The Revenue Growth Habit - October/November - 2015

The Power of Customer Insights

Sometimes people tell me that revenue growth cannot be as easy as I teach it to be.

Here’s the good news: It is precisely as easy as I say. I’ve implemented this approach for dozens of clients, from the publicly traded, to the multi-generational family business, to startups. If you want to grow your company’s revenues, start by talking to your customers to understand how they think, feel, and what they say about your work.

Why talk to customers proactively?

Because most of us only hear from customers when they’re unhappy.

Because we are so stuck in the day-to-day minutia muck of our work that we lose sight of just how positively our clients perceive us.

Because when we’re racing from one fire to the next, we are reacting, dodging and running our business from moment to moment. We are the opposite of planful.

Once they start gathering qualitative insights from their customers, my clients realize almost immediately that they – the companies’ owners and high level corporate executives – communicate more negatively about their products and services than their customers do.

Once we start talking with customers, we are extracted from the mud of details we trudge through daily. We begin to market better, more and faster. We take more action, which is possibly the single most important rate-determining step in growing your business. We are building relationships. We are obtaining our very marketing messaging.

When we engage in this free, easy and fast process of gathering the thinking of our customers, our business grows.

So, how easy is it, really?

It’s this easy:

Schedule a 15 minute conversation with one of your customers. Tell them you’re trying to improve your work, and the value that you provide them. Tell them also that you are trying to improve the way you talk about work.

When the conversation starts, ask them some of the following questions:

  1. What do you like best about doing business with us?
  2. Why have you stayed with us for as long as you have?
  3. How would you describe our work to your peers and colleagues, to make them say “Wow, I need to work with that company?”
  4. What are the first three emotional words you think of when you work with us?

How much money have you made (or saved) as a result of our work?

You don’t move from one question to the next. Rather, be in the moment and listen closely to what the customer says. Then, ask “why?” a lot.

So, if she says “It let’s me focus on my work and not worry about my forms (or checks, envelopes, promotional products, apparel, etc.),” I would reply:

“That’s interesting, how does that play out?”

Or: “Why is that important to you?”

Get at the emotion: “How does this improve your work?”

She may reply: “I get more done in a day,” or “It makes me look good in front of my boss.”

Then, bring it back together: “So, are you saying working with us makes you more productive?”

Try to quantify things. Don’t simply accept that time savings are a benefit of your work, but try to get at how much time has been saved. And how much this freed time is worth.

What you’re doing here has myriad benefits:

You are uncovering your marketing messaging. There is nothing you can say about your work that is as powerful as what your customers say. If it comes from you, it’s marketing. If it comes from customers, it’s the truth.

You are gathering testimonials, which, with permission, can be used in all of your materials.

You are, possibly for the first time in a long time, seeing the big picture, working on your business rather than in it.

You are improving your mindset.

You are becoming more positive about your work, company, and employees.

And if you let your staff hear the recordings of your conversations, and see the testimonials – customers speaking in glowing terms about their work – you will dramatically improve your people’s performance.

What’s the downside?

It’s fast, free, and, yes, incredibly easy.

This process is described in depth in Alex Goldfayn’s new book from John Wiley & Sons, The Revenue Growth Habit: The Simple Art of Growing Your Business by 15% in 15 Minutes a Day. Alex is the CEO of the revenue growth consulting firm The Evangelist Marketing Institute. Visit his website at