Growth hacking is something you hear a fair bit about right now. Everyone is looking for the faster, stronger way to grow their business.
Fortunately, the secret to growth is right under our noses. But it’s not new, it’s not techy, and it’s really not that complicated.
But it does require some commitment, integrity and taking the time to follow through. But it’s worth its weight in gold.
Talking to your customers.
Yup. It’s that simple. But it’s a practice many businesses have moved away from. Because we’ve got all these great high-tech tools that allow us to communicate en masse without ever really being there live, in real-time, we’ve forgotten about the value of high touch. But that’s where the real money is.
It seems we’ve fallen victim to the latest stats on the dashboard and we think that will solve everything. It’s data right? And data never lies.
But data only returns details about what you’ve asked. Sometimes we have a tendency to rely too much on the data. So much so that we forget about being customer-driven. If you’re not customer driven, one should ask why are you in business at all. The folks at Close.cio discovered the value of talking to their clients when they started making an effort to get out there.
Business today isn’t about building a better mousetrap. It’s a waste of time and effort to simply build something just because you can. It has to be about solving the problems experienced by your prospects. Think about the way you buy today. We buy things that solve a problem. Depending on the consequences of the problem–the level of severity is what helps us decide how to prioritize our time and where we’ll spend our money.
There are several reasons why talking to your customers is a good use of your time and resources.
Learn More About Their Pain Points
The best way to learn about your customers is to talk to them. Think about how much more effective you could be at selling or marketing to your prime audience if you knew more about them.
Keeping the dialogue open also allows you to explore other follow-up revenue opportunities, up-sells or cross-sells. This is actually the best reason to actually talk to your clients on a regular basis. For many businesses, this represents low-hanging fruit –after all, these businesses already know, like, and trust you.
If you understood them better, you could draft better marketing and sales materials tailored to the kinds of problems you and your business solve. It would also give you better insight into other opportunities for products and services which could mean additional revenue streams.
Learn More About What They Read
When I start working with a new client, this is one of the first questions I ask them. Then I also ask them to tell what their customers read—blogs, industry news, what they subscribe to, and who they follow online (Twitter).
I ask this question of all my clients so I can better understanding of their business and the thought process their clients use. I will also say that not enough businesses are asking their client this question.
This can provide the insight they really need to understand how to break through to this audience. It’s also a great avenue for understanding who they believe has credibility in their industry.
The other reason this can be extremely useful is in understanding where to go to get more clients just like them. Depending on the business, it might be a great opportunity to look for influencer marketing opportunities, or an outlet to guest blog on or a place to add comments and thought leadership information to help you elevate your credibility in an industry. Or, it could be an outlet to explore for native advertising opportunities. There are a number of great opportunities to explore with this information.
The Referral Opportunity
Talking to your clients on a regular basis opens up the opportunity for referrals. As the saying goes, out of sight, out of mind.
I’m not a big fan of outright asking for referrals because I think it puts people in an uncomfortable position because it usually comes out of nowhere. If you are more visible to your clients in real time, and providing good value, they won’t be afraid to refer you to someone in need.
Learn More About Other Products and Services They Buy
Getting to know your clients better also puts you in a position to be more helpful to your client community. If you know what other kinds of products and services they buy and how they buy, you become a richer confident if you know people who provide great products and services in these areas.
This can allow you to understand the upstream and downstream affect in their industry and create a better and more valuable professional network for yourself.
Talking to your customers might seem like a tactic from years gone by, but it is one way to stand out from the competition. Great sales and marketing comes down to knowing and understanding your customers better than anyone else. The only way you’ll get to know them better is to invest some time and effort in talking to them.