Think Backwards

| Blog Posts
February 10, 2017

Think Backwards: Sounds counter intuitive, but many business owners forget about the most important part of their business the customer.

How do you present yourself to your customer?  Think about your website.  Is it all about what you offer?  What you do?  Who you are?  We love what we do and our products and services.  Problem is… our customers don’t care unless it’s overtly clear how you can solve their problem one that is particular to them and one that you can solve better than anyone else.  

Journalists call that burying the lead.

The opportunity here is not about website design. It’s about the relationship between you, your products and services and your customers.  We typically lead with our stuff and hope our customers like what we offer. Our sales message often has the same logic.

And then we wonder why it always comes down to price.

Instead of starting with your offering, begin with the progress your customer needs to make when they interact with you the essence of "thinking backwards." Here is how it works:

1.  Focus on your most attractive market segment, the one where you get 80% of your profits.  

2.  Ask a few customers in that segment what progress they were trying to make when they chose you for       this category. (This is not a customer service interview where you ask 'how is our company doing?')  

3.  Then ask them what frustrates or annoys them when they try to make that progress.

Use what you learn to edit - and TEST - a new message and selling approach or a fresh idea to improve your service.
Think backwards. Lead with a promise that your customer really cares about. Then show them how you can deliver on that promise better than anyone else. In this market, we all know we need to differentiate every day, but rarely do we take the time to understand the problems and the value from the customer’s perspective.

This Week:

Call two customers.  Ask, "In your role as ________ what gives you the biggest headache when you try to do your job better?" Be sure to keep asking, "What else?"
I bet you’ll be surprised by the insight and nuance you’ll discover.  

Janet Collins, a strategic advisor in the office products industry and a long-time collaborator with Highlands.  She works with business leaders to develop growth strategies and mobilize teams to take action and achieve results. She's a coach who's been in your shoes, most recently as President of GMi Companies (Ghent, VividBoard and Waddell). 

Contact Janet at [email protected] or visit www.linkedin/in/collinsjanet.

Janet Collins
TurningPoint Strategy
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