A business receives income when it solves problems so well that customers will pay for it. The solution for your clients’ problems may not be in your sample box. Someday, you will need to look outside of the box to create a new solution — tailored for your individual clients and their unique set of circumstances — to earn their loyalty.

If you’ve been reading my “Top 10 Ways to Earn Customer Loyalty” series of articles, you know I ask the businessperson who is seeking the loyalty of their customer to be curious, ask good questions and listen to your clients. When those steps are taken properly, there may be a standard solution to solve their problem. In that case, it’s fine to proceed as normal.

Other times, the solution to a client’s problem is not so clear cut… Our standard operating procedures do not solve a client’s problems with sufficient value to cause them to buy. When that happens, we have several choices:

1. Force a square peg into a round hole;
2. Find new clients who need square pegs;
3. Create a round peg they will buy for their round hole.

All of the above choices are viable for a business to survive and thrive, but creating a round peg for our existing client who needs a round peg is the way to maintain customer loyalty.

Although the initial offering of a business may have only been to build square pegs, offering existing clients — and others — the new and improved round peg could grow a business, with additional solutions that provide additional revenue.

The next time you find an existing client with declining purchases, don’t give up or try to force them to buy something they don’t want. Instead, try going back to the first few steps of the process. Ask them good questions. Listen carefully to their answers. Pause and digest what they are telling you… And think of a way to solve their problem.

Be creative. Don’t be afraid to step out of the box and provide them with the solution they are telling you they DO find sufficiently valuable to pay money for, instead of the standard one they DON’T feel has sufficient value to buy.

The creativity required to solve your clients’ problems in a totally new way is the vital essence of true entrepreneurship and the sole reason a business can differentiate itself in the marketplace and nurture customer loyalty over the long term.

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