Become truly customer-led

In an ever-changing world, where pushy sales tactics and capitalist ideals leave a bitter taste in the mouths of the general public, becoming truly customer-led in business is essential. Richard Denny gives readers of The Franchise Magazine the exclusive benefit of his many years of motivational experience.

Having just returned from America, it is, to me, not the country that it once was. The saying that once applied to us over here; “when America catches a cold, we catch it next” is no longer relevant – I am not sure that is going to be the trend anymore. So many American economists are forecasting another financial crisis, ‘get your money into gold’ seems to be the saying of the modern age over in the US. Now, as we enter the age of the customer, many old American ideals of making money whatever it takes, does not hold water.

In business, everything we should think about to be successful is about what it is our customers want. We should be thinking about providing our customers with the best possible product or service and, through this, we will win the business. If you want loyalty in the world of business, you have to earn it. The most effective method of promoting to, my mind, is referral marketing. The real power of building business through referral marketing is only now coming into play. For example, if you have a great meal, you will tell your friends and family.

We must get better at understanding the importance of referral marketing and promotion and concentrate on selling not through force – selling and pushing people to buy is out of date. By doing the little thing you didn’t have to do for a customer and by ensuring that the product or service you provide is of the best possible value to them, you will deserve the business. This is all based upon the most wonderful thing of all to do business upon, and is something that is perceived and very hard to quantify – value for money.

By providing our customers with value for money, we will obtain a reputation for quality, which our competition cannot possibly compete with, no matter how big their advertising budget. There has been a tendency over the years to exaggerate what it is that we do in order to gain business. We must stop this. Sooner or later our own over promises will come back and smack us in the face. We have to get these things right to build confidence and to build trust. The minute we say something that we don’t do, we lose trust. When we do the little bit that we didn’t have to do, we will very rarely lose business – over delivering and under promising is key to a good business with longevity.

The world is changing around us, but there are certain principles in business that will never change. We should look at our customers and think ‘how can we make you wealthy’ and that will make us wealthy. Not ‘how can I make money out of you’. People should want to do business with you. Finally, the most important thing about everything I have said here is that it costs absolutely nothing; it is just a culture well worth exploring.