Over the Past few years many companies and many industries have suffered tremendous losses of customers, sales and profits. Many companies and industries are starting to bounce back.
But not necessarily all companies in those industries…why?
What we need to realize is that, customers are the reason we open our doors every day, and keep the machines humming all night long.
Customers determine what we eat, where we live, whether we stay in business. We can keep our factories and offices going until we run out of money, but unless we have customers to sell to, we have no purpose.
And to do this, we must follow the Golden Rule of Selling: Know Your Customer
First, know your customer…who are they, why do they buy from you, what do they need? Why is your solution better? And once you know them…figure out how to keep them.
However good your product or service is, the simple truth is that no one will buy if they don’t want it or believe they don’t need it. And you won’t persuade anyone that they want or need to buy what you’re offering unless you clearly understand what it is your customer really wants.
Knowing and understanding customer needs is at the center of every successful business, whether it sells directly to customers or people at other businesses. once you have this knowledge, you can use it to persuade potential and existing customers that buying from you is in their best interests.
The more you know about your customers, the more effective your sales and marketing efforts will be. It’s well worth making the effort to find out:
- Who they are
- What they buy
- Why they buy it
You can also learn a great deal about your customer by talking to them. Asking them why they’re buying or not buying, what they may want to buy in the future and asking what other needs they have can give a valuable picture of what’s important to them.
Second, know your competitors’ customers…who are they? Why do they buy from them? What do they need? And why is their solution better than yours? Once you know those competitors customers, you need to figure out how to steal them.
Very few of us have created a product or service that changed the world. So, we really don’t create new customers for the industry, therefore growth must come at the expense of your competitors.
Think about the iPod, wow…revolutionary…not really, it replaced the walkman, which replaced the boom box. The iPhone, wow…it replaced basic cell phones. The iPad, incredible…it’s basically replacing laptops and notebooks.
So whose customers do you plan to steal in 2015?
Identify the company, the product, and the specific customers and then figure out why those customers would switch to you.
Stealing the competition’s customers:
- Offer a must-have product or service. Study what your competition sells and offer something better.
- Create a need that customers did not know they had or something that goes beyond their expectations.
- Highlight customer testimonies. Customers who use your competition’s services are more likely to believe your customers when they state that you have a great product than when you say you do.
- Create a marketing buzz about your company so it becomes an easily recognizable brand.
- Learn from your competition and keep improving. Studying your competition can help you learn about your own business’ strengths and weaknesses.
Also remember, while you’re trying to steal my customers, I might be trying to steal your customers. So this is not just play offense, but you have to play defense as well.
When you start to list why competitor’s customers will cross the street to buy your product, it is tempting to criticize the competitor and compliment ourselves…be honest, find out the real reasons they don’t buy from you, the way you do that is talk to them. And if it’s possible figure how to correct those deficiencies.
At your next industry conference, no matter what the discussion is wouldn’t it be great to say, “yeah…we’re having a great year!”
Good luck in 2015!
Dave Baney is the founder and CEO of 55 Questions, LLC. We work with successful top executives with a driving ambition to crush their competition. We help CEOs and Entrepreneurs improve alignment, communication and accountability throughout their organization. www.55questions.com
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