June 22, 2010 by Ken Dooley
Posted in: communication, customer loyalty, In this week's e-newsletter - Sales & Marketing, Latest News & Views - Sales & Marketing, Value
Customers are feeling pressure to get more done with less. That can be a good thing — for you.
If you can help your customers achieve that goal, you’re all but assured that they’ll not only keep buying from you — but they’ll buy even more.
Here are nine strategies to help your customers do more with less:
- Be bold. Offer innovative ideas and insights. Customers are so busy dealing with their own competitive pressures that they don’t have time to discuss the same old solutions — nor do they want to. What have you learned from some of your other customers that’ve had similar issues that can relieve your present customer’s pain? Presenting these insights is key to increasing your business with an existing customer.
- Be a true consultant. Talk business strategy with your customers. Show how your offerings advance their strategies. Create solutions that solve your customers’ problems. Customers expect solutions that support and drive their central business goals.
- Talk results with customers. Show how your product or service can positively affect a customer’s performance. Identify the appropriate needs and create a compelling case for your solution. It’s also smart to talk about some specific results your product or service has achieved recently for some of your other similarly-situated customers.
- Be innovative. Increase credibility as a trusted advisor by bringing to the table innovative, highly differentiated solutions that respond to customers’ unique business challenges. This will show your customers that you want to be a partner in their future success — not just a supplier.
- Do your homework. New conditions demand new strategies. Know more and turn that knowledge into value. Customers want insight. Go beyond asking good questions about your customers’ situations. Before getting in front of your customers, be ready to answer questions about the strengths and weaknesses of their own customers and competitors.
- Resist the pressure to just sell something. Overpromising to customers is a frequent trap that some salespeople fall into. Gaining the sale in the short term may create havoc downstream. The outcome is predictable. Customer trust is eroded, and future business that should’ve been won is lost.
- Focus on results and relationships. Show commitment to your customer by adding value. Conduct periodic account reviews to summarize the value you’re providing and pinpoint areas for improvement.
- Learn about competitors. They have never been more aggressive or more vulnerable than right now. Develop defensive strategies and points of view. Help your customers develop strategies for dealing with their competitors. Be proactive in providing advice and insight.
- View each customer’s company as a market. Focus efforts on segmenting and capturing share of this market. Then leverage successes and relationships within that market.