What? What? What? (Ask 'What?' Three Times) Part 3 of 'Get Curious About Your Business'
Most of us never plan. We don’t plan to fail. We don’t plan to succeed either. The purpose of this series of articles is to get you to consciously create the business of your dreams. Most of us just go out and try to make some sales and don’t consider what it is we’re trying to build. Do you know the answer to this question? What are you building? Here are three “What?” questions that may help you develop a clearer vision of the future you want to create.
1. What are you selling? Are you in the stuff business or the solutions business? What business are you in? I know many of my coaching clients initially talk about how they can find anything and provide a low price, and then they complain that they are being treated like a commodity. Selling the same stuff from the same sources to the same people in the same way is the definition of a commodity. If you don’t want to be selling commodities, you need to differentiate and be distinctive. When you start selling ways for your customers to become more profitable, ways for your customers to have a more positively engaged workforce, ways for your customers to reduce costs and ways for customers to communicate more clearly and efficiently—then you are selling something different than the product pusher down the street. When you are in the "need creation" business rather than the "need fulfillment" business, you move away from the shopping mindset. If you are creating value for your customers, you are no longer just another line item that they can cut.
2. What do your customers want? Hopefully, what they want and what you’re selling match up. If they don’t, you’re in for a rough road. Here’s the challenge, what each customer wants can be as unique and as different as each customer. Only the customer can define for you what they want. What you need to do is to find that out through a customer-focused inquiry. You need to be able to communicate your caring and commitment to problem solving and being valuable. You need to understand where each customer is coming from, what their special needs are and what they want to accomplish by doing business with you.