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Why Customer Experience Is So Important For Your Success

Posted on Have Your Say: Leave a comment?

wHave you a favourite restaurant? Car dealership? Clothes Shop?

If you have, it’s probably because of the products they sell and the people who run it. Overall, though, we judge our favourite establishment by the experience we have when using it.

These experiences build our relationships with people, companies and businesses. Relationships are made up of touchpoints and touchpoints are experience-driven. It’s safe to say that touchpoints are the key building blocks of experiences.

Touchpoint Metrics defines touchpoints as “every point of contact—online and off; each communication, human resource, branding, marketing and sales process initiative creates touchpoints. The quality of touchpoint experiences drives perceptions, actions and relationships.

Intervox Group relates customer touchpoints to relationship cycles and defines it as “all physical, communication, and human interactions that your customers experience during their relationship cycle with your company.

Touchpoint Experience relates touchpoints to time and sees touchpoints as “every point in time the customer ‘touches’ or connects with your company throughout the entire product/service delivery; pre-, during and post-purchase

Touchpoint is a point (what/who) that is touched via any channel (when/where/how) for a purpose (why). So, it is every point of interaction, internal and external, seen and unseen.

So, we could define it as simply “interaction between 2 or more entities which happens anytime any place by any means for a purpose.”

The way we create touchpoints for customers will determine how they feel about us, our products, services and offerings. As these series of touchpoints equate to an overall experience the customer goes through, they epitomise the very essence of how we treat the customer.

It could involve how the phone is answered to them, how they are greeted face-to-face, how long they have to wait in a queue, how they are treated if they have to complain, and countless other opportunities that occur when we encounter a customer interaction.

So, identify what points of contacts you personally are responsible for. Help create a special feeling at that point so the customer remembers it. Identify what could be improved. Be creative in how these touchpoints could be developed and you enhance the experience that every customer has when dealing with you.

Happy selling!

Sean McPheat

Managing Director
MTD Sales Training

(Image courtesy of dollarphotoclub)

Posted in Customer/Client Retention | Tagged , | Leave a comment

10 Ways To Get Your Customer To Commit To The Sale

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shakerClosing is seen as the holy grail of any sales interaction. It gets the order, or at least progresses the sale onto the next level.

Securing some form of commitment from someone is a great feeling, as you have proved your worth and changed their lives and businesses to some degree because of the changes you will be providing for them.

But it isn’t always that easy, of course.  So, here’s a checklist that you can use before you make any attempts to secure commitment from your prospect:

- Have I built up enough value in your products and services for your prospect?

- Have you discussed the money value of the solution? (Cost savings, productivity, etc.)

- What other value is there? (Health and safety, non-monetary improvements, etc.)

- Do you genuinely believe your solution is the best one for the company you are working with?

- Does the customer understand and value the benefits of the solution to their business?

- Can you clearly demonstrate those benefits quickly and easily?

- Can you support those benefits with evidence from real examples of other companies you have helped?

- Is a decision to buy your offering better than a decision to use another company?

- Have you minimised the risks to the prospect in making this buying decision? (Financial, time of implementation, loss of productivity, etc.)

- Have you created enough urgency to encourage the prospect to move forward now? (Impact of not choosing you, etc.)

By achieving these levels of fulfilment, you create a real need in the prospect’s mind and allow for a further development of the relationship, as you build value in your products and convince your prospect that the best thing for them to do would be to make the wise decision and choose you!

Happy selling!

Sean McPheat

Managing Director
MTD Sales Training

(Image courtesy of dollarphotoclub)

Posted in Customer/Client Retention | Leave a comment

How To Differentiate Between What The Customer Wants & Needs

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business man writing concept of customerIn conversations with salespeople, we sometimes ask if they know the differences between prospects’ needs and prospects’ wants.

It may sound pedantic, but it can make a real difference in presenting solutions.

Oftentimes, prospects will confuse their wants with their needs and vice versa. Their needs often revolve around the business; their wants often revolve around their personal gains.

For example, they may say that they want a bigger discount from you.

You need to determine the reason for this. Just because your competitor is offering a higher discount, or is cheaper than you’re offering, is not a valid reason, or a need. You need to be absolutely clear on what the rationale is they are using to request this.

It could be they are simply being greedy. Or they have to justify the price they are paying to your boss. Or (and this could be the main need) they have to make more revenue and think that getting a bigger discount from you will help them achieve that.

So, here you have recognised that the real need is to increase revenue, and they want you to increase discounts in order to achieve that end goal, or need.

It may be possible, then, for them to increase their revenue by selling more of your products, and identifying how their business operations can be adjusted to accomplish this could be a way forward.

It entails being a consultant to their business, rather than a salesperson of goods and services. But it offers a level of service that other competitors may not have offered before.

A need, then, outweighs a want in its achieving of business goals. Determining how you can uncover those needs creates a closer relationship and identifies a stronger force in the decision-making process.

