Customer Experience News & Trends

Do your customers know how you’re different from the competition?

If your customers and prospects can’t quickly explain why you’re different from others in your industry, you may be in trouble, especially during an economic slump.

Your salespeople shouldn’t assume customers see their uniqueness —  they should ask them. If customers stammer and stumble … start sweating, because you may lose their business. Here are some tips to share with your salespeople.

Get them excited
Whether the purchase is routine or unique, small or significant, your objective is to get your customer excited about the purchase. Picture how you want the customer to feel once the order is signed. Getting the order may be everything to you. But the experience may be different for the customer, who may begin to think about the transaction and develop doubts. The goal is to have customers feel they’ve made the best possible decision. If the customer feels any letdown once the sale has been made, there may be trouble ahead.

Six techniques
Here are six techniques that may help you stand out from the competition:

  1. Become more aggressive. Emphasize how your products or services save time, cut costs, and increase productivity. If you take this route, you may stand out from your competitors who may take a more defensive, protective position in a slow economy.
  2. Keep a watchful eye on the competition. It’s not a good idea to assume that they’re sleeping. They may be making moves which could cost you customers.
  3. Use value-added techniques to give yourself an edge. Separating your company from all the rest in your industry is more important than ever. Try to think like a customer to discover what you can do to dramatize your uniqueness.
  4. Be a good ambassador. Tough times can cause anxiety. Try not to let it show. Negative messages spread quickly and may hurt your image with customers. Emphasize good news.
  5. Concentrate on the basics. Your single most important job is to get and keep customers. The best way of doing this is to help your customers solve their problems better than anyone else. Don’t assume you have all the answers. Learn what each customer means by “better.” Then adapt your product or service so that it’s perceived as “better” in the eyes of your customers and prospects.
  6. Concentrate on consulting. Customers don’t usually look for quick solutions during difficult economic periods. Tailor your products or services to meet precise needs. This means taking more time to be helpful, understanding and supportive of your customers.

Adapted from Break the Rules Selling by John R. Graham. Mr. Graham is president of Graham Associates, a marketing and consulting firm based in Quincy, MA.

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