It's Not You, It's Me!
“It’s not you, it’s me!” Many of us have heard this tired relationship cliché before, if not personally than certainly in any number of cookie cutter TV series bombarding our living rooms. Although a time tested slogan of sputtering relationships, its essence is vital to bettering your business model in 2012.
Customer Profiling, a behaviorally based science enables your company to align with the customer’s needs by determining habits, strengths and weaknesses. Of equal importance, effective Customer Profiling will provide the information to determine whether a prospective customer is capable of, and willing to be delighted by your products or services. The latter of these benefits receives much less credence, perhaps due to its counterintuitive nature; turning away business. Believe me, it is of equal importance.
Can you recall a time when your Execution team met with a Sales member who described a prospective customer as reluctant to work with your organization? Perhaps bound by external pressures, they were forced to engage with your company? Maybe funding limitations, timeline restrictions or execution requirements have left them no choice but you? These are the early warning signs of a prolonged relationship marred by bickering over product quality, frayed communication, frustrated management and resource depletion. Does this sound terribly familiar? Well there is of course, another way.
Prior to execution, long before the first action is taken; make time for a discussion with your internal team. Whether it is an internal kickoff call, or a discussion devoted solely to Customer Profiling, take time to reflect on the customer. Break down their disposition, internal makeup, capabilities, wants, needs and character. Reflect on how your organization complements them. This is the essence of customer centric organizations, and a pivotal moment in preparing yourself to delight your customer, the ultimate goal. If you find yourself thinking “In spite of best efforts put forth, this relationship will not be profitable, and as important, we are not capable of delighting the customer.” Be confident enough to politely approach your prospective customer with the news that a serious conversation needs to take place to further align expectations. Your transparency and guidance as a trusted advisor should solidify in their mind that you are working in their best interest and a genuine reassessment of expectations is necessary.
It is this honest self-reflection, based off of sound data around your customer’s needs, habits and capabilities that will enable you to focus resources on the right customer. Focusing on customers who are a fit for your products and services, will enhance revenue through increased loyalty and profitable execution. The road to profitability does not circumvent Customer Profiling; to the contrary, effective Customer Profiling is the left lane.