Saturday, 24 September 2011

Co-workers share ideas about how to 'train your customers'!

Jane Hogan of twentyeight, one of our regular co-workers, led the Colleagues on Tap SpoT chat at our 'mini' co-working day in Durham on 20th September.

Co-workers running a wide variety of home-based businesses from virtual PAs to IT and accountancy services shared their experiences of refining their target markets and marketing messages to maximise the impact of their sales activity.  The group benefited from Jane's insight into how to really hone your offer to make sure it stimulates interest;  the key message was, in brief, that it's better to be really specific and appeal to a few selected prospects than be broad and general and appeal to no one!

Through Jane's Value Innovations activity, twentyeight is becoming recognised as the source of a whole host of 'little business tools' that can help you to think again about your business to make sure what you're offering is really of value to your customers (or how to train customers better to want what you have to offer!).

Here are two tools Jane shared during the SpoT chat:

A matrix that enables you to map out where in the buying cycle your product or service fits (or could fit), and what added value it can bring in that context.
Jane explained that in reality there are only 6 ways that a product or service can add value, and it's important that your prospective customer understands where your product or service fits (so it's pretty important to have worked that out yourself!).  Jane suggests the 6 'utility levers' are

1. Customer Productivity
2. Simplicity
3. Convenience
4. Risk
5. Fun/Image
6. Social Responsibility


Once you're running a business change becomes more and more difficult - if only you'd known what you do now before you started - you might have done things differently.

Well Jane explained that all is not lost!  If you imagine you're starting with a blank piece of paper and starting the business again, you can think about what you would do differently.  Having someone else do this for you can also be really valuable (it may be a member of staff or simply a close associate - just be prepared for them to tell you the truth!

You may just be able to put into place some of the ideas that emerge - change has to start somewhere!