Recently I received a coupon in the mail from the local franchise of a national tire and lube chain offering me a “free brake inspection”. My wife had said that the brakes had been squeaking a little bit, so I thought I would take the vehicle in for an oil change and take advantage of the free brake inspection. The manager approached me in the waiting room with the gloomy results of my inspection. He explained that the rotors had worn down so much that they had ruined the pads, as well, which would result in several hundred dollars worth of repairs.
Fortunately, we have a local mechanic who we trust. I thanked the manager and took my vehicle directly to our local mechanic’s shop. They inspected the brakes and explained that the squeaking was because of the way the rotors were wearing, but they still had a lot of wear in them and the pads were fine, so I didn’t need to spend any money on brake repairs that day.
The One Thing
City Slickers is a 1991 movie with Billy Crystal about some friends from the big city who go on a cattle drive to deal with their mid-life crises. On the trip, their trail boss tells them that the secret to life is “just one thing”, but they have to figure out what that one thing is. The same applies to your business. In the day-to-day process of running a business, there are a myriad of necessary things that must be done, as well as many distractions that seem to keep you from focusing on the important things. However, you must focus on “The One Thing” to succeed.
It’s obvious, and there’s no waiting to the end to reveal this one, but the one thing that you should focus on as a small business is your customers. Although we’re all in business to make money, the final goal of your business is to help your customers solve a problem. The purpose of marketing is to let your customers and potential customers know that you are available to help them and that you are the best option to help them. If you focus on your customers’ needs, then other decisions become easier.
Focusing on “The One Thing” allows you to see your marketing tools from a different perspective. Your social promotions become less about promoting yourself and more about helping your customers meet their needs. You can use your social media accounts and website as true customer service avenues, allowing people to communicate with you easily and immediately, as well as find the information they’re looking for without having to go through a call tree or leave a voicemail and hope you get back to them within a reasonable amount of time.
Your SEO and SEM, as well as your content marketing campaigns aren’t focused on tricking people into visiting your site, but you create truly useful and helpful content. That type of marketing builds a relationship of trust, which turns you into the provider of choice when the need arises. If you focus on “The One Thing”, reputation management becomes easy, because your customers are your greatest supporters.
Don’t be the business that everyone fears because they don’t know if they’re getting the truth or just a sales pitch. To build trust, you must give an honest assessment of the customer’s needs, as well as an honest assessment of whether the goods and services you provide will be beneficial. You will build more trust and future business by being helpful and honest, even when you help customers fix things themselves or admit that the solution you have isn’t exactly right to meet their needs. With this in mind, you can use social media and content marketing to help build trust and create a sparkling reputation.
The concept of building trust doesn’t only apply to small businesses either. Large businesses have grown or failed because of trust won or lost. It can be scary, because there is always the fear that people will take advantage of you, but the consumer trust you gain more than outweighs the few who will use you without giving back. It’s not a short-term strategy, but if you freely give knowledge, genuine help and honest advice, you will earn customers for life.