From the Center for Strategic Relations, a twice-monthly supplement to Applying Strategic Relations, mailed at your request

Reasons For Customer Relationships

The sad truth is that 58% of readers do nothing with the lessons shared in these issues of Inside Strategic Relations. Just as many people who know about company do not engage your services for the same reason. Before today's lesson begins, let us explore what you can do about this to start the right kind of business relationships.

It is not that I have the wrong readers, or that they do not see the value this newsletter brings. You do not have the wrong customers, nor are they lazy about addressing the problems you solve. The reason people do not take action is simpler than you think.

The ONLY reason readers of this newsletter and people who know about your company do not take action is...

Before the answer, let us consider the experiences of readers and your own customers. When you read these comments from readers, think about what your own customers are saying about your communications tools.

Readers in Greece, China, and the United Kingdom all face the same problems that people who do not take action to enter a relationship with your company. Now, what is this problem?

They do not take action because they have too many choices. With many choices, it is not clear where they should start so they do nothing. In some ways, you might be doing the same with your own communications.

How can someone take action to enter a relationship with your company if they do not know what they should do next? To avoid making mistakes in the face of too many choices, people often choose to do nothing at all. You have to get the more reasons to do something specific if you want them to take action.

To help your own customers create measurable results, you have tell them exactly what to do to get the desired results they want. In effect, give them tools to know which choice is right for them. These tools turn an abundance of choices into single focused actions that you take now to produce results.

What should you to do as a reader of this newsletter? It is very similar to what you should be asking of those prospective customers who interact with your company. When faced with many choices, people need a clear means to measure input to create a desired output.

It is impossible to know exactly what situation you are facing in your business today. I create each issue from experiences that I have documented over the years in journals and notebooks detailing my own successes and failures. Do you face the same challenge, many solutions to offer, but which is right for your customer?

Since it is next to impossible to know exactly what you are need right now, each issue provides a number of strategies that can solve a specific problem. Just as the solution you offer has multiple benefits, not every benefit will be of value to an individual buyer. This is where critical thinking transforms methods from outside your industry to a competitive edge.

To make the most of each issue of Inside Strategic Relations, ask yourself:

This sounds like a lot of work, but after all, you have made a commitment by joining this newsletter to improve business relationships. People who read about your organization or see it in action have made a similar commitment in that they are searching for particular solutions or are obligated to solve certain problems in their own companies.

A farmer can plant grain, but unless he follows through, no harvest will come to reward his efforts. The follow through is using your objectives and these questions to evaluate each strategy you read. Providing tools that translate what people see into what people can do to reach their objectives.

I have shared with you the tools you need (a series of questions that evaluate what you read) to make the most of this newsletter. Here are some tools you might want to share with people who are interacting with your organization:

  1. A worksheet that helps evaluate your solution by calculating break-even time or plans the implementation of what you offer. Red Dog Publicity details how to calculate a return on publicity investment using an article.
  2. Calculator that helps visitors determine which solution is right for them based on their needs at that time. Look at Dell's "Customize It" systems creator for a practical example.
  3. A report that outlines common mistakes made in the use of your solutions, and which options to choose to avoid them. Even while they do not try to sell anything, The HR Chally Group shares incentive mistakes that they can solve.
  4. Organize your offering into logical segments that represent your customer base or the problems your solutions address. The Boeing Company organizes its products into their logical business unit on their home page (click "products & services"); you might want to consider groupings by problem solved because it's more customer oriented.

While it is practical to show you examples online, many of these tools work just as well in your paper, in person, and other communications. Use the tool given for this newsletter to translate these examples into the actions of your team. With critical thinking, you will discover how just one idea can improve what you are already doing as much as ten fold.

In this issue, you will learn why you need clear reasons for customer relationships. You will also see how to give your customers a reason to follow through with your own service, and discover ways to find real value in the solution you provide.


Justin Hitt
Consultant, Author & Speaker

Ps. If you are content to do nothing with this newsletter then unsubscribe today. However, if you are like those smart readers who extract actions to create real results in their organizations, then my ear is open to you. Share this resource with your team, write to ask questions, and share your concerns so I may better serve your needs. You will be pleasantly surprised how accommodating my editorial calendar can be to solve problems for you.

Why You Need Clear Reasons for Customer Relationships

By Justin Hitt, Strategic Relations Consultant,

You have a reason to create new connections with customers, and you must give customers a reason to be in a contact with you. Customer relationships are about a mutual exchange of goods and services. One-sided relationships are short lived and destined to fail.

Most executives are clear on the value of positive customer relationships, which include repeat purchases, increased market share, and a higher monetary value per buyer. Too often, they do not have a clear picture of the reasons their customers are in a relationships with them. For this reason, you will learn how to identify why customers connect with your company.

There are several ways to gather this information; the method shared here will identify points that you will want to explore further through customer surveys, interviews, and additional research. The following exercise will get you started without any expense or budget, so there is no excuse for not taking action.

Exercise: Create a list of 20 reasons your existing customer entered into a relationships with your company.

Doesn't this sound easy? There is a catch; you cannot list anything that would directly benefit you. Resist the temptation to speak about you, use this exercise to understand your customer. You are describing the results produced by the benefit of your product or service.

Start by making a reasons list on your own. The biggest mistake executives make with this exercise is listing, the basics like saves time, reduces costs, and increases productivity. Go beyond the basics to describe specific situations where customers have created measurable results with what you offer.

Do not stop here. Ask your subordinates to do the same exercise, and then have them ask the same of those who work for them. Keep collecting every detail about why you think customers continue to buy from your company or are in a relationship with you. This should take a week using the tools you already have. (Later you might want to use an internal web log to note these insights.)

Your next step after documenting the results customers get from being in a relationship with you is to turn this information into action.

With representatives from your marketing, sales, and service departments collect these 20 reasons from everyone who provides them. These insights from all levels of your company will describe the problems solved for the customer, with specific examples of customer successes, and other reasons customers continue to purchase. This amounts to measurable proof for clear reasons customers have a relationships with you.

This exercise would be for not if you stopped here. The action component comes when you catalog these reasons, of which you should have hundreds, around each solution you offer. Then, share these reasons with prospective customers through marketing, sales, and service as measurable proof your claims are real.

As you convey these points, speak with existing customers to find new reasons and examples of the benefits they receive. This becomes a never-ending cycle of reinforcing future relationships decisions with the proof of past efforts. Give tentative buyers and existing customers reasons to interact with your company.

This simple exercise can open new insights that can turn existing customers into more customers. You can even use stories in proposals, case studies, and marketing materials, but first you must see these reasons from an outside perspective.

© 2004 JWH Consolidated LLC dba Center for Strategic Relations, All rights reserved.
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