Figuring Out What’s Next

By Beacon Staff

If you know anyone who has had a coaching session with me, they may have mentioned that I have a habit of asking some annoying questions.

They aren’t meant to annoy. Most of the time these are very simple questions, but they often end up being the ones that generate the most hand-wringing. Or maybe the most stuff added to the ToDo list.

A question that forces you to think hard about your business, despite the fact that it was annoyingly simple, is usually a good thing. You don’t get off the hook with a “I dunno” and a shrug to one of those questions.

One such example is… “What’s next?”

It’s not a specific question. Usually, it means quite different things to each person I ask.

It could mean “What are you doing next for your clients?”, “What are you doing next to raise the bar?”, “What else are you going to do to get more clients” or “What are you start doing to keep your clients even more loyal?”
And it could mean a number of other things.

The key is that no matter what the context, people don’t think about this sort of thing often enough. Many just think about getting the client. Once they have a new client, they go on to chasing the next one, often forgetting all about the “care and feeding” of the last one.

That’s the critical part, but what do many do with them after that first sale? In many cases, folks don’t do a darned thing. Or at least, nothing even remotely special.

Why special? Why do I keep bringing up that sort of thing? Because if you don’t do something special, someone else will. When they do, that customer will hop right over the fence and end up in someone else’s herd. So to speak, at least.

English music promoter Martin Adkins says “Do more than any sane person would.” That’s what guides you to the answer to “What’s next”

One of the things that helps your clients figure out what’s next is a ladder or a sequence. People have been conditioned over the years to follow a sequence of steps. If they see a ladder (so to speak), they know they’re supposed to climb it.

Do you show them the ladder at your business?

If that next thing in your sales process doesn’t exist, how do they know what to buy, do or invest in next? Or do they go somewhere else?

One of the ways you figure out what’s next is by constantly taking the time to learn more about what’s new in your industry, about new strategies – including those used in other markets – and anything else that you can leverage to make your products and services offer even more value to your clientele.

Quite often when you do this, you have to go out of town. Things are changing in that area, however. There’s more and more content available online, via teleconference and so on.

But nothing beats face to face. Your face may scrunch up when one of those questions gets asked, but that’s life. Mastermind groups are another great way to get that scrunchy face, but return to the office with a lot of todos to grow your business.

Speaking of face to face, a great opportunity is coming soon to experience just that. On Friday October 17th, an assembly of regional and national speakers will speak at an event focused on the future, current trends and the economy in the Flathead and across Montana.

Sponsored by Montana West Economic Development and the Flathead Area Young Professionals (young is relative, don’t let the name throw you if you’re young at heart), Success in the New West is designed to provide just the kind of experience noted above. In addition to featuring nationally known speakers such as Salt Lake based economist Jeff Thredgold, local speakers are involved and the event will highlight innovative Flathead Valley businesses as well.

Innovative businesses are one of many places you can get good ideas to take back up and massage into something that fits your business. For more info on Success in the New West, see SuccessInTheNewWest.com.

Until then…What’s next for your business?

Want to learn more about Mark or ask him to write about a business, operations or marketing problem? See Mark’s site or contact him at [email protected].