Everyone knows good customer service when they experience it.
A key exercise that occurs when an industry representative “gets it,”finds you what you need, fixes your problem, or points you in the right direction is they asked the right questions.
Have you ever gone into a busy doctor’s office, where one person leaves as three people enter, and once you are escorted to the room for the one-on-one consult, you are asked basic common questions and the doctor barely listens to the answer before sending you off with a prescription? You feel like you’ve been in a cattle call, and you’re not quite sure you were heard.
Or you receive a land-line telephone call from a local company that offers furnace cleaning, but you live in a condominium with a boiler heating system, and before you get a chance to confirm your name, the operator jumps right into the sales pitch.
If these business practices bother you, don’t do them yourself.
Before you start any campaign, major project, or start a new business, there are several questions to ask yourself before seeking your first customers.
- Message: What are you all about? Do you sell apples, do taxes, or write blogs?
- Purpose: What is your intention? But more than just selling apples, how do you want people to feel when they deal with you or bite into the apple?
- Vision: How do you perceive your future? What do you want people to come to you for?
- Expertise: What qualifies you to do what you do?
- Core brand: Who are you?
- Competition: Who is your competition? What do you do that sets you apart from them?
- Strengths: What are you really good at?
- Weaknesses: What could you improve upon?
Once you figure out who you are, what you do, and how to position your message, dissect who your target customer is. Once you do that, you can find out where they live and how to approach them.
- Demographic: What is their age, gender, profession…? What are their values? What is their pain? How can you solve it? What do they consider important?
- Who is already invested in topic? If you sell lacrosse sticks, it’s better to go to people who love and play lacrosse than to those who play baseball.
- Network groups your demographic plays in: If you are a copywriter looking for businesses to write for, hang out in business groups, not writers’ groups.
- Opportunities in your circle of influence: Never discount a connection, even if up front, they have nothing to offer you or your business. You don’t know who people know. Be kind to everyone and go in with the attitude of helping connect others rather than seeking business for you.
- Markets/industries: There are numerous side industries and markets that are somewhat related to the industry you want to work with. A movie theater may provide movies for people to watch, but they also sell popcorn and licorice.
- Disciples: Develop relationships within your target industry and if people like you enough, they will become your disciples and refer you business.