You Already Have What You Want
Too often companies short change themselves by neglecting to offer additional, paramount, and even sine qua non information that could transform their customers’ business. It is very possible that instead of looking for new margins and markets you may already have exactly what your customers need; your knowledge.
Diamond In The Rough
I had this client of mine that my brother and I were doing some consulting work for and they only had one product to sell. They made software and they didn’t have the means to expand into new markets, to reduce their expenses, or to blaze the trail of new marketing campaigns. As we were sitting over coffee as we usually do, a bustling, steamy hot cup of Italian Roast with a splash of cream or soy, whichever would normally suit me that day we found something absolutely interesting about this client of ours. We normally find our best ideas and meetings come from local coffee houses. This was astounding, staggering, and unbelievably phenomenal; our client knew something so subtle, so very powerful and vital to every one of his customers he had and his future clientele he so relentlessly attempted to gain. The information he beheld was so vast yet he considered it so trivial and menial in his efforts for gaining new clients.
As we sat there stunned by this knowledge we knew that there had to be some way that we could communicate this to his clients. We discussed the thought of developing multiple methods and venues for disseminating this information to his customers. At first it seemed so foreign, taboo, and down right absurd that his good money was creating this most obvious and horrid idea. As we dialogued further he began to see our point of view. If you know how to fix your customers’ problems and your product/service fixes it then there is a huge chance that the information you’ve gleaned from understanding their problems could actually immensely help your bottom line and theirs.
The Humanity Offers
We finally came up with three great ideas that could help him bring value to his customers before and after the sale. First, he would release an audio podcast with simple tips about sales, marketing, staffing, workflow, call management, managing customers, and about a hundred more. He had built his software to help his clients manage their customers and staff, he knew how to effectively work in that environment with strength, agility, and ease. These simple tips were a way for him to help his customers be effective and successful outside of his software. Second, we produced a annual publication that went out to all prospects and customers, all the material was very specific towards the industry he was working in. The publication helped his customers understand the basic use of certain methodologies (which could also be streamlined using his software) that could transform any business in that industry. Thirdly, and lastly, we suggested he change his annual users conference into a much more diverse and in-depth conference that focuses much more beyond his software and on the methodologies of the industry and software. It would be obvious to his customers and attendees that the company putting the show on really had a tight grasp on the movements of the industry and how their customers viewed them and how they could help their customers.
It was uncomplicated, as we talked further we agreed with us, even as a software company you have to expect that your clients will most likely still do a great amount of work outside of your software, even if it is made to manage your office such as his does. With that in mind if you can get your clients to understand and implement your methodology even if they switch to a competitor they will most obviously see that your methodology through the software and in the office implementation would be so strong that they would feel the need to move back to what is comfortable, reliable, and successful.
It Really Worked
It was a beautiful spectacle to see mature, his customers and his prospects consumed it voraciously and began to share the content amongst themselves without my clients hand in it. It was pure community sharing and experience collaboration at its finest, no marketing hype, no PR blitz or trap to entice customers. Just simple, honest, useful information that could be implemented quickly and effectively without the heavy lifting. There was no catch and it was obvious, the knowledge was given away and even charged for but they continued to happily be involved because it was genuinely needed information that brought real change to their business.
It is this concept in the coffee house that we began to see as so obvious, it was our race to be more human. We weren’t asking our client to put on some dishonest show for his customers we simply asked him to be more human, he understood that and now embraces it. There is no marketing hype that is involved in the information disseminated. Of course we make the resources look nice and available to everyone but the information isn’t some trick to get someone to call it was information given to them because it will help them. Imagine that, helping for the sake of helping with the general consensus that if we continually give the right information away they will come to us when they really need help.
It even opened up a new service line for him, he is now able to consult with his clients on best practices for their industry!
So in the end was the race for humanity worth it, absolutely, it now attributes for a 50% increase in lead generation and 65% increase in customer retention. With this extra information in the market it gives him a competitive edge because in order for his competition to sway his customers they have to disprove general/best practices for the industry to disprove the usability of his software.
How is your race for humanity going?