6 Reasons Why to Emotionally Connect with Your Customers

Here are six reasons why you want your customers to connect with you emotionally. Logic may make people think, but emotions make them act! Even more, emotions underpin good, strong relationships which are essential for good, lasting business.

Reasons Which Means….
1.    They buy more You make more money
2.    They visit you more often You have more repeat business
3.    They care less about price You make better margins and profit
4.    They pay more attention to you You have more raving fans
5.    They follow your advice more closely You are seen as a thought-leader
6.    They spread the word about you to more people You have customers who act as your salesforce!

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Share your thoughts and ideas here, or email me at andrew.cooke@business-gps.com.au

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5 Ways to Build Emotional Connection with your Customers

 

If you want to reap the benefits of having a strong emotional connection with your customers here are the feelings you need to generate in them, and the questions you can ask to help you do this.

Generate the following feelings in your customers: Do this by asking the following questions:
1.    Stand out from the crowd ·         How do they want to feel in being special and apart from others?

·         How will you help them achieve this?

2.    Have a sense of belonging ·         How will you build their sense of “tribe” and relatedness to you and your offerings?
3.    Have confidence in the future ·         What do they want to feel confident about?

·         What is important for them in the future?

·         How will you provide this for them via your offerings?

4.    Feel a sense of security ·         What is the sense of security they are seeking and why?

·         How will it manifest itself for them?

·         How will you provide it for them?

5.    Are successful ·         What will make them feel more successful and what does success mean to them?

·         How will make them feel more successful?

Try this for each of your customer segments. Remember, try to get in and understand from their perspective and not yours. Write down your thoughts, share them with others – and see how it compares with your customers actually think!

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Share your thoughts and ideas here, or email me at andrew.cooke@business-gps.com.au

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Click here to find out more about Andrew Cooke and Growth & Profit Solutions.

3 Ways to Accelerate Team Performance

Improving team performance comes from both within and without

If you are running a team or project team, especially when you have new team or one where there has been a change in team membership, you need to bring them up to speed as quickly as possible.

Underpinning is this how you can capture, use and capitalise on the team’s knowledge, expertise, experience and insights. Here are three ways by which you can do this:

  1. Encourage collaboration and co-mentoring

Capture and share the individual and collective knowledge of the team, this is an invaluable asset that you can use and leverage. This can cover a wealth of subjects related both directly and indirectly to that which you are working on.

You can do this or informally including lunch-time presentations, or people sharing what they have learnt from recent courses or experiences, brain-storming sessions, encouraging and enabling people to working across and learn from different departments etcetera.  Doing this helps you to understand others’ perspectives and to remove and reduce erroneous assumptions. This helps to reduce the communication, knowledge and understanding gaps between your team and others.

  1. Internal Processes and references to capture knowledge

Capturing knowledge, insights and experience from your team helps everyone to benefit and learn from what has succeeded and what has failed and why. Key to this is having a “learning” or “growth” mindset where you have the attitude that failure is not a bad thing, but an opportunity to learn and improve what you do and how you do it.

Establishing regular, daily start-up team meetings allows you to take the initiative early on to gather as much information from as many people as possible. Build into these meetings a “lesson-learned moment” – this moment can be team-specific or outside of the project.  The purpose of this to focus the team, individually and collectively, to develop a continual improvement mindset.

  1. Encourage cross-learning

Rather than learning from just your own mistakes and success, look to learn from what others have done elsewhere. This can be in the same industry, sector or project type, or it can also be from others, and help you identify where and how you can improve what you do. This can include areas and topics associated with what you do, or in different areas.

Good knowledge management will prove to be the linchpin that turns you and your team around allowing you to work more efficiently and effectively, to manage your team’s expectations as well as those who work with your team, and to achieve better results and outcomes.

So what are you going to do to build, retain and leverage your team’s knowledge and expertise? Share here the one action you will take, right now, to address this.

To find out more about how to build your own business and to attract the right prospects, convert them into great customers and deliver great results for you and your clients in building a sustainable business please click here.

To view or download a PDF version of this blog click here

Share your thoughts and ideas here, or email me at andrew.cooke@business-gps.com.au

If you found this article of use or interest please don’t hesitate to share it with others.

Click here to find out more about Andrew Cooke and Growth & Profit Solutions.

How to Avoid Staff Turnover Impacting Your Teams

How to reduce the risks and costs of changes in your teams

High staff turnover is a major cost and drain on an organisation.  Apart from the costs associated with recruiting and replacing an individual, a major cost (which is often under-estimated) is the loss of knowledge, expertise, insights and relationships.

This becomes a real problem when an experienced individual retires, takes redundancy or leaves for another job.  When they go they take their relationship and everything that is “up top” in their head, and which has often not been captured. This creates a relationship gap and a knowledge vacuum it is difficult to fill. This reduces the effectiveness of your people, your team and your organization.

So how do we maintain key relationships and capture this intangible knowledge, insights and expertise?

