March 6, 2012 by Ken Dooley
Posted in: economy, In this week's e-newsletter - Sales & Marketing, Latest News & Views - Sales & Marketing, sales management, Special Report - Sales & Marketing, Value
Understanding where customers’ concerns lie will give your salespeople a big edge.
Here’s a list of top concerns that will help your salespeople get a better understanding of what customers and prospects are looking for today:
- Value. Clearly, value is on the upswing, which helps explain why customer loyalty isn’t what it once was. “Customers for life” don’t exist anymore. Customers move to where they find the best value. Concentrate on what you can give customers. The most important gifts may be your knowledge and expertise. What information do you have that can be a benefit to your customers and prospects?
- Vision. The measure of your expertise is not how much you know but how much you know that’s beneficial to your customers. Staying on the forward curve is what it takes today. Make a personal commitment. Today’s customers are looking for relationships. With downsized staffs, they count on the added expertise of their salespeople.
- Timeliness. Nothing lasts for many reasons, including technological change and new breakthroughs. Economic cycles are shorter, tastes change, and so do products and services. Anyone who wants to win these customers must be willing to change and keep up with customer thinking.
- Ideas. Give customers ideas on how to improve their business operations. Some salespeople pick up ideas and techniques that can be helpful to other customers. We’re not talking about disclosing trade secrets or proprietary information. But it’s a good idea to pass along helpful, time-saving suggestions.
- Appreciation. It’s important to say “thank you” regularly to customers. A call after a sale just to express your appreciation shows that you care about building a relationship. A simple note commenting on a sale takes only a few minutes to write, but the customer’s reaction may be impressive.
- Interest. Show a continuing interest in your customers. Constant communication indicates that you care about those who have chosen to do business with you. Mail copies of articles you think may be of interest to a customer. Then, when the time comes to make a sale, you have a reservoir of goodwill to draw upon.
- Trust. Trust is an extremely rare commodity, built up slowing and painstakingly. It’s fragile, capable of being shaken or even destroyed by a single mistake. Building and maintaining trust are the essential preconditions for continuing or establishing a relationship of any kind.
- Importance. Every customer counts. Just as there’s a limited supply of natural resources, there’s a limited number of customers. Get all the information you can on prospects. Keep moving closer to them over time and try to pull them into your orbit. All markets are fair game for the marketing prowess of competitors. Salespeople with the commitment of doing a better job are the ones who have the best opportunity to meet customer needs in this tight and competitive economy.