See past CSC Edge issues here!
We all hear the comment about so many customers buying on just low cost without doing much investigating. Is that really true and can that mind set be reversed by a good sales effort? Sometimes our assumptions can dictate the way we handle a sales call or a proposal when in reality we should take every new customer contact as a chance to help them solve their problems. So, will your customers really care about hiring a quality company if your company really cares about helping them?
I for one think that they do appreciate quality but do not want to spend the time needed to investigate the best company for a repair or equipment purchase decisions and I can’t say that I blame them. Investigating is often not worth the effort based on their experience. We have all gotten used to shopping without investigating and in many cases just live with the results even if they are not totally to our liking. This type of purchasing approach emphasizes the price point as a prime reason for making any decision and has unfortunately infiltrated many customers' decision-making style. I am sorry to say that many feel that taking the time to talk to or consult with someone to help solve their problem is probably a waste of time because they have gotten used to and dread the old song and dance sales presentations they have experienced so often in the past.
But, if you really care the customer might also care. When you talk to or visit with a customer do you listen to them and understand what they need done and do they understand what is involved? Are you courteous and do you let the customer actually tell you what they want or are you the expert that usually does most of the talking? Do you listen to the customer and remember any special requests that the customer might have that can be noted in your final quote? Do you address the concerns in your proposal that came up during the presentation or conversation? Remember that you are the expert but always take the time to make sure your customer understands the job that has to be done and that he or she has been educated enough to feel comfortable that you will be able to solve their problem.
So how do you more effectively compete with the low-cost competitor? I personally think your critical opportunity is on the initial customer contact or personal visit when you have a chance to do a lot of the detective work for your customer. When you are done talking with them, they should have confidence in both you and your company. Just because we live in a fast-paced computer world doesn't mean that customers won’t value a quality presentation about your company's strengths and your ability to address their problems. Do you make quality presentations to all your customers whenever possible? Do you listen to their concerns and offer understandable solutions? Remember, in most cases the customer knows very little about your company and the nature of the work to be done so always be prepared with a presentation either in person, on the phone, or even over the internet, that is professional, concise, and really identifies and solves their problem. I might suggest just going over the key quality categories that your company listed when becoming a Certified Service Center as a good start but make sure you gain the customer's confidence about your company and then that you understand what they need done and have clearly showed them that you can deliver. By describing these key factors, you are actually doing detective work for your customer and at the same time indicating that your company excels in fixing their type of problem. Sufficient insurance, professional appearance, your problem-solving process, certified personnel, approved test equipment, customer testimonials, and last but not least national certification recognition for your entire Company. Telling that story doesn't take long and should be a standard practice for all your new customer contacts. One of my sales managers used to have an exercise in salesmanship called the 5-minute drill where the salesperson had 5 minutes or hopefully less to present the story about the company and it's products and services, then the rest of the time was spent determining what the customer needed and explaining how you would solve their problem. How would you do with the 5 Minute drill? Do all your customers hear this story? If not, begin telling your story every chance that you get. It does make a difference. Remember that customers do care if they know what they should really be caring about. We don't ask for certified salespeople at CSC but we always have to remember the importance of every customer contact and make sure that we emphasize the basic sales skills necessary to gain the customers' confidence and get their business. Afterall, an accepted sale is where it all begins.
Author: Don Pierson, Aug 2019
Rostra Precision Controls
Night Owl Optics