, and ask your people to record every action they take on behalf of a customer or client. You may be surprised that the customers or clients you find to be the most profitable are not the customers or clients that you expected. 

For many small businesses, the size of the first purchase is a good indication of what future purchases may be. For your current customers or clients who provide less income, but cost you dearly in terms of support or other costs, you may want to consider a pricing structure where higher support services are not FREE. In actuality, you can offer customers or clients the choice to become more profitable or to leave. 

Your best customers or clients are your fans who have voted with their pocketbooks. They are the ones who will recommend you more often than others do and would miss you most if your business no longer existed. Find more customers or clients like them, and spend less time trying to turn others into customers or clients like them. You need to thank your best customers or clients for their great patronage and worry less about, or simple FIRE the others. 

Provide Extraordinary Customer/Client Service 

“A business absolutely devoted to service will have only one worry about profits. They will be embarrassingly large.” –Henry Ford 

Spend a lot of time talking to customers face to face. You’d be amazed how many companies don’t listen to their customers.” –Ross Perot 

You know your business provides excellent customer or client service. What is extraordinary customer or client service that makes it different? Most businesses claim to have good customer service. In order to have “extraordinary” customer service you need to go the extra mile and do what other businesses are not doing. 

Many businesses view customer or client service as a department or area of their business that is handled by customer service representatives. It is not a department of your business; it is a mindset that permeates the entire business. How do you serve your customers, clients, and even your suppliers?  

Why would suppliers be included in customer service? You want your suppliers to treat you as you do your customers or clients. If you treat your suppliers as well as you do you customers or clients they will be more receptive to your needs. You want them to provide their products and services on time and within your budget, but how well are you working with them? 

You periodically meet with your suppliers to discuss how you can work better together. Is it mostly a one-sided conversation, which is a monologue, not a dialogue? You tell them what you need and don’t listen to what they need from you. You send them a purchase order and expect them to deliver on your terms. You audit their business to determine if they are qualified to be a preferred supplier. You want to make sure they provide the best service for your business. You can work more closely with them to benefit both of your businesses.  

In solving money problems in your business it is beneficial to have competent suppliers so that you can deliver what you promise to your customers or clients. You can create a “WOW” experience with your customer, clients, and suppliers. Growing your business also includes having customers or clients that are in your specific target market. Do you say YES to customers who are not the best fit for your business?  

It is truly amazing how the little things you do can have a big impact on your customers, clients, and suppliers. They make you stand out and soar above the crowd! 

When I owned a previous business, I would give clients gifts at different time of the year. I recall finding pumpkins at a farmers market that were hand painted. I would purchase the pumpkins and hand-deliver them to clients. The pumpkins would have a tag with my business card attached. The pumpkin would be placed on the top of the receptionist’s desk so that everyone in the business would see it along with his or her customers or clients.  

Another example of extraordinary customer service is when I went on vacation to the east coast of the USA. I found a seafood store that sold fresh live lobsters. The store boxed up the lobsters in dry ice and I returned home with them. The next day I called some customers and delivered the fresh lobsters to the president’s office. I proceeded to ask him or her to open the box. What an experience to see the look on his or her face when they opened the box. The lobsters were moving, much to their surprise and excitement. What a thrill! 

Many business owners and managers do not provide the extraordinary customer or client service that they are more than capable of providing. All of the success in business is directly related to the little things that you do differently. It isn’t mundane or by chance but it is by design. 

I was at advance professional business coach training when the trainer sent out for a plaque to be created by a local printing business. The plaque was delivered the same day along with a bag of cookies. It is the little touches that leave a huge impression. 

You give great attention to how your business serves your customers or clients and you see repeat business as a result. Your customers or clients also speak highly of your business and tell others about why they work with you. You spend less time marketing to find new customers or clients as you have a consistent referral base. You are constantly looking for ways to add value for your customers. You are looking out for your customer’s or client’s best interests.  