Relationships

Don’t become reliant on a single person for a key relationship. Look to include other people who can develop and build their own relationships with your clients, suppliers, third parties etcetera –  this provides continuity as and when people leave. This takes time, so you need to do it well in advance of the need for it occurring (i.e. people leaving and/or your becoming reliant on certain people internally).

Knowledge and Expertise

Treat knowledge management as an on-going project that is part of what every project team does. Create an environment where team members are encouraged to share ideas, experiences and learnings and document this on an on-going basis. Formalizing a knowledge transfer system, including helping people learn from those more experienced as part of their personal development plan. Doing this allows you to:

  • Improve your team’s knowledge, capabilities and capacity
  • Become more flexible and insightful in running and managing the project
  • Build a more robust and resilient team which is less at risk when key people leave
  • Maintain and improve your ability to deliver on schedule, within budget and to accepted quality standards.

So, what are you going to do to anticipate where and how you need to build relationships for the future; and what do you need to do to build, retain and leverage your team’s knowledge and expertise? Share here the one action you will take, right now, to address this.

To access regular valuable and practical tools and insights on how to build your own business and to attract the right prospects, convert them into great customers and deliver great results for you and your clients in building a sustainable business please click here.

To view or download a PDF version of this blog click here

Share your thoughts and ideas here, or email me at andrew.cooke@business-gps.com.au

If you found this article of use or interest please don’t hesitate to share it with others.

Click here to find out more about Andrew Cooke and Growth & Profit Solutions.

Using the Value-Price Seesaw to Make More Money

“Price is what you pay, value is what you get!” – Warren Buffett

Are your prices too low? Are you not getting paid enough? Do your customers do not appreciate what you do for them?

If so, then I have a suggestion to make – and you probably won’t like it.

If your prices are too low then it is your fault.  Yes, yours and no-one else’s. So do something about it!

I know this is not a “cool” thing to say, but let’s not waste time making excuses for ourselves or our lack of effective action.  You may be in a difficult and competitive market, but that does not mean you try to compete with everyone on price.  It is easy to find people who cave-in to external pressure, but there are plenty of companies out there who are doing a roaring trade in exactly the same environment. Don’t look for reasons not to act or to act half-heartedly, but look for reasons to act boldly and decisively.

The problems when you compete on price are multi-fold and include:

  1. You position yourself as a commodity – you become something that is easily replaced for something else or something similar. This just makes you part of the herd and you end up following the herd blindly.
  2. You lack leadership – if you are following others on their pricing then you are abdicating responsibility for your pricing, and you deserve everything you get. You may have competitors who price very low, but that does not mean that they are winning good business, that they are profitable or that the business is sustainable. Follow them and you could be one of the lemmings that follow them over the cliff!
  3. You are on a race to the bottom – as a commodity, all that distinguished you from your competition is your price. Everything else, in the perception of the customer (and that is what matters) is the same or irrelevant. Competing on price works in a downward spiral, and it is a race to the bottom where the bodies of all those who have not survived await you.

So how do you get over the problem of competing on price? The answer is don’t compete on price!

Creating Value

Value is what your customer will pay you for that which they value (not what you think your customer will value). What customers value are those things that you do for them, not what you do – it is the difference between buying a quarter-inch drill and a quarter-inch hole.  Your customers buy the outcomes and results (the hole) which you help them achieve which addresses their pains and helps them achieve the gains they seek.

What you want to do is create lots and lots of value. In short, there is a clear relationship between the price you can realize and the value you create for your customer. This is shown in the Value-Price Seesaw DiagramTM

Figure 1: The Price-Value SeesawTM

From this diagram you can see there is a clear and simple relationship between price and value. Low value will result in your only being able to achieve a low price. To quote, “Price is only an issue when there is an absence of value”.

If you want to charge a high price then you need to stack on the value as much as you can to push the seesaw in the right direction. Stack it up with as much value as you can, and then add more. Remember, value is perceived by the customer. So, make sure what you do for your customer is addressing their needs in a strong manner, this way you position yourself strongly and you also differentiate yourself.

Creating high value takes you out of the herd and makes you more visible and attractive to existing and prospective customers. It makes it easier for them to choose you, and harder for your competitors to take customers from you.

So, what is of value for you from this article? What is your take-away?  What is the one action you will take, today, to address your pricing and grow your business?

If you would be interested in a free 15-minute Pricing Improvement Strategy Session to identify your 3 key actions to address this then email me at andrew.cooke@business-gps.com.au or click here with “Pricing Improvement Strategy Session” in the subject line and I’ll send you the details on how to book a convenient time by return.

To view or download a PDF version of this blog click here

Share your thoughts and ideas here, or email me at andrew.cooke@business-gps.com.au

If you found this article of use or interest please don’t hesitate to share it with others.

Click here to find out more about Andrew Cooke and Growth & Profit Solutions.

