No amount of marketing can make up for lousy service.
If you want to sell your business, you need to make sure it’s growing. If you want a growing business, you need happy customers and if you want happy customers, you have to ask the right questions.
Old School Customer Service
“The customer is always right” has largely been abandoned in a world where too many people have demanded high quality, immediately, for nothing. Clearly no customer who wants something for nothing can’t be right, but is that really what we’re talking about?
If you’ve been in business for more than five seconds, you probably have a sales pitch, a sleek, well-designed presentation that tells your potential and existing clients what makes you unique, your vision and what you offer. But what do your customers actually need? What do they want? What’s most important to them? Are you providing these things? Can you?
One of the principals at OneAccord Partners shared a story that illustrates this point. Richard Brune once worked with a food supplier that was hoping to close a deal with a huge client. With the supplier’s VP of Sales and National Account Manager, he created a presentation emphasizing their unique position as a farm to fork supplier. They knew this was a huge selling point and wanted to draw attention to it.
Richard secured a meeting with the client's purchasing team. His colleagues were eager to begin the presentation, but Richard took his time asking the client some questions. What did they want in a supplier? What was the most important need they had?
It turned out the client didn’t care about farm to fork. They absolutely had to have an uninterrupted supply, even if that meant a higher price tag. Richard and his team scrapped their entire presentation and instead focused on showing the client how they could guarantee a steady supply. It took some time, but they won the business.
Listen to Your Customers—Not Your Instincts
The point of Richard’s story is that we, as business owners, have to find out what our customers’ needs are. It’s tempting to assume that since we know our industry we know what our clients are looking for. Take the time to listen and you’ll often be surprised by what’s actually most important to them.
This is where the customer is always right—they know what they need. They know what they’re looking for. If you want to build value in your company, look at your customers as people with real needs, learn what those needs are and put the customer first by serving those needs.
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