The Six Honest Serving Men That Never Lie (What, Why, When, How, Where and Who)
A sick person's real need is safety, speed, and relief.
Understanding your customers' needs enables a company to profit by providing what buyers seek - satisfaction and results.
Products change, but basic benefits like personal hygiene, attractiveness, entertainment, privacy and safety endure, as do commercial purposes such as quests for competitive superiority or profitability.
Successful manufacturers, retailers, and service businesses produce benefits for which customers are willing to pay.
In other words, successful businesses understand the reason for their customers' buying decisions.
So why is it that so many businesses find it difficult to retain existing customers? Just how many product and service slip-ups does it take to send a customer packing? According to BIGresearch survey results, 17 percent of customers will bolt after a single service slip up.
Another 40 percent will jump ship after two instances of poor product or service delivery, and 28 percent more will go out the door after three slipups.
That's 85 percent loss of customers due to service mistakes.
So what do buyers really want from you? In order of priority, here's what customers say: Knowledgeable and Available Employees Friendly and Cooperative Staff Good Value Convenience A Fast and Efficient Finish Why Determining why customers choose one company over another is challenging.
Customers themselves don't always know.
They may think they purchase from a business because the products or services are better than another's, when in reality it's something else.
Perhaps they know, like, and trust the employee or salesperson that is the company spokesperson.
Or maybe their business associate or friend mentioned it to them last week.
The reason customers buy is based on logic from "their point of view.
" Understanding customers derives from this fundamental premise.
Every customer has unique and individual goals, pressures, and purchase criteria.
The astute business deduces and accepts the buying logic of customers and serves their customers accordingly.
Sometimes the reasons customers buy are trivial.
If customers feel indifferent toward a product or business, the selection is more apt to be happenstance.
Perhaps several rival offerings meet all the conditions that a customer deems important.
Consequently, minor factors will govern.
This explains the rationale of the customer who chose a $28,000 car because its upholstery was most attractive.
That's how I decide between cars...
upholstery and dashboard...
what I see and feel while in it! Price is not the top consideration.
The point is to pay attention to details.
They may be crucial to customers.
Shrewd businesses respect what customers say and pay special attention to what customers do.
Just as important as why customers buy is why former customers take their patronage elsewhere.
Also, why are qualified buyers not buying? What is keeping them from buying? Can this obstacle be surmounted? Companies should monitor competitive offerings and buyers' reactions to determine purchase motivators.
Informal conversations may also reveal some reasons.
Special offers may overcome resistance and boost profits.
Many factors affect why a customer will buy products or services from you rather than your competition.
They may include: Awareness Features and Benefits Price Brand and/or Reputation Convenience Word of Mouth When Many buying decisions from customers are postponed because there is not an emotional motivation for the product or service being offered.
Timing is critical for the standard 3 to 5 percent buying cycle timeline for your customer.
This is the time cycle percentage when customers are most likely ready to buy.
The other 95 to 97 percent of the time, they are just shopping and do not have an emotional buy in.
When customers are ready to buy, be ready.
A business must be ready to sell when the buyer is ready to purchase, lest an opportunity be irretrievably lost.
Customers buy when they want an offering that is relevant to them and when they have time and money to purchase it.
Buying patterns may often be discerned from an analysis of existing customers and their purchases.
Look at the history of what existing customers have purchased.
Many customers have limited time for shopping only during off hours, evenings, and on weekends.
The transition from a single breadwinner per family to having all adults of a household engaged in commercial employment has intensified these time restrictions.
Astute business retailers adjust their hours, staffing, and availability of merchandise and services to meet customers' shopping convenience.
Restaurateurs and bartenders know that business booms on paydays.
When marketing, timing strategies can benefit significantly from competitive analysis as previously discussed.
Companies may want to consider adding and systematically refreshing information that captures what their competitors are offering.
It may also be helpful to know when competitors make those offers and to which markets those offers are being made.
This data can assist companies in knowing when to adapt the timing and cadence of their offers to either pre-empt or strategically react to their competitors' offers.
