Friday, January 26, 2007

Week 23 - Become an Advisor – It’s Your Responsibility!

At the risk of sounding like a broken record, (or it that a corrupt MP3 these days?!?!) are you measuring how many prospects you turn into paying customers? This is a crucial measurement because it will highlight to you where you may be losing revenue and help work out what to do about it. Lots of business owners go on “feelings” – it “feels” a bit slower this month. These days are finished! Google can give you every thinkable metric for your on-line marketing so there is no excuse for you not to be trying to replicate this in the physical world be that your website, showroom or offices.

Every time a prospect walks into your store or calls you on the telephone there is an opportunity for you to lead the conversation. Some people may know all about your product or service and therefore need little help from you but the vast majority are looking for information and answers to their questions. People in general don’t want to sound “stupid” so they probably won’t ask you anything. If you ask if you can help them many simply reply that “they are just looking” or alternatively, “where are your x products kept?”

Everyday, people buy products and services that may not meet their needs entirely, sometimes not at all! It is up to you to not let people drift, not to be “rudderless” in the way they purchase from you. Control the conversation to ensure your customer obtains everything they need.

You will appreciate the benefit if you can recall how you felt when you bought something you had no clue about. How did you feel when you were at cash register and the employee tells you what you have purchased won’t work without some other part? You feel glad that they told you, glad that you don’t have to come back.

So this is not a selfish initiative – sure, it may well increase the average dollar sale, but as we have already said, providing the best solution to the customer will pay you back many times more. This can be as simple as having “no batteries” on Christmas Day. How does that make you feel? Or the fact that laser printers never come with the cable to attach them to your computer?

In practice, finding out what you prospect needs is easy. For example, a parent who is buying a computer games console may know nothing about it so what if you asked them:

Who are you purchasing this for?
What is your budget?
How old are your kids?
What types of games do your kids like the best?
What type of television will you be connecting this to?
Do you want the ability to connect to the internet or other kids?

Use their answers to guide them and watch your business prosper.

“Customers attach value to a product in proportion to its perceived ability to help solve their problems or meet their needs. All else is derivative.”
Theodore Levitt, father of the “What business are you really in?” concept through his Harvard Business Review article, Marketing Myopia.

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