Welcome to the Beyonddonuts blog. In our first post I wanted to convey the spirit of why this site exists. For the past twenty something years, I have been surrounded by affiliates of the real estate industry. For the first twelve years I was the customer and the last twelve I have been the affiliate.
As the owner of a Title Company, one of my goals has always been to improve the customer experience. The long standing joke about account executives, or anyone in marketing, has been that they are just donut delivery folks.
They have a delivery route, bring in the donuts, and the orders come rolling in. While that is certainly one way to develop business, I don’t think it’s a lasting model. Our customers need and frankly should expect more than a cheerful good morning and some deep fried breakfast treats.
To develop lasting relationships with clients you need to have a different approach. The figure below is a pretty good illustration of how a lasting relationship is created. Our marketing needs to go beyond donuts and provide value to our customers if you want to grow your business.
The lowest level of the pyramid is meeting expectations. This is a pretty straight forward premise. You have a product, they have a need and they send you the order because you were there. Thankfully in most of our collective industries, the expectation bar is set pretty low. In other words, just don’t screw up the order and there is a good chance you will get another order.
Real value is created when you go beyond completing the order. When you go deeper with your client and start providing solutions to what they need you start creating loyalty with them. In order to achieve this next level of success you have to actually have conversations with your clients. These conversations need to include something most sales people are very poor at doing… listening to your client.
Ask questions like what is holding you back from being more successful? Or if there was one thing we could do that would make your life easier, what would it be? You don’t need a laundry list of questions, keep it simple and manageable… what’s the one thing? When you start appealing to their desires you are off to the races, because many of your clients are going to have the same desires. When you start to provide answers to these questions you are providing solutions at an exponential rate. One solution can be offered to multiple clients.
After you ask this question enough, you will be able to anticipate what their needs are or will be in the future. That is when you move into the highest level of the pyramid and start to create Raving Fans. These are the clients you dream of. These are the guys that are talking to other potential clients and they start to sell for you.
My wife and I just finished watching the movie Steve Jobs, …I liked the book better. Jobs was a master at anticipating what the customer wanted before they knew they wanted it. After his return to Apple think about the products they released; iPhone, iPad, and the iPod were all products Apple launched with the mindset “you haven’t seen this, but you can’t live without it. Steve Jobs lived within the highest level of the pyramid and think of the number of raving fans Apple has.
Another benefit of asking these questions to multiple clients is that your clients are going to be at different levels in their business and an answer to one question might be an answer to a question another client hasn’t even thought of yet… the illusion of anticipation has now been created with second client.