Understanding Your Customers' Goals
Most people are pretty good at guessing, right?
But what most people don’t understand is that those ‘gut feelings’ usually do not have any rhyme or reason making them hard to explain or justify. I see this present an obvious problem personally when selling a platform that is new to the market: guidance and feedback can be difficult to provide or receive without resorting to your ‘gut feeling.’
Going into meetings, calls and demos trying to solve our customer's needs with a list of features will often kill a sale when in reality it is a very needed solution. Lists of features and list’s of must-have’s are for things like smart phones and cars. To be a true solution for the day to day obstacles modern brands and retailers have, you have to take a different approach. When you have created a new solution - instead of just trying to improve on outdated ones - you have to meet people where they at their current level of understanding and perceived need.
Set a foundation of understanding - their goals, their frustrations, and even what they have tried in the past. For me, it’s not until I understand what they understand that I can get past my initial gut reaction and truly know how our platform can play a role. By becoming on the same page and knowledge level both parties can identify success and take all the guess work out of the equation.
I am constantly working with our customers to outline a series of goals to build on to ensure our platform will contribute to their success. Inevitably more times than not, this will ensure the customer or potential customer understands the capabilities of our platform too.
Just the other day I approached a potential customer through a cold call and my gut feeling was saying, “this customer is going to love what I am selling because it fits their currently initiative what they are apparently striving to do. I am sure their customers would react positively.” Unfortunately, my gut feeling was wrong! I led the conversation with all the features that I have to present and told him how this would fit into their 2014 initiatives. From there I waited for the infamous buying question…”how much?” But instead I got, “No thanks, we are already doing something similar and we are looking to change our direction this coming year.” It was a total gut-check; but in retrospect, I approached this the wrong way. From the point that I limited the potential customer’s understanding of Brandlive according to my “gut feeling,” they were unable to change their way of thinking. I don’t blame them.
Take the time in the beginning to understand your clients’ goals. You can save your gut feelings for other things in your life - ones that don’t have to do with your client’s success.
“Never ignore a gut feeling, but never believe it is enough.” – Robert Heller