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Sunday, 25 March 2012

Why Do Your Customers Love You? It’s Your DCA That Makes Them!

US Vistage speaker. Walt Sutton, introduced a very valuable concept in his session to my group when he suggested as one of the core tasks of leaders that they should “discover the nature of the Secret and then exploit it”.

Every business has a secret within itself that says, this is what we are good at and this is what our customers like about us.

Illustrate that, then, in some well known businesses. For example:

·       Microsoft makes or buys relatively good software AND they are very adept at marketing it and consequently making money.

·       Google offers a free way to interrogate the web, and the secret is that it gives users the ability to solve a problem of fact or knowledge in an incredibly short space of time.

·       Warren Buffett’s secret is that he understands the guts of businesses, he knows how to value them and then turn that knowledge into money.

Please note: this is not the same as that cliché of all sales and marketing people, the USP or Unique Selling Proposition, which defines (or hopes to) the reasons that customers buy the specific product or service.

I was reminded of the Secret concept this week during a brilliant Vistage session with Australian Vistage speaker, Nick Setchell, who proposed the concept of the DCA, the Dominant Commercial Advantage which, in essence, is much the same as the Secret.

Over the years I have heard some leaders say that they are in a very competitive industry, it is almost impossible to persuade customers to deal with the company, the competitors are crazy, price is everything and so on ad absurdum.

If we then ask them some questions such as:

·       What is your turnover and profit?
·       How many customers do you have
·       How long do they stay with you?

and so on, we can point out that they must be doing something right to encourages the customers to deal and to continue to deal with them

The real questions to ask are:
Precisely why do customers buy from us?  What is it that encourages them to deal with us when they could easily go to another supplier who may, for example, offer lower prices or faster delivery?
The level of turnover alone says that somebody loves us and it behoves us to discover precisely what that mysterious DCA component looks like.
So how to do it?  Probably the best way is through a good brainstorming session with the top team.  Remember that no suggestion should be discarded however strange or even bizarre, as the final selection will define the answer.
Make sure that you are not looking for the USP which is a different animal.  The DCA is hidden in the inner recesses of the business and needs to be uncovered and, most importantly, exploited for the benefit of everyone.
So, what is your Dominant Commercial Advantage and what are you doing to exploit it?  In other words, what are you good at?

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