Business Management

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Many times customers do what you want, but at times they don’t. I am often amazed at how ignorant we on the supply side are to the real rubber meets the road issues that our customers face every day.

First order of business here is to determine our frame of mind. When we get a purchase order from a customer do we feel blessed? Or do you feel like it is your God given right, that you are somehow “owed” demand for your offerings?

If you are in that second group, I don’t think there is anything this session will offer you, close out, look at your to-do-list, or switch over to the Week in Review with Patrick and Rob - move on.

So even in the real world of us relying on the kindness of customers, there are many things that we can do to influence them toward our mutual best interests. But these are rarely done in an intellectual vacuum; they think they are acting in their best interests. Until they know differently, until they understand the benefits of working with us, and how these benefits will improve their condition we really do not deserve their business, certainly not their loyalty or trust.

So, what are we suppose to do about this? Getting customers to do what we want really comes from our honest desire for their best. Ask your most loyal customers why they do business with you, if you can improve. You could invite them to be on a “Board of Advisers” and in a perfect world you have the ability to have thousands of advisers.

Or just ask them to weigh in on your products, services, and some of your thinking on future product concepts. Loyal buyers will tell you what they like and where you are screwing up - and you will be screwing up at some point. By soliciting customer feedback this communicates that you care about the client experience with you and their opinion. This empathy could potentially transfer a position of “ownership” into the client’s mind and that you, your brand, your products are favored, protected and evangelized by them. They identify with you.

So instead of guessing what the customer wants, just ask them. Instead of guessing how to improve, get their input to validate your vision. Now internalize that input across your origination’s sub cultures like engineering, marketing, accounting, administration, and the C-level crew.

Any ideas on how to implement this?

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