While attracting new customers is always a major goal for any small business, it’s just as important to learn how to keep those customers. One of the best ways to do this – and in turn attract new customers so that your business continues to grow – is to get to understand your customers, where they fit in their industry, and their specific needs.
By knowing a customer’s business nearly as well as they do, you can take the typical customer-vendor relationship to the next level. When your customer sees that you really understand their business needs, you turn that relationship into a partnership – one that benefits both sides.
Here are five things you can do to know your customers better:
1. Ask Questions
It may seem obvious, but this tip is definitely worth repeating. Don’t be afraid to ask your client as many questions as necessary to really know something. Make sure you’re asking the right questions, too. Just as important as asking “how” is asking “why.” Rather than looking ignorant, you’ll convey to the customer that you’re truly interested in getting to know their business and thus helping them accomplish their goals.
2. Go With the (Money) Flow
Understanding the natural flow of money in your customer’s particular industry is vital to understanding what drives their business. Learn about the customer’s revenue model so that you can come up with new ideas that fit in their own approach to the business.
3. Research the Competition
Just about every client will have competitors. Part of working with your client effectively is knowing who their competitors are in the space and where they might have stumbled, so that you can help your client avoid making the same mistakes and gain a competitive edge. Look at areas such as partnerships, pricing, and user expectations.
4. Understand Client Partnerships
Today, just about every company needs to develop solid partnerships with vendors and providers to succeed, especially in the digital space but in other industries as well. Examine the role each of your customer’s partners plays in the business and see if there may be ways to improve upon those partnerships, or even whether they are all necessary.
5. Understand the Client’s End Customer
Just like with your own company, the lifeblood of your client’s business is their end customers. Ask who their target customers are and why a person or a company would spend money on their product or service. Again, this one may seem fairly obvious. But taking the time to really know where the end customer is coming from and what may drive a purchasing decision can help you come up with suggestions for improving your client’s products and services, or even streamlining their business by eliminating unnecessary elements.
By following these simple but important tips, you can serve each customer better and ultimately position your own business as a truly valuable partner that your new and existing customers will want to work with again and again.