Thursday, April 1, 2010

Customers at the Centre

An all too common mistake of many businesses is losing sight of what is truly important. It is relatively easy to get caught up in strategic planning, marketing techniques, employee relations, technological upgrading, and a milieu of other items that are important to the successful operation of a business. But, when the dust settles, we tend to forget the most important element of our business – the customer.

The customer is the core of our business. Without customers, business is just…a business. It won't sell but it will be there, though not for long. In today's market, customers are bombarded with information and have more choices available than ever. Gone are the days of Pop's General Store. Pop sold everything and when he didn't, you made do without. Today, it's a buyer's market. Customers can shop for virtually everything they want. Internet shopping makes the world their marketplace. In order for a business to attract buyers, they must be able to reach out to that customer in a way that will get the business noticed.

Find out what the customer really needs or wants, not what you think. What issues are affecting the customer that will cause them to need your product or service? Why should the customer identify with you?

Sometimes, the customer is unsure of what they need. They may know that they are in a certain situation and "something" could help them, if they only knew what it was. This is a chance for your business to fill that void. Customize your service or product to help the customer.

Think outside the box. Inside the box is your business. The customer is outside. Find out what your business must do to break through the constraints. Remember that you need the customer more than they need you. However, when you can create the link that makes their needs your needs, you'll put your business on the winning track.

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