Every day, you set a business table for your employees and your customers. The type of business table you set is reflected in your own appearance and demeanor, as well as that of your employees.
The type of business table you set is reflected by the appearance of all areas of your workplace, including the bathrooms and the loading dock.
Eventually, the type of business table you set is reflected by the type of customers you acquire.
What would your customers tell their peers about you and the type of business table you set?
Would they say that doing business with you is like buying – and consuming – the food prepared by:
- A fast food, drive-through franchise
- A food truck
- An educational institution cafeteria
- A sushi restaurant
- A mom and pop diner along the road to nowhere
- A moderately priced restaurant chain (the kind you go to during out of town soccer tournaments)
- A 5-star restaurant
- A professional caterer
- Your mother
- Your grandmother
Would your customers tell their peers that sitting at your business table, and choosing to buy from you – and consume your deliverables – is:
- Consistently dependable and high quality
- Fluctuates depending on the day of the week and the number of customers you are working with
- Frequently causes them heartburn due to low quality output
- Cheap, predictable and only to be used for certain types of projects
- Constantly gives them food poisoning
- Only to be consumed at your own risk, if you are starving and there are no other alternatives
- Nutritious, easy on the digestive track and worth the price paid
- Memorable – in the positive sense
- A lifesaver, even when there are unanticipated “surprises”
- A habit they are glad they acquired and look forward to continuing to do
How would your customers describe your menu of core capabilities and output to their peers asking for referrals to vendors in your vertical?
- Canned Spam® sandwiches
- Runny Red Jello®
- Peanut butter and jelly (OK, Marmite® and butter or cream cheese)
- High fiber vegan
- Meat loaf that tastes like sawdust
- Varied, tasty, creative, nutritious and delicious
- A partially defrosted frozen dinner
- The combination of stuff I saw my college entrepreneurship students eating during class (I’m not getting into details here)
- Your Mother’s kitchen during the holidays
- Your Grandmother’s kitchen during the holidays
This week, ask your employees to answer these questions independently. Then poll and discuss around your business table.
Next week, ask your customers these same questions.
You may feel that working with you is a feast. Your customers may feel the customer experience is completely indigestible.
Perhaps it’s time to re-evaluate the type of business table you set.
Babette N. Ten Haken, President of Sales Aerobics for Engineers®, LLC, catalyzes business transition, startup growth, and professional development. She was named on of the 2014 Top 50 Sales & Marketing Influencers by Top Sales World Magazine.