How I Took Our Company from $0 to $12 Million in Sales in 3 Years – by Doing the Opposite to Everybody Else in Our Industry

How I Took Our Company from $0 to $12 Million in Sales in 3 Years – by Doing the Opposite to Everybody Else in Our Industry

Anybody can conduct business in the same way as everybody else. It’s the businesses that create “wow” moments that achieve the most success. Here’s how to do it in your business.

Do you have clients who rave about your service? Or, do you have clients that are happy enough but aren’t helping you to sell more products?

Maybe you fall into the latter camp? If so, you’re not alone. Many business owners find themselves there. I sure did. I relied on established business models to deliver my services, which meant I didn’t stand out from the crowd.

Take the catering business I opened with several business partners in 2011. At first, we followed the same business model as so many other catering companies. We’d take bookings, often over a year in advance, and then deliver on the booking when the time came.

That’s a huge lead time that left plenty of opportunity for things to go wrong.

We found that many catering companies do very little with this lead time. They agree on a service with the client and don’t contact them again until a couple of weeks before the due date.

Nothing about that process enthuses the client. Nobody’s getting excited about the catering business because there’s nothing to get excited about. There are no touch points or wow moments. As a result, the client doesn’t become a raving fan who wants to talk about what we do with their friends, colleagues and team. They’re just somebody who’s ordered the service and then waits for it to arrive.

We recognised this flaw in our business plan and set about fixing it. Our goal was to create wow moments that would get clients talking long before we delivered our service.

What is a Wow Moment?

“Wow Moments” are a pretty simple thing, but so few businesses manage to deliver them consistently. For our business, it could relate to the moment the client first tastes the food. If it exceeds their expectations, you get a wow moment. Another example is food delivery time. If that first meal arrives at the table at precisely the right time, you’ve created another wow moment.

Every business has them. Apple’s iPhones generate “Wow Moments” because they do things nobody thinks you can do with a mobile phone. Other companies may rely on their customer service to generate wow moments.

At its simplest, a “Wow Moment” occurs when you offer the client more than what they expected. As a result, they’re not something that occurs by chance. You have complete control over your wow moments, to the point that you can – and must – build them into your company’s structure.

But I’ll get to that in just a little while. First, let’s look at the two key benefits of creating wow moments.

Benefit #1 – You Get Clients Talking About You

Let’s come back to our year-long lead time for the catering service. That’s an entire 12 months during which we had clients who said absolutely nothing about our business. That’s one wasted year when it comes to generating word of mouth and getting referrals.

Instead, any positive buzz that came from our service started from the date that we delivered it.

We wanted to get clients talking about us before that, so we built wow moments into those 12 months.

These wow moments don’t have to be huge. They just need to be something that the client isn’t expecting. For example, a well-timed gift basket delivered as a thank-you to the client serves as a wow moment for us. Other businesses may use discount vouchers, thank-you emails, or hundreds of other moments.

All of these little wow moments get clients talking about your business.

Again, take our gift baskets as an example. When a client received one, they loved that we cared about them enough to think beyond our main service.

So, what did they do?

They went to their friends and told them about this lovely gift basket they’d received from their caterer. As a result, those friends heard about us months before we provided the actual catering service.

That’s putting that year of lead time to good use. By the time we delivered our main service, the client was already raving about us. As a result, we’d picked up some new clients before they’d even tasted our food.

Benefit #2 – You Build Trust With Each Moment

With my business, the key wow moment came upon the delivery of the food.

Let’s say the client asked for the first meal to be on the table at 7:30pm. If we deliver the food at that exact time, we’ve created a major wow moment.

But there’s so much that could go wrong that prevents us from doing that. An issue in the kitchen could delay that first meal by a few minutes. Even something as small as the table arrangements could affect that delivery.

If that happened, we’d lost our wow moment. As a result, we had less chance of that client becoming a marketing force for our business.

That’s why we built wow moments throughout the entire client relationship. Every little moment, be it the gift basket or an email, reinforced the emotional connection the client had to us. Each also built trust in what we do. The client was already wowed by our service by the time we came to deliver it.

As a result, little things going wrong didn’t matter so much. Our “big” wow moment may not come to pass because of the issues I’ve mentioned. But every other wow moment we created along the way meant the client still trusted us. They knew that we’d fix the problem and deliver a great service because that’s what we’d been doing for the entire year.

