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You are currently browsing the The WhiteBoard blog archives for December, 2014.

Five Things Your Holiday Gift List Reveals about Your Ideal Customer Profile

December 17th, 2014

Tis the season for appreciating customers. As you review your holiday gift list, maybe you’ve also been commenting to yourself, “That’s a great customer!” or “That one? Not so great.”

When you’re sorting through decisions about gifts, cards or thank you notes, your good customer radar is on high alert. That makes the holiday season an ideal time to refine your ideal customer profile for 2015. The only resources you need are your customer list and these five statements.

  1. Your relationship with this customer generates significant annual revenue or steady ongoing revenue for your business.
  2. Your customer does not request major adjustments or customization to your products or services.
  3. Your customer does not require frequent, specialized customer treatment and/or does not require frequent, significant customer service time.
  4. The interactions you and/or your employees have with this customer are mutually beneficial and cordial, even when these interactions involve an issue.
  5. Your customer has referred other customers to your business, and/or has introduced you to additional contacts in the company.

For each customer, rate your answer to the statements on the following scale: 

A: Customer’s behavior meets consistently matches this description

B:  Customer’s behavior generally matches this description, although sometimes does not

C:  Customer’s overall behavior does not match this description, with an occasional exception

Your mostly A-list customers deserve your highest appreciation, not only during the holidays, but also throughout the year. Finding ways to ensure their loyalty and satisfaction should be at the top of your business to-do list for 2015.

Predominantly B-list customers deserve more research in 2015. Start by quantifying the statements above, and measuring your B-list customer behavior against those numbers. For example, if your typical A customer makes four to six referrals to your business a year, and your B customer makes one or two referrals, make customer satisfaction and asking for referrals your B customer priorities in 2015.

Your C-list customers require soul-searching. Have you been operating from different expectations? Are you tolerating their C-list behavior, or even inadvertently encouraging it? Figure out how to move these customers up to the B list – or move on.     

An ideal customer relationship is a year-round gift that pays mutual benefits long after the popcorn and cookies disappear from the break room. It’s not too early to start building your 2015 A-list now.

How to Answer, “How Are You Different?”

December 1st, 2014

At some point in the buying process, your prospect is likely to ask, “What makes your product or service different from the competition?”

If you answer with a checklist of the bells, whistles and features that your product or service has that other products and services don’t, you’ve missed the point. The question is not permission to trash-talk the competition. If you answer by second-guessing what you think your prospect wants to hear, you’ve lost momentum. It’s not an invitation to play mind games.

When a prospect asks this question, he or she is really asking what your company and its people stand for and believe, and how your product or service reflects those values. The question is a golden opportunity disguised as a challenge, and two simple steps can help you to use the opportunity wisely.

Step One: Answer the question by finishing the following sentences:

We believe in/We believe that our customers…

That’s why we….

Dig below the surface answers and explore your company’s values. Describe a benefit or situation that reflects those values. The salesperson for a software company finished the sentences this way:

“We believe that our customers deserve a reliable, local expert to answer their support questions. That is why we take a client service approach to supporting you. We don’t route you through an anonymous help desk or call center that is thousands of miles away. We assign a member of our local client service team to each of our clients, and you know exactly whom to call when you have questions.”

Step Two: Follow your answer with a question for the prospect to consider.

For example, the software salesperson might ask: “Do you agree that having a dedicated, local client service person is important when you need assistance?

It’s true that people do business with people that they know, like and trust. The question, “How are you different?” is your chance to build these business fundamentals into your sales process.