What are the top 3 questions your customers most often ask you?

By: Bill Van Eron Thursday August 22, 2019 0 comments Tags: Bill Van Eron

Van_Eron_headerBy Bill Van Eron

Market & Business Ecosystem Strategist

Headwaters Marketing & Innovation

van-eron-inside-graphic.8While many companies shape good questions and value the answers, too often the questions are self-serving as more aligned to a corporate agenda or making a sale, versus earning trust & relevance. Then when customers ask questions outside of that filter, the real value often gets lost.

Too many leaders still fear transformation as formidable, disruptive to current priorities, slow, expensive, thus risky. But it can start as easily as encouraging better questions.  

Many are not yet ready to commit to a theorist. As a current market & internal effectiveness advisor that has successfully applied all of what is now needed -- yet still new to most -- my clients are both leadership & professional staff of growth-minded & mid to large organizations. We collaboratively and objectively see characteristics that clearly tell us where you really are, your strengths and which adjustments can have the biggest positive impact sooner and sustainably. I see emerging values-based trends before most, not because I am smarter, rather because I know what to look for.

I also see why traditional sources and new transformation solutions fail. More importantly, seeing how those on a good path can deliver greater value sooner is more akin to open source partnering than just being a critic. The eight solutions I reviewed are either too slow, expensive, disruptive thus risky. Too few paid attention to why leaders are risk averse, thus critically helping them feel part of a consciously designed solution. We support solutions that do help, whether part of our effort, part of yours or enough to get you going versus staying stalled.

When you invest in comprehending your ecosystems values, you also become a better leader as you are now aware of values, talents & outcomes needed. That mindset & ability fuels up a more mindful, agile intuition. It also serves as a richer outlet for innovation, culture and integration versus counter-productive silos. Contracting help is a challenge when leaders have yet to understand what matters across their ecosystem thus not yet deeply mindful to where new success requirements are interdependent. Yes, I listen and observe my customers questions as that becomes a process of shared enlightenment that reveals their strengths & where help enables them to achieve success backed by shared significance. I am thrilled to have mastered the rare mindset & skills vital today, while concerned to enable many others to synthesize what matters, whether it be a collection of leaders, employees, channels, market influencers & customers.

Invest in others beyond corporate norms. Thankfully, I developed that values compass growing up in NYC. It served employers, clients & both their employees & customers well. Gain that mindset to learn what they each value, their challenges and goals. Once gained, that insight creates a special intuition. Most leaders used to value their intuition above all else till a few years ago. The more they and others within an org invest to create trust, open inclusive dialog, shared values & unique ones, true relevance & more, they will regain a more tuned & mindful intuition.

As a coach I listen to hear the level of soul in an organization. As well as what they base effectiveness on. Soon all see and enable the interdependencies that inspire or block success.

Typical questions I get from orgs that have yet to begin their journey to relevance include:

- How can you best increase our revenues?

- Can you do it fast and at a low cost?

- What if we just say the things markets expect, and do them later if the response is strong?

Questions I get from orgs interested in achieving growth and open to suggestions:

How can you best help us to understand the new requirements for success? (significance).                         

How can we benefit from leveraging your rare experience, to see gains sooner?                                        

How can we embrace new methods without it being disruptive, slow, expensive, thus risky?

Questions and values I hear from their employees and markets include:

Employees - I only want to work where their culture is open to new thinking and innovation.                              

- 70% of global employees are emotionally detached from work - Gallup 2019.                                               

- Why is it only the people at the top get the big bucks despite us doing the real work that catalyzes success we all should share in?

Markets - Which companies are worthy with a purpose of high internal & external meaning?                         

- Which companies are genuine to promises made internally and externally?                                                  

- Which orgs have the highest credibility versus those that stalk us with sales & marketing tricks?

The most important stage in developing a customer relationship is establishing their trust versus going for the sale as too many do prematurely. Real-time listening and natural questions present a more comfortable up front assessment of need as crucial collaborations with customers, stakeholders, influencers and clients. Create relevance by showing how success follows significance. Show them the immediate benefit of your objectivity and sharper instincts, then in a way they can progressively master. While we show market and employee empathy as key to earning greater engagement, we also factor in why most leaders fall into risk aversion patterns, where they have strengths and where they struggle – business meets design.

Fixing solutions follows understanding the system requirements, mostly human to connect your ecosystem internally & externally, as that is what we enable. I welcome that opportunity as the growing needs we see now and ahead, require all of us that have that experience to step up and help others in need. That list is all inclusive.

Orgs that see today as chaotic, disruptive & unpredictable, tend to stay risk averse, wait for sales and marketing to erode, employees to leave, as well as customers. Some say they need help but will still struggle to change their mindset. They do have a chance as we know how the challenges affect almost all. Our ideal is those clients who care to be ahead of that curve, to instead invest in relevance & credibility sooner to create the new normal so as to better lead through change and be a values-based mindful org.

We help left brain dominated orgs as they benefit many ways from our right brain advisory mindset. I truly respect engineers while also seeing where an experienced right brainer creates greater relevance for their work by connecting it to the values across their success ecosystem. HP was a great proving ground for 24 years. I cared enough about HP to leave my design comfort zones to immerse myself in their customer facing business to keep their relevance current, so their strengths & brand promise stayed vital. I challenged the status quo to achieve more, which earned their trust, catalyzed more effective, inclusive teams and still unprecedented revenue growth. You too can be a champion – OK, a Ninja Warrior -- the benefits are clear, the work is key to collective success, helping all people at any level to shape lives & work that matters.

My heart goes out to all that care to make a difference as I know that power to be interdependent. Values become bridges to greater significance where we build them internally and externally. Personally, it’s great to invest one’s life on a journey of progressive consciousness to better relate to others, no matter what they do, soon part of a bigger system of humanity & values.

Bill Van Eron

About the Author: Bill Van Eron

Bill Van Eron, as a professional possibility & systems thinker, sees & and has applied the values that connect us between life, work, brand, trust, enablement…often shaping contagious relevance. It is special to be one -- as I approach semi-retirement -- that learned today’s emerging values early in life & how synthesizing them across any stakeholder relevance ecosystem earns significance all can embrace as higher success. Bill simply seeks to be the sparkplug that fuels the leader in all of us to rise up and matter beyond status quo or personal obstacles. Bill earned the highest regard as HP’s top customer champion, then as HP’s top market strategist. While that always catalyzed greater revenues, it was the collective “we” that made it all happen. Can you say that today? Why not make that call?