For 30 years we’ve been one of the few independently owned, full-service dealers in California. Over the years, we’ve developed and maintained sales, customer service, and operations systems that have helped us to retain customers for decades and grow our business to include the entire state of California (more about that next month). Over the coming weeks and months we’d like to share with you, in a series of articles, how we’ve maintained our growth.

This month we’re exploring listening to what your customers want versus what you think they want. This means that you not only listen to their questions, but you listen for the question(s) underneath the questions. Once learned, this is a marketable skill you can take to the bank. It’s also one of the keys to maintaining a successful, growth oriented, and profit driven business.

For example, one of our long-time customers asked if we had an operator’s manual in Spanish. If you’re a skilled listener, you’ll notice that there are three parts to this question:

The first part is obvious, do we have a manual in Spanish. We didn’t at the time, so we invested in having one created (call us if you want one or three). However, if we just gave them the manuals and nothing more, then we would have missed an opportunity to provide added value and maintain our position as industry experts.

So the second part of the question centered around their need to provide adequate training to their team.  Taking this into consideration, we now have an opportunity to help our customer with his primary concerns… good training, efficiency, profitability, and safety. To address these issues we are considering creating operator orientation videos in Spanish. Stay tuned for this one.

The third part to their initial question is about employee retention. Many construction companies, especially the smaller ones,  are having a difficult time finding qualified labor. By addressing their employee’s frustrations they position themselves as caring employers, which in turn creates loyalty and helps to increase retention. By providing our customer with the tools they asked for and offering them additional solutions to help them with their business we become a trusted and indispensable partner in their business.

Stay tuned for Part 2: Managing Cash Flow.