Category: Startups

Is Your Target Customer Crystal Clear?

The purpose of today’s blog is to expound upon why it’s so important for your business to clearly identify your target customer, and how it will enable you to build the business you’ve always dreamed of having.

Image by QuinceCreative via Pixabay

Your target customer is the customer who shares your passion for your product or service. These are customers who want what you offer… instead of just need what you offer. They don’t just use your product or service, they love it. They don’t just purchase what you sell; they actually feel they couldn’t live without it.

Your target customer will result in fewer returns and complaints. They’re thrilled with you and your business. They buy from you today, and they’ll keep buying from you tomorrow. They’ll demand you create additional products and services for them to buy… since they trust you and know you have their best interests at heart. They’ll tell their friends and family all about you and encourage them to do business with you.

Perhaps best of all, they’ll spend more money with you over their lifetime than your average customer will. Your target customers will provide your business with tons of referrals… and they’ll offer you unsolicited testimonials. They’ll post their praise about you and your business on social networking sites… which garners you free publicity.

When you identify your target customer, you find yourself loving what you do. The end result is you begin to work less and start earning more—a lot more. This exponentially impacts your business long term. It positively impacts all future products or services you develop. It impacts the customer service that your clients receive. Plus, it impacts all of your marketing and sales efforts, especially when you begin to develop your marketing materials and sales scripts.

In closing, knowing and understanding exactly who your target market and target customer are plays a vital role in building a successful business.

For even more proven small business marketing and sale tips and insights, be sure to also connect and stay in touch with us on LinkedIn and Twitter.

The Key Missing Ingredient in Your Marketing Messaging

Every business needs what is known as a “USP.” That stands for Unique Selling Proposition and it represents the single biggest benefit your business offers that your competition doesn’t. If you don’t have a USP, or you don’t articulate the one you do have, then you’re lucky if you get any business at all.

In fact, most businesses don’t communicate ANY benefits that differentiate themselves from their competitors. This is a HUGE mistake when they attempt any sort of marketing! When they’re trying to attract new customers, by not stating their distinctive advantage, they’re indirectly saying, “Give me your business instead of to my competitors, even though I have nothing special to offer you.” Why would businesses do that? If you cannot give your prospects a better reason to buy from you, they’re likely not going to transfer their business over to you.

Once you create your USP, it becomes the centerpiece for all of your marketing initiatives. It helps you stay passionate and focused on the objectives of your business, and, in the process, separates you from all others in your industry. When you can identify your target customers, understand how they think before they think it, create a compelling message that resonates with them on an emotional level, and compels them to take a specific action, you will be able to instantly increase the number of leads you attract to your business. And not just any leads, but highly qualified leads ready to buy what you sell.

You will attract these targeted prospects in droves, and begin to make more money than ever before. And maybe best of all, you’ll work fewer hours in the process. This is how you work smarter, not harder!  Now, I bet the lightbulbs are really going off and I have your complete, undivided attention, right?

Image by mohamed Hassan from Pixabay

The great thing about creating compelling messages is they come with a host of benefits for your business. It communicates to your target customer exactly what you do, and how you do it, in a highly enticing and more relatable way. Your message now emphasizes the benefits of your product or service instead of its features. Plus, your message now resonates with your prospects on an emotional level. And you immediately begin to attract highly qualified leads that convert easily into new customers who remain loyal to you FOREVER.

So what are you and your business known for? What makes your business and your products/services unique? Please share in the comments.

Lastly, and as always, please CONTACT US if you would like to have an exploratory chat on how we can help you devise or refine your USP and transform and turnaround your underperforming and copy-cat marketing messaging.

The Three Most Important Business Fundamentals to Thrive

“Forget about the crowds, the size of the school, their fancy uniforms, and remember what got you here. Focus on the fundamentals that we’ve gone over time and time again.”  – “Hoosiers” Coach Norman Dale played by Gene Hackman.

In the small business arena, there are three fundamentals every business MUST have in place to not only survive but also THRIVE.

First, your business must stand out from the crowd, and it must be “unique.” You MUST establish an all-important market-dominating position.

