Play Your Cards Right!


Ever heard of Kano? No, not the similarly named card game, but it’s a better hand to play than simply reacting to outside stimulus and games of chance – and it’s not a game, but a very intelligent system for anyone hoping to gain and keep their customers.

Here are the three levels in this system. The first is so massively important and has to be got absolutely right – regularly. It’s about what your client expects:

Imagine you are selling them a lease on business premises. They would expect an electricity supply, they would expect doors, most would expect broadband and parking. Do you actually know what your prospective clients and existing want at this level? Could you be about to lose some because this wasn’t established fully enough at the start? If you don’t ask thoroughly enough, you may miss out. They may work for a small business now, but come from a swish corporate background. They’re used to certain things and think of the things you have not asked them about as normal. Did you bother to get to know about these, or them?

The next level of kano is the clients shopping list of requirements and preferences. For example, they want reception and secretarial services and additional conference rooms and client parking facilities. If you can satisfy all this too, game on!

The last part of the kano system is the offering which distinguishes you most, a unique selling point they did not even know they wanted until it was right in front of them. The wow factor. Be the revelation! Show your winning hand, not as the victor, but as part of their team. There’s no use waiting to wow them until after the ink is dry when you have another offer for them. It could be a long wait!

Understanding your client does not mean that because they have a business they all follow the same template. If this was the case every business would look and sound the same and have difficulty getting any clients. They have different cultures, identities, priorities, ambitions, customer bases and really want to believe they are being treated individually. One size fits all hardly ever works.

“I’m going to sell you into submission”, doesn’t work much either. Take it from someone who has seen and been the sales tank. It’s not a war! There is always competition which is great for the differentiation you seek, but does your business being ‘different’ actually offer your clients what they want? Skydivers over the office may be impressive publicity, but what does it do for them? When you get their attention find ways to keep it without pointless stunts.

I know some of you do regular service satisfaction checks with clients (please tell me you do!), but if you only ask them whether they are happy about what they’ve got, rather than what they want you’d better hope they are the kind of apathetic client who just can’t be stuffed getting a better deal. If you have this client they may not have the funds for long to keep being your client!

Checking on your clients needs and satisfaction can only really be done when you regularly look at your business in new ways too. Are you under selling, or perish the thought, not even mentioning something they would be delighted benefiting from now?

Look at your business as if you were ignorant of everything about it. Would you buy from you? Ask new questions in new ways, get out of that comfortable rut and fully match expectations where possible, then you’ll be playing your cards right and winning more.

Statuam … Coaching at your speed … mandyw&

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