Posted Thursday, February 10, 2005
Over promising is a problem only when you under deliver. There are a number of ways that you can overdeliver to your customers or prospects, and as a result create a win-win situation for you both. They will be provided with some additional value, while you will be upgrading your learning around a particular issue, adding another product or service to your business, or even increasing the mastery level of your craft.
For example, let’s say you are a communications coach. You might consider offering a complimentary group call for your current clients. The discussion during this call will not only increase your understanding of some aspect of your business, but it might provide the raw material for crafting a top 10 article, an e-book or an e-course – more things which might be passed along to your clients as a value add. Of course, your clients will love the opportunity to have more time to benefit from what you have to say – and at no cost to them!
What can you do today to provide more value to your prospective and current clients?
1. Underpromise and overdeliver. Before you even think of providing more value, you must set the stage from which you will operate. Always deliver what you promise to deliver by way of your products or services within the time frame specified. Never leave any loose ends. But, when you do deliver to your clients, always provide them with more than they expect. Not only will this come as a welcomed surprise, they will consider you as someone who is generous and who really cares about them. It can be as simple as providing a handwritten note or any of a number of other possibilities which will be discussed shortly. A human being’s highest need is to be acknowledged. Think about the different ways you can acknowledge others when doing business.
2. Provide complimentary support. One of the easiest ways to provide additional value is to provide complimentary support for your products or services. You can provide phone or email support, or even an FAQ document that can be posted on your website. This gives the customer confidence that they will have a way to follow up with any questions or concerns that they might have. The beauty of this is that very few people will ever take advantage of it, yet by providing it, you can create a tremendous amount of customer goodwill.
3. Provide information and lots of it. We all crave knowledge and information. Provide as much information as you can around your products and services. You can provide articles, special reports, and links to other resources on your website. You can write the articles yourself, or use those of others with their permission. In less than a half day, you could find a dozen articles and as many links to other informational sites to support what you do. If you have your own articles to post, that’s an added bonus. With your own articles, you can feature them in your email signature, along with an autoresponder (a type of email system that delivers the article automatically and immediately) so that folks can receive a copy right away. A small investment of your time can provide valuable content for your website and a valued resource to prospects and current clientele.
4. Create a free eCourse. It’s so easy to create an eCourse. An eCourse is merely a series of short emails delivered via an autoresponder designed to teach a concept or series of concepts in an easy-to-understand manner. You can easily take a top ten article or other information that you have and “chunk” it into a series of 5, 7 or 10 lessons, which can be delivered over as many days or weeks. Each lesson is a short description of the topic along with an example and perhaps questions or resource links for future follow-up. An eCourse is set up in a mechanism called an autoresponder, an automated email system that delivers lessons at the interval you specify. An e-course is the perfect “product” to advertise in your email signature and can be triggered by the recipient merely sending an email to a specified address. From that point forward, the lessons are automatically issued without any further intervention on your part. E-courses are a great way to showcase an upcoming product or program offering, a way to get people interested in what you have to offer. They are a great way to offer a lot of value with less than a day of effort to write a simple course, set it up for distribution and let it work for you.
5. The benefits of an R & D team. Offering prospects and current clients the opportunity to join and participate on your research and development team is another way to offer value. Your R & D team can be used to test product or program ideas that you might have. By seeking feedback now, you can gather new ideas and you can which ones are worthwhile and of value to others. The benefit to the recipients is that they can play a role in influencing the types of products that they like most. Many folks who have R & D teams also enjoy offering participants special incentives like coupons, discounts, or even a free sample of the product or program before it is issued to the general public.
6. Offer free teleclasses. Offering free teleclasses to prospects and current customers is a great way to generate goodwill while providing valuable content. Free teleclasses are a wonderful way for newcomers to experience who you are and how you operate. For folks who already do business with you, they look at this as a wonderful bonus to experience more of the quality service they have come to expect from you. Teleclasses are a cost and time efficient value add and an easy way to reach others on a global basis. You may want to consider recording these classes and making the audio available from your web site.
7. Offer free assessments. Another way to provide more value is to offer assessments. Assessments are wonderful because they provide the prospect or client with additional information. Provide useful information, links to other sites (or yours), references to helpful organizations or even titles of books to read. Gear the assessment outcomes to focus on various products or services that you have developed so you can drive people to consider your various offerings. People like assessments because they can do them on their own and get immediate feedback. You may also consider bundling an assessment with a 15-minute complimentary consult allowing you to develop a stronger relationship with this prospect.
8. Celebrate special days in special ways. There are hundreds of different holidays celebrated throughout the year. Find a way to couple something you’re doing with an upcoming holiday and share that with your customers. For example, if you’re a relationship coach, you might want to send out a special report on celebrating Valentine’s Day the week before. For folks who might be spending that day alone, you might provide a complimentary teleclass for everyone to get together to talk. If you’re an event planner, you might wish to send out a special collection of easy-to-prepare recipes for the Fourth of July or the Super Bowl. These are simple things to do, but can mean a lot to your clientele.
9. Reward your long-time customers. It has been said that it costs up to six times as much to get a new customer than it does to maintain the ones you have. One of the best ways to maintain a good relationship with your current clients is by rewarding them for their long-term patronage. At least once each year, offer them discount coupons for themselves or to give to a friend, free product samples, or other promotions to thank them for doing business with you. This type of relationship building will go a long way in creating customer good will and it will probably result in many more referrals. Low cost offerings like this generate additional revenue for you, and can expand your client base with very little effort on your part.
10. Share the wealth. If you create new products or services based on customer requests, figure out some way to reward the person or persons who came up with the idea. You might compensate them by giving them complimentary access to your product or service. You can formally acknowledge them as an inspiration on your website, or you can send them a monetary or other gift as a “thank you”.
© Copyright 2004 by Alicia Smith
About the Author
Alicia Smith is a Coach and Trainer whose specialty is helping people Make Money Now. She has taught over 70,000 people how to improve their business bottom lines. To learn more about her courses, products and services please email her at firstname.lastname@example.org) or visit (http://www.AliciaSmith.com) and (http://www.90DayMarketingMarathon.com).