What’s your secret sauce?

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For those of you who have survived the journey to launching your startup and/or for those who have worn a familiar path in your existing business you may be wondering how to take the next step in finding new customers and growing your livelihood beyond its current status.  Marketing and campaign ideas can be gleaned from so many varied sources these days and consist of direct mail, social media, networking, referrals, and so on.  Those are all awesome things to consider and implement, but I believe most business owners miss one crucial step as they map out their marketing plans.

They don’t find out why their current customers like and do business with them.

A business owner may say, “Our clients like us and do business with us because we have a great product (or service).”  In reality, the customer may actually say, “we did business with them because they solved {insert problem here} or provided {insert something cool here}.”

Until you actually interview your most successful customers, how do you really know?

Don’t guess.  Find out WHY people do business with you so you can use those same attributes to find yourself new customers. Once you understand why customers like you, it becomes much easier to market your product or service. If you think you know why your customer buys from you, you might be right.  If you know why your customer buys from you, you will be right.

Interview your ten best customers and ask why they do business with you?  That’s it.

Take them out for lunch or coffee.  Drop them off a small gift.  This works much better in person.  Phone is an okay alternative, but email won’t get it done. Explain to your customer that you want to improve your business and you need their help.  Here is a sample script.

“I really appreciate your business and want to serve you as best possible.  With all of the competition out there, why did you choose to do business with me?”  Then don’t say a word. You may get some surprising answers so be sure to write them down.  See what the answers have in common. Then use it, market it, sell it.

If you seriously haven’t interviewed your current customers, what are you waiting for?  Find out why you are great.  What’s your secret sauce?  Do you know?