Second, your business must offer extraordinary and exceptional value. Your prospects, no matter who they are or what they’re buying, always want the best deal. However, that doesn’t mean the lowest price.  Again, that doesn’t mean the lowest price.  Rather, it means the most value for the price they pay. That is, they will gladly pay a higher price, as long as the perceived value is greater than the price. The keywords here, of course, are “perceived value.”

The third and final fundamental may be the most important of the three. You must have a compelling message that confidently communicates the first two fundamentals. You must be able to explain to someone quickly and succinctly what it is you do, and how your product or service will benefit them.

With these three fundamentals firmly in place, you instantly separate your business from your competition and immediately position yourself as the dominant player in your market. Your prospects will literally be thinking to themselves that they would be absolute fools if they bought your product or service from anyone else but you. These three fundamentals are absolutely crucial when you need to generate more leads, attract more clients, and make more money.

Is your business fundamentally sound and predicated upon these core business-building principles?

If not, and you’re serious about recovering, regrowing, and revitalizing your small business, please CONTACT US to schedule an initial strategy consultation.

It’s your time!  Focus on the fundamentals and reach new heights TODAY!

 

What Every Entrepreneur Ought to Know About Mindset Mastery

As a kid growing up in Atlanta, I was a huge fan of the baseball team, the Atlanta Braves.  One of my childhood heroes was former Hall of Fame pitcher and current FOX and MLB Network announcer, John Smoltz.  Even though Smoltz was one of the best post-season pitchers of all-time and one of the few to dominate as both a starting pitcher and closer, he did experience some ups and downs early on in his career.

It turns out a pivotal moment in his turnaround was to partner with a sports psychologist to make some mental adjustments to boost his confidence and improve his consistency, mental toughness, and, ultimately, his overall performance.

 

“When you start having doubt, you start creating an atmosphere of ‘things are going to go wrong,’ and they will… If you say ‘don’t hang a slider’ or ‘don’t leave this pitch (up),’ … you start having negative thoughts, and those negative thoughts become positive reinforcement for what you don’t want to do.”

John Smoltz

 

 

Sticking with the theme of mindset mastery, I recently read an excellent leadership development article from Michael Hyatt entitled “Want an Abundant Life? Change Your Thinking.”  In the piece, Hyatt illuminates the difference between “abundance thinkers” and “scarcity thinkers.”

Generally speaking, those constantly driven by fear of failure, doubt, or discord fall into the scarcity category.  On the other hand, abundance thinkers prioritize, attract, and attain success, happiness, and fulfillment. As you might imagine, they really are polar opposites.

Which of these philosophies describe you and how you run your business operations?

To further distinguish between the two lines of thinking, Hyatt shares some more examples, which I have categorized and summarized for you below.  Whether you’re an aspiring entrepreneur, early-stage entrepreneur, struggling solopreneur, veteran business owner, or first-time executive, I’d encourage you to review this breakdown to see how you stack up.

  • GROWTH MINDSET 
    • Abundance thinkers:  Think and go big, embrace risk, and believe there’s always more
    • Scarcity thinkers:  Think small, lack vision, typically play it safe, and feel there will never be enough.
  • COLLABORATION and GENEROSITY
    • Abundance Thinkers:  Openly and proactively share their knowledge, contacts, and compassion with others.
    • Scarcity Thinkers:  Guarded and very stingy with providing knowledge transfer, introductions, and support.
  • RELATIONSHIP BUILDING
    • Abundance Thinkers:  Highly trusting and easily cultivate rapport.
    • Scarcity Thinkers:  Highly suspicious and inept at rapport building.
  • COMPETITIVE SPIRIT
    • Abundance Thinkers:  Embrace competition and feel they get better and benefit from a bigger pie.
    • Scarcity Thinkers:  Fear competition and think they will suffer from a smaller pie.
  • DRIVE AND COMMITMENT
    • Abundance Thinkers:  Go above and beyond and always overdeliver.
    • Scarcity Thinkers:  Tend to take shortcuts, don’t work hard, and do just enough to get by.
  • ATTITUDE
    • Abundance Thinkers:  Confident, but grounded and thankful…upbeat and optimistic about the future.
    • Scarcity Thinkers:  Fearful, entitled, and pessimistic about what lies ahead.

