Written By: Scott Koepf, V.P. of Strategic Development – Cruise Planners
Last month I introduced the most important P’s for success in business and they aren’t the ones taught in business school. We looked at the first two of the following five elements:
As I noted before, the ultimate goal of all five P’s is Profit! Being prepared is all about learning and education and Position is knowing how you want to be perceived in the marketplace. The next three P’s are all maximized by achieving another P word – Personalization. Customers will seek you out due to your Position, but they will decide to do business with you and decide to become raving fans of your business because you understand them and serve their specific desires.
The Plan is how you put the knowledge you gained in Prepare and the vision you created in Position into practice. Having all of the know how and a marvelous picture of what you want your business to look like will not result in success unless you set and follow a plan.
Think of every step, moment, and interaction you will have with a client. How will you reinforce your Position and more importantly make each of those touchpoints highly personalized? It is great to set a goal of annual sales, for example (which could be part of your Position/Vision), but to reach that goal you will need a written plan. It is important to look at your competition and all of the options a consumer has and how your plan will provide something exclusive and personalized.
Many Advisors find themselves creating never ending quotes and hoping that a few will stick. If your vision for your business is to continue this then you had better have access to pricing that is always better than everyone else. Even if you win some of those customers they will go elsewhere next time if they came to you for price only. It may seem radical but what if you told customers you will not provide quotes unless you first have a consultation appointment? Sure, many consumers who are 100% price driven are going to say ‘See ya’ but have you really lost anything? No, and you have saved time and probably helped your self-esteem! If we use the term ‘Advisor’ then we should focus on what that means versus just spitting out quotes and hope a few stick. Remember, you can’t really personalize anything until you know the person you are personalizing for and that only comes from excellent qualifying. No qualification consultation = No Quote. Dangerous, radical? Yep, and it may be the best rule you ever make for your business!
The Process is actually putting the plan into action. All clients will basically go through the same cycle with you so are you following the plans you set out at every step to create a lifetime client? As I have covered in depth in these articles, sales has a series of steps that really are the same no matter what you are selling or who you are selling to. It is how you customize each step that will lead to success so don’t wing it, create checklists for each step to maximize the positive impact for each client.
People Pleasin’ is my way of cheating to get the alliteration of P words (and since I felt guilty, I used a double P!) as this P is usually referred to as customer service. Some textbooks will say that customer service is what happens after the customer makes a purchase. However, I believe that starts at the very first encounter and never stops. It should be part of the plan before during and after the sales process. By personalizing every communication and touchpoint with each customer you will separate yourself from your competition and create lifetime customers.
What if you had only one client and his bookings brought you the income you wanted so there was no need to find another. However, you know that you had better provide impeccable service to that client to keep them. You would personalize everything and would never mention or send information on products or destinations they are not interested in. You would find just the right cadence of how often to talk with your client and never let too much time pass. If you are old enough to remember the movie ‘City Slickers’ You may recall that Jack Palance said that the secret to life is ‘One’. Focus on one thing and do it incredibly well.
If you make it your goal to make every customer feel like they are your only customer, then you will create raving fans who will spread the word about you far and wide. Following the 5 P’s will put focus on the power of one to bring you success or the ultimate P in business – Profit!