It doesn’t matter what industry you are in or who your target market is, you have to be aware of what is going on. There are many small business owners who are operating in tunnels – they just keep chipping away but they don’t have real intelligence around where they are, how well they are doing, and what they need to do next.
I am a firm believer that you need to have a very clear picture of your clients. You want to know a lot about them including who they are, how they pay, what you sell them, how much annual revenue you realize from them, how they communicate, and how loyal they are. This is true in B2B and B2C. In the B2B world who they are includes the industry they are in, their size, number of locations, and contact points within the organization.
Once you have this information you can make informed decisions in a couple of areas. The first is how you should be interacting with your clients. Most businesses discover that they have not fully penetrated most of their current clients; they are leaving money on the table. Having this knowledge provides you with the opportunity to work on gaining more business from those clients. Another thing this information allows you to do is build a profile of your ideal client. As you plan for growth you want to pursue more customers like the ones that are your best – and avoid the ones that aren’t! The only way you can effectively do this is to know the characteristics of your client base.
Keeping a file on your clients can help you maintain valuable information. Many people use a CRM – Customer Relationship Management tool. There are a variety of them out there, so do yourself a favor and explore. It’s important to find a system that works well for you. That’s the only way you’ll actually add information to it.
Whatever you choose, try to keep records around conversations you have with the client, items you sell them, when you send them cards, gifts, etc. You don’t want to have to remember every interaction. Part of the beauty of a system is it will keep you connecting. When you integrate your calendar with the data, you can be sure you keep in contact with clients, associates, prospects, and colleagues.
You’ll be amazed at the increase in activity just by keeping track of what is going on! Give it a try. I mean a real, honest try, and see how much more you know. I think you’ll see a positive difference.
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