Businesses who simply offer lower prices to get customers in the door may think that this is the way to win over their competition, but it’s not all. Prices may get them in the door – what will keep them coming back, truly gaining an edge over competition?
According to a recent article written by Geoffrey James, published by Inc.com, vendors have a better chance of getting clients by offering value, having the confidence to solve client issues and fill needs (and be able to make it happen), and really listen. Just having a lower price isn’t going to get you new clients, or at least not long-term ones.
The article talks about the top ten things customers REALLY want, and, as you will see below, price falls at the bottom of the list. Providing an outstanding experience, from the initial inquiry through to the deliverables, will go much farther with your vendor relationships.
People don’t want the cold call, “used car salesman” approach anymore. They want to deal with people who they can have working relationships with, who they feel can solve their problems and offer “solution selling.” This involves a lot of listening and thinking outside the box sometimes. If you can do this, price won’t be as much of a factor as it used to be.
Below is the wish list created by Inc.com: take a look at what customers really want and see how you measure up. Hopefully there are some good takeaways from the insight provided, and you can work to make sure you are giving your customers what they want.
1. Bring New Perspectives and Ideas
If customers could diagnose their own problems and come up with workable solutions on their own, they would do so. The reason that they’re turning to you and your firm is that they’re stuck and need your help. Therefore, you must be able to bring something new to the table.
2. Be Willing to Collaborate
Customers absolutely do NOT want you to sell them something, even something that’s wonderful. They want you to work with them to achieve a mutual goal, by being responsive to the customer’s concerns and ways of doing business. Ideally, customers want you to become integral to their success.
3. Have Confidence In Your Ability to Achieve Results
Customers will not buy from you if you can’t persuade them that you, your firm, and your firms offerings will truly achieve the promised results. It is nearly impossible to persuade a customer to believe in these things unless you yourself believe in them. You must make your confidence contagious.
4. Listen, Really Listen, to the Customer
When they’re describing themselves and their needs, customers sense immediately when somebody is just waiting for a break in the conversation in order to launch into a sales pitch. In order to really listen, you must suppress your own inner-voice and forget your goals. It’s about the customer, not about you.
5. Understand ALL the Customer’s Needs
It’s not enough to “connect the dots” between customer needs and your company’s offering. You must also connect with the individuals who will be affected by your offering, and understand how buying from you will satisfy their personal needs, like career advancement and job security.
6. Help the Customer Avoid Potential Pitfalls
Here’s where many sellers fall flat. Customers know that every business decision entails risk but they also want your help to minimize that risk. They want to know what could go wrong and what has gone wrong in similar situations, and what steps you’re taking to make sure these problems won’t recur.
7. Craft a Compelling Solution
Solution selling is definitely not dead. Customers want and expect you to have the basic selling skill of defining and proposing a workable solution. What’s different now though is that the ability to do this is the “price of entry” and not enough, by itself, to win in a competitive sales situation.
8. Communicate the Purchasing Process
Customers hate it when sellers dance around issues like price, discounts, availability, total cost, add-on options, and so forth. They want you to be able to tell them, in plain and simple language, what’s involved in a purchase and how that purchase will take place. No surprises. No last minute upsells.
9. Connect Personally With the Customer
Ultimately, every selling situation involves making a connection between two individuals who like and trust each other. As a great sales guru once said: “All things being equal, most people would rather buy from somebody they like… and that’s true even when all things aren’t equal.”
10. Provide Value That’s Superior to Other Options
And here, finally, at the No. 10 spot (below everything else) comes the price and how that price compares to similar offerings. Unless you can prove that buying from you is the right business decision for the customer, the customer can and should buy elsewhere.