How do your customers see you?
Think of the word, “Professional.” What image comes to your mind? Do you visualize a doctor, a dentist, a lawyer, or perhaps the president of a large corporation?
Did the image of the owner or manager of they business you operate cross your mind?
What criteria do you use to define a “professional?”
What about other people – your customers, for example?
How do you think they define a “professional?”
The services you perform for your customers on a daily basis, can have a big impact on them, their family, their staff, employees or customers if they have businesses, and their financial futures.
The way you run your business and handle your customers’ needs on a daily basis says a lot about you and the position you occupy in their minds.
In truth, your occupation should be viewed as being just as “professional” as that of any other, including doctors, dentists, lawyers, or any other type of business head.
The critical question is, how professionally do you perform within the scope of your business?
How do your customers see you?
I mean, when the people you deal with on a regular basis, your customers and prospects – when they view you as the person they do, or are considering doing business with, who do they see?
Are you someone they might classify as a “typical salesperson” – someone who is out to sell them another product or service, or who is interested more in the sale or commission they’ll earn?
Or do your customers and prospects view you more as a counselor – someone they like and can relate to and who is genuinely interested in them, and making sure they have the right product for their individual and specific needs, at the best possible price? And in the event that what they’ve purchased does not, or will not work for them, or if you’re not satisfied for any reason, will be behind you making things right?
How you answer this basic and important question is critical to your success in business. It can mean the difference between enormous success, mediocrity, or even dismal failure.
And, it’s a self-feeding mechanism, as well. If you are viewed by your customers as a time waster or a product hustler, even if it is not stated, you will tend to pick up that message yourself, and act accordingly, thus reinforcing your customer’s image of you.
On the other hand, if your customers welcome you as a counselor, or an advisor – someone with their best interests in mind – someone who can help them identify and solve their problems, they will feel good about you. And consequently, you will also feel good about yourself, and the role you play relative to your customer. You will be and act more professional, more confident, and will be better able to help your customer with the solving of his or her needs and problems.
As you fill the role as a problem solver, you can’t help but reinforce and strengthen that positive image in both you, and your customer’s minds.
What Your Customers Really Want
As a business person, it is important for you to understand that only 35% of the reason people buy the products or services you offer, is for the actual product or service itself.
The other 65% of the reason they buy, is for what you can do or provide for your customer beyond the product or service, and what that product or service does for the customer.
In other words, if you are trying to sell your customers and prospects products and services, you are wasting your time. They are only 35% interested in products and services.
But they are 65% interested in the benefits of having you involved.
You see, chances are good that your customers and prospects can buy the same product or service (or at least comparable ones) from any one of several of your competitors.
And with that product or service, your competitor may offer a number of additional advantages, as well.
They may have a lower price, better quality product, some added bonuses or extra services, a location that’s more convenient, or a payment plan that fits their budget better.
In today’s tough, competitive market, it’s difficult to compete on price or product. You may be able to command a certain advantage for a period time because you have a lower price than your competitors, but you and I both know that it will be short-lived.
The truth is, you will never be able to maintain a competitive position in the marketplace – long-term for any length of time because of the prices you charge or the products you provide.
It’ll just be a matter of time before either one of your competitors lowers their prices or duplicates (or even betters) your product, or you raise your prices because you no longer have the necessary margins to justify your prices.
But there’s one thing your customers can’t get from any of your competitors. And that’s you, and the empathy, the problem solving expertise and the knowledge, education and commitment to service that you bring to his or her specific and unique situation.
So it is important to continually ask yourself (and be honest) the following question…