This is the second part of your Rethink stage in the four-step, React-Rethink-Reach Out-Recover model from sales gurus David Das and David Armes. It’s at this Rethink stage that things need to speed back up from the Reacting that we’ve all had to do in the last couple of months.
If you followed the first step of Rethink earlier this week you would have started to collect data and information from your clients and your market in general. That’s a massive tick in your plan to drive relevance in your market, and the first step in re-shaping your offer to be in as good, or better, position as we come out of this disruption.
However, we know that with increased speed it’s easy to sometimes miss things out as you go along. So we’ve put together your essential eight key points, to tick off that will see you in great shape to begin the Reach Out step:
Understand what your clients need – you’ve done or are doing this. You’ve just demonstrated your customer-centric focus, even in this time of great pressure.
Evaluate your offer
Being honest with yourself here is crucial to evaluate, hand on heart, whether your offer is still relevant or not.
The one question to use to evaluate your offer is simply ‘Does what I offer right now still match what my customers need and want?’
There are only three outcomes to this stage:
- Yes, my offer is still/even more relevant now
- Some parts of my offer are relevant and some now need to change
- My offer is not relevant enough anymore to continue generating enough revenue
For those who find their outcome in the last two, the next stages are critical to pivoting your business to an attractive position. For those whose outcome was the first, following some of the next points will still help to solidify your position, but also ensure a strong position in the market when things get back to normal.
3. What are the elements that need adapting and development
List them out. Use the research you did on your clients to work out how to adapt these elements, so that the end deliverable to your customer is valuable and relevant. What are the new things they’re looking for now, and what therefore do you need to implement, take out or change that will meet their needs? This stage is where your and your team’s knowledge of the intricacies of your service/product comes to the fore, and where some investigation is needed should further investment be required.
4. Evaluate against your competition
Now that you know what your offer should look like, find out who else offers something similar. Then identify what makes your offer better and unique. This is fundamental in the next step, Reach Out, but it needs to be defined now in order to help clarify what must absolutely be included in your developments in order to stand out from the crowd.
5. Start changing at pace
You know what to change and how. Now you’ve got to move quickly to implement those changes. This does take courage to do so, because you’re taking risks. It may mean investing at a time when you’re facing a free-falling market and collapsing sales. But if you do this quickly you’re already beginning to starve your competition of oxygen. Trust your research. Seek inspiration and insight from it, look outside your business to see if you can find inspiration from others. Use your network, go online, speak to people.
We’re going through the exact same thing. We’ve had to invest thousands of pounds into virtual classroom software, and a huge amount of time and energy in working out how to use it. But we have faith in this course of action, because we did the research with our clients. We had to operationally change how we did things, and pushed ourselves to make it happen. If you have a team, get everyone on board with it and drive a real sense of urgency and purpose.
6. Give your customers a date of when your offer will be live
This sounds scary because it is scary. If there’s one thing though that we know works in driving fast-paced change, it’s this. Make it challenging and realistic. Then externalise it by telling your customers. Not only will you be holding yourself to account but your clients will be too. And when you come through with your offer that’s valuable to them, not only are you massively increasing the chances of keeping your customers and attracting new ones, but you’ve just built up a whole lot of trust through demonstrating your reliability and customer-focus.
7. ‘Good enough’ is good enough
With your timetable in place, adopt the mantra ‘Perfection is the enemy of progress’. Nobody has ever got something 100%, never-needs-to-be-improved-again right first time. Dial it back. What is the good enough standard you need to get to in order for your clients to START getting value, and either keep buying or start buying? Updates, improvements, nice-to-haves can all come later, which also help with the longevity of your customer base.
8. Pilot if possible
When trying out new recipes, great chefs taste along the way and get others to do the same, tweaking the recipe until it’s a great dish. If it’s at all possible, test out your developments and changes with a small number of your customers, and ask them for their honest feedback. This is an important part of the process in creating as much value as possible and making sure nothing obvious has been overlooked. Yes, it may result in some frustration, but if you then tweak according to their input, you’re already increasing the chances of them buying it from you as well as knowing that you have something that is valuable and relevant right from the get-go. Your customers will also feel much more invested in your offer, having had the chance to help shape it from the start. It can even drive a real sense of pride in your customers. They may brag about the fact that they helped create it!
Although that’s the final step it doesn’t mean that it ends there. We view the process as one of constant customer focus and continuous development:
Following the above steps may results in tiny changes or in sweeping shifts in your business. But if you take the chance and the courage, the outcomes of following these eight points is that you’re:
- Aligned with the demand in your market
- Offering something valuable and relevant
- Differentiated from your competitors
- Building trust throughout the process
- Now ready to Reach Out
You now know that you’re ready to start selling again. Which is where we head in the next article, as we will provide you with a framework for you to use to segment your customer and prospect base. This will help take all the hard work you’ve put in so far and target your efforts efficiently to unlock the greatest potential returns.