3 ways to give customers exactly what they want – adapted from INC. author Geoffrey James
Making customers happy does not have to be terribly difficult. In fact, they usually want just one thing from you. Here are three ways to deliver it.
Regardless of what you are selling and whom you are selling it to, there is one thing that your customers want more than anything else: They want your product to be easy. There are three aspects to this:
1. Be easy to understand: Customers are in a constant state of information overload, even more so now that information is easily accessible through smartphones and tablets. Customers no longer have the patience or even the ability to listen to a product description.
Unless you are selling directly to technical people, customers stop listening the second you spout features and functions. Even technical people have low tolerance for this; if you are not describing the exact feature that interests them, you have lost your turn.
Customers stop listening the second you add complexity to the situation by talking or writing about yourself and what you want, or about your firm and its history. They do not have the patience or interest to wade through such meaningless verbiage.
Rule of thumb: communication and persuasion skills come into play – you must be able to describe in 25 words or less what your product means to your customers, why they should buy it from you, and why they should buy it now. If you cannot, you will eventually be put out of business by somebody who can.
2. Be easy to buy.
When customers make the decision to buy something, they want it now. They don’t want to struggle through options, apply for credit, provide personal data, listen to an upgrade pitch, or think about picking up a package.
When most people talk about Apple’s success, they attribute it to the quality of Apple’s products. They forget that powerful, well-built MP3 players, smartphones, and tablets existed long before Apple got into any of those product categories.
What Apple really did was make content and software easy to buy. iTunes has driven Apple’s success far more than its devices, which though well-constructed tend to lag the rest of the industry in technical specs.
The business world is rife with companies–telecoms, cable providers, banks, etc.–that have made it needlessly complicated for the customer to buy products or services. All of them will someday be replaced by firms that “get” what customers really want.
Rule of thumb: Listening to customers and therefore planning an end-to-end product or a process plays a major role in this. Furthermore, knowledgeable customer-care support agents are critical in the selling chain. If customers are not offered speedy and accurate solutions from you, they will eventually get them from somebody else who will make things easier and faster.
3. Be easy to use.
Customers are not willing to spend valuable time to learn how to use your product. They are especially not willing to stay on the phone for hours trying to get customer support.
Yes, customers will tolerate this kind of folderol when there are no alternative. What monopolies do not understand is that captive customers are not loyal customers. Everyone will leave the fold the minute a viable alternative appears.
Rule of thumb: If using your product requires the customer to attend a course or read a manual, you will be driven out of business as soon as somebody figures out how to provide whatever you are providing without taxing the customer’s patience.
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