How to Initiate Customer Responsiveness During the Sale
If you have spent any time at all in business, you learn quickly that ignoring customers is a great way to lose customers. A wise person once said if you don’t take care of your customers, someone else will. Customer responsiveness is key.
It’s not a matter of fawning over them, inflating egos or sending Super Bowl tickets to the right person this year and next. These things may well help you out in some cases but by themselves, they are not good strategies. Customers, individual or company, want to feel like their needs are high on your list of important things.
If you are not actively fulfilling specific needs for your customer, you are leaving a door open to your competitors. So, what does customer responsiveness mean? What does customer responsiveness look like?
In the old world of selling, companies had products that solved specific problems. They hired sales folks to go out and find prospects who had those problems and then they would nag the prospect into solving the problem by buying their product.
There’s nothing exactly wrong with that strategy except that it is very haphazard, prone to missed opportunities and dependent upon the resourcefulness of your sales folks to find the companies with the right problem. It is far better to engage with companies and listen to them explain what they want. Once that is understood, you can build the solution, and the sale is actually already made.
That is a customer-responsive business model. You can take that “customer-centric” action and build almost any strategy around it. The key is, it is customer-driven.
This process of customer responsiveness doesn’t start with established customers, it starts with prospects. Engaging with prospects means providing prospects with value. This value can be in the form of content, advice, network connections or just about anything. Much of this can be accomplished via your social presence or by using your website.
Prospects are adept at and prefer to perform research on their own. Estimates show us that over 90 percent of businesses will conduct online research on their own prior to talking with anyone in sales. Indeed, one study tells us that less than 17 percent of buyers want a human being involved in their research process from the initial interest phase through purchase.[i]
A huge amount of this research and even the eventual business transaction of purchasing a product is done online and in increasing frequency via mobile devices. If you are not prepared or equipped to conduct business in this fashion, you are not being customer-responsive.
If you are engaged, one on one, with your prospect, do not waste the opportunity to offer help with any issues, clarification of any confusion and answers to any questions they may have. Be responsive, be quick and be accurate.
Your prospect is constantly evaluating their experience with you. Everything you do and don’t do is noticed and contributes to their ongoing evaluation of you, your company and the level of responsiveness you exhibit.
This ongoing evaluation never ends. That’s what being customer-responsive is all about.
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[i] Uncovering the Shifting Landscape in B2B Commerce, 2014, Acquity Group, a part of Accenture Interactive