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Growing your business [Part 3] What are you saying?

So far in this series we have covered the importance of networking and maintaining good lists of clients, prospects and contacts. You’d be forgiven for thinking the next obvious topic is communication, but it’s not. The next stage in successfully growing your business is knowing what your key messages are.

It’s worth spending a significant amount of time on this as it is absolutely crucial to get it right. Now you may be thinking, well, it’s obvious – my key messages are that a) I sell dog food online, b) to people in the Midlands and c) it’s good value. But instead of thinking about the key messages from your point of view, turn it round and see what they are for your customer. Your communications must be filled with benefits and the reasons why someone should buy from you instead of the next supplier.

What does a customer want from a dog food delivery? They might want a variety of good quality products, they might want dog treats and accessories as well, delivered free of charge, next day delivery, minimum hassle, an agreed place to leave it if you’re out, service with a smile – and all at the best possible price. I don’t know – ask them, do a quick Facebook survey, ring them up, find out what it is that draws people to your service and use those strengths to form your key messages.

If you still have the same offering as another supplier, add something different. You could include food samples, dog nutrition advice, discounts off local boarding kennels, training tips, a feeding measure – or go crazy and diversify into cat food. Obviously this kind of analogy applies to any business – look for the tricks, the gaps, the areas where you can provide unexpected extras.

For us, at a basic level, we believe that our clients understand we know what we’re doing. A little bit like going to the dentist – you don’t always need to know how they’re treating your teeth – you accept a certain level of knowledge. It’s the same for us – we are absolutely sure you don’t want to know how we complete a VAT return – but you do want it done on time, for a reasonable fee, with any explanations provided, from someone who cares about your business and is easy to talk to. So the key message there isn’t the fact that we do VAT returns. It’s how the client benefits from how we do them.

So in a nutshell, it’s really important to know – not what you sell – but why the customer chooses it. You need to know this before you start any kind of communication. The journey to understanding your key messages could also lead you to reshape your offering, improve your service and get new business.

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