In my own businesses I have always looked for ways to help my clients by listening for what other products or services I could provide. When I completed a service call or implemented a product, I would ask if there was anything else they needed. Many times they would tell me something that they were thinking of doing. If I knew someone that could help them I would setup a meeting with the other business and myself. We would collaborate on how we could work together for a solution. There are also times that I would step out of the way and let the businesses work together. My client would be getting their needs satisfied and they would still remain a client of my business. 

I also would look for adding value to my clients by asking if they had any plans in a certain area of their business such as bar coded labels, electronic forms, new equipment, or specialized systems. They may say that they had not given it much thought. I would be able to present them with what a particular solution would do for their business. This resulted in helping them to move forward, along with benefiting my business. 

Your customers or clients are the best source for your business to find out about what inspires them and the direction of their business. You focus on their needs and not your own agenda. You take to heart their criticism and encouragement. You periodically ask them how you are doing in providing products and services for their benefit. It doesn’t matter the method you use to connect with them in a survey, but that you actually do it.  

Find out what your customers or clients are saying or not saying to you about your business. You can search the internet for information that others are sharing about your business. You can also create alerts that can be emailed to you on a periodic basis. The alerts can be set up in reference to your business name, type of business, or other key words. 

You have a way for staying in contact with your customers or clients on a regular basis. You have a system or process for tracking when or how often you connect with them. You follow up with your customers or clients after the purchase. You have a company newsletter and you send it out on a regular predetermined time frame. You connect with customers or clients about significant events in their business and personal life, if appropriate. You care about more them than just their business with you. You increase your Know, Like, Trust (KLT) value by doing this. 

You send your customers, clients, or prospects articles you think they may find interesting or that references their business or a similar business. You periodically contact them if they have not placed an order recently. If they decide to discontinue purchasing from your business, you contact them to find out what caused them to do so. You still keep in contact with them. Do not burn bridges! 

I worked for a client on a part time basis for a few months until they hired a permanent person for a position. They had also offered me the permanent position, which I declined as I enjoy running my own business. A couple of years later the client contacted me to return for a full time contract for 3-6 months. I continued on the contract for over 10 months. They decided to hire a full time person for the position. I know they will contact me, if they have a need again. 

I also have worked with businesses that have decided to find a person for less cost per hour. They worked with the other business for about a year. I contacted them to see how it was working out. They asked if I could return to working for their business starting the very next day. That was over 30 years ago. They remain a client.   

If you don’t connect with your customers or clients regularly they tend to forget about all the products and services your business provides for them. I have found times where they forget because my business was “out of sight, out of mind”. Many businesses get tied up in their own day-to-day issues that they are not thinking about what you can do for them. They want to hear from you and know that they are important to your business. If you don’t, someone else will. 

Many businesses do not have the loyalty to others, like it was a number of years ago. You will experience, like I have, that if ownership or management changes there is a good likelihood that the new owners or managers will be looking for your replacement. They many times have their own valuable connections, which they bring with them. I have seen businesses fail because some valuable people in the business leave and take customers and clients with them. Be prepared! 

You keep your customers or clients engaged so that they remember your business when they have a need. You inform them when you have new products or services that may be of interest to them. You congratulate them when they get a promotion or are mentioned in a publication you read. You think of them when you want to meet someone for breakfast, lunch, or dinner. You periodically send them an email or some other form of communication to find out how they are doing. You send a personal note that encourages them or gives them hope.  

You believe in under promising and over delivering, not the other way around. You think this saying is over used, but you know that many businesses have lost this concept. Many businesses promise more than they can deliver. They give a prospect a lower price just to get in the door. Once the prospect becomes a customer or client then they steadily raise their prices. You have had this happen to you, right? You decide that you will think twice before purchasing from them again. 

You have processes and systems that help you to keep your promises and exceed their expectations. Your customers or clients appreciate you going the extra mile to meet and actually exceed what they expect. You always under promise and over deliver! 

