This is a guest blog by Carrie Morgan, Managing Director of The Sales Way Ltd, a sales enablement consultancy that creates clever, innovative playbooks and sales collateral to help companies have more valuable and credible conversations with their clients.
Across the UK in August 2014, a humongous 43,190 companies were incorporated, and the number of companies overall on the UK Companies House register has now reached over 3.3 million.
And this doesn’t even account for the number of businesses operating outside of the UK across the globe – showing that whilst it’s great that business is booming and the economy is recovering, it’s harder than ever to get your message across to customers.
With so much competition and activity in the market, your message can get lost under the deluge of marketing and advertising from your competitors – which is why it is critically important that you are clear about what it is you are selling, why your customers need it, and what will happen if they don’t buy it.
If you can clearly articulate why your product or service is vital to customers, then it helps you to not only sell more, but to sell more profitably and to attract a wider client base. It’s all about building credibility with clients so that they understand why they need to come to you next time they have a particular issue.
Who is your desired customer?
Who exactly are you trying to reach with your product or service? Think about your ideal customer; what are their characteristics; what is important to them?
By understanding this, you can tailor your message to be relevant to your customer. It also makes you assess your product critically to see how you can shape and mould it to better suit your customers. Most importantly, it ensures you know your customer well – which builds credibility with your clients during sales conversations.
With this understanding of who your desired customer is, you also have a blueprint of the type of customer you should be targeting in your future marketing activities, for better results.
What are your customer’s challenges?
Forget about your product for a moment. Think instead about the typical challenges that your customers are facing. What particular issues come up time and time again in client conversations?
Maybe you haven’t launched your product and spoken to customers yet, so regularly reviewing online magazines, news sites and journals relevant to your potential customer’s market will ensure that you at least have an awareness of challenges they may be experiencing.
If you sell to consumers instead of businesses, then you can look to your own personal experiences to get a gauge on what is affecting your customers. For example, if you sell fashion accessories directly to the public, then you could think about potential motivators that would bring you as an individual to purchase your product, such as wanting the ability to access on trend fashion items at a more accessible price, or to purchase goods directly from the manufacturer to reduce the cost of third party retailers.
By starting with your customer’s challenges, before looking at your product’s features, you enable your product to be a solution to their problems rather than being just something that costs valuable money to your client.
Once you have collected this information, you can then look to align your product’s features and benefits back to those specific challenges, so that you can demonstrate the true business or personal value of your proposition in relevant and current terms – that appeal to the customer’s logic.
What happens if those challenges aren’t resolved?
When faced with a fairly big decision, people prefer to do nothing, rather than risk making a bad choice. This often results in no action being taken in a sale, as the customer wants to avoid the risk and hassle of change.
But if you think that your product can solve a real customer issue, then you need to point out to potential clients what will happen if they take no action at all, and how those challenges will continue to affect them.
For instance, if your product will save your customers money by reducing the amount of energy they use when they turn on the kettle, then you could explain that without change, continual increases to your electricity bills will mean that instead of paying the same amount of money to use your kettle now, you will actually pay more per kettle boil in the future, and therefore lose even more money than you do today.
This puts the “cost of inaction” in perspective for the customer, to help them to move towards a purchase decision.
Hopefully this has given you some initial ideas about how to position your product or service to customers in a way that will get their attention and help them move towards a decision. These three simple questions will help you to be more informed about the impact your product has on customers, and the challenges your product solves.
For more hints and tips about how to better position products to customers, check out The Sales Way blog at www.thesalesway.com/blog