"Opportunity dances with those who are already on the dance floor."

H. Jackson Brown, Jr.


As we're sailing into uncharted waters, it's certain that our business climate will be different.

I don't know what the future holds, but business will become much more competitive and if you're unable to differentiate your product or service from your competitor's by anything other than price you'll be a loser.

In the days ahead, I would suggest that you set aside some time to think of what you need to do to become more successful and then create a Master Plan of ACTion to go out, find - and capture - the opportunities that are there.

Here are seven questions to ask yourself and your colleagues:

1. What are we doing to give our customers what they want? How much time do we spend asking them questions about their goals, objectives, and challenges?

2. How can we help our customers improve the quality of the products or services that they supply to their customers? How much do we "really" know about who they are and what they do?

3. What compelling reason do we give our customers for doing business with us? Make a list of all the reasons why a customer should be doing business with you.  Look at each item on your list. Does it describe a feature about you, your company or your product? Or does it describe a benefit to the customer?

4. How can we better serve our customers? What more can you do to make their lives easier? Save them time? Improve their productivity?  Help them make more money?

5. What can we do to make our products better and more competitive?

6. What are the shortcomings of your competitor's products? How can you capitalize on their shortcomings so you can take business away from them?

7. What can we do to make our customers more successful and profitable?

If you're able to position yourself as a consultant instead of justbeing just a vendor or supplier your relationship will be dramatically different.

Ask Better Questions

The key to doing all of the above is to ask better questions.  Questions of yourself and questions of your customers.

By focusing on your customer's needs and wants, instead of simply telling them who you are and describing what your products do, you become a trusted advisor and build the foundation for a long term relationship.

Reprinted with permission from "Jeffrey Mayer's Succeeding in Business Newsletter" (Copy right 2001, Jeffrey J. Mayer, Succeeding in Business, Inc.)  He can be reached at jeff@succeedinginbusiness.com or http://www.SucceedingInBusiness.com

1. What are your expectations from answering these questions?

2. How much can your business improve if you take the time to focus on these questions?

3. Who do you need to pull together to answer these questions?

4.   Is it you alone?  Is it your sales and client retention team? Marketing?  Others?

5.   When will you get them together?

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September 28, 2001
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