Best Practices in HR
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Jeff Davidson
  November 26, 2015

Assessing Your Customers

The difference between a successful and unsuccessful sales professional often is that the former made himself or herself accessible. Sometimes the art of effective positioning hinges on the ease with which the customer or client is able to patronize your goods or services.

If a customer can reach you the first time that he or she attempts to do so often, that may be the single greatest reason why they become your customer

How important is accessibility in business services, in manufacturing, or in construction? Acknowledging that our is a society of time-pressed people, if a customer can reach you easily, this might be the reason why they become your customer. In a time-pressed society instant accessibility translates into more customers won, independent of the value of your products or the value of your services.

Acknowledging Referral Sources

Doctors and dentist have long recognized the importance of asking new patients a particular question. Usually somewhere at the bottom of the patient history form there is a question that says, How did you hear of us? Most patients will dutifully write in recommended by a friend, a website referral service, saw your advertisement, saw your offices while I was driving by, or any one of a number of reasons.

How often do those of us in non-medical fields fail to capture this vital data? Recognizing the source of new business should be the burning quest of all entrepreneurs.

You need to know:

* Was it our website?
* Was it the Yellow Pages ad?
* Was it our brochure?
* Was it a recommendation from a satisfied customer?
* Did you see our booth at the convention?

You also want to know:

* Do you work nearby?
* Do you live nearby?
* Are you dissatisfied with your former service?

There seems to be an inverse law regarding the quest of businesses to determine how customers heard of them. The bigger the business, the less likely there are to be interested in how you heard of them. Yet, that is precisely the type of input necessary to keep successful businesses successful.

Recently, I became disgruntled with a product that I had been using for years. It started jamming up and I was completely losing confidence in the equipment. Determined to find a new dealer/distributor I started calling around town. I finally settled on a small dealer way across town who seemed to know what he was speaking about.

After purchasing a new model and coming home, I realized that the dealer hadn’t once asked, and I didn’t think to offer, why I was seeking him and his products in the first place.

He never asked:

* If I had previously used such equipment
* Whose equipment I used
* How I liked or did not like that equipment
* What features I was particularly interested in having
* What kinds of work I would be doing
* How many hours per day or week I anticipated using it.
* How I had gotten his telephone number
* Why I decided to call him
* Why I made a 25 minute trip when there were other dealers closer by

To be sure, this gentleman was able to make a sale and to successfully serve me. Should anyone ask, I will certainly recommend his business. Yet, he is missing vital data from me, a single customer, that could enable him to attract others with similar experiences and needs.