How’d you make out?  Are your core belief systems and values limiting you and your business?

Everyone always claims they are striving for growth in their business and personal lives, but are they really?  Are you?  If not, what are you going to do about it and make it happen?

I hope you can relate to more or all of the attributes of the abundance thinkers.  If that is not the case, you at least now have a starting point on where you are and what mindset adjustments you need to make to get where you want to go.

If you found this blog helpful or you have other suggested topics for us to cover, please let us know in the comments below.

Lastly, if you’d like to receive more tips and tricks on how to master your mindset, be more productive, and enhance your leadership skills, be sure to check out our RevSherpas Facebook company page.  There, in a less stuffy kind of way, you’ll get to learn from the best of the best, not just in the world of business, but also in sports, entertainment, and the motivational personal development space.

Protect Your Brand and Preserve Your Reputation or Else!

In today’s increasingly competitive marketplace, small businesses must be quicker, more agile, and far more creative to adapt, respond, and effectively meet customers’ ever-changing preferences and demands. Customers and prospects of the Digital Information Age are more knowledgeable than ever before. Unfortunately, customers are also more fickle, too. 

Did you know that an unsatisfied customer will tell 9 to 15 people about her bad, frustrating experience?  

One can only imagine how that number has increased exponentially as a result of the world’s newfound addiction to the social networking phenomenon…As you’re reading this blog, you better not have any of your social media sites also open! 

On a more serious note, be sure to turn off all your social media notifications if you haven’t already – they can be a huge distraction and time-suck!  You’re better than that and it’s time to focus (by the way, you only have 158 words left to read here)! 

As I was saying, the rampant sharing of a horrendous shopping experience or an unpleasant customer service encounter on social networking sites can instantly tarnish a firm’s reputation. Repeat offenders that constantly receive negative survey results or have angry, colorful diatribes hurled in their direction in chat rooms will certainly lose customers and market share.

By constantly updating and tracking customer interactions in a centralized CRM throughout all of its locations, small businesses should be able to better serve customers and respond more quickly to their questions, concerns, and suggestions. Thus, companies can mitigate the risk and likelihood of a viral smear campaign and maintain and even improve their reputation that they have worked so hard to uphold in the marketplace.

Legendary investor Warren Buffett said it best:

“It takes 20 years to build a reputation and five minutes to ruin it. If you think about that, you’ll do things differently.”

Will you start to do things differently?

How to Master Your Morning Routine

The other day I read “6 Things You Should Never Do First Thing in the Morning” by Jeff Haden in Inc., who is one of my favorite authors in that magazine.

Photo by Jon Tyson via Unsplash

Here are the highlights of recommended key things not to do as part of your morning routine:

1. Don’t plan out your day.

Trying to plan your work first thing in the morning or when you get to work can have unintended consequences resulting in a complete waste of time.  The mere act of doing this results in stress and anxiety as your list piles up.  As you rush to finish the list so you can actually work, you might even wind up prioritizing easy, administrative tasks over more important yet complex items (e.g. cash-flow generating activities).  Going through the motions and being unprepared is never a good thing.

Instead, come ready to play and commit to the following:

  • Prepare and prioritize your to-do list at the end of your prior workday.
  • Determine the single most important thing you need to accomplish tomorrow.
  • Get your workspace and all needed materials ready for tomorrow the night before.

Doing so will create massive momentum in the mornings and tee you up for maximum focus and goal attainment.

2. Don’t make unimportant decisions.

Why spend time agonizing over trivial decisions?  Every extra choice you consider or decision that you have to make overwhelms your brain and takes up time.

A better approach to free up your brain power and ensure you’re at peak mental focus at all times is to:

  • Eliminate non-important decision points (e.g. – if it doesn’t make you more profitable, increase your productivity, or improve the quality of your life or one of your business outputs, then stop fixating on it and move on).
  • Automate and expedite simple, recurring decisions (e.g. – get into a routine for what you eat and what you wear).

