One of the secrets to business success is to develop long term relationships with your customers. You do this by listening to them, understanding their needs and key issues, and providing an offering that meets those needs – as well as consistently exceeding their expectations. These become what Ken Blanchard calls ‘Raving fans’ – customers who become a free sales force, telling others how great you are (the most powerful way to generate hot leads there is). It’s hard to develop loyal, long-lasting relationships based on price, as the minute a competitor offers a better deal, they’ll leave.
Sell your “why”
Do you know your ‘why’ – the purpose, cause, or belief that inspires you to do what you do? In his seminal book Start With Why (check out his powerful TED talk on YouTube too), Simon Sinek argues that customers don’t buy what you do, they buy why you do it. Most businesses talk in terms of ‘what’ or ‘how’ (e.g. product features), while super-successful organisations such as Apple differentiate themselves from their many competitors by communicating a core philosophy or brand personality that people can relate to.
Your “why” encapsulates both why your business exists and what gets you out of bed in the morning, and provides an emotional connection with your customers that is worth far more than a one-off purchase with no margin.
Give customers what they want
The best way to attract and foster loyal customers is to give them what they want. To do this, you need to look at your business through your customer’s eyes. What image and values are you portraying, from the moment they first experience your brand through to the provision of the product or service? Understanding and articulating your “why” will go a long way to helping you look at things from your customers’ perspective.
It’s important to remember that price is just one of marketing ‘4 P’s’ – meaning there are lots of other tools at your disposal to attract new customers.
To develop a lasting business, hold off on slashing prices and instead focus on creating an amazing customer experience. If you serve a need, people will happily pay for it.
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