Get an email or go to most websites or a product company and they’re, usually, telling you how great their technology is. Or how many bells and whistles their latest product has. In a small minority, there might be a company here or there who gets it and tells you how they can make life easier by providing solutions to your most pressing problem or need. The others may get your attention, but this last group are the folks most likely to get your business.
Entrepreneurs are always so passionate and proud of how hard they have worked to make their product unique, with features and functions nobody else has, that they forget the very reason why they created the product in the first place – the customer.
Sales success is predicated less on how cool or dazzling a product is and way more on how much a customer feels the product (and the company selling it) can help them succeed. It’s all about the customer; their success generates your success.
To help you enhance your chances of success by ensuring that you make your sales and marketing efforts about your customer, here are five sure-fire ways to get it done.
What’s in it for them? That ought to be your lead in your messaging, not how great your product is. What can it do for them? If you’re going to talk about your key product features and functions, translate them into critical customer benefits. And, be consistent across all venues of marketing communication – website, email, videos.
Stop selling products. Start selling solutions. Don’t just do sales pitches. Learn more about your customer. Have your sales people probe customer problems and needs by asking key questions about their business. Then show them how your products can be solutions to their problems and fulfill their needs.
Once the sale is closed, a relationship should begin. The customer should feel like they bought more than a product; they bought a partnership with your company. There needs to be continual follow up with the customer to ensure that the product has exceeded expectations. And make it personal.
If possible, get to know the key players at the customer’s business on a personal level. I’ve said this many times in this space, in many ways, but the customer should feel like “they are your only customer!” This also safeguards that the sale is not a “one off,” but the beginning of ongoing revenue opportunities.
One of the best examples of this is Dollar Shave Club, which delivers razors and other personal grooming products to customers by mail. The company uses technology, with its CRM tracking all customer interactions, to better understand its members so that it can deliver an outstanding customer experience.
Dollar Shave Club now has over 1.5 million happy subscribers, who not only enjoy the brand but also participate in a great relationship with the company. Make it easy for customers to get information and resolve problems.Be sure your website is easy to navigate and user-friendly (that doesn’t mean your engineers can easily use it, but your Uncle Ralph wouldn’t have trouble getting information from it).
Closely monitor how information is requested and disseminated. How responsive are you? Can customers just download what they need or do they need to make a special request? Track problem reporting and constantly monitor how long it takes to resolve an issue. The more mission-critical your product is to a customer’s business, the shorter the problem resolution time target should be.
Another example I’ve used several times over in other blog posts is a reference to the late former Mayor of New York, Ed Koch. Mayor Koch stepped into office at one of the city’s most trying times and constantly wandered through the city, asking the citizens, “how am I doing?” This is something you should make a part of your customer relationship, i.e., constantly inquiring, whether by survey or direct phone call, how the customer thinks you are holding up your end of the relationship. And further, if they give you good feedback, that you listen to it act on it. And finally, more important, that you tell them (and other customers) that you have done so. Take credit. It’s allowed.
Find a way to constantly communicate with your customer, be that through social media or a newsletter, updating them on the company, its products, its people and its successes or through users group where customers share vital operational and use information and provide the input for existing product enhancements and new products. However, you do it, make it proactive. Your website cannot do the same for the relationship as a periodic telephone call.
Sales success is built on making it about the customer; how your solutions can make their business more successful. And once the sale is closed, create and sustain a long-term relationship with the customer. Listen to them and work with them to continue to improve the solutions you provide. To further secure the relationship, keep the company, your products, and your progress constantly in their view. But at the end of the day, it’s about the customer. Their success will generate your success.