You don’t want to make a serious mistake and leave customer or client service to chance. You have a set of questions to handle customer or client complaints. 

You have scripts that deal with some of the following issues that may occur: 

  • They are looking for a product or service that you don’t provide
  • They contact you when you are currently up to your eyeballs in work 
  • They ask questions that you need to get more information on
  • They want to connect with someone else in your business
  • They need technical assistance and you need to connect them to the right person
  • They just want someone to talk to about another frustration unrelated to your business
  • Who knows what? Be prepared to help them

What will you say to them? You are able to help them or direct them to someone who can. By preparing prior to the conversation, you are more in control of what your people will say. Having scripts is just the beginning, as you will need to train your people on using them. Without scripts or some form of response your people will likely make up their own, many times on the fly. Many businesses have numerous people that interact with their customers or clients. Therefore, why leave it to chance. Be intentional and proactive in how you handle customer interactions. 

You have responsible people that you can trust in positions where they have consistent customer or client connections. You hire the right people for these positions so that your business is seen in a positive light. You interview and hire the people that best fit the mission, vision, and values for your business. They are friendly and cooperative in helping the customer or client. They answer the customer or client with a smile on their face. They enjoy coming to work for your business and display it in their daily attitude. You are confident that they are the right person for the job.  

Your people know how to handle a dissatisfied customer or client. You have them trained on how to respond. You know they use the opportunity to build loyalty and trust in your business. You are confident and trust them to follow up with the customer or client to resolve the issue. 

You have trained your staff on how to handle complaints by: 

  • Letting your customer or client know that the issue will be resolved.
  • Actively listening to the customer’s complaint and acknowledging it.
  • Not being defensive or arguing with the customer.
  • Restating the complaint in your own words so that the customer knows you understand the situation. Ask questions to clarify the issue.
  • Giving the customer a sincere apology for the issue. Show the customer that you care. Some may not accept the apology, but give it anyway.
  • Provide a solution to the issue even if you have to refund their purchase. You may be able to offer a replacement or a comparable product or service. You can also have them provide a written complaint so that you can present it to others in the business for response and training. You ask them how you can serve them better in the future. 

You use every complaint as an opportunity to make your business better and to alleviate having the same issue in the future.  

You ask your satisfied customers or clients if they would be willing to provide a testimonial as to how you have helped their business to succeed or how they benefit from your products or services. You post the testimonials on your marketing materials, your website, social networks, or other customer facing initiatives. You ask them if you can write a story on how you have helped their business and whether they would be willing to endorse it. You share the story with them prior to publishing it. 

Your business is easy to do business with (ETDBW) and you welcome your customer’s comments. You periodically survey your customers or clients using an outside service or a secret shopper. You may use a secret shopper to reveal how your competition is doing. 

You use an outside person to make calls to your business at different times of the day to determine how effective your customer or client interface is. This can reveal issues within your business. You may be surprised at what you find. 

Go ahead and provide Extraordinary Customer or Client Service! 

Review / Action Steps 

  1. Please make sure you have an Effective Selling System. Create your own effective selling system based on what an ideal customer or client looks like, where they hang out, and other demographic, psychographic, geographic information. I call it a Client Profile. I have included a sample from my business. 
  2. Always be interested and curious about the needs of others. The reason for this is because most businesses do not engage prospects in this manner. Have a unique selling conversation. Shut up and listen! You will stand out from others who are just looking for a sale.  
  3. Use open ended questions not leading or closed questions.  Open-ended questions cause people to think. Help them to see that your solution will meet or exceed their expectations.  Questions like “What will the solution do for you or your business?” “When do you plan on having this decision made?” “What have you done to address this issue?” Be creativity and learn as much as you can so that you address the issues. Try to stay away from Why questions as they can cause people to become defensive.  
  4. Please be sure that you fire the customers or clients who are dragging your business down. Every business has customers or clients that take more effort to try to please. They consume much of the support time and are always demanding more of your time. They may not pay on time and then complain about the price. 
  5. Send the customers or clients that are constantly late payers to your competition. Why not focus your time on the customers or clients that are willing to pay for the products and services you offer. They know the value that your business provides. They understand that you also have to provide for your family and your staff. 
  6. Provide Exceptional Customer Service. There is nothing more costly than having to follow up on customer complaints that happen consistently. Make sure you and your people are going above and beyond your customers’ or clients’ expectations. Please remember, “good intentions” are nice, but “results” are necessary.
  7. Create scripts to help your people handle customer issues. If your people have specific steps to take or who to contact in a particular situation it help everyone to handle it in a more professional way.  

