By Mark Creedon
What beach volleyball taught me about business
I was watching the ladies’ beach volleyball in the Tokyo Olympics a few weeks back.
I’ve never really played volleyball and to be brutally honest I’ve never really watched it much other than that amazing gold medal win in the Sydney Olympics in 2000.
As I was watching the gameplay out, I realised that there were essentially three moves. Now, before you volleyball aficionados shut me down, I know there’s a lot more to it than that but the three moves that I saw were those of dig, set, and spike.
The whole idea is that someone at the back of the court digs underneath the ball so that the other player can set it up ready for the final spike over the net.
It’s a little bit like a three-step process that you can use to get more business from your existing clients.
Jay Abraham, of whom I am a great fan, says that there are basically three ways to grow a business. Jay says you can increase the number of clients, increase the number of times they buy from you, or increase the average dollar value of each transaction.
I think there is a fourth way though and that is about getting more business from the people with who you’ve already done business.
Let’s face it, if they have done business with you, they know you, presumably, they like you and they trust you so those three hurdles have already been jumped.
The trick then, is to work out how we can get them to come back and do more business with us? And I thought that’s where the dig, set, spike concept comes alive.
Let’s look at each in turn:
Have a look at the clients that have done business with you recently. Maybe pick the top five or ten and have a good dig into what is that you did for them.
What was the service that you provided? More importantly though, what was the outcome that they achieved by doing business with you?
You can look at what you have done for them in the past or maybe even what you are doing for them in the present but the big question to ask is what is the value that you have delivered to them?
Getting a very clear picture of the outcome you help them achieve and therefore the value that you deliver to them, will help you to understand how else you might be able to help them or help others in their network.
This is where we identify future opportunities. We know what value we bring and the outcomes they achieve so what opportunities exist within that relationship to deliver those outcomes and values again?
What we’re looking for is opportunities to continue the value outcome proposition. It is worth remembering at this stage that we can start to think in terms of increased value, five-star opportunities.
Now, this is about identifying future value. We have already added value and provided outcomes, now how do we now increase that; how do we find future value in the relationship?
So now we are set up for the spike.
The spike is just the sale, the realisation of the opportunity. It’s the closing of the deal or the slam dunk. I know, I’m mixing my metaphors, but I think you get the idea.
Essentially, this is the next thing that we get to help them with. And if we can’t help them then how do we show them this next thing so that they can share that opportunity with their network.
This is the final sales step.
Across these three steps, we’ve moved from identification to communication to generation. We’ve taken the time to dig and identify what it is that we truly do, what the value is that we deliver and the outcomes we help our clients to achieve.
Identifying is one thing but then we need to communicate. We need to remind our clients of the outcomes they get from working with us or the value that we offer.
We then need to help them to communicate that to their network so that we can generate referral business from that outcome value proposition.
Finally, we need to turn the identification and communication into revenue generation.
As we dig into what we are currently doing or what we’ve done in the past, and start to set up opportunities, we can look at what it is that we can do for those clients right now, in the immediate future, or in the medium to long-term.
I often see lots of businesses operating from a transactional basis where they simply deliver what may be a great outcome and brilliant value to a client but never seek to repeat the process.
If in the here and now we can take away pain from our clients, then we have an ongoing value proposition to offer them.
Similarly, if in the immediate future we can save them from some harm that may come to their business or to them, by the services that we provide, then again we have an ongoing value proposition.
Finally, if we can make the promise, if we can take them from the current problem to a future promise and that value proposition becomes even more relevant, our dealings move from transactional to relational.
Ask yourself this question, of my 10 favourite clients or customers what else can I do for them that would remove a pain, save them from harm or make them a future promise that will add true value to them and give them a positive outcome?
Once you have the answers, it’s then just a matter of communicating that you’re ready willing, and able to deliver.
Mark Creedon is the founder of Business Accelerator mastermind by Metropole and business coach to some of Australia’s leading entrepreneurs – helping them build a true business, not a job.
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