Service in the age of add

Most business owners who approach me tell me essentially the same thing – that they want (or need) more customers.  Sometimes, this is true – they’re new and need to build a customer base.  But often what they actually want is more revenue.

Of course, a business can create more revenue in 3 ways (1) sell to more customers, (2) sell to the same customers more often and/or (3) sell higher value items to the same customers.  For established businesses, the second and third options are often more profitable because the cost of acquiring a new customer is much higher than selling to someone we’re already serving.  It’s a lot easier, too.  Also, because you have already earned their trust, it’s much easier for an established customer to feel comfortable making a larger investment with you.

Still, believe it or not, some of my clients initially push back – They see their business as providing the thing they’ve always provided and only want to do that.

Now, here’s where the whole issue of ADD comes in.  (I know that attention deficit disorder is a clinical diagnosis, but here I’m using it as shorthand to describe the information overload and indecision that many of us experience.)

Your customer has already invested their most precious asset in you.  They have given you their attention – a limited and valuable thing.  The attention they gave to you didn’t go into other relationships that are valuable to them (their kids, their spouse, their boss).   If you limit how much value you’re willing to offer them, they don’t get to manufacture more attention to figure out how to get other wants and needs met by someone else.  Their attention is already spoken for.  Those wants and needs, instead, go unmet – maybe forever.

So, fine, don’t expand your offerings to make your business more profitable and less vulnerable to economic uncertainty.  Do it to better serve the people who have invested their attention in you.

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