At the Boston Inbound Marketing Summit last November, I had the opportunity to listen to Dorie Clark speak, and began following her more closely.
One thing she espouses is the idea of not just looking at what your customer or clients like about you, but also taking a hard look at what they don’t like about you.
We’ve developed a Barriers to Entry exercise that we now use as an on boarding exercise, and a periodic health check-up with our clients. It takes a desire to improve, a willingness to lay bare your weaknesses and the stomach to handle some unpleasant feedback.
Sounds fun, right?
Well, it’s not as bad as it sounds and it provides you and your company with an action plan as well as focus on your communications.
The Barriers to Entry exercise is simple enough. Take a long hard look at your business and ask yourself, “What do people hate about doing business with us?” Another way to phrase it is “What makes a customer or client choose another company over us?”
Start with six items. Ask your staff, ask your clients/customers, and if you can, ask someone whose business you have lost. Read business reviews and social media posts and look for the legitimate complaints.
Next, categorize those items into the following:
1. Things you can improve or change right now.
2. Things you can apply a process to and change over time.
3. Things that are a perception versus a reality.
4. Things that cannot change.
Once you’ve done this exercise, it’s time to fit these into your overall business, training and communications plan. This provides you with a blueprint for the communications that need to happen over the course of the next three, six and 12 months.
Like I said, it’s not an easy thing to do, but it is important to get your brand in order from within, before you communicate it externally. At de Novo, business consulting goes deeper than marketing strategy. It’s the internal workings of your company that make or destroy a brand that need to be laid bare and examined. We help our clients apply a process to areas that can be improved and develop the communications around the Barriers to Entry that help you recruit and retain your client/customer base.