We’ve all heard of the Pareto Principal, which states that 80% of business will come from 20% of your customers, right? The key then is to spend less time chasing new business which can take months to come to fruition, and concentrate instead on ensuring that your existing customers aren’t just satisfied – they’re delighted.
This is often easier said than done, particularly when you have construction industry customers who are price-driven. It’s tempting to respond favourably to a customer who demands a 10% price reduction or threatens to walk. However inevitably and often without realising it, by agreeing to their demands, you’re forming the basis for constant negotiation which will lead to squeezed profit margins and eventually, brand value dilution.
I guarantee that the customer will consider other aspects of service valuable – not just price. It’s your job to uncover what those perceptions are and communicate the fact that your quote may not be the bottom line, but offers exceptional personal value to the customer organisation, which no-one else in the market can meet.
Know your customer’s company
You don’t get any medals for knowing about the building products industry. You will however, encourage your customer to sit up and take notice if you demonstrate that you are aware of, and understand their individual organisation. That includes its opportunities, limitations, challenges and objectives.
Ask – then listen
If you don’t have the information that you need to make a lasting impression, ask – then listen. There’s nothing worse than a sales professional who simply shouts about their products without having any idea how they’ll be used in the customer’s organisation. By listening carefully and taking on board the information given, you could be equipping yourself with valuable information which will help you to offer the most appropriate solution and encourage ongoing customer loyalty.
Customer added value
Sales and marketing used to be just about meeting the customer’s needs. Not any more. In such a competitive environment, you don’t just want to need them but surpass them. Dig deep to find out what a particular customer values from a supplier above all else and deliver it. Even better, surprise them by attempting to give them the best service ever. Each and every time.
Which leads me onto my final point. You can offer the best price possible. You can propose what sounds like the ideal solution to a particular challenge. You can talk the talk but if you don’t deliver what you promise – even if it’s just that once, you may well lose the customer and tarnish your company reputation to boot. That’s why it’s vital that if you promise something, you have to be confident that you can provide it. Surprise the customer by over-delivering wherever possible and you’ll have a customer who will stay with you throughout any economic turbulence.