Saturday, December 20, 2014

Make Life Easy for Your Customers

or, Does a Man Really Want to Be Taught To Fish?

by Geraud Staton

Let me start this post with a demand:

Quit giving your clients more work to do!

So many people have tried to tell us that the key to business is providing a service to our clients rather than giving them more work to do. They tell us to provide quality for our clients. They tell us to make ourselves valuable. They say we should leverage our talents. Karl Marx said, "Catch a man a fish, and you can sell it to him. Teach a man to fish, and you ruin a wonderful business opportunity."

But we don't listen as often as we should. And our business dies a little as a result. You aren't working your way out of a business because your clients. Your clients are leaving because you are making more work for them! I think Timothy Ferriss explains it best. In The Four-Hour Work Week Ferriss gives the following anecdote:

While you’re relaxing over a glass of wine, the waiter comes over and informs you of the special. “We have a delicious salmon risotto tonight,” he says. “That sounds perfect,” you think, so you order the dish. The waiter jots it down and heads back toward the kitchen as you continue your wine and conversation. So far, so good, right? But then the chef comes out and walks over to your table. “I understand you’ve ordered the salmon risotto,” she says as you nod in affirmation. “Well, risotto is a bit tricky, and it’s important we get the salmon right, too . . . Have you ever made it before?” Before you can respond, the chef turns around. “Tell you what, I’ll go ahead and get the olive oil started. You wash up and meet me back in the kitchen.”

There are few people who want this. If you wanted to cook you would have stayed home, right? You're tired. You want to unwind and relax. You, quite literally, want this meal handed to you.

For $20 and 2 hours you can make this at home. Or, for $30 you can
have it brought to you while you drink a glass of wine. 

Your business is no different. Whatever you offer, the odds are good that your client doesn't want to be taught how to do something. They want that result done for them. This isn't because they are lazy, or because they don't respect the process. It's because they have so many other things to do. This world is hectic, and sometimes, someone just wants a fish handed to them, cooked up perfectly and served with a glass of wine!

So, why is this so hard for us to understand? My theory is that it's entrepreneurs that are using this revelation. And most entrepreneurs don't think this way! It is counter-intuitive.

Many entrepreneurs and other self-motivated people would LOVE to be able to go to a great restaurant and make your own dinner. This place would have all the tools that you don't have at home. It has the best quality ingredients. It has any sort of appliance you might need. It would be a dream. So, we believe that everyone must think that way.

This is obviously a fallacy. If it were true there would be fewer business start up books, weight loss programs, and books on how to build your own computers from scratch. There is enough information out there, easily accessible, for any human on the planet to build, market and sell a hugely successful business. So, why don't many people actually build the computer or create a weight loss program or start the new business?

In all cases, it comes down to one thing: It is hard work! You can have every step laid out for you, but you've still got to be the one to do it. And how many of us want to pay someone our hard earned dollars so that they can show us how much hard work we still have to do?

I speak from experience. This was a hard lesson for me, too. My business was built on the idea that "people just need to know that they can do it!" It was all motivation and cheer leading. Granted, there is still a lot of that because some people really do want to create it on their own. However, we've added programs that do a lot of the work for you. WE can build your business plan and hand it to you. WE can handle your finances and get you your money. WE can do the marketing and let you reap the benefits.

So, what do you actually DO for your clients? Do they want you to teach them how to manage their books, or do they just want someone to handle their books? Do they want you to show them how to take care of their plumbing, or do they want you to come in and take care of their plumbing? You wouldn't hire a lawyer to teach you how to defend yourself in court. You would hire her to get you out of a jam!

So, how do you help your clients? Offer them a real solution and you put yourself ahead of a lot of your competition!

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