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The A C D B’s of Business

It came to me in a cone of light.

Business is as  easy as A C D B!

As you know I have spent my consulting career synthesising my learning and experience into procedures that you can use in your business. Why reinvent the wheel when you can use tried and tested practical experience backed up by academic study in proven processes?

Recently it struck me how all of these processes – marketing, customer service, brand development, business planning – followed a big-picture model. And this model is as simple as a mixed up alphabet – A C D B!

Once you work it out, every business moves along the same path.

You first have to Acquire leads. Then you have to Convert those leads into warm customers. Having customers you need to Deliver your product or service. Then as your customer makes their first purchases you need to Build relationships so that they keep buying.

The acquisition of leads is all about marketing. You need to know about your sales funnel and the difference between broadcasting to potential customers who may not yet be aware of you or your product and the act of screening and targeting those potential customers. Acquisition involves knowing your product as well as your customer.

What do I mean by that?

Let’s start with knowing your product.

I’ll bet you will say that you know your product inside-out. But if I ask you to describe it to me, I’ll lay bets that the chances are you will describe its features to me. Its features are what it is made of, what it can do, and how the service or technology is designed. Great, but do you know your product well enough that you can tell me what its benefits are?

Its benefits are why your customers might want to buy your product. No customer ever bought a German designed power tool. They bought it for its benefits – it lasts 10 years or more, it’s comfortable to hold, and it makes them look to their friends like they know what they are doing!

Then how about knowing your customer?

Who are they? What demographic are they in, what income level, what professions or vocations, what geographic areas? Without knowing this you can’t beging to work out why they want to buy your product. You need to know who is your target market so that you can acquire them as leads.

Converting them to being customers is also part of the marketing process – it’s about “qualifying” them by making them desire your product’s benefits. However it’s also about the brand of the business that you portray because people don’t just buy stuff – they buy the stuff they want from the people they trust. Think of how you look for a lawyer or an accountant. Maybe one out of 10 times you look at the Yellow Pages; 9 times out of 10 you ask your friends and they refer you to someone they trust.

So you need systems that you and your team can follow to project that brand image that you set up. Your business needs to stand out as expert, credible, trustworthy and reliable. On top of that you can bolt on the brand you decide for yourself and that (hopefully) pushes all the buttons of your customer demographic – innovative or conservative, high end or affordable, slow and steady or quick and agile. You cannot be all things to all people because your customers are not “all people”.

Then you have to deliver your product or service to them in such a way that it lives up to the promise of the acquisition and conversion stages.

This is not only about the quality and suitability of your product, it is also about all the factors that your customer thinks is important. Customer service is about meeting and exceeding what is expected.

This means you need to have operational plans about product development. You need checklists and systems and training for your team to provide the right kind of client service to your target market. Your team need to work seamlessly and hum as they interface with the customer – there can be no weak links.

You need to have placement and delivery systems that allows the customer to obtain your product in the place and way they want – is it physical face to face delivery or can it be online? Do they need hands on assistance or is it a box-delivery system?

Then finally you need to develop the relationship with your customers.

This involves all sorts of initiatives like service calls, follow-up email, special offers, memberships, the list goes on.

All of these stages need systems and processes – stay tuned! Each blog post provides you with parts and pieces of the whole to build up the A, C, D, B’s of your business! Don’t miss out – subscribe here to get these systems and processes delivered directly to you inbox.

And if you haven’t been there before, get over to teikoh.com and look over our archives – I’m certain there’s something there that will help your business NOW!

Oh, and if you’re wondering about how to really understand your product and your customer, and how to push them down that sales funnel – check out my book SMART Marketing – 7 Easy Steps to More Sales available from Amazon.

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