3. Don’t forget to exercise.

The reason it’s ideal for exercise to occur in the early morning is because:

  • It puts you in a better mood for the next 12 hours.
  • It increases your energy levels.

Being happier and having more stamina throughout the day empowers you to get more done.

4. Don’t forget to include protein in your first meal.

Consuming 30 grams of protein with breakfast is recommended since it:

  • Maintains blood-sugar levels.
  • Curbs your appetite and prevents hunger attacks.

You’ll be energized, healthier, and less distracted.

5. Don’t forget to take the right breaks.

Regardless of how intelligent or mentally focused you are, you can only operate at a high level for so long.  The sooner you understand and abide by that principle, the more productive you will become.  Even if you are a “morning person” as opposed to a “night owl,” you have to factor this into your morning routing prep and execution.

Try taking opportune breaks as outlined below:

  • Recognize that after 90 to 120 minutes, you lose focus…you’re not alone.
  • Strategically take 15-20 minute breaks to recharge for your next big task.
  • Instead of planning and plotting your workday as a typical 8 or 10 hour day, break it down into five 90-minute windows with occasional short breaks sprinkled in so you can refuel and/or knock out some quick, mindless tasks.

6. Don’t stick blindly to the same morning routine.

Now, this advice may seem counter-intuitive…The point is if your routine is working, stick with it.  If it’s not, adjust.  Life happens and new family duties and business commitments will arise.  Though sticking to a routine that works is the goal, you’ll have to constantly test and adapt as your business grows.

Lastly, not everyone will have the same morning routine.  Nevertheless, most prefer to have a better one, and I hope you can incorporate some of these “not to do list” recommendations into your morning routine and get your day going on the right foot.

What aspect of your morning routine would you like to improve?  

What’s been the best piece of advice you’ve ever received to kickstart your mornings, attack the day, and maintain momentum throughout?

Feel free to leave a comment below and thanks for the continued readership of our Blog!

If you haven’t already, be sure to connect with us on Twitter, LinkedIn, or Facebook to receive additional, unique insights and tips on time management, productivity hacks, business growth strategies, leadership development, and motivation.

Your Brand’s Extinction May Be Closer Than You Think

You may have seen recently that Elon Musk’s Tesla will be joining the S&P 500 by the end of the year.  This announcement reminded me of a pivotal Executive Briefing that I had read entitled Creative Destruction Whips Through Corporate America by Innosight, a leading consulting firm focused on global strategy and innovation. 

This report came to mind because it reveals that the average lifespan of companies in the large-cap S&P 500 Index is significantly shrinking:

As far back as 1964, the average tenure of firms in the S&P was 33 years. Recently in 2016, that number shortened to just 24 years and it is predicted to shrink to just 12 years by 2027. Furthermore, Innosight’s research goes on to assert that 50% of the current companies traded in the S&P will be supplanted by 2027 if this current churn rate and turnover continue to accelerate. 

Evidently, large firms (really, firms of all sizes) need to take action and avoid the corporate hubris trap or they face the risk of severely underperforming, falling behind, and having their brand no longer be relevant.  

𝘎𝘦𝘵𝘵𝘺 𝘐𝘮𝘢𝘨𝘦𝘴

Where to Aim First if Your Market Share is Declining

No one wants to see their brand lose ground quickly or even get completely swept away by younger, hipper, and hungrier upstart competitors.

To prevent their demise and loss of market share, organizations need to become more in tune with their customers’ needs and more agile to improve the customer experience and enhance service levels.

Investing in a leading-edge CRM platform, that is scalable, flexible, and highly intuitive, is a great place to kick start this transformation and strategic initiative.

How CRM Can Help

Armed with a centralized CRM solution will improve the firm’s knowledge of its clients, prospects, and partners, thereby allowing deeper bonds to be forged. Having such a comprehensive 360-degree understanding of all existing and potential customers plus key strategic stakeholders will empower employees across the enterprise to make quicker, more informed decisions. The result will be a more collaborative environment in which marketing, sales, and service associates communicate more effectively and efficiently. Finding it easier to connect with clients and co-workers, employees will become more united, more engaged, more accountable, and more willing to go the extra mile to provide a unique, differentiated level of service that will lead to more satisfied and loyal customers, which in turn will generate more referrals.

