I was looking at Shark Tank one Sunday night and heard Mark Cuban say something that seemed so harsh, but it was absolutely true. “Your customers don’t care about your story!”
Haven’t we heard about the great successes of Sam Walton; the struggles of the men behind the McDonald brand; and even the climb of local businessmen who you probably know personally?
Their stories are exciting, motivating, inspiring, to say the least. Perhaps so for those of us interested in learning from them; but maybe not for the customer purchasing school supplies for their children or someone taking a bite out of a Big Mac.
So, moreso than what story you tell, who really is your customer? Is your story relevant to their purchase? Don’t get me wrong: having an inspirational story is a good thing. One day you may tell it to your grandchildren; or even to thousands of people while you’re on stage. But for now, the customer cares about a few things and a few things only.
Price. Oh yes, in the marketplace today, most customers look at the bottom line before they check anything else. Is your price competitive; and if not, what is your key differentiating factor that can perhaps justify a more expensive product to the customer? Think of what the landscape dictates and then add some type of value-added onto it. For example, if you’re in a service oriented industry – let’s say you own a restaurant – if persons expect a meal for ten dollars, why not offer a free drink? Once your bottom line can sustain it, offer it. I guarantee, the customers will thank you in the numbers.
Quality. Thankfully, there are still those in the market who would pay more for a quality product. Think Nike shoes versus a no-name brand. If you want foot sores in the morning, try running a mile in a no-name brand shoe on hard cement. Is your product or offering of a superior level to others in the market? Once you know your product is superior, ensure that everyone knows it. Shout it from the rooftops! In other words, it pays to advertise.
Service. I am one of those customers who will pay more for better service. Hey, I will even suffer minor inconveniences in getting to the provider who gives better service. I visit one bank in particular, even though there are several branches of the same bank much closer to where I live. Why? Well, it may sound simplistic, but at the particular branch, people seem happy to see me every. Single. Time! Nothing beats the provider who seems excited and happy to serve his or her customer. You get it, right?
In order to ensure that our businesses survive in these types of treacherous climates, it is vital that we pay attention to the three elements of our business. If we don’t rest assured, our competitors certainly are!