While many companies are proud of their company history, products, and services, the success of customer attainment and retention has less to do with the company and its offerings than you might think. For most consumers, a buying decision is not merely about your features and benefits.
While features are important to outlining the functions of your product or service, they do not make or break a business deal nearly as much as the marketed presentation. Further, a bullet point list of benefits can add value, but until a consumer feels a personal vested interest in identifying themselves using the service or product, they will still continue to look for “something more; something they feel is theirs”.
Before beginning a marketing campaign or preparing your next sales presentation, you must get inside of the mind of the person most able to tell your story most successfully. Do you know who that person is? Is it your marketing manager? Is it your outsourced marketing firm? Perhaps it’s the president of the company who started the business 40 years ago, your management team, or your sales staff.
The truth is, your best resource for establishing the strongest marketing message you could ever share is none of the above.
It is not until you begin to ask the right questions of the right person, or group of people, that you will truly begin to identify your marketing edge. So who is this group of people that hold so much value in your continued success? Simply stated, it’s your past and current clients.
Your clients in fact hold the key to your future growth and development simply by virtue of knowing what they like and don’t like about you, your products, your services, and your client relations. They know why they chose to buy from you in the first place and why they continue to do business with you. They also know why and when they have considered leaving to go to your competitor.
Further, they can tell you everything you need to know about how to not only keep them a dedicated client in the future but they can also tell you exactly what you need to do to expand your client base and revenues. When you begin speaking in words and terms that relate directly to a prospects interest, you will be met with intrigue and commitment.
Once you know the top three to five key points that your current and future clients value most, you will know where to place your focus in your marketing message and sales presentation.
However, this is not enough to break the cycle of “personal praise”. What I mean by this is, you can’t be successful selling a product to someone that is only hearing how wonderful you are and how you are going to make life wonderful for them by the use of “we, our, and us” tied to every point you are trying to make.
To effectively address questions, concerns, interests, and values held by your most sought after client, you must always place the focus on them. Truth be told, your customers don’t really care about you. What they care about is themselves, their time, their interests, their challenges, their budgets; their… whatever brought them to you in the first place.
And you’re not going to capture “their” interest until you begin speaking in “words and terms” that relate directly to them. Moreover, by using the information you’ve gathered from your past and current clients, you can focus directly on the points of interest that are likely at the top of what they consider of importance before they even have to ask you for a direct answer to their most daunting questions. Even better, you can market your message through print, broadcast, internet, and any other marketing platform so that it targets the specific buying points that your competition has failed to market effectively.
Shift your “we, our, us” model of communication, both in your marketing message and sales presentation, to reflect the “you, your, yours” focus of your message. For every time that you use the words, we, our, us, your company name, or any other related term, make sure the concluding message is focused on the client by using the words “you, your, yours”
Also, stay away from the words “they, their, theirs”, as these also lead to a disconnect between the seller and the buyer. Consumers want to identify with “what’s in it for me”. If you begin talking about your current clients and how they have benefited without putting your prospective client in the mindset to see themselves using your product/service, they will still be waiting to hear “what’s in it for me”.
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Go back to the basics, strengthen your current client relations, and re-learn what it is that makes you great in their eyes. Also, take the time to learn what mistakes you have made and how you can ensure better service in the future. Then, take your new found knowledge and put it to work for you. Re-tell your marketing story so that it resonates with your most sought after client. Anyone can tell a story about their business. Make sure the story you are telling is the right one.
Deeatra Kajfosz is president of Nalani Services Inc., Menomonee Falls, and president of Tempo Washington County.