Have customers changed? In a word – yes! But you knew that already. How have they changed?
- Are more demanding
- Have higher expectations
- Have a more pressurized lifestyle
- Want everything, but don’t necessarily want to pay for it
- Are less tolerant
- Want more for their money, time and effort
- Are driven by customer service issues in their own workplace
- Are more likely to seek recommendation from friends and colleagues than rely on advertising
- Are driven by new technology – particularly the internet
- Don’t want to be sold to – they want to be part of the process, not part of the audience.
But the key to supplier differentiation lies within these increased expectations since customers now value closer links with efficient, competent suppliers who are willing to act as long term allies, and that means – speaking their language.
As an exercise, list out your ten most important customers. Then think about everything you know – really know – about them. For example, do you know:
What their commercial objectives are in 2016?
What their trading trends are? Up, down or static?
Are they expanding or contracting?
Did they make a profit last year?
And most important of all, do you know where or how you can make a significant contribution in helping them achieve their overall goals this year?
How can you help them save, gain, reduce, increase or improve?
Those are the five magic words that will make you very attractive – if indeed you genuinely do have something to bring to their party.
They have absolutely no interest in you, your company, your past successes, your ability to stage a dynamic presentation, or even your products/solutions – unless they impact on their commercial objectives, profitability, market share or overall success.
In short, customers today buy for their reason – not ours.
We have met the Sales 2.0 sales professional… Welcome to the Sales 3.0 customer!