March 2016 Newsletter – Are You Taking Your Customer for a Ride?

Are You Taking Your Customer for a Ride?

This past week while talking to a well-known Marketing Consultant I was struck by two statements she made. “How you sell to your customer has totally changed. Companies that don’t get how to properly sell are going to be out of business”.

They went on to share that as a result of the proliferation of products and services available to consumers and organizations, customers have so many more choices than previously. This translates to significantly increased competition for you as a business or organization.

Sell Solutions, Not Features

Small Business Planning in Atlanta, GAWe have found the answer to this dilemma is that your sales process must be founded on selling solutions to your customer’s needs, not just promoting the features of your product. This may sound very easy on the surface, but it is actually much harder than it looks. This is because each of us just naturally tends to focus on what we have to sell and its attributes.

It is pretty easy to talk about what we have. It takes a whole lot more effort to uncover your customer’s needs as it relates to your product. To do this you have to first understand what they are trying to accomplish with regards to your product or service. We have found that a great way to un-ravel this mystery is to understand their goals in work or life that relate to your product or service?

Enable Customers to Achieve Their Goals in Life

So how do you understand your customer’s needs? What are they trying to accomplish? How can you identify their Small Business Planning in Atlanta, GAgoals related to your product or service? In other words, how do find out where they want to go so you can Take Your Customer for a Ride to Their Goals?

It is very simple, just ask them.

Unfortunately, many businesses just don’t do this. There are various reasons for this oversight. The major reason is that because they have dealt with so many customers in their particular market in the past many organizations just assume they know what their customer is trying to accomplish. Therefore they just focus on their product or service’s features.

There are three reasons for seeking to know your customer’s specific goals:

  1. You establish common ground with them and they begin to feel that you understand them and their needs
  2. You remind them of what they are seeking or trying to accomplish
  3. You may discover that they have goals related to your product or service of which you were not aware

Understanding Your Customer’s Goals

Small Business Planning in Atlanta, GATaking the few minutes it requires to explore the above is particularly important in Business to Business sales situations because it enables you to pinpoint their “buying criteria”.

However, this effort even pays off in Business to Customer sales situations. An example is that Home Depot has trained their staff to ask “what are you trying to do” when a customer asks for anything out of the ordinary.

For instance, if I asked someone at Home Depot where are 8” Lag Screws, they might say, what are you trying to do? I might reply, I am getting ready to build a deck and I need them need attach the joists to the house. They then might say “have you looked at using joist hangers”, or some other product.

Once they understand my goals they may suggest using their design services to design a deck or even have one of their contractors build the deck for me. Either of these could lead to additional revenue for Home Depot and perhaps a happier customer. None of this would have been possible without a staff member taking a little time to understand my goal as it related to their product – 8” Lag Screws.

Short, Intermediate, or Long-Term Goals

Please be aware that your customer’s goals may be short, intermediate, or long-term. What is the difference?Small Business Planning in Atlanta, GA

Short-term goals are things like getting a lower rate on a credit card, buying a certain cereal that may lower cholesterol, eating at a certain restaurant tonight, buying some fashionable new clothes for your children, or buying a car polish that will make your car look more attractive.

Intermediate-term goals are things like building retirement savings, exercising more, visiting Disney World, sending your children to a private school, or buying a prestigious new car.

Long-term goals are things like financial security, better health, enjoying life, your children excelling in life, or living a certain lifestyle.

Your Customer makes their purchasing decisions based on the perception that your product will enable them to achieve their short-term, intermediate-term, and long-term goals.

Goals Are Interrelated

If you examine the above lists closely, you will observe that they are interrelated.

For instance, a lower rate on a credit card may lead to building retirement saving, which may in turn lead to financial security. Buying a certain cereal to help lower cholesterol may lead to wanting to exercise more often, which should result in better health so that one could enjoy life more.

All these thoughts are running in a Customer’s mind; however, many times people are not consciously aware of them, even though they are influenced by them and make choices that move toward those goals.

By asking your customer questions or tapping into marketing and sales research on your customer you will be able to recognize and tie into your Customer’s short, intermediate, and long-term goals. This will allow you to properly layer both your marketing and sales messages in ways that will enable you to connect with them at multiple levels.

The bottom line of connecting with your customer is it will enable you to have a more effective sales process, garner more sales and create more loyal customers as a result of their perception that your product or service will enable them to meet their goals in life.

If you need assistance with applying this concept of identifying your Customer’s short, intermediate, and long-term goals so that you can produce greater sales and generate enhanced customer loyalty, please contact us. We can show you how do this in an easy, straightforward way by Taking Your Customer for a Ride to Their Goals.

Fountainhead Consulting Group, Inc. is an Innovation and Business Planning firm. During the past 17 years we have shown over 1,200 companies how to achieve the goals for their business by using our unique, comprehensive and systematic business planning and growth methodology, the Structure of Success™ so they can Work Less, Make More and most importantly Have Fun in Their Business. Using our Structure of Success™ methodology each month we examine one of 12 areas of a business or organization.

Office phone: (770) 642-4220

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