I recently received a thank you note from Matt, one of my nephews. I had helped him revise his resume and practice for interviews, as he needed to "get" a co-op in his final semester of college in order to graduate. Matt wrote that he had "gotten" a great co-op position with a company that has strong future employment opportunities for him as well. Our work in getting to know the prospective organizations had paid off. He was selected while other students with higher grade point averages were not. Matt believes he got the co-op because he walked into the interviews really knowing the companies he was going to be interviewed by, while his classmates did not.
In working together, Matt and I had revised his resume to highlight his skills and abilities that would be of most interest and immediately useful to a prospective co-op position or future employer. In preparing for our practice interviews, I had Matt research the companies on-line, and then connect with people who currently work with each company to learn what issues were facing the company that may not be on their websites. Matt had also developed a number of personal examples of situations in which he had taken initiative and resolved issues, taught or supervised others, or dealt with difficult and stressful situations professionally -- all skills needed in the workplace.
In reflecting on what Matt did to "get" his co-op, I thought how similar his process was to what any good business' should be to "get" customers -- but so often is not. If you're not sure what your process is to "get" customers, ask yourself:
- Are you "getting to know" them first?
- Are you reviewing and revising your marketing material to ensure it relays information and benefits most important to them -- or do your marketing pieces just talk about how great you are?
- Do you spend time researching your prospective customers to ensure you know what their real issues are versus what is just initially requested by them?
- Are you taking the time to gather case studies and real-world examples of how your products and services have helped others so it's easy for your prospects to see how you might help them too?
In this day and age when we all seem to be competing on price, why not focus on really getting to know our customers and prospects? Besides, when we're customers, who do we prefer to do business with: a company that provides us with a good product at a fair price, or a company that provides us with not only a good product at a fair price, but who also has taken the time to get to know us and to care about us?
If you want to "get" customers. Get to know them.