3 Questions to Ask to Drive Better Conversations

The Newport Question Trio for Better Conversations

A client of mine recently shared several questions that they use in her organization to help leaders and managers, at all level, gain clarity, focus and accountability in their conversations. I call them the Newport Question Trio after my client. These questions are:

  1. Why? – Is this conversation going to make our business stronger?

This question gets straight to the point, is this conversation going to be of value and contribute to the business’ success? If not, then the conversation should not be held.

Key to doing this well is to make sure you frame what the conversation is about (and equally importantly what it is not about) properly. Your conversation frame needs to be tight, well-defined and clearly articulated so there is a shared and common understanding of what it is and what it is not.

  1. What? – What is our role? Should this be our decision?

Role: Too often conversations are held for their own sake, this leads to lots of discussion and no action. If the conversation is going to make your business stronger then you need to determine what your role is in what is being discussed. Your role may be key in which discussion is needed, or it may be tangential in which case no or little discussion is necessary.

Decision: You need to decide is this your decision? Here you have to distinguish between being accountable for a decision (i.e. the buck stops with you) and actually being responsible for making and implementing a decision. Too often senior executives get pulled into operational issues when they should be standing back and allowing those responsible for the work to do it. The decision should be made at the level which it is best made and implemented by those with the right knowledge, expertise and insights required.

  1. How? – Are we being clear in our conversation

Here there are two guidelines to help you. Firstly, are you saying everything that needs to be said? And secondly, are you saying nothing that doesn’t need to be said? Focus on what is important and relevant, don’t get side-tracked, and keep on point.

Use these 3 questions for yourselves and your peers, and cascade them to those who work for you and see how your conversations improve and help to drive better actions and results.

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Share your thoughts and ideas here, or email me at andrew.cooke@business-gps.com.au

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Click here to find out more about Andrew Cooke and Growth & Profit Solutions.

Five Ways to Create an Environment for Employee Engagement

Only employees can engage themselves. You can’t do it. All you can do is create an environment which helps people to be self-motivated and engaged.  Everyone is different, that is true, but there are common factors that are intrinsic to everybody’s level of satisfaction and engagement at work.

Engaged employees voluntarily invest time, effort and take the initiative to contribute to business success in various ways over and above what is expected of them. Why? Because they feel three basic human values: a sense of belonging to a group; a sense of fulfillment and a sense of purpose with their job. These factors help them to be enthusiastic, passionate and energetic.

To achieve these values and engage people in making the following visible and part of your business and how they work:

Produce meaningful work  –people who believe the work they do is important and valued, will believe in themselves and engage with their work environment. What you need to do is to consistently make clear the importance of their roles to the success of the business.  You need to show them the connection between what they do and the company’s success whilst setting goals and challenges that will give them a sense of purpose.

Create growth and opportunity  - people want to use their skills, and respond to encouragement in stretching themselves and developing themselves further. Are your people fully using their strengths and abilities? Do you know what their strengths and abilities are? Are they being given the opportunity in what they are currently doing to use them? Are their achievements moving in the direction it makes them grow? Are there projects or challenges they can work on to expand their skill set? Help them advance within the company, and provide clear and consistent feedback on how they can improve their performance. This will benefit, in terms of growth, both for the company as well as the employee.

Uphold inspiring leadership – Hands-on, passionate and competent leadership is vital to enthuse and engage teams, whether they’re in admin, sales, manufacturing or else. A genuine interest in understanding the needs and aspirations of teams as a group and individuals will pay dividends.  Sending the message that their contribution is valued and of importance when wanting to stretch them to achieve goals. Get involved with their experience in the workplace, find out what motivates them and how they define success and what is rewarding to them.

Foster a culture focused on people – It’s well acknowledged that companies that recognize their people are their greatest assets reap the benefits. Understand the responsibilities and values of your people outside of work and consider initiatives that will enable them to achieve and carry on their personal pursuits. Encourage people to balance hard work with socializing and doing what is important to them. Encourage them to share their ideas, insights, and experiences and build up in them a sense of being valued, of camaraderie and of a community where they can thrive; this will increase engagement.

Reward and recognize – people who know their efforts will be recognized and rewarded will happily give their best, volunteer time and deliver great work as opposed to feeling they are obliged to. This is the difference between staff commitment and staff compliance. Demonstrate you’re aware of their hard work by appreciating and thanking them for their efforts. Praise great work in meaningful ways and publicly celebrate accomplishments. This will encourage individuals and boost their performance and confidence. Competitive pay and benefits are basic factors to perform well, however, incentives for over and above results give employees something extra to strive for.

More motivated, loyal, and committed employees are typically high performers who contribute and produce better results for both their employers and the company clients.

Doesn’t everyone want more of these employees!

To view or download a PDF version of this blog click here.

Share your thoughts and ideas here, or email me at andrew.cooke@business-gps.com.au

If you found this article of use or interest please don’t hesitate to share it with others.

Click here to find out more about Andrew Cooke and Growth & Profit Solutions.