SUMMARY 

As the small business owner, it is up to you to set the stage as to your Effective Selling System. It is your responsibility to make sure the system is effective for your business. Who are your ideal customers or clients? NOT everyone! What has worked for you previously and what has not worked.  

Be specific on whom your ideal customer or client is. What do they look like, where do they hang out, what are their interests, and why are you a good fit for their business? 

Have a selling conversation. During the selling conversation, listen for what the prospects needs are. Be curious. Be interested not interesting. In other words, focus entirely on his or her needs. Position your solution as it relates to what they are looking for. Do NOT talk about everything you do, as it can be overwhelming. They are most likely looking for a solution to an immediate need. Your solution may not be right for them, but you may be able to refer them to somebody who can help them.  

Always go for a NO rather than a noncommittal YES or a MAYBE.  This can lead to struggling to meet the new customers or clients needs later.  Spend your time connecting with people who are ready to buy. 

Help prospects to feel that they are not being sold to but rather that they are buying. People would rather buy than be sold to. 

Have several price structures from which the prospect can choose, but not too many as to overwhelm them. Have pricing option so that you can offer other levels based on what they can afford. Have a low end, middle, and high-end offering so they can make a choice. You can have a low end so that a prospect can get a sample of your products or services. 

Have some questions that you can ask your prospects in order to determine if your product or service fits their needs. Don’t leave what you will say to chance. Have specific ideas of what you need to know about the prospect and the issues. Help them to justify purchasing your solution by helping to see a vision of what their business will be like with your solution.  

Is It Time to Fire a Current Customer or Client? 

The customer or client may always be right, but not every customer or client is right for you. Not everyone is the ideal customer for your business. Many business owners feel that they have to keep all their customers or clients because if they don’t, their competition will.  

Do you have customers or clients that take more of your time and resources than profit or no profit at all? Do they always want a discount or free products and services? Do you spend most of your time trying to keep them happy?  

Do the math. Calculate the annual revenue from each customer and the cost of serving them, including materials, staff, and outside services. Estimate how much time it takes to do common tasks, including a full explanation of a their account statement, and ask your people to record every action they take on behalf of a customer or client. You may be surprised that the customers or clients you find to be the most profitable are not the customers or clients that you expected. 

Provide Extraordinary Customer/Client Service 

Have “extraordinary” customer service by going the extra mile and doing what other businesses are not doing.  Have a mindset that permeates the entire business. How do you serve your customers, clients, and even your suppliers?  

Have a dialogue with your suppliers to discuss how you can work better together. Work closely with your suppliers so that it benefits both of your businesses.  

It is truly amazing how the little things you do can have a big impact on your customers, clients, and suppliers. They make you stand out and soar above the crowd! 

Send your customers, clients, or prospects articles that you think they may find interesting or that references their business or a similar business. Periodically contact them to see how well your business is doing in meeting their needs. 

Always under promise and over deliver. You may think this saying is over used, but you know that many businesses have lost this concept. Many businesses promise more than they can deliver. 

Use every complaint as an opportunity to make your business better and to alleviate having the same issue in the future. 

Your business is easy to do business with (ETDBW) and you welcome your customer’s comments. 

This isn’t easy to do.  It does require time, effort, and even some money.  But if you are going to do it; do it right.

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