Results. Heroes. Ego.
What do your customers want? Results. Heroes. And to feel good about themselves (Ego). Your business doesn’t have to deliver all three, but you need to give them at least one or you won't be in business for very long.
Every single one of your customers wants Results. It's expected when we do business with you. A return on our investment in you. A problem solved. Sales growth. An unclogged pipe. A delicious meal. This is where every small business begins their day, and if you’re going to survive until tomorrow, this is where every small business ends it. Delivering Results a good start, but it doesn't really help you stand out in Kansas City.
Now we're talking. Kansas City is looking for heroes. Being a business hero is much more difficult to measure (and to find), but Heroes leave a more compelling impression. Heroism is the good stuff that gets shared. Heroes shatter your customers’ expectations. Throwing in floor mats with a new car purchase. Returning a call after hours or on the weekend. Not just going the extra mile, but working more passionately for your customer than they are willing to work for themselves (Kansas City Hospice and Palliative Care comes to mind). Heroism can take many forms, but it always makes a lasting connection and leaves a great impression. This is the stuff marketing legends are made of.
The third thing everyone wants from any Kansas City business is to have their ego stroked. Right? I mean, who doesn’t want to feel appreciated? Stereotypically this is the playground of upscale companies, but every business can profit from customer service that makes their customers the center of the known universe. Sometimes it can be as simple as always delivering a smile. Sometimes it’s just enough to be associated with your company that strokes the ego of your customers (in Kansas City think The Royals or Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts). Ego can come in many forms, but it’s always compelling, and memorable (and more magicial advertising content).
Most small businesses will focus their attention and efforts on delivering Results. That’s an important. That's a must have. But it's a bare-bones basic goal. If you really want your company to roar this year, commit to delivering Heroes or Ego (or both).
Sell from the inside, out.
It’s one of our founding principles. Get your staff and managers behind your advertising and your advertising can’t miss. If they’re not behind it, living it — if your customer service doesn’t match your ad’s promise — then it doesn’t matter how many Kansas City Ad Club awards your creative wins or how much money you throw at it – your ads are going to give your company a split personality.
Wizards of Ads author Roy H. Williams breaks it down:
If these three don’t align, then you’ve got problems…
When Story and Experience don’t mesh, you get bad reviews… but when the customer experiences what your ads promise, you get a fan.
When Culture and Experience aren’t in sync, you have a cancer in the company… but when they align, you have high staff morale.
When Culture and Story don’t fit, you have unimpressive closing rates…
Sell from the inside, out. Get your sales training in line with your advertising and your customer service and your Kansas City small business will “need a wheelbarrow to carry your money.”
Customers have never been harder to catch in Kansas City. Smartphones. Tablets. Streaming video. DVRs. Network TV. 500 cable channels. Video on demand. Your customers are watching their favorite programming on their time, in their own ways. They’re price shopping while standing in your store. They’re watching TV and surfing the web at the same time. What’s a KC small business owner to do?
Own something. You can’t possibly be everywhere, all the time. Don’t try. You’ll spread your budget too thin. Instead, own one thing and really own it. Smother it. Become the king of the hill. And the best part, you get to pick the hill. Pick the smartest media vechile and own it. Own one TV station. Own a billboard by your business. Own the sidewalks around your shop. Own morning drive on radio. Own Facebook. Own one day of the week. Then support your media ownership with complementary marketing and smart creative content that connects with your customers. Work on making every individual customer contact count.
You don’t have to catch all of Kansas City in mass. Plant your flag on the hill of your choosing and let your customers come to you.
You suck (at something) and that’s your leading edge for growth. Yes. You’re good enough, smart enough and darn it, people do like you, but your small business will never grow until you look deeper and admit that “you suck.” Once you know your suck-factor, you can address it. Small business owners tend to think that they can be great at a great many things. Take the ego down a notch and take a realistic look at what you do worst. Then search for the people with the specific skills in what you suck at.
Stop telling yourself that no one can do things as well as you can. You’re wrong, and it’s impeding your growth.
Scott Elser writes more about your "suck factor" in Inc. magazine.
To make friends.
It's really that simple (and complicated). But if we're not continually making friends with our Kansas City neighbors, then we're not going to be in business much longer.