When determining how to treat our customers, you must begin by doing something simple: ask them what is important to them. While this might seem elementary, it’s surprising how often this advice is ignored.
It’s erroneous to believe that customers are mostly concerned about price. While the cost of the product or service plays an important role during the purchasing process, its influence is less significant that you might think.
#1: Provide unparalleled customer service.
To be a leader in the market, the focus must be on providing top-notch customer service. You must take the time to ask the customer what is most important to him. If he is a buying a car, you can ask the following: How do you plan to use the car? Who’s going to drive the car? Do you travel long distances? What is your budget? Do you need a GPS system? How about the entertainment set? What color do you like? You cannot sell anything to anyone until you have a clear idea regarding the expectations.
The sale does not end your relationship with the customer. You must take the time to follow-up and make sure the customer is happy with the purchase. If you view your customers merely as a transaction, you fail to differentiate yourself from the competition, which means that you have zero competitive advantage.
#2: Ensure the product or service meets the quality requirements.
If you promised that the mobile phone would have excellent connectivity when traveling to Asia, you must ensure that level of performance. Quality means conformance to requirements. You must be proactive and advise the customer what is needed to maximize the use of any product or service that we market. You cannot allow the customer to “figure things out.”
The customer is willing to pay for better quality. Recognize, of course, that quality is subjective. For example, an insurance company might define quality by the speed with which claims are processed. The customer, on the other hand, might be more interested in the different interfaces available to contact customer support. While both of these items measure quality, you must focus on what makes the customer select you over the competition.
#3: The role price plays in the buying decision.
Price is important only to a point. A customer will generally not visit your store if they lack the financial means to make a buying decision. They will either have cash-on-hand or some form of credit to make the purchase.
When proposing a product or service to the customer, focus on the non-price advantages. For example, discuss your reputation in the industry, the 24/7 customer support, and extended warranty. By making the decision to buy non-price-related, you gain a competitive advantage. In addition, you make excellent strides to building customer loyalty.
Make an investment in your customers. There are times when you will barely breakeven on some sales, and the customer will recognize your generosity. Selling is not a game. Instead, it is a process by which you bridge a gap for your customers. You are providing something of value that will make the customer’s life better. By taking this approach, you will soon become a dominant provider in your industry.