That trust is a huge benefit of building wow moments into your client journey. Everything that deepens the relationship leads to higher sales. But it’s something that nobody else seemed to be doing.

It’s All about Structure

I’ve mentioned building wow moments into your company structure, so let’s elaborate on that.

Your relationship with your clients is a journey. Over the course of that journey, you’ll have several “touch points”. These are times when you may be able to wow the client with what you do.

The important thing is that these touch points don’t happen by chance. They’re something that you can build into the structure of the service that you provide.

Let’s go back to my catering business. Our major touch point comes on the day of delivery. That’s when the client gets to taste the food and find out that it exceeds their expectations. You can consider this the moment of truth.

But that’s not always enough to turn that client into a raving fan. Usually, you just have somebody who enjoyed a good meal.

It’s the touch points that we built into the client journey before that big moment that turned customers into fans.

Turning each of these touch points into wow moments built client trust. That got people talking, which meant we got a year’s worth of marketing where other catering companies had nothing.

You can apply this philosophy to any business endeavour. It’s all about creating a great client journey.

Plotting Your Client Journey

Every client goes on an emotional journey when they engage your company. Yes, they want to enjoy the product that you deliver. But they also want to feel connected with you and what you do. The stronger you make that connection, the more likely it is that you’ll turn customers into raving fans.

So, how do you do that?

It’s all about focusing on the client journey. For my business, this involved recognising that the journey doesn’t begin when we deliver the food. It often begins before we’ve even spoken to the client. The wow moments we created for other clients often encourage others to start the client journey.

But you need something that you can apply to your own business. Here are the five steps to creating a client journey.

Step #1 – Create a Buyer Persona

Before you can sell to anybody, you need to understand who you’re selling to. How does your typical customer behave? Do they have particular likes and dislikes for you to keep in mind?

Put yourself in the shoes of somebody who’s buying from your company. What does that person look like to you?

These are all important questions to ask because they let you figure out who your audience is. When you know who you’re selling to, you can create a tailored customer journey to match that buyer persona.

Step #2 – Identify the Buyer’s Goals

Now that you have the persona nailed down, it’s time to look at your buyer’s specific goals.

It starts with a simple question: What does my buyer want to achieve from using my service.

For me, the buyer’s goal was to deliver great food to their guests. They relied on me to make that happen.

That’s the main goal, but many forget that buyers have other goals along the way. These include:

  • Ensuring they find somebody with a strong reputation
  • Getting the service at a reasonable price
  • Finding out more information from you

Your client’s journey requires you to meet all of those goals.

Step #3 – Identify the Touch Points

This is where you get into what I’ve spoken about throughout this article. A client’s touch points are any time that they’re in contact with you.

It doesn’t matter who initiates the contact. What matters is that you turn every touch point into a wow moment. Figure out your touch points and then figure out how to exceed the client’s expectations with each one. In doing so, you structure wow moments into your service.

Step #4 – Figure out the Pain Points

Don’t assume that everything will go perfectly in your customer’s journey. The issues I mentioned earlier about kitchen problems and table layouts show that perfect isn’t always possible.

Any potential obstacle in the client journey is a pain point. Identify where each may occur and then fix the problem. For example, you may need to train employees to meet a certain standard. Or, you may not deliver your message as well via mobile devices as you do via your desktop-optimised website. Anything that may hold up the client journey is a pain point that you must focus on.

Step #5 – Revisit the Journey

The previous four steps help you to create a great client journey. But you can’t assume that it’s perfect. There’s always something for you to fix.

Some clients may experience problems that your journey model didn’t anticipate. A new technology may come along that changes the journey entirely.

When you revisit the journey, you can adapt it to meet these new challenges.

The Final Word

So, how did I turn a $0 business into a $12 million one?

I created wow moments where other businesses failed to create any. I focused on delivering an exceptional customer journey that started long before I delivered any food.

You can do it too. Every business has touch points and potential wow moments. Figure out where yours are and you’ll enjoy higher sales.

During the 1 Hour Business Review Session, my aim will be to help you see hidden opportunities in your business. During the session we can discuss any aspect of your business in which you would like support, such as:

* Growth Strategies
* Marketing
* Sales and Distribution
* Pricing and Packaging
* Consolidation
* Acquisition
* Merger/Sale, Capital Raising, IPO

After 35+ years working with small and large businesses, buying, selling and growing them across a range of sectors, I can work with you on any level or area.

And it all starts with a no-obligation 1 Hour Business Review Session.

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