There was a recent article in the NZ Herald on Wednesday 31 October which talked about the retail giants SEARS facing receivership.
In the article it talks about how one of the largestand successful retail chains in America was about to be put into receivership with debt of 11.3 billion dollars US and assets of only 7 billion.It was interesting to read this article where as a brick and mortar retailer, SEARS had struggled due to a series of blunders, financial oversights and mis-management.In the article it states that the ultimate business failure was that it did not acknowledge the needs of its customers and displayed a staggering inability to embrace and implement the sorts of technology the customer expected.I look at this in a NZ concept and I still continue to see many of our service and retail providers encouraging their clients to use on-line platforms or on-line portals where one of the key service propositions is actually the face-to-face connection with the customer and holding relationships in the real.Many of NZ customers want to have the loyal transaction with a business that they can trust.
This is why this trust concept is so important in business today and the work that we are doing with many businesses is around how to deliver this level of trust and engagement with the customer in real and ensuring that it provides your customers with value which keeps them coming back over time.The last thing that we want to do is to encourage clients to use unconventional formats without business structure and position correctly structured beforehand.Can I ask you to consider today “how are you connecting with your customers in the real, bringing them into your environment wherever possible and creating greater experiences that will keep them coming back to see their trusted advisor.
One of our key skills is to help companies identify if service propositions that brings the customer into your environment for a productive transaction.
When your market is changing and possibly even decreasing in volume or sales value it is time to take stock of how you change your communication style when speaking to customers.
They will know if you are exaggerating or trying to gold plate or overstate the situation. Not only will your words seem to contradict what they know but your body language may betray you. The old saying that honesty is the best policy stands true in the changing market.
Firstly make sure that your research and information is up-to-date. Understand what various industry commentators foresee in the next six to12 months. Then figure out how you can rephrase this and include examples in your marketplace to support or contradict it. Provide extra information to add credibility when speaking to customers. Specificity creates credibility. So have specific examples on hand that are relevant to assure your customer that you are knowledgeable and credible.
Respond to questions with a point of view and a reason, summarising the point at the conclusion of the answer. This more thorough and thoughtful answering of simple questions will further enhance your credibility. You may even have to be ready to review the past present and future market outlook. Having these prepared is a simple solution to being caught out and unable to answer the question.
People will see through bravado and exaggerated positivity. But if you speak knowledgeably about long and short term market trends your customers trust will increase.
Sometimes we get too busy working in our businesses and clouded by day to day operation, that we forget to consider how the customer expects to engage with our service. I encourage you this year to take the approach of having a discussion with past clients to understand if your current service model is still appropriate. We are seeing many clients having to improve their communication and provide more clarity for the customer for the purpose of their service or product. By doing this, we create a stronger relationship with the client and protect losing them through industry change or competitor offering.
By having regular conversations with past clients and current clients as they progress through the purchasing process, we can become very aware of how our service can evolve, improve and grow.
If we could improve our process what would be the one thing, as our client, you would like to change?
How often would you like to hear from us in regards to new services, products or opportunities?
As one of our key clients, we would love you to complete the following short questionnaire, so we can find out how to support our clients more.
To further support the use of our service or our product, what would be something we could provide or investigate to make the use of our product or service easier?
Over a number of years I have been working with various industries that are looking to develop a trusted relationship with their clients. As you look to develop your relationships with your clients into the future, getting them to understand your value proposition, how your service works and the skill that you have in providing that service or product. Being able to have a in-depth discussion with your customer around their needs and wants for your service or product will make your life easier when it comes to the sales process. I have noticed many businesses still trying to treat sales in the traditional formats of building pipelines, pressuring and disturbing customers around their purchase time frames or opportunity and pressing them for payment for the goods. Please understand that as we are all more savvy around the sales environment, more informed about the product choice via the internet, we are now demanding that the people that we work with have the integrity, the credibility and the ongoing relationship with us before we are willing to trust and then make the purchase.
Have a think about your business today, how you can get your clients to understand the trust proposition that you provide. Identify the areas where you can provide advice and information that will make their lives easier and get them to where they want to be. Your customers’ success is your success, so focus on identifying it and moving your business to take advantage of that. If you are looking for some support about how to identify your businesses trust opportunity and then how to seize on it, please don’t hesitate to give me a call.