All kinds of companies, ranging from the tiniest start-ups to the largest global organizations, have prospect and customer variations. While some sales professionals consider all sales targets homogeneous, here is a way of thinking about customers. Customers can be:
• Brand new – just came on board so you’re in the honeymoon stage with them.
• Long term, loyal – you have lengthy, solid relationships with them
• Come and go:
1. Price shoppers – Buyers who have little or no regard for who they buy from as long as they can evaporate your margins.
2. Bounce Backs – Those customers who leave you for someone else and bounce back to you because the “grass wasn’t greener,” and you now have to fix the issues that the other vendor bestowed on these “come and go” customers.
• Hybrids – Combination of Price Shoppers and Bounce Backs. For example, customers who buy from you and from your competitors, but the amount they buy varies from time to time.
• Prospective Customer – not yet convinced, or never even heard of you.
Frequently, we discover that a company may have one pitch book or one sales presentation that they use for all prospects and customers. Companies that fully understand the differences in their prospects’ and customers’ buying criteria, and adjust messaging accordingly, score the highest returns on their sales efforts.
What is your company doing to adjust messaging? Research shows prospects’ buying decision criteria is difference from customers’ criteria 70% of the time. Explore this question with your salespeople. Ask them to list the differences in sales messaging they currently deliver; and upon what they base that difference? If your message to the five different customer types identified above is all the same, then you’re likely not maximizing your sales efforts.
This alignment of right message to right type of customer can close more sales and protect margins.