This is so simple I’m just going to get straight to the point:
In my coaching and consulting with business owners across different industries I’ve discovered a clear and simple way to break down their “problems.” These problems are really just opportunities to grow and evolve themselves and/or the business. These opportunities can be compartmentalized into 3 different phases of their business, and when we can compartmentalize them we can more easily address and resolve them. Most of the time we can do it more quickly too, which makes business owners (like me) very happy!
When I explain these 3 simple phases you’re going to feel like saying, “Well duh, Chris. Everyone knows that…” And I’ll happily reply, “No, they don’t. Or I wouldn’t have a job!”
So here’s how this breaks down:
Every business involves a product or service. Most businesses have a goal to create happy clients with their product or service. While that is great, what REALLY matters is HOW the customer moves through the business’s offering of this product or service. This client journey usually happens in three phases…
Phase 1: Prework
This phase involves everything the business must do (or must not do) in order to convert a lead to a client/buyer. Everything from creating the service/product, setting up the business entity itself, marketing, branding, sales copy, using tools for purchase, connecting with the lead, distributing the product/service, and the client’s experience up until the exact point when they buy.
The Prework phase is often tricky for newbie business owners. These kinds of clients usually tell me “I JUST WANT TO GET STARTED AND HELP PEOPLE!!” And that’s great… but first you still get to do all the Prework that actually gets clients into your world.
Phase 2: Work
So you’ve done a great job of outlining a phenomenal customer service Prework phase and they said “Hell yes!” to your product or service. Congrats! Your reward is to serve this client (hopefully with world class customer service/products) and make sure they’re happy. This phase is simply the Work phase. (Cue your saying, “Well duh, Chris. Everyone knows that…”). There is a reason this needs to stay SIMPLE, folks — As my coach Dr. Keith Waggoner likes to say:
“Complication is the enemy of execution.”
When we overcomplicate our business, it becomes even more difficult to execute the sales and customer service cycles. Those cycles are what leads to happy clients, so it may be time to reevaluate whether you’re throwing a complicated monkey wrench into your own business… Or, if you prefer another phrase, my mentor Todd Paxton had to remind me frequently to “Keep it simple stupid.” Even today, I still hear him joking that I needed to K.I.S.S. this thing, whether I was complicating coffee or closing a real estate deal. Choose your favorite quote and lets move on to the main point 🙂
Phase 3: Postwork
You’ve prepared everything in your business to offer a product or service to an amazing client, they bought from you and received excellent products or customer service, and now the party is over… Or is it? There’s a lot of talk about Raving Fans and creating clients for life in service industries, yet if you’re selling products there will be times where your relationship with the client is arguably over at the end of the sale… or is it?
The Postwork phase includes everything you want your business to do for the client in order to maintain a relationship with them after the sale is over. Hopefully, you’ve developed such a powerful Postwork phase you persuade them to buy again, refer you future business, or at least feel like you still care (and you should still care) after the sale.
Yes, I know — this is an oversimplification of a customer service cycle — AND THAT’S WHY IT WORKS! And when it comes to my coaching and consulting, I’m really only interested in approaches that WORK for my clients.
Look — We allow our businesses to get too complicated, convoluted, and arbitrary all the time. We forget there are really only 3 main phases that actually matter:
1) the Prework of getting clients into our world
2) the Work itself in serving the client or creating a great product
and 3) the Postwork of how we treat that client after the sale is complete.
Breaking down any business to these 3 pieces is extremely helpful. (This is where you start applying the idea to your own career or business…) Reducing it down these simple elements allows us to quickly identify where we can improve our service or bottom line.
For instance, if you’re rocking and rolling in terms of client satisfaction and referral business (Work and Postwork), what needs to change immediately to improve your Prework phase?
If you’re doing great at getting people into your world, your client ratings are consistently high, but no referral or repeat business is coming your way, what needs to change in your Postwork phase? How can you entice these awesome people to share the love??
I’ve discovered this 3-Phase approach works whether I’m coaching or consulting clients in lending, real estate, dental work, education, childcare, accounting, marketing, sales, etc. We can break down ANY business to see which phase needs improvement. And when we can more easily identify and resolve problems (or opportunities if you’re paying attention) we can increase profits and happiness with any business owner.
If you found value in this please share it now with someone who needs to evaluate the 3 most important phases in their business!
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