With CRM, the company will spend less time struggling to find info to resolve client issues and complaints and more time segmenting, targeting, and closing higher-margin customers with much higher lifetime values to the firm. Moreover, CRM’s robust pipeline forecasting capabilities will help identify top-selling products/services and trending customer demands/requests. These real-time sales analytics tools will provide the insights and actionable intelligence necessary to not only shorten sales cycles and increase revenue but also enable the firm to make the necessary adjustments to overcome apparent product gaps or upcoming sales downturns.

All in all, CRM will serve as the framework and foundation for your client intelligence. With better organizational coordination and more command of customer info, CRM will become the growth driver of the firm. Plus, it will become much easier to thwart off rising stalwarts, maintain brand relevance, sustain one’s leadership and market share positions, and even avoid extinction.

Are you losing ground to competitors and experiencing a surge in client defections?

Are your sales and service teams handcuffed by lack of client intel, operational bottlenecks, and manual, inefficient processes?

Do you have a brand obscurity problem?

Don’t risk becoming further irrelevant or even extinct…CONTACT US to speak with one of our tenured turnaround specialists or seasoned strategic marketing consultants.

High-Quality Customer Experiences Equals Higher Stock Returns!

The CFI Group, an Ann Arbor, MI think tank focused on customer satisfaction and feedback analytics, occasionally releases research findings showing that the level of a publicly-traded company’s customer satisfaction directly correlates to the firm’s stock price. For one of its studies, the CFI Group managed and tracked a portfolio of stocks based on their performance in the American Customer Satisfaction Index (ACSI) and the National Customer Satisfaction Index UK (NCSI-UK). The portfolio results were then compared to the benchmark S&P 500 in the case of U.S. companies and the FTSE 100 for firms in the United Kingdom.   

Overall, their research found that the top companies on the ACSI and NCSI-UK, which represented the ones with the highest customer satisfaction scores, significantly outperformed their competitors and the overall stock market.

Key conclusions from the report are highlighted below:

  • The ACSI portfolio of U.S. companies returned 390% vs. the S&P 500 return of -7% (from April 2000 to April 2012)
  • The NSCI portfolio of UK companies returned 59% vs. the FTSE 100 return of -6% (from April 2007 to June 2011)

As Claes Fornell, the CFI Group and ACSI founder and University of Michigan professor, states:

“Companies with highly satisfied customers generate superior returns because customer satisfaction is critical for repeat business, and that type of business is usually very profitable. That is, loyal customers tend to be highly profitable as long as their loyalty comes from their satisfaction and not because prices are low.”

Image by Tumisu from Pixabay

On a related and more recent note, Watermark Consulting, a customer experience consultancy, analyzed the stock market performance of the Top 10 Leaders and Top 10 Laggards in Forrester Research’s Customer Experience Index compared to the broader S&P 500 Index from 2007 to 2017.  

Their significant findings include:

  • The total cumulative return of the Customer Experience Leaders portfolio was nearly three times higher than the Laggards (183.8% vs. 63.1%).
  • The total cumulative return of the Customer Experience Leaders portfolio was 45 points higher than the S&P 500 (183.8% vs. 138.7%).
  • The total cumulative return of the Customer Experience Laggards portfolio was almost 76 points lower than the S&P 500 (63.1% vs. 138.7%).

It’s indisputable that companies investing in improving their overall customer experience are being rewarded by not just their customers, but also their shareholders.

Not to be outdone, another study over an even longer time frame came to the same conclusion.  In this case, Fortune with the help of FTSE Russell, a global money manager and institutional consultant, discovered that companies named to the Fortune annual “Best Companies to Work For” list, typically “demonstrate stronger financial performance, reduced turnover, and better customer and patient satisfaction than their peers.”  

