Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Solving the Mystery of Business Success

Several of my consulting clients are all working on one particular area of their businesses. It is the most important area a business owner can work on because it directly impacts whether your business succeeds or just struggles along. This critical piece of your business is often overlooked or brushed to the side as you go about your daily busy-ness. Yet, it is the very heart of your business—it’s the engine that drives it forward and makes everything else happen.

Would you like to know what it is? It’s so simple and so obvious that you’ll probably think it’s dumb at first. But, if you dig deeper and deeper into the way you answer this one simple question, you’ll see your business begin to change for the better.

Here it is…

Answer this simple question:

What is going on inside your customer’s head?

Initially, your answer might be, “Beats me. I have no idea.” Like everyone else, our first focus is on what’s going on in our own heads. But, to build a successful business you really have to understand what you’re selling and why your customer values what you’re selling. Your entire business flows from that one understanding.

Here are some examples…

Let’s say you sell beads to jewelry makers. On the surface you sell beads to jewelry makers. That’s certainly true. But dig deeper. Why is a jewelry maker in the market for beads? They’re looking for something to spark their creativity. They’re looking for something bold or subtle to make an artistic statement. They’re looking for something that is marketable so they can eat regularly. Understanding what is motivating the jewelry maker holds clues for you to develop a great marketing plan to reach more jewelry makers and sell more beads.

Now, let’s say you’re the jewelry maker. What is going on in the head of the jewelry maker’s customer? They’re looking for a special gift. They’re looking to draw attention to themselves by having a stunning necklace. They appreciate art and like to own things for the sake of beauty. Each is a different motivation and to attract each of those customers, you would use different language in your marketing message.

Now, let’s say you’re the company that sells wholesale beads to someone who retails beads to jewelry makers. How does the language change? The retail seller of beads is more likely to respond to marketing language that speaks to “fresh” designs, consistency of supply, no minimum order requirements, easy payment terms. It’s a completely different set of motivations.

The artist making the jewelry isn’t interested in the same things as the bead seller and the bead wholesaler. As such, each person in the equation responds to a different marketing message. How well you understand that key point and the way you match your marketing message to what your customer is interested in defines how well you succeed in the marketplace.

Spend some time thinking about what motivates your customer and compare that to how well your marketing message speaks to that motivation. The gap between the two represents your opportunity to improve your business.

Until next time,

Caroline Jordan

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