During times of great change, business-life is like being in rough seas wearing a life preserver. If we are thrown a lifeline, we must focus and catch it.

Knowing what to focus upon and how to adapt to change can mean life or death to our business. Our customer and their sales purchases are like a lifeline for our business. In our talk today, we will discuss that lifeline. What do you offer customers and how do they use it?

How have recent market changes affected your customers and their purchases from you? The lifeline metaphor works both ways. Sometimes it’s like you’re in the water being saved by customers and sometimes you’re throwing the lifeline with your goods and services and saving your customers.

Sales from customers drive business. Without sales, everything else can be perfect and you still have accomplished nothing. Recent economic events have affected all of our sales and the sales of virtually everyone. These are blows we are taking. Like physical hits, these economic developments have certain characteristics. They are abrupt and dramatic. We’re in the midst of a series of these business “events.” We must keep our wits and shake off the blows to recover our bearings and regain our composure. We must continue thinking, analyzing and creating. Our customers still have needs and it’s our job to fill those needs.

  • We must know our personal and our business situation
    Where are you in your personal life and career?
    Does your business have a strong foundation?
    Are you completely committed to your customers’ survival?
  • We must know our customers’ and their changing needs
    Identify your typical clients’ apparent, shifting and deeper needs
    Communicate your commitment to fulfilling customers’ needs now & tomorrow
    Collaborate with customers to solidify these crucial relationships
  • We must know what we sell and how our customers benefit from it
    Remember the less obvious needs of customers
    What is a way you can add noticeable value
    Innovate in ways your competitors haven’t or can’t
  • We must engage our employees’ wisdom to solve the customer satisfaction puzzle
    Staff delivering products and services must be 100% certain of satisfaction
    Making work easier can improve employee attitude, delivery time and margins
    Train staff to meet customer needs in relentless pursuit of customer satisfaction
  • Evaluate key performance indicators as you experiment with building repeat business
    Create customer lock-in
    Determine acquisition costs
    Generate referrals – ask customers for referrals, then deliver; make them proud

Today, we have reflected upon the changes that affect your business and personal future. It’s important to gauge the length of time you personally, intend to remain in business. From this you can better understand the commitment level you’re prepared to continue making, so you can remain in business successfully.

We talked about refining your product and service delivery to satisfy customers. It is a success fundamental. Focusing upon basic business values, like customer satisfaction, is always “good business”. During challenging economic change, it’s a vital survival strategy.

Our daily work has become seeking to learn about how our customers’ needs are changing. To avoid playing catch-up, we must gain industry insight so we can predict how customers’ “deeper needs” will be in the future. How might you better educate staff to adapt our products and services to fulfilling customers’ hidden and shifting needs?

With these conceptual tools you can design and manage your sales and margins for improved sustainability with reduced risk.