I once read a story about three entrepreneurs that approached a hungry man with three different questions. Below is the conversation between each of the entrepreneurs and the hungry man.

First entrepreneur to hungry man: What do you want? The hungry man: I want “a sandwich,” 

The action: The first entrepreneur opens a sandwich shop. 

Second entrepreneur to hungry man: What is your problem? The hungry man replied: “I am hungry.”

The action: The second entrepreneur opened a grocery store

Third entrepreneur to hungry man: “What is your goal’? The hungry man replied: “To feel full and nourished.

The action: The third entrepreneur invents a nutritious, filling pill. 

The three entrepreneurs met the hungry man’s need in completely different ways, but the third entrepreneur is the one that had the most impact because of the result he was able to achieve. He asked about the goal, and this question helped him to make the most impact of the three.

To establish a long-lasting and rewarding relationship with your customers, you must know their goals. This is similar to the concept of beginning with the end in mind. Gone are the days when you only want to sell to your customers, make money, and forget about them. You must learn how to partner with your customers to give them what they want, solve their problems, and help them achieve their business objectives.

Today’s world is outcome-driven. According to Jeb Dasteel, Oracle senior vice president, “The ability to succeed in this new economy will depend on how well you sell and deliver measurable business outcomes to your customers.”

The question now is, do you know the outcome that your customers want?

For Amazon – they know that their customers want a one-stop-shop where they can conveniently buy everything they want, right at the comfort of their homes.

Tesla is capturing the automobile market share because they appeal to customers that care about protecting the environment by offering electric vehicles.

In the US political landscape today, the Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders has been able to gain so much influence because of the outcome he promises the electorate – Free healthcare, Free College education, and so on. He appealed to the people who believe that it’s the government’s responsibility to meet all those needs.

Donald Trump won the 2016 US presidential election because of the outcome he sold to the people – to make America great again. He promised to bring jobs back to the United States, reduce government deficits, and provide a path for every American to live the American dream.

Without knowing the outcome that your customers want, it will be challenging to build a long-lasting relationship with them. You need the KEEP strategy to create a future where you prosper with your customers. Here are four strategic ways to KEEP healthy relationships with your customers and make your business thrive.

1.    Know your customer: Obviously, the starting point is to get into the room with your customer. You need to understand the customers, know their pain points, empathize with them, and have an in-depth knowledge of a day in the life of your customer. To be successful at this stage, you must have a means of collecting relevant customer information, such as email addresses, current and future projects, and all details that you use to develop a knowledge database about your customer.

2.    Establish relationships with the customer: This is where you need to begin segregating and segmenting the customers. Who are your key customers? Who are the high paying customers? And you must regularly engage with your customers. Let them know about new products or services in the pipeline before they ask. You need to be proactive to be successful at this stage.

3.    Execute for the customer: You will be successful in your relationship with your customer if you also learn how to deliver and execute for them. That includes ensuring that your products and services meet or surpass customer’s expectations, your whole supply chain ecosystem has to be functional to avoid delays or sending defective products to the customer.

4.    Prosper with the customer: The partnership with your customer must be a mutually beneficial one. You are making money from the customer, and at the same time, you are also helping your customer to either reduce cost or make more money. If a customer spends $100k on your product or services, in return, that investment should be able to boost your customer’s bottom line by over $300k. 

Every business must be able to provide the outcome that their clients desire to maintain a healthy and prosperous relationship with the clients. It is no longer enough to just ask what the customer wants; you must be able to predict what’s next and figure out how to implement and sell the future to your clients. Apple saw that future, and they make smartphones that we all have come to accept as one of the most crucial gadgets to possess. Amazon saw that future, and they built a behemoth eCommerce platform where millions of customers shop every day.

Do you want to build that future for your business? Then it would help if you use the KEEP strategy to create outcomes that your customer desire so that you can make your business thrive.

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