March 5, 2014 at 8:41 pm | Blog
So many companies do and it cost sales each day. Let me explain:
There are so many things a customer expects from you in their business encounters. Often that which is most valued is taken for granted by the company who delivers it when trying to reel in the customer.
When asked, “What is the single most important thing you think your customer values when making a buying decision?” many companies will omit the obvious. For example, a construction company or transportation company may not immediately cite “on time delivery” or “safety” as being most important because they say it is a given in their industry. Yet when their customer research is executed and those attributes are on top of customers’ demands, the company often responds, “we take that for granted. Our competitors, as well as our company, must deliver safety and be on time.”
Okay, I will accept that. But since you know it is a given and since you know it is extremely valued in the buying decision, how do you build confidence and remove risk with the buyer that you are exemplary in what they value? Or, do you not talk about it at all in sales and marketing because it is a “given”? Big mistake! If you can prove you are better than the competitor at what the customer values with your history of solid metrics, you have increased your odds of closing the sale. Don’t take it for granted that the customer assumes you are “okay” at what they value. Build their confidence in choosing you with proof you are best at what they demand. If they want on time delivery, then show them your history of good performance e.g. “98.2% on-time delivery average for last 3 years”.
Time and again companies will tell us they actually have great metrics for such attributes, (in fact, often scores of great metrics) but rarely use them to close the sale. If “quality” is most important, as often declared by customers of manufacturers and/or distributors, do you track your return rate, damage or complaint rate? If it’s low (and it should be) is your sales force bragging about it?
If your customer values a deliverable such as quality, on time, or safety, etc. and in your industry you think these things are taken for granted, when was the last time you checked to see if those things are measured in your company and how well you are doing?. We have found grave issues for some companies in the areas that mattered most only to learn
that the top management didn’t know about their own poor performance. Conversely, sometimes they learned they had great performance and their salespeople were not sharing the good news to customers.
In your industry, what do you and your team think is most valued by your customers? What do they take for granted that you must be good at? What is your track record delivering that? Is it worth boasting about or is it something that needs fixing?
If you are up against a sea of competition but you are the only one addressing that which is taken for granted very specifically, touting a history of good performance, and your competition does not, you will tip the scales in your favor every time. Furthermore, when you sell with your success metrics, then price won’t be the tie breaker when you compete for that next big account.