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It is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent, but the one most responsive to change ... Charles Darwin
Do you make it easy for your client to buy from you?
Do you find ways to make your client's life easy?
Do you solve their problems?
Or ... do you provide a service that solves some (most) of your client's issues and assume that they will solve the rest some other way?
Here is the issue ... you might provide a GREAT service that solves 90% of your client's issues, but the minute someone has a service that solves 100% (or even 95%) of their issues then you are in big trouble!
If you owned a small local hardware store and you knew all your customers, you provided them with their paint, their wood, their tools and maybe a bunch of other things. Along came "big box store" ... it does everything you do, plus a bunch of things you can't do ... at a price point that might be lower than your cost! The things you have going for you are your level of service, your relationships and the "loyalty" of your customers.
Over time your customers find that they can "one-stop shop" instead of buying some stuff at your shop and some stuff elsewhere; there might even be more selection at the big box store; they find they can save money; they don't much like the service, BUT ... its easier and cheaper! Loyalty helps, relationships help but unless you are doing a better job of solving the customers problems you are in trouble.
You are a big box store and you service a large area with a wide selection of items at bargain prices. A niche paint store opens up, a niche tile place opens up ... and the high end clients want more service, a better shopping experience and some advice to go with their "stuff". You lose some customers and they capture their share of the market! What niche will open next?
Whatever business you are in, you need to understand your customer's needs. The more of those needs that you can handle for the customer, the better positioned you are.
Its not enough to just do what YOU think is good for the client ... it is much more important to do what your client thinks is useful to them.
You can be quite successful for a long time serving most of your client's needs ... right up until someone does it better!
I won't complain. I just won't come back ...Brown & Williamson Tobacco Ad
Kevin Dee is the founder and Chairman of Eagle (a Professional Staffing Company)
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