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Problem seeking, problem solving & being unique

This is essentially an attitude of mind - one that needs to run throughout the whole of your company. To be a customer focused business you need to be able to unearth the customer's problems - where they need help, where they need your help. The best salespeople are therefore problem seeking and problem solving - and the whole of your business needs to be geared up for such an approach.

So what does this mean? Well it means customising your product and service offerings - and where practical providing a 'total solution'. In other words a complete package of products and services tailored to each customer. The less the customer has to do, the more they will pay. Most customers want an easy life - though if your customers are companies then they will tell you that the reason they want a total solution, a complete offering of product and associated services is because they are focused on their 'core competencies'. Whatever the reason, it's an opportunity - but only if you have the problem seeking - problem solving mindset.

Being Unique - The jargon term is USP; unique selling proposition. The customer focused business realises that customers have alternatives - often they have lots of alternatives. So why will they buy from you? What's unique about your business?

Small companies rarely have the resource to create a unique brand or to embark on a high profile promotional campaign that creates a strong, unique, image in the minds of their customers. This however is often a blessing in disguise. What it means is that your differentiator needs to be for real - something in your product or your way of doing business that is genuinely different. Such real USP's create customer loyalty - lasting customer loyalty. Artificial USP's created by fancy promotions and TV adverts might win awards but they don't necessarily capture market share.

How do you develop a USP? Simple. Live in the customer's world. Observe what they do, understand why they do it that way - then developing a meaningful USP becomes possible.

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