2011 Business Growth Strategies: #3 Get Closer to Your Markets


Share on LinkedIn

“Follow your customers, listen to your markets!”

That’s a mighty popular refrain from the past decade. We all got on board with being customer-driven, market-focused and all the other buzz words.

I think we often fall short of ‘customer-driven’ – thanks to gravity.

When we truly listen to our markets – we listen to ALL of our markets. Not just our favorite customers. You know what I mean. We all tend to gather input from the same group of customers – over and over again. We go to the folks who are our friends, who we can trust to say great things – the ones who already honor our value. After all, they understand it, right?

But what if those top favorite customers are behind the market – and you’re following their lead?

Orwhat if those top customers don’t represent your best opportunity going forward? What if following their lead means you miss out on the biggest opportunity yet for growth?

Just as we create Gravity from inside our business – we can also create Gravity thanks to our favorite customers. We all do it – so don’t feel badly. But do think differently!

Ask yourself, “What customers am I listening to for guidance? Are they the best sources of input I can find?” Chances are – you can expand your market knowledge by expanding your inputs.

I call the best sources of input your Keepers of the Truth. They include your best customers and partners, your friendly industry experts and gurus. All the people you already probably talk to about your business.

Now go a step further. Chat with the real Keepers of Your Truth – beyond your buddies. Right now, pick up the phone or schedule a meeting this week to chat with some of these folks:

  • The customer that’s unhappy with you. I know – they’re a pain. They’re angry and it’s easier to avoid them than face them. But if you want to know the truth about your value, or lack of, go talk to these folks. Don’t just talk – listen and listen some more…
  • The customer who left you. Sure, they made a mistake. You have lots of other customers who love you and your value. Who needs the guys who left? YOU DO. They will tell you a lot about your value – the good, the bad, and the ugly. What you lack in value for them may be what you will lack for other customers in the near future. So get out there and listen to what they have to say.
  • The prospect who never bought from you. I know, the competition outsold you, or discounted more than you could or just plain misled the customer. But what if the prospect needed value that you don’t provide? And what if that value is what every other customer is going to need in the future? Better to go learn about it now and get a plan in place for the future. Even if your top customers aren’t clamoring for that value yet. So go find a few of those prospects and ask them what you were missing. Then sit back, listen and learn.

When you get closer to your markets and their reality – you can define and deliver distinct value that is compelling to your audiences. To find the best paths to growth, listen to a wide range of prospects and customers – with emphasis on the ones who didn’t see your value. They can tell you more about how to win in the future than the customers who already drink your Koolaid.

The closer you are to your true markets, the closer you are to success.

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Rebel Brown
Rebel Brown consistently challenges the status quo to deliver optimum solutions and high velocity growth for her clients. She combines the strategic expertise and tactical savvy of a global Corporate Strategy, Launch and Turnaround Expert, along with the leadership and motivational skills needed to get the job done.


Please use comments to add value to the discussion. Maximum one link to an educational blog post or article. We will NOT PUBLISH brief comments like "good post," comments that mainly promote links, or comments with links to companies, products, or services.

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here