Why are your in business, why do your customers care #marketing #business

Why are you in business – why your customers care?

Too many new business owners focus on the what and the how of their business and do not ask themselves why they are in business. According to a 2012 study by Neilson, 92% of people, world-wide, buy based on personal recommendations. It is usually  easier to get personal recommendations from your clients if they know why you are in business.

In my work with people developing their marketing plans for their businesses I begin with the question why are they in business. I believe that this is a key determination of what will separate  them from their competition.

Since I am a business coach and not an author, I freely admit that I started doing this after reading the book “Start with Why“.  I am not an author, and just writing blogs is as much authoring that I want to do.  Perhaps it is because my grandfather told me “that those that can do, those that can’t teach“. I am a better coach than teacher because it is closer to the “doing” that is in my own DNA.  As a result of this belief,  I love using other books as additional references for my clients and I recommend Start with Why by Simon Sinek.

Begin with why

If I were to extract out the key takeaway from the book, it is that there are three things that businesses need to understand in order to be successful, the how, the what and the why.  The author refers to these as the “golden circle”.  The author believes that the why is the most important of these.  I do not agree that there are only three considerations, I believe the who of who we are selling to is almost as important as is your why.  But who you are selling to is next weeks blog.  I agree that starting with your why is a key and most important first step in differentiating yourself in your business venture.

What is your why?  What dreams, aspirations and passions are inside of you that are driving you and inspiring you to create you business?

An example works well as to how this can work in a standard “sales commercial” used in most referral marketing venues. A client of mine has given me permission to share this.

“Recently, Sam shared why he got involved in the auto repair and service business. Because of his motivation to help others be safe in their cars and other vehicles, we have formed deep long lasting relationships with our customers.

I want to tell you a short story about what that means to them. Last weekend we went to the ninetieth birthday party for one of our customers. Sam went, his dad who created the business went along with a long term mechanic and myself.  Our customers daughter who created the party told the crowed room that all of us had touched the lives of her father and she hoped the same was true for us.  I can tell you that for me it certainly was.

The why of how our business was created is the desire to help others and keep them safe.  We just happen to be in the auto repair business.

We are looking to grow our business and we need your help.  Who do you know that wants to buy someone who will not just service their cars as a one time transaction, but wants someone who has their back to take care of their kids as they drive off to school for the first time or keep their aging but beloved commuter car in safe and reliable condition?”

If you live in the North Hills of Pittsburgh, you might want to check out Glenshaw Auto if this resonates with you and you need a great mechanic or even just tires or a battery.

What about you?

How likely are you to trust an auto service company in which four people are invited to a birthday party? Do your customers know why you do what you do?  Will they invite you to their ninetieth birthday party because you have touched their lives?  If an auto repair shop does this, what does that mean for financial advisors, insurance agents, bankers, lawyers and health providers. How much easier should it be for you to touch the lives of your customers.

Why are you in business?

Who do you spend time with?

September is back to school season and as we prepare for the fall, it is a good time to reflect on what do we need to re-learn ourselves.  One of the things that I have found over the years is that we become like the people that we hang out with.  If we want to be happy, then we should hang out with happy people. In fact, if we find out that we are not happy, then perhaps we are hanging out with the wrong people. So who do you spend time with?

I was at a forming “Mastermind” group in Cranberry Township on Tuesday with other business owners when one of the potential members quoted Jim Rohn “You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with.”  None of the potential members of the group was looking for referrals or networking, they were only looking for support – but what if you can get both in one place and what about your five top referral marketing partners – are the adding to your energy or detracting from it?

Finding support is often a difficult problem for small business owners.  I joined BNI as a strong contract referral network to help me grow my business by being in front of people that would likely be able to send me business as I would be able to send them business. I had no idea that what I bought into was a system designed to make me a better business owner.

What I found over the three years that I have been in a BNI chapter is that I have been exposed to a group of people that has the ability to give me ideas on how I can be better at my business because they are mostly people like me who are small business owners themselves.  And because BNI, like other category exclusive groups, prevents my competition from being in the room we can be more forthcoming about how we do business with one another.

The time we spend with one another is significant – because we meet outside of our ninety minute sales meeting each week to jointly plan how we can find business for one another.  If I am truthful with myself, I have to admit that if I was not doing that with other professionals, I would not do it myself.

When meeting with other people that are your virtual sales force there are a lot of things that you can ask of one another like:

  • How clear am I about what the benefit of working with me are?
  • What are people asking you about my services when you suggest that I might be able to help them with their business?
  • Who else should I be talking to about what I offer?
  • How understandable are my weekly sales presentations?

In our regular interactions we can also brainstorm common business problems like:

  • How do you handle customer complaints?
  • Where have you found sources of policies and procedures to use for your employee manuals?
  • What are you doing about 401k plans?
  • Who handles your social media?

By having one or two of these meetings each week we are able to be much better business owners. We get exposed to ideas that we never would have considered ourselves and our referral partners might have skills that we do not have ourselves.  In fact I find that it is useful for me to review my partners accomplishments, skills and outside interests when meet with them.  Once good thing to ask one another when you met, and it works at casual networking events is “what is the biggest challenge you are having with your business right now?”

If you are going to spend time with people like this on a regular basis then you better make sure that the people are positive and supportive.  When joining a strong contact group, make sure that the people in the room work with you to increase the energy that you have to perform well in your business not detract from it?

What about you? Who do you spend time with? Are they building you up – or are they tearing you down? If you are interested in visiting our BNI chapter and finding people that will build you up, please visit our Facebook page.