Archive for July, 2014

Listen Actively to Your Customer: Hear and Respond to What They Are Saying

July 10, 2014

There is an old sales adage: “The more the customer talks, the surer the sale.”
This approach should be continued after the sale is made.
Too often, large and small companies fail to take the most elementary efforts to find out why customers buy their product/service.
This trait is especially true of smaller enterprises who often blame lack of resources as the primary reason.
Yet, there are considerable rewards to be had for truly understanding why consumers/clients are buying a company’s goods/services.
More importantly, the company may learn that what they believe the reason their product is selling is not why customers are buying.
In talking with groups specializing in “listening” for companies, this is the case in many instances.
Many entrepreneurs fall in love with their product, as do technical and engineering based developers. They look at their product as something people will appreciate and adopt as they conceived it. Sometimes success and failure results from customers seeing the product differently.
Knowing how others see offerings can lead to success.
That’s why listening is so important for smaller enterprises.
It can be way of insuring success at a relatively low cost.
In this world today, the cost of learning what and why customers are buying is relatively low.
Moreover, social media and other avenues make the listening part easier.
Smaller enterprises need to make a concerted effort to reach out to current customers and ask them such open ended questions as:
• What most appealed to them about their purchase?
• Why their choice of the company’s offering over another?
• How did they reach their decision?
• Where did they make their choice?
• When was the choices made?
• Who consumes the offering?
• How do they use the offering?
There are many avenues for soliciting this information. Here are several:
• With many purchases done online today, it is easy to ask purchasers to take a short survey after their purchase, perhaps with an incentive coupon on their next purchase.
• In establishment, purchasers can be asked to fill out a quick five question response card, again with a coupon attached.
• Monitoring chatrooms and other social media venues can lead to a treasure trove of information. This includes competitors’ accounts as well.
• Hiring a professional “listening” company is more expensive but the results may provide not only a roadmap for the success of current offerings but new products/services as well.
• If the purchaser or consumer contacts you directly, listen carefully to what is being said.
Small businesses are more nimble than their corporate competitors. Finding and identifying what customers want and fulfilling that desire or need is an advantage not to be overlook.
If not being done today, small business leaders should start listening to their customers. They have a lot to say.