There were 150 people in the room, and all eyes were on me. I was the keynote speaker at a major annual meeting for the American Diabetes Association. My program was entitled, “The Power of Choice.” The staff and volunteers that were present had made a series of choices that brought them to this place. These people are dedicated to a cause. They needed the well deserved “pat on the back,” and a motivating message to carry as they moved forward in their quest.
Diabetes has reached epidemic proportions in the United States. In the past eight years the number of people with diabetes has grown 50%! The good news is that the ADA has seen this trend developing. Eight years ago only 50% of the people with diabetes even knew they had it. Today less then one third of the people with diabetes don’t know it.
The ADA has worked hard over the years to fulfill the needs of the people in their market. They have stepped up fundraising, staffing, the number of volunteers, and the depth of the services they offer.
Their success in educating people with diabetes is based on their ability to anticipate needs and then fulfill them.
You can build your business by fulfilling needs as well. Being effective at fulfilling your clients needs is based on three things.
1. Understand your client’s current needs.
What needs do your clients currently have? Do you know all of them, or just some? Are you a resource for the entire range of needs that your clients have?
Many business professionals take the course of least resistance. They do one or two things well and then focus on those two things. If your clients have more needs, then you should develop the skills necessary to be a resource for those needs as well. If your clients needs extend beyond the scope of what you do, a network of resources for them may be a powerful solution.
The best way to discover all of your clients needs is to ask them. Find out what they like about the services and products you offer. Also, ask them what other services or products would be of benefit to them.
Take your clients to lunch. Interview them. Learn about their professional and personal needs. Now find ways of servicing those needs.
2. Understand the future needs of your client.
Many times, a client’s needs will change over time. They may anticipate the changes that they will face, but they may not. It is your responsibility to have the vision necessary to understand what is coming.
Needs change for several reasons. Your client’s needs are affected by the economy, changes in technology, changes in government, social changes, and changes brought on by age.
New products and services expose new opportunities for you to add value to your clients. On the other hand, changes in their business or personal life may create needs that you could fill.
Ask your clients open-ended questions like, “In the next three to five years, what additional investment needs do you anticipate having?” Give a wide range of possibilities for your clients to fill in the blanks. Ask questions that will allow their thinking to be as broad as possible.
Each time you fill a clients needs you bring value to their life, you further a relationship, and you create an opportunity to generate referrals for your business.
3. A mindset of service.
The greatest business professionals I know always put their clients first. They are not commission or profit focused. They are client focused. Sure, they want to run a profitable business, and they know that they need to be aware of the numbers and manage their company appropriately. But, they also know that without their clients they would not be in business.
If you focus on your clients, their needs, and how your products or services can fulfill their needs, then you will almost automatically generate profits.
Sometimes you may need to recommend someone else’s product as the best alternative for your client’s specific needs. Ultimately, having a mindset of service means always putting your client’s needs before your own.
Don’t think for one minute that a client doesn’t recognize this attitude. They will be grateful. They will be loyal. They will refer other business your way.
By understanding your clients current needs, future needs, and having a mindset of service you will fulfill more of their needs, and you will be on the road to Building a Better Biz!