Statistics and KPIs (Key Performance Indicators) are important to business, and do tell a story. But there’s more to the story than simple numbers. If your numbers are trending in a certain direction, do you know why? What is it that is causing the trend? Is it something you can measure, or is it more subtle?
It is vital to every business that you understand what really makes your customers tick. How do they think? What’s their decision-making criteria? What does your ideal customer avatar look like? What are their problems, challenges and desires. Are they doing all their business with you, or do you have competition within that account?
Get to know them on a personal level. Ask about their spouse and their family. Know what their hobbies are. Do they like their job? Can they make decisions on their own, or do they have to get approval for everything? The more you get to know your customer on both a personal and professional level, the better the relationship will be, and the better chance you will have of maintaining and growing your business with them. But how do you do that?
You have to learn to do more listening than talking. So many business people, especially salespeople, spend all their time trying to tell the customers why their product or service is the best. They miss vital information the customer may tell them because they never stop talking. A much better approach is to take the time to listen more than you talk, and understand what the customer is truly looking for. Ask a lot of questions. Dig in further as answers to the questions open up other questions. If you take this approach, you will find that people will open up a lot more than you might think, and they will also enjoy talking to you more.
Once you understand what they really need, then cater your offer to meet their needs. If you can’t do that, then don’t be afraid to tell them that you don’t have a fit for them, and they would be better off going somewhere else. In general, by understanding your customers inside and out, you may see some trends that will allow you to adjust your overall products and services to best accommodate customers needs.