Rem Oculee, the Founder and CEO of Confidence Wealth Management, knows precisely how vital your conversation with your customer is. In this episode, he explains why, how to dissect it, and how to personalize it to your customers and your company.
What Counts as Conversation?
Some people hear that word and think that it only applies to what you say to a customer during a transaction. But that’s only a tiny part of it. Conversation is the entirety of every piece of verbal and non-verbal communication between your company and your consumer. It’s everything the customer sees, hears, and feels, and it all says something about your company.
Even innocuous things like the colors of your businesses walls count. Let’s say you own a law firm, and you’ve decided to paint the walls purple because that’s your favorite color. When your customer walks in, they will immediately notice and start asking questions in their head. Why did you choose purple? Are you trying to make a statement? Does it represent something? Just the color of your walls will prompt all of that. Because it may differ from their perceived expectation, your customer may think it looks more like a retail store than a law firm.
Is that the dialogue you want to start with? Keep that in mind, because every little choice you make may limit how your consumers interact with your business.
How you position yourself is part of the total conversation.
Think Like a Buyer
This is where the Exit Mindset comes in. If you want to get the value from your company that you deserve, position yourself in the mind of the potential buyer of your company as well as the consumer. At the end of the day, your product is for them, both of them. If you analyze every part of your business and change it to fit the conversation you want, you can control the discussion and create the optimal business model.
A simple example is how your employees dress. Does one person wear a suit every day, while somebody else wears sweatpants, and everybody else is in jeans and a t-shirt? What does that say about your company? On a base level, it shows incongruency, that you didn’t plan things out, or possibly that you don’t care. You are missing out on an opportunity to control the conversation.
Potential buyers will easily be able to see whether you’ve purposefully configured everything to create a specific conversation with the consumer, which will affect your business valuation. If there are holes in it, they will find them.
Incongruency Kills Businesses
No matter what your goal is as a business owner, you need congruency and consistency throughout your company’s processes. If a potential buyer comes in and see incongruency between your conversation and your product, they will assume you’re inexperienced and offer you less. Even if you never plan to sell your company, this concept is still important because it also means you’re current model may be acquiring fewer customers and in turn you will be making less profit.
Consistency is the key to every business, no matter the size.
Corporations spend an enormous amount of time tailoring every part of the conversation they have with you. Take Costco, a warehouse-style supply store for businesses and non-businesses alike. Every location is a warehouse, and they make sure of that. Costco has the money to design all elements of their stores, but they don’t. Why not? Because their businesses are all warehouses, not luxury stores.
All of it is purposeful positioning. At any Costco you go to, you’ll get warehouse prices, quality, and quantity. It’s consistent.
If valet parking suddenly appeared out front, that would throw customers off because that signals a high-end establishment, not a discount warehouse. The same thing would happen if all the pallets or the greeter at the door disappeared. It would be incongruent with the way Costco presents itself. Any inconsistency takes away from the conversation and makes the customer question why they are there, especially if it’s different from the expectations the company initially set.
Dissect your business. Look at everything from the environment you create to how you package your product. You can mold all of it to fit precisely what you want. And doing that is how you create the perfect positioning and consistent conversation with your consumers for your business.
But how do you do that? You have to pick the position your consumers want, not necessarily the one you do. Which is better for them in the end? What gives them better value and their desired results? Because pleasing them is the only way to have a well-modeled and consistent business.
It’s All About the Consumer
It’s impossible to please every consumer. So you have to tailor your company to the ones you want. If you want your law firm to cater to high-end customers and be the top professional in the industry, but you have purple walls, you could be confusing potential customers and losing their business.
If you look at it another way, maybe you’re targeting consumers who want their law firms to present themselves as a store. If so, good job! You’re doing it right! That’s the proper way to craft a conversation.
Let’s dive deeper into the law firm example. Are the magazines in your reception area old and worn out? Think about how those ‘things’ represent your business. Certain consumers may see them and think that it’s what they expect and is comforting. It tells them that you’re no-frills, and you’ll get immediately to business. Others who are looking for something higher end may be put off by that. It might show them that you don’t care enough to buy new magazines. It all depends on your intended image and your consumer base.
A great real-world example of this is the difference between Louis Vuitton and Costco. If you walk into a Louis Vuitton store, you don’t anticipate a warehouse with pallets of purses that you can buy in bulk. You expect to see only one bag because they are so high-end and valuable. That does not mean Louis Vuitton is “better” than Costco. It just means that they have optimized their conversation and have fit it to their specific consumers and only them.
Issues With Your Conversation
We could spend all day listing things that can go wrong with a conversation, but to simplify it, the two most common issues are: 1. Missing Parts and 2. Having the Wrong Conversation.
These are two very different problems, with different solutions.
Let’s say you’re dealing with a missing part of the conversation, and we will use that magazines in your waiting room for example, again. Let’s further assume your business is one that requires your customers to wait for long periods of time in your reception area. Going further, let’s say you have nothing to distract them from their anxieties while they wait, which causes some potential customers to leave early. If you attempt to fix this issue by simply changing the paint on the walls, then you won’t solve your issue.
On the other hand, let’s say you own that law firm with the purple walls, but you’ve found that you’re causing the wrong type of dialogue in your consumer’s head. The solution there might be to simply repaint the walls in grey or white because that’s more consistent with your intended image.
Once you’ve taken the time to analyze your business, it’s a simple process to find these incongruencies and fix them. Every problem has its personalized solution. You know your company better than anyone else, so who better to make it the best it can possibly be and reap the rewards?
See It Through to the End
The conversation doesn’t begin and end when your customer sees your product. You have to carry it through to the end and be consistent with what your consumer wants. Appeal to them throughout the whole process. Because if they buy your product and get home with it, but the way your customer service line treats them doesn’t match with how they experienced the rest of your business, it’ll make them question their decision. They might regret buying your product or decide to return it. Ultimately, it takes one drop of ink to ruin a glass of water. Incongruency will tarnish your customer’s experience no matter where it rears its ugly head.
Here’s how the Exit Mindset can help you create something magical out of your company. Once you start thinking like a buyer, your consumers will feel good about trusting you. Potential buyers will feel the same way as your consumers. They’ll just see it through the eye of “Is this a good business to be buying?” rather than focusing on just a product.
This situation is why you create a feedback loop for yourself. Examine your company, make changes, and see the effects. Once you’ve done that, then you do it again. Continually improve until you have the best company possible. Doing this will create more profit, more free time for you, and a higher valuation. When the time comes, if you want to sell your company, you’ll be getting what you deserve for it – the highest amount possible because you have implemented the best business model.
#MindsetMoment: Put the Pressure on Immediately
Start analyzing your conversation with the consumer, right away. Everything from the way your employees dress to the music playing in your lobby. Put in whatever effort is necessary so you can review and dissect it in a few days. If something isn’t congruent, don’t wait weeks to fix it, because then the pressure will be off. Fix those cracks immediately.
Why wait to earn the profits you deserve? Start thinking like a buyer today and address your company’s conversation!