But, again, I want to emphasize the importance of not basing everything on price.
How Customers make purchases to satisfy needs.
These may be economic, physical, or emotional needs.
Customers may perceive wants and needs to be the same.
If customers need something, they want it.
If customers want something, they need it.
It is important to remember that needs and wants are not always generated by a problem that needs to be solved.
Personal preferences and desires of customers play a large part in customer purchase decisions.
It has been found that buyers generally behave rationally whenever buying decisions are made.
Customers buy to gain the benefits of the products and services they find of interest.
Customers usually expect to gain more than they give up.
If customers do not think they are getting a good deal, you are not likely to close a sale.
Both the buyer and seller have expectations to gain from every transaction.
If both the customer and the business are not satisfied, then the sale is not likely to occur.
To sell anything, whether in a retail store environment or on the Internet, you have to understand the typical steps that your customer will take before handing over hard-earned cash.
This process entails four steps: 1.
Recognition of problems or needs 2.
Information Research for a solution to a problem or need 3.
Examination of alternatives and buying decision 4.
Purchase evaluation of decision to purchase Where Whatever location is chosen for a company, make an effort to become familiar with the habits, likes, and dislikes of your customers.
Find out the median household income or business revenue of the area.
These statistics are usually available from a local government agency or you can often find this information on the Internet.
Next, find out how many cars visit nearby retail stores or businesses or drive by your location on the major thoroughfare.
Ask yourself questions.
"Why do people visit this particular business district? Does it contain businesses that will attract the same customers I am targeting?" Consider a location near a busy intersection or heavy traffic area.
When choosing a location for your business, demographic information will provide the first clues if you are not familiar with the businesses and culture of an area.
Examples of this data could reveal that 40 percent of the businesses in the area have business owners under the age of forty, have been there less than two years, work sixty hours a week, and may earn over $100,000 a year.
Or that a large percentage of the businesses around you are in the infancy stage of business and are not your probable customer.
Location is extremely important to "captive" buyers.
If a company is easy to get to and is well branded for location, a customer will stop by on the way to work, at lunch, after work, or even take part of the day to come visit.
Who Not everyone is your customer and it is sometimes difficult for small business owners to acknowledge this.
However, when they do, they can best advertise and market to their target customer.
While you can't win all the customers all the time, you can win with a certain demographic when you create a unique niche for yourself using decor and special catalog items that satisfy your chosen group of customers.
There are many ways to acquire information and they all involve research.
Before you gather information to make your marketing easier, ask questions and really listen to the words and body language of the answers.
It is good to know who is buying and why.
Understanding people's motivations makes it far easier to appeal to them with marketing messages and keep them, and others like them, happy.
Train the company employees to ask leading questions and report findings of what customers want.
Manufacturers and suppliers of your products keep up with the industry and have a vested interest in seeing you grow, so tap into their expertise too.
Another consideration in profiling a customer is to understand who influences the purchase decisions.
These are the people who will: 1.
Initiate the inquiry of your product or service 2.
Influence the decision to buy 3.
Decide which product or service to buy 4.
Permit the purchase to be made (Sometimes the decision maker is this person, but the decision maker - like a CFO - will sign the paperwork after other pertinent members of the buying cycle have submitted their recommendations.
) As has been shown, understanding of customers enables a company to increase sales and revenue.
This same understanding can equally serve to reduce costs.
Higher sales at lower costs inevitably boost profits.
A small firm that understands its customers can buy or produce exactly what they want - and nothing else.
The company's sales effort is efficient because it builds on why its customers want to buy and not on why others buy, or why the vendor wants to sell.
Overall, it may be your service - not your price - that dictates whether or not you secure customers for the long term.
If you give customers what they want, the way they want it, when they want it, and follow through with a fast finish in the end, you are much more likely to turn those customers into satisfied repeat customers.
DJ Heckes, Author & CEO EXHIB-IT! Tradeshow Marketing Experts Full BRAIN Marketing