What is the single biggest skill that you can learn to impact your business? I’ve been thinking about this a lot. Well I have had time: I recently fell down the stairs for the second time this year and fractured my coccyx. It’s very painful and I certainly don’t recommend it just to get some time for reflection. But ironically the fall has had a massive business impact as it’s given me the opportunity to get some quality thinking time and work on – rather than in – my business.
In my opinion, the single biggest factor that can impact your business is – drum roll – psychology. It’s the simple science of understanding what drives people. It’s about recognising the power of influence, putting yourself in other people’s shoes and looking at your product offering from their point of view.
When I talk to parents, they often come and try Little Voices because I place myself in their shoes and get to know the problems they need solving for their children, not talk about what Little Voices is and what it does for most children. When I’m speaking at a school I have really learnt about that school, what it offers and what it doesn’t offer and what might fill the gaps that it has. This ensures Little Voices is appealing to them. It is a totally genuine approach to building a long-lasting relationship. No one regrets making a purchase if it is something they really needed and really benefited them.
You might think this is enlightening. You might think this is irrelevant to you. You might think you do this already. I certainly thought I did but having read other people’s thoughts on this topic it is apparent that you need to not just know about this but practise this skill constantly. Be committed to learning more about others and how you can influence them.
I’m a big believer in the idea that to understand someone you must walk a mile in their shoes. So you need to learn more about your buyer’s psychology, put yourself in their shoes and view your franchise from their point of view. It’s about being totally objective, brutally honest and realistic: you need to look at your product, your offer and work out if it’s something they need rather than just want. A good place to start honing this skill is looking in detail at the existing or historic customers that have bought from you. They will help you to understand the exact profile you’re looking to attract.
The next step is using the information you have gleaned to influence the right people. Customers bring in revenue, so your marketing must become the single most important part of your day: the single biggest skill you need to market effectively to more customers is knowing how to influence the right people. Your marketing needs to speak to them specifically and your conversation needs to be about them. Make this a habit and make it natural. Really think about every piece of marketing, every conversation, every nuance of it so you can move things forward.
To this end, during my days of recovery I have been looking at the customers who have stayed with us for the longest period, spent the most time, money and energy with us. I have looked at the places they came to us from, the reason they were attracted to us and not another performing-arts organisation, where they heard about us and what journey they went on with us before enrolling with us. Believe me I have looked at this in detail, including what date they contacted us, which marketing funnel they came through and what they experienced of our company. This helps us to look at the people in our database that haven’t enrolled, track their journey, start to re-engage them and influence a future decision about us. It’s important to work out what influenced them in one decision and what could perhaps change now to influence them in the future.
Despite a painful few days this month, I have been highly productive and I really urge you to take the time away from the day-to-day and look at honing your influence. Be objective and be logical. We are not far off Christmas now and the start of another new year, which will bring new opportunities and new goals. Start early, get ahead of the game and practise the skill that is going to help you to achieve those goals. After all, it’s not about setting them: it’s about achieving them.