Some people have fears about what will happen in their business if they don’t achieve their goals. By helping them move away from those situations, you lessen the fears and help them build confidence.

Others have opportunities to achieve goals and they need help to move towards them. This is a chance for you to discuss the gains they would get from your products and services.

Either way, by uncovering a real need, the door starts to open toward making a decision that will ultimately help them attain their needs and their wants. That will help them improve their businesses and they’ll thank you for supporting them in that achievement.

Happy selling!

Sean McPheat

Managing Director
MTD Sales Training

(Image courtesy of dollarphotoclub)

Posted in Sales Interactions | Tagged , | Leave a comment

How To Avoid The Awkward Question Of Budget

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Business man with suitcase full of moneyHow many times have you been in conversation with a prospect and the question of budget comes up?

You want to know if you’re pitching in the right ball-park, so you go right out and ask what budget they were thinking of spending.

You then sigh in disappointment as you realise the solution you’re selling is well out of reach of the figure they have quoted. You then adjust your presentation and switch to the basic model because, as you assume, that’s all they can afford.

The problem is the basic model won’t solve their problems. It might help them achieve some of their goals, but not all of them.

It might save them a little money but won’t make the big savings they are seeking. If only they had a bigger budget, then all would be solved. They would get the results they want and their success would be guaranteed.

Instead, why not leave the budget question out of the conversation altogether?

Actually, the last thing you should be talking about is money, budgets and finance. The subject you should focus on is either their problem or their opportunity, the pain or the gain.

The budget is not the prime issue at this stage; their problem is. If they don’t have a problem, there isn’t going to be a sale anyway.

So ask yourself: What problem does my prospect have? How is this situation affecting their business success? What are they losing by not having my solution? What’s the monetary impact of the problems he is experiencing?

You then determine if these are problems that need to be solved. If they are, you can assimilate the value of solving the problems. If the value of the solutions outweighs the current situation they are in, then (and only then) does money become an issue.

The prospect may have determined a budget based on spending levels, not on value levels. This may mean they have thought about spending rather than the returns they would get on their spending. The returns can be considered an investment for them, rather than a cost.

Any person would go above their budget if the value of the solution outweighed the problems they were facing at the moment and they could see that value monetised as an investment.

So, rather than ask what budget the prospect has set aside, talk about the value of your solution and get the prospect to agree about the  results those solutions will bring him. Then the issue of budget is really about how much they are willing to invest, rather than how much they are willing to spend.

Happy selling!

Sean McPheat

Managing Director
MTD Sales Training

(Image courtesy of dollarphotoclub)

Posted in Buyer Types, Pricing | Tagged , | Leave a comment

4 Simple Steps To Build A Strong & Loyal Customer Base

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Loyalty red arrowMost of us would agree that it costs considerably more to get a new customer than to maintain a loyal one.

So, it follows that customer retention must be a major component of an effective marketing strategy and that’s especially true for your business. From least desirable to most desirable on the customer-relationship continuum, the sequence is: “new” to “repeat” to “loyal.”

The key to long-term customer retention is loyalty and the key to loyalty is in understanding the “perceived value” the customer gets from doing business with you. Then it’s as simple as delivering that value 100% of the time, in a manner that is “easy” on the customer.

The process of converting an existing customer to “loyal” status isn’t quite so simple and may take years to accomplish.

The customer experience typically evolves through four levels:

Satisfaction with price and availability. There has to be level of understanding of why your price points are what they are. By being open and honest with customers as to your pricing policies, you create a level of trust and understanding that is consistent and builds reasons for future loyalty.

Recognition of superior service levels. There is something special about getting superior service. Whether it’s the individual attention we get at a restaurant or the personal touch that is given to us when we check in at a hotel, the more special we feel, the greater the ‘stroking’ of out ego is received.

Appreciation of the value of your knowledge and experience. Customers value your expertise in areas that are important to them and their business. If you are able to make them see how running the various aspects of their business could be improved, they cease to see you as a supplier of goods and services, and start viewing you as a partner that is increasing in asset value to them.

Connection on values, mission and vision. This is the deepest level of relationship you can have with a customer, where your purposes and missions meld into a continuous, harmonious journey that can last a long time. By sharing the same goals and building the road towards achieving those goals, both of your companies create experiences that bond you together beyond partnership level. They depend on you for their profitability, productivity and future success.

One way to determine loyalty is to remember that a repeat customer must successfully answer the question:

“How likely is it that you would recommend this company to a friend or colleague?”

before attaining the “loyal” status. Companies that focus on loyalty lead their industries in profitability. Loyal customers have the potential to be your best salespeople, because they will find opportunities for you that would otherwise never appear on your radar screen.

Happy selling!

Sean McPheat

Managing Director
MTD Sales Training

(Image courtesy of dollarphotoclub)

Posted in Customer/Client Retention, Sales Tips | Tagged , | Leave a comment