In fact, the outperformance is quite substantial when comparing the annual returns from 1998 to 2016:  

  • An equal weighted index of the top 100 companies to work for on the Fortune list returned 11.66% annually which was almost 5% higher than two other key benchmarks over the same stretch:
    • The Russell 3000 Index, a U.S. all cap benchmark, returned just 6.72%.  
    • The Russell 1000 Index, a U.S. large cap benchmark, returned only 6.68%.

It’s clear that companies with more satisfied customers tend to outperform the stock market, while companies with disloyal and frustrated customers typically underperform the broader stock market.

The first step to enhancing customer experience quality in order to boost customer satisfaction is to better understand the needs of one’s customers. 

It is safe to assume that the companies with high customer experience scores currently leverage a leading flexible and scalable CRM platform to track customer preferences, patterns, and purchasing history in order to:

  • Deliver more targeted messaging
  • Respond quicker to customer requests
  • Streamline customer interaction touchpoints
  • Improve client satisfaction levels
  • Consistently provide a better and unique customer experience

Customer experience leaders and pioneers have happier, trusting clients that are less sensitive to price and far easier to service. Their greater loyalty leads to more referrals, higher retention rates, and expansion of client wallet share. All of these benefits result in higher revenues, lower acquisition costs, increased earnings, and ultimately a boost in company stock prices.

To sum up, having a clear, effective customer experience strategy driven by highly engaged employees and a robust, centralized CRM system can transform your firm from a product-centric to a client-centric culture in route to elevating your customer service and outperforming not only your competition, but also the stock market overall.

Ready to innovate your employee and customer experience and improve your financial performance?   

CONTACT US today to speak with one of our customer experience strategists and profit acceleration advisors about how we can take your business or practice to the next level.

Accelerate New Hire Onboarding and Ramp Up with RevSherpas

As small to mid-sized businesses look to grow market share or enter new markets, they often hire new staff.  Many times, though, the addition of more personnel does not always lead to more work getting done overall, less workload for others, enhanced client service, or better territory coverage.  The reason for these unanticipated, unintended, and unfortunate consequences is that firms’ technology infrastructure, or lack thereof, impedes employee productivity and progress as the organization grows.

Photo by Sebastian Herrmann on Unsplash

In particular, companies without a leading-edge CRM system in place experience significant challenges when onboarding new employees.  After all, learning a new role and a new organizational hierarchy and culture can be hard enough in itself. Complicating matters, a new hire without CRM is going to struggle to get up to speed quickly, regardless if she was brought on due to a new role or division being created, a firm experiencing enormous growth, or a department undergoing high turnover.

Below, I have summarized some of the negatives a new hire will face without CRM and contrasted them with some of the pluses she will have if a robust, intuitive CRM platform is available.

As the new employee comes onboard without CRM, he probably will not be the only one struggling to locate data on clients, prospects, sales opportunities, and service cases due to the abundance of legacy, disparate systems and delayed or non-existent information flow between various departments and channels. Lack of visibility into all client and stakeholder relationships results in too much administrative work done in a vacuum and excessive duplication. Client trust diminishes, especially if ongoing staff turnover compounds these operational bottlenecks and inefficiencies.

On the other hand, CRM streamlines and automates common sales, marketing, and service processes and gives employees, particularly new hires, the information that they need to succeed. New employees can find key background info on customers and partners and come across as if they have been with the firm managing their sales territory for over a decade. The resulting productivity and performance gains from CRM thereby quickly justify the hiring of the new staff.

Are your sales units and new hires still struggling to get by without a solid CRM system and strategy? 

Are you still not sure if you need a CRM or how it can help your firm operate more efficiently, serve your clients more effectively, and scale faster?

Are you overwhelmed by the plethora of options in the CRM software marketplace?

Have you recently experienced a choppy software implementation with your IT consulting partner or feel you overpaid for the junior, overhyped resources who worked on your project?

Do you wish you could deliver results faster to your customers and employees/CRM users?

Do you desire to transform your digital customer experience, but lack the in-house expertise and just not sure where to start?

As a leading boutique CRM and Customer Experience Strategy Consulting firm, RevSherpas can help point you in the right direction and grow your business!

CONTACT US to explore a potential partnership and to schedule a complimentary discovery and strategy consultation session.