Connecting with Customers
I just got off the phone with a friend of mine. Business is up he said, but he didn't know why. I asked him a few questions, but more we spoke about it the more concerned I became.
"What do you mean, you don't know why they're buying?"
"We never know why they buy," he told me.
"Nope. They just do."
My friend thinks he knows what is great about his product. They believe they understand it's applications, they just don't understand what drives sales.
And there's something else - it has to do with pricing and profits.
Since they don't really know why customers buy from them, it follows that they don't understand the full value customers get from their products. So they don't know what to charge! They discount to make sales - since they don't fully understand the customer's pain points - and that means - they always leave lots of money on the table.
When times are tough - and many people are feeling squeezed these days - there is tendency to panic. Who wouldn't? The economy, the financial markets, and now - terrorism. I read where a group of psychiatrists saying the country was on the brink of a nervous breakdown!
That's certainly not what I want for my customers! Is that what you want for yours?
I think this question can be a profitable one. What do you want for your customers? I started thinking about this and came up with a few others for you to ask yourself.
Why do you want to serve your customers? What do you love about your particular customers? Are they perfect customers? If not, who would be? Describe them.
Case Studies and the Value Proposition
So I began thinking about my friend's sales problem - which brought me to thinking about a favorite topic of mine - the value proposition. Not in the sense of your USP, but in the sense of - what is the value of your product (or service) to your customer?
In other words, what is your product worth? How much - in money terms - does your customer save or earn when they use whatever it is you sell? Can you quantify that?
If you can't, well - you need to. It will make much easier to sell.
But it's too complicated - we can't really say what they get from it.
No wonder you have trouble selling when times get tough. If you knew what it was worth, and it was worth more than you were selling it for, you'd have customers lining up pounding on your door for it.
You have to go out and do case studies. Exactly why did they buy. Exactly what is the application. Exactly how much more did they earn because of it and how did they earn it. Or, exactly how much did they save because of it and how did they save it. Get five or six of those and you'll be able to build a return-on-investment case for any prospect, and damn the economy. Which brings me to one last thing - the holy trinity of repeat sales.
Up-sell, Re-sell and Cross-sellWhat is your best possible source of revenue right now, bar none?
Your existing customers, right? Of course - they always are. Which means you should have a regular program to stay in contact.
What are you doing about repeat customer sales? When was the last time you contacted each customer, and made them an offer of some kind? What - you're waiting for them to call you?
Conclusion:You've got to contact your customers. Under any pretext, for any reason.
To solidify and maintain your relationships, and reconfirm why you want to do business with them. To understand your value from their perspective. And lastly, to make sure they are being served properly and to sell them everything they need.