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Customer needs – still a grey area for business owners

Last week I spoke to a business owner about his company, with which he offers training programs to those who have a hard time passing their drivers’ license theory exam. He developed a training program by himself, accompanied by a well thought (business model. His website is easy to find on Google and the price he asks for the program, including a free resit, is very reasonable. The reviews on his program are praiseful and the pass rate high. Everything seems to be a success. Still, he is struggling with his competitive market position.

Recently, another player entered the market, who offers training programs nationwide against prices far below his. “How can I cope with this?”- he asked me. “Now, customers are choosing the competitor, even though he offers a mediocre training program where the chances to pass the exam much smaller. Besides, he doesn’t even know his customers, since he is not from this region. If I lower my price, I will lose my margin, which means it won’t be as profitable for me anymore. Besides, the package that I offer is much more extensive and complete than the package and service my competitor offers.”

My advice to this business owner is simple: know your customer. By doing focused research, in order to find out what the exact needs of the customer are, it’s likely to get a clear view on what he needs to do to win back his customers. Maybe his customers don’t know how extensive the program is that he offers. On the other hand: maybe the customers don’t need such an extensive program, and by simplifying it he might be able to lower his price. And even though he is easily found on Google, it might be even better to see how he can benefit from his network. Can driving schools recommend him? Mouth-to-mouth advertising is still the best way to get new customers! Are there driving schools that would like to cooperate with him? At social media, there might be chances too in order to create more awareness.

Being flexible and to be able to change your way of thinking is what matters. Not taking the path you’re familiar with or because that’s the one everyone else is taking, but finding out what your customers need and being willing to adapt. I’m convinced that this business owner will take his shot to maximize his opportunities. And if possible, I will coach him while doing so.

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