Want to Grow Revenue? Stop Seeing Your Customer as a Cash RegisterSeptember 21, 2020 | By Wayne O'Neill
As a business coach, my goal is to help clients grow revenue in a strategic way. This includes looking at bad habits that may be preventing revenue growth. So often I find that clients need to reset their thinking to view customers as a relationship, not a transaction.
Think of it like this. In this advanced digital age of contactless payments, we don’t have as much interaction with a traditional cash register to complete a purchase. So, if you think a cash register is outdated, then why are you still approaching customers like a transaction? Are you simply hoping to generate enough revenue here and there to add up to annual growth?
Instead, it’s time to view target customers as part of a dynamic relationship that can lead to long-term, sustainable revenue for your company.
What’s Wrong With Transactional Thinking to Grow Revenue?
Transactional thinking is part of the old way of thinking about simply selling your product or services to a customer, fulfilling the terms of the contract, and moving on to the next customer to try to sell to. That’s not a smart way of doing business in today’s environment. It will inevitably lead to a plateau or decline in quarterly or annual revenue and little room for real growth.
If you’ve engaged in this race, you know it typically turns into a numbers game continually lowering your bid to try to win on price. How are you going to achieve year over year growth and hopefully achieve growth over time if you’re constantly undercutting your value trying to win work based on price?
Or, the other approach in the old way of thinking is trying to respond to as many RFPs as possible. Your team submits bids, you hope to make the cut, and then you try to win work responding to the RFP at face value. But, what did your team miss that’s hiding in plain sight? Could there have been a greater opportunity to solve a larger problem for your target customer and grab more pieces of scope or larger pieces of scope that could have generated revenue growth? If your team is in the habit of simply responding to RFPs without taking a deep dive into the customer’s problem behind the problem, you’re missing big opportunities.
So, what’s the solution? Focus on relationships, build authentic connection, and stop viewing your customers as a transaction. Here’s how to reset your approach to achieve top line growth.
Start Focusing on Relationships With Customers
One of the clients I have worked with for many years said it best about resetting their thinking. “We are never trying to sell clients. We’re having conversations in the spirit of doing what’s best for the client and their needs.”
That is a profound statement. When you start focusing on what you can do for the customer instead of what they can do for you ringing up the cash register, it completely transforms the relationship. No longer is your team desperately trying to sell, making compromises, and wasting time on typical sales/relationship-building activities.
Now, when you’re engaging with customers, your team is focused on understanding the very deep and profound issues that prompted the customer to send out an RFP seeking someone to help solve their problem.
- Understand the thinking of the decision-makers.
- Understand the individual fears and concerns of decision-makers.
- Understand the collective challenge the entire company is facing.
- Understand who the influencers are that will impact decision-making.
- Identify the hidden problems that the customer is not willing to verbalize.
- Identify the larger problem the customer may not even realize is present that needs to be solved.
To get to the bottom of these issues, your team needs to step back from the typical questions being asked and start asking new questions about the customer’s challenges. You need to get a broad view of the larger picture, understand the thinking and behavior within the company, and gather as much evidence as possible to best understand how to help the customer.
This requires a different approach to relationship-building that is centered on empathy and understanding to build authentic connection. This new, more productive approach takes time. It requires breaking free from the old approach of racing to the bottom on price and responding to as many RFPs as possible trying to win work.
But, when your team breaks the old habits and starts building relationships that have the opportunity to grow over time, the revenue growth will follow.
What To Do When Building Authentic Relationships
Building authentic connection with customers is an ongoing process. There isn’t a start and stop date like in the transactional approach defined by a brief working relationship that ends when the project is complete.
Instead, authentic relationships continue to grow over time. As part of the new approach to customer engagement, you want to approach each new customer as a potential long-term partnership. What does this look like?
- Talk to multiple decision-makers and influencers.
- Create multiple levels of connection.
- Stay engaged in the customer’s industry to understand the business issues.
- Gather intelligence to understand the internal political issues.
And, ultimately, when your team has done their homework and you are ready to solve the customer’s problem, you want to leverage your solution for value and impact.
Instead of delivering a basic solution to solve a basic problem in the transactional approach, you’re delivering a comprehensive solution that positions your company as a trusted partner that understands what’s really happening in the company and can craft a solution that will solve the larger issue.
What happens next? Instead of just trying to get hired for one piece of scope, you’re grabbing multiple pieces of scope. Instead of solving one problem, you’re delivering a solution that solves multiple problems or the larger, company-wide problem. Instead of moving on to the next customer, you’re positioned as a trusted partner to solve future problems.
When this happens, your revenue growth rate will increase over time to deliver the sustainable revenue you are seeking in each successive time period.
How RESET Can Support Revenue Growth
Changing the way your team and your company engages customers often requires an outside perspective. A business coach can help identify bad habits to break and new habits to form as you transform the way you approach relationship-building. We can help through what we call The Connection Process.
The Connection Process is our proprietary and proven methodology that helps our clients leverage connections to create faster, more sustainable revenue. By taking this approach, your business can grow in a more intelligent way.
When you are ready to reset your thinking to stop viewing your customer as a cash register and more like an authentic relationship, contact us today. We can help facilitate change in your company and foster relationships with customers you should be targeting.
Contact us to schedule a free coaching consultation. Let’s discuss revenue growth opportunities that may be hiding in plain sight for your company by taking a new approach to customer engagement.