What Bridge Do You Build? What's Your #1 Big Outcome?
What is your number one commitment to your clients? What is their point A and point B, and what is the bridge you build to get them across? What is the core of your business?
I refer to this as the #1 Big Outcome and it requires two or three layers of strategic thinking. It’s not as simple as saying, ‘People come to me when they want furniture’. You have to think about why they want the furniture.
This can be one of the most difficult things to do and only a small number of people get to this level of thinking about their business. Sometimes it takes lots of reflection, sometimes it happens by osmosis – they just figure it out.
Once you’ve dug deeper into your customers’ needs and frustrations and become clear on why people buy from you, you are in the perfect place to create the ideal proposition for them. You are emotionally connecting. You know the bridge you can build and you understand why they want to cross it. This helps give you short-term survival but also long-term focus and understanding.
What bridge do you build?
People spend money because they have a problem they want solved. Essential to the growth of your business is having clarity about exactly what this problem is and how you are going to take your clients from their current state of frustration to freedom.
Many small business owners don’t understand exactly what their clients want from them. If you don’t understand this everything else you do will be built on shaky foundations.
Consider the following businesses
•What does a plumber sell? A plumber sells and installs pipes, taps, washers and hoses. Right? Wrong.
•What does a hairdresser sell? Hair-cuts? Nope.
•What service does a mechanic provide? Fixing cars? Not even close.
Let’s have a closer look and see what these businesses are really selling to their clients. Most of us have experienced a plumbing emergency. It’s frustrating – but have a think about why it’s frustrating.
If you’re getting ready for work and your hot water system blows up you don’t think to yourself, ‘Hey, I better call the plumber. He has lots of great pipes, taps, washers and hoses and clearly I need some new ones. I can’t wait to see what he’s got.’ You think, ‘Bugger, now I’m going to be late for work.’ Most people have not the slightest interest in how or why their plumbing works, they just care that it does.
So a plumber is not selling pipes, taps, washers and hoses, he’s selling comfort and convenience. He’s selling hot showers. He’s selling getting to work on time. He’s selling not having to worry about that stuff because he can do it. It’s not actually about the products at all.
Why do we get a hair-cut? To be more aerodynamic? No. Because we feel better and more confident when we look good, and this flows into every aspect of our lives. Hairdressers sell self-esteem.
And the mechanic? Again, it’s not about the widgets and doodads, it’s about what the car means in the customer’s life. For most people car troubles are very disruptive. The car gets you to work, you can visit your friends, it saves time, it brings you home right to your door. You can get the kids safely from here to there. Fixing customers’ cars is putting the convenience back into their life.
As you get clear on the needs of your customers you can begin to understand what they really want from you and you can profitably deliver to your target audience.
Still Not Sure? Answer the 7 Whys.
If you’re not sure what your #1 Big Outcome is, you can try a little exercise known as the 7 Whys. It’s not hard.
Start by asking, ‘Why do people come to me?’ If, for example, you are selling furniture, your obvious answer is, ‘They need new furniture’. But that’s only the first why. You need to go deeper…
- Why do people come to me? They need new furniture.
- Why do they need new furniture? Because their old furniture is worn out.
- Why does this matter? Because they want their house to look nice.
- Why does this matter? Because this makes them feel good.
- Why does it make them feel good? Because it makes them feel successful.
- Why does this matter? Because this builds their self-esteem and makes them feel confident.
- Why does this matter? Because when people feel confident they are happier and can live a better life.
Count them – that’s seven whys. Seven steps to get to the real reason people buy new furniture.
For me, in my business, the obvious answer might be something like, ‘People come to me to make their business more profitable’. And that’s true. But it’s not the deeper, underlying, true motivation of why they come to me.
They know that if their business performs better they will have more money and more free time to do the things in life they really want to do away from their business.
So it’s not actually about the business at all. It’s about quality of life. I know this about my business and my clients and it’s incorporated into everything we do. Everything. It’s non- negotiable. Everything!
When you dig down deep enough and find the answer for your business this becomes a source of culture and purpose for you and your staff. It becomes an anchor and a point of alignment with your clients. It’s what your business will become known for. It’s not about marketing or creating a tag line; it’s about having clarity and truly understanding what you offer. It becomes a measuring stick for your business.
It’s the #1 Big Outcome.
It will provide fire in your belly because you will see how you can help people and improve their lives. This is important because if you are only motivated by money, one day that motivation will run out when you reach a certain amount of dollars in the bank. But if you are achieving and helping your customers you are going to feel good and feel aligned with what you are doing.
Remember when I asked you earlier to think about why your customers come to you? Do you want to try again now?
Remember, it’s not about the widgets and doodads you sell. It’s about why they will emotionally connect with you.
Use the seven whys and see how far you can get.
I do this exercise with my clients all the time and many of them get stumped after three or four whys. They start going in circles or simply run out of answers.
Keep going until you get to what you believe is at the heart of the matter. What do they really want from you? How can you take them from frustration to freedom? How can you provide them with a better quality of life?
If you haven’t done this before it can be a real breakthrough for you and your business. It will give you greater confidence to serve your clients like there’s no tomorrow.
Think of it like an Olympic athlete: what sport are you in? What’s your best event? Where will you win gold?
What’s your #1 Big Outcome?
Power to you!
CEO, Business Benchmark Group
Stefan Kazakis on 5 May 2018
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