Five Suggestions for Helping Your Customers Succeed
Over the last 20 years of assisting corporations to identify and correct business problems effecting productivity, efficiency and teamwork, I have concluded that the root cause of most business problems was poor communication. We are part of the greatest information explosion in world history but unfortunately our ability to communicate this information is getting worse, not better.
The irony is the most successful distributor reps that I know are laser-focused on helping their customers succeed with little regard for their own success. They discovered that when their customers become more successful, it rubs off on them.
Here are some of the things successful distribution reps do to be better communicators in helping their customers succeed:
- Identify customer’s goals. What are their aspirations? Objectives? With your existing customers you may get a blank stare primarily because no one ever asked them that question. So ask, but give them time to think it over. Once established, an annual follow up to insure their goals haven’t changed is appropriate. When prospecting for potential new customers, the lack of a goal is one of the warning signs to pass on this prospect.
- Connect their goal to their activity. If their activity isn’t helping them move towards their goal, why are they doing it? Connecting personal goals with business activity may require some creativity, but it is essential to success. It will help your customers realize that some activity is better done by someone else in the organization.
- Identify customer’s values. Some distributor reps mayke the mistake of believing that everyone is motivated by the same things that motivate them. More responsibility, promotion, and more money may be great motivators for some while time off during hunting season, childcare support and flexible work hours are more valuable to others. Assumptions are fine, but please verify your assumptions before you act on them.
- Connect the benefits you offer to those things the customer values. Most manufacturer products and/or services come with a wide array of features and functions that translate into benefits for your customer. Every customer will not see every benefit as something of value for them. If you know exactly what they value, limit your sales talk to those benefits only. Each sales conversation then becomes a customized presentation for that customer alone. The days of the cookie cutter presentation have long passed.
- Are you engaged? Most customers are more apt to believe what they see rather than what they hear or what they are told. There is a direct correlation between distribution reps who are engaged in helping their customers succeed and the number of successful customers in their territory. So be a transparent, consistent example of the behavior you want to instill in your customers.
It isn’t a big secret that distribution representatives who really care about their customers exhibit these behaviors without really thinking about them. So, the real question is – Do you care?