(Time to read this Blog is about 90 seconds)

Before we get to the main topic, here are a few things to get you thinking…or smiling:

  1. My biz quote of the week: 
    “Hiring someone after just one interview is like asking someone to marry you on   the first date.  You don’t know them well enough yet.”
    …Donald Cooper  
  1. The high cost of Pandas. Giant pandas are cute…no question. But they’re also very expensive. China owns all the giant pandas in the world and rents them out to zoos for $1 million each per year on a 10-year contract.
     
    When cubs are born, the Zoo has to pay $400,000 each to China and then deliver the cubs back to China on their 3rd birthday.  On top of this, the cost to house, feed and look after a panda exhibit at a zoo is about $2 million a year.
     
    That adds up to about $42 million over a 10-year contract, if the pandas have 3 sets of cubs. 
  1. The world’s oldest restaurant is ‘St. Peter Stiftskulinarium’ which has operated within the walls of St. Peter’s Abbey in Salzburg, Austria since the year 803. Its original menu item was boiled beef with minced apple and horseradish.  The restaurant has served both Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart and Clint Eastwood.
  2. Cooper goes Virtual! Donald’s bottom-line business insights are now available via Zoom!   We’re receiving many requests for my high-value Virtual Programs, especially the Programs that include follow-up 1-on-1 telephone Biz Coaching.  To access our 2-page Info Sheet on these extraordinary management, marketing and profitability programs, Click Here.  

Now, to this week’s important topic:

The power of being your customers’ ‘Caring Coach’:          

Whatever product or service you sell, whether you sell B2C or B2B, your customers probably need some kind of help, coaching or information to wisely choose and more effectively use what you sell.  Providing this added value will clearly position you as the Caring Coach and trusted expert, while building relationships, making the transaction less about price, increasing sales and growing your bottom line. 

The 2 steps to becoming your customers’ Caring Coach:

Step #1:  List all the things that your target customers might be confused or stressed about when it comes to choosing, buying, using, maintaining, updating, storing, disposing of or recycling what you sell.

Step #2:  Then, get creative.  How can you coach your customers on how to do each of these functions more easily, more effectively and stress-free?   What do they need to know?  How will you deliver that info in a clear and uplifting way?

A list of ‘Quick Tips’ is one effective way to coach.  Tips that look something like this:  

  1.  7 questions to ask before choosing a renovator (or accountant, or web designer, stock broker, dentist, etc).  Then, for each question they should ask, give them the answer that they should get.
  2.  10 helpful tips for buying the right photocopier for your business (or power drill, or car, or insurance policy, or organic turnips).
  3.  5 things you can do to drive safer and improve tire wear (or reduce energy consumption, or the risk of a heart attack, or to keep veggies fresh longer).

Here are 5 quick examples of being the ‘Caring Coach’ to rev up your creativity.

  1. When Home Depot got into the carpet business in a serious way a few years ago, they realized that most folks didn’t know much about carpet…and much of what they did ‘know’ wasn’t actually true. So, they printed up an inexpensive 1-page Info Sheet on how to choose and care for carpets and then handed it out to each perspective customer and added it to their website.  The title of their info piece is brilliant…  
     
                        TAKING THE MYSTERY OUT OF BUYING CARPET
                               …a helpful guide to an intelligent purchase.
     
  2. We’ve shopped at Pottery Barn a number of times…and we love it. If you want a crash course on how to sell stuff with style and class, this is the place to go.

They also use their customer database to gently advise folks about in-store ‘coaching’ events.   Earlier this year, they sent us a classy email informing us about their free in-store decorating classes, including a discount on all items featured in the decorating class.
 
Basically, they’re coaching us on how to update our home décor on a cost-friendly basis.

  1. A friend of ours, a top Financial Advisor, has just sent his clients information about how to deal with the challenge of supporting their adult children without risking their own retirement security. This is a big problem in some families, especially in these difficult economic times, and this Investment Advisor is jumping right in to be helpful.
  2. An Accounting Firm that we’ve worked with offers their clients training sessions for middle and front-line managers to help them understand how to do department budgets and how to interpret and use monthly statements to make better decisions. Clients see an almost immediate improvement in performance, engagement and efficiency.
     
    This is the kind of help that all accounting firms should be offering but very few do.
  3. Coaching can be a simple act of kindness. With some encouragement from me, our local butcher now asks customers buying roasts how rare or well-done they want to serve it…then, after weighing and wrapping the roast, he writes on the wrapper the proper cooking temperate and cooking time to prepare their ‘perfect roast.  Then he adds a verbal reminder to let the roast ‘rest’ for 10 minutes before carving.
     
    This is one of the ways that he differentiates himself from the big supermarket down the street.  Another suggestion I gave him was to offer to sharpen customers’ kitchen knives for just $4.00 each when they’re buying his meat on Monday, Tuesday or Wednesday, when he’s typically not that busy. As a butcher, one of the things he’s expert at is sharpening knives.  How can you use your ‘expertness’ to add value, create loyalty and increase sales?

 

Being the ‘Caring Coach’ can also include warning folks about the shady practices in your industry, how to avoid them…and promising that you simply don’t do those things…ever!   Become the Mother Theresa of your industry.  Be the voice of truth and reason.  You’ll tick off the bad guys…but customers will love you.

All these coaching tips and warnings should be on your Website, in your sales literature, customer Blogs and Newsletters and Social Media.   They can also be on signage, labels, packaging and in your advertising. Chip Loughead of Gravenhurst Plumbing and Heating in Muskoka, Ontario runs regular ads in his local newspaper titled ’Chips Tips’.  He doesn’t advertise furnaces or hot water heaters.  Instead, he positions himself as the ‘Caring Coach’ by telling folks how to chose what’s best for them and then how to maintain it for maximum performance and longevity.  Very clever. 

If you sell B2B, you can also share your Coaching Tips by writing articles for your industry trade magazine.   They’re always looking for good content.

So, what are your customers stressed or confused about and how could you be more helpful? How will you take the mystery out of choosing, buying, using, maintaining, updating, storing, disposing of or recycling what you sell?  What will you do to become the trusted and respected “Caring Coach” for your customers?  And when will you start?

That’s it for this week…

Stay safe…live brilliantly…and do at least 3 important or kind things each day!       

Donald Cooper 

Donald Cooper speaks and coaches internationally on management, marketing, and business innovation.  He can be reached by email at donald@donaldcooper.com in Toronto, Canada.

About Donald Cooper

Donald Cooper, MBA, CSP, HoF: Donald speaks and coaches in over 40 industries throughout the world.  He delivers the ‘straight goods’ on how to sell more, manage smarter, grow your bottom line...and have a life!  To chat about ‘possibilities’ for your next business or Industry Association Conference, call me at 416-252-3703 in Toronto, or click here to connect to our ‘Enquiry Page’.  

One Response to The power of being your customers’ ‘Caring Coach’:
  1. Hi Donald, I always look forward to your newsletters! I also write a weekly newsletter for the 100+ independent small business owners that I work with in the mattress industry. I normally travel 48 weeks a year and get my weekly inspiration from my travels. But this year I have been limited for travel and writer’s block has set in. After reading your coaching suggestions I now have several new topics that I can write about. #1 will be about interview questions that quickly help you assess if a candidate can be successful with your company.


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