Creating a Sustainable Business

mercuryThe Four Critical Elements of a Business That Works

By Mark S.A. Smith

There are four important parts to a successful business. Management must invest and pay attention to all four of these elements or the business won’t survive. Read on to learn more about these factors and what you can do to make sure that your business is all that it can be.

Product That Creates Value

A company must offer products (or services) that get customers excited and that they are willing and able to pay for. Your products must create obvious value or you’re in for a tough time.

Many founders create companies with the notion that the product will sell itself. So the founder plows all of their money into research and development in hopes that a bit of public relations will bring buyers. They believe that if you build a better mousetrap, the world will beat a path to your door.

As good as that sounds, this just doesn’t happen. Ever. There’s too much competition for the customer’s mind and money for a product on its own to make it.

Yet a solid, sustainable company starts with a product that creates real value for customers. If your product doesn’t create real value, it’s time to update the product.

Marketing That Creates Conversation

The next step is to create marketing that causes conversations. If marketing activities don’t make prospective buyers talk, they aren’t marketing; they’re a waste of money.

Marketing activities must reach out to people who find the product valuable and have money to spend. (How you do this is another article.) If you want to catch fish, you have to go where there are fish. Otherwise it’s just a wish to fish.

The marketing messaging and method must resonation with your prospect so that they notice it and want to talk about it and want to contact your company to discuss buying. If you want to catch fish, you have to use bait that the fish finds attractive and is willing to bite. No bait, no bite.

If your marketing doesn’t create conversation, it’s going to be almost impossible to make a sale. Do you need to rework your marketing approach?

Sales That Creates Agreement

The next step is to have a sales process that creates agreement with customers so that they exchange their money for your product. If the sales process doesn’t create agreement, it’s not a sales process; it’s an advantage for your competitor.

Yet many companies use ineffective, archaic sales approaches that slow down the agreement process consisting of pitch product, overcome objections, and close, close, close. Your customers resist this method.

The reality is that when customers come wanting a conversation, you don’t need to pitch, you just need a relevant discussion that identifies why they want to proceed, what might hold them back and what could make that resistance go away. Just come to agreement on moving forward.

The real sales work isn’t pitching, instead it’s guiding a conversation to an agreement that you and the customer want to keep. It’s often is based on creating reassurance that the purchase will fulfill the customer’s desire, helping them feel confident that this transaction is a good choice.

If your sales process doesn’t efficiently create agreement, you need to retool the process.

Customer Service That Creates Loyalty

Once customers buy, there will be a percentage of them that need additional service because of their learning curve, product misunderstandings, and product failure. This is when they need your help to get the outcome that they anticipated when they agreed to buy.

Yet, this is a good thing. When they make the transition and get what they want, they will be delighted and will result in a loyal customer. Or the opposite could happen; they resolve to never do business with you again. Unfortunately, most companies have customers who defect to the competition. These companies don’t know about it and don’t know why. Does this happen to you?

In general, it’s worth it to keep a customer because of the expense of attracting them and selling to them. Then there’s the value of selling to them again and again.

Your customer service process must be able to effectively and quickly solve customer issues in a way that moves a customer from the cliff of despair to a state of being a raving fan who buys again and again.

If your customer service doesn’t keep almost 100 percent of your unhappy customers, it’s time to rework your customer service process.

Invest in All Four Areas

While most companies invest the majority of their funds in product creation, smart companies continuously invest in all four areas equally assuring that all elements work well to dominate the market.

We help companies bring products to market by discovering what customers want and how they buy. If you need help in creating value in any of these areas, contact us to discuss how we can help.