knowing your customer

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19 05, 2015

4 Key Factors that Will Help Determine Your Business Success

By |2017-03-03T12:06:52-05:00May 19th, 2015|Categories: Blog, Marketing, Success, The Millenniums|Tags: , , , , |0 Comments

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Business success is determined by your customer.

Business success is determined by your customer.

Do you really know what your customers think about you?

I’ve asked many business owners about their competitive advantage. They tell me they have great salespeople, installers, a beautiful showroom and super customer service. This is often in contrast to what the customers have written on line where their ratings are two out of five stars!

Why does this happen? Businesses think they’re in touch with their customers, but they really aren’t. If a customer says something unflattering about them, they usually dismiss it. “We could never please that customer, “is what they say.

If you’re not connecting with your customers, you’re doing a disservice to your business. If you don’t know what they like, how can they brag about you? Yes, you need them to brag about you. Consider that 65% of customers make decisions about where to shop and ultimately buy based on recommendations from their friends. Often the friends are social media friends they’ve never met!

Here  are four factors that you should consider:

Understand your marketplace. Are you located in the right place to attract your customer? Can you describe common traits about your customers? If you can’t, how can you attract more of them?

Know what products your customers like and buy more of them. If your customers are high end, why is your showroom stocked with so many cheap, uninteresting products? Being “all things for all people” just confuses both customers and salespeople.  Customers don’t have much time to shop so why bore them with things they don’t want?

Get the right business partners. Do you carry everyone’s products because the prices are good? Find  partners that are looking out for yor profitability  and your customers. They should also understand your marketplace and help you distinguish yourself from the competition.

Plan for the changing marketplace.  Businesses are heading down the tail end of the richest generation—the Baby Boomers. They fueled the marketplace with plenty of money and a desire for buying new things. As they age, their needs have changed. They are being replaced by a generation with different ideas about the world and seem to value “experiences” over certain things. (Electronics are one category they crave.)

You might not be able to be ahead of change, but you can certainly keep up.

Lisbeth Calandrino is a strategic thinker who has been helping businesses improve their bottom line for over 20 years. To schedule a conference or have her speak at an event, reach her at Lcalandrino@nycap.rr.com. She lives in Historic Hudson Park, Abany, New York with her cat Rainyday.

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13 10, 2013

Closing the Sale Sure is Easier These Days

By |2017-03-03T12:07:00-05:00October 13th, 2013|Categories: Blog|Tags: , , , , , , |0 Comments

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Closing the sale still means understanding your customer.

You know, closing the sale in the old days seemed a lot simpler. It really wasn’t.  Remember when there weren’t any online tools to support your products or your business? How many of you remember life “before Facebook?”

It’s easier now if you have the tools in place.  Some retailers are complaining that customers “just want to look.”  It’s not just that customers are “tire kickers” or don’t want to spend money. It’s the customer is being influenced by many other factors before she gets to your store. It’s been said the customer has about 10 connections that will give her information about the product she’s considering. Few retailers know what these connections are. Figuring out what to do is not easy, but it’s not really that difficult. Many retailers just continue to deny the reality of social media and refuse to learn.

Closing the sale means infiltrating the customer’s path to purchase and creating a solid strategy to get to know the customer.

First, you must understand how customers are navigating that path and then designing the strategy. It may mean a revamping of your web site and adding a blog. One of the strategies that is continuing to grow is the distribution of content. According to B2B Content Marketers, last year articles reigned supreme, social media was reported to be the most popular content marketing tactic with an adoption rate of 87%.

Whatever you learn about the customer’s buyiing path, adapt it to your particular store. You may have to clear your own path but   those who embrace the journey are more likely to gain a competitive advantage. I’ve given you a link to competitive marketing online strategies. Once everyone knows how to infiltrate the customers’ path to purchase, then you’ve got to start at the beginning.  All things being equal the determining factor often comes down to price. If you’re smart, you will try to gain that competitive advantage over those who have their head in the sand.

No matter how you do it, Google has one suggestion.  Wherever you decide to go, show up with the right content. You need to know what your customers are reading and what they want to see. Are they just looking at floor covering products? I would say it hasn’t changed over the years. They want to experience the product. They want to see it installed in someone’s home and get the “consumer’s advice.” What’s changed is the consumer is the new expert? For more ideas on this topic, go to the Google ZMOT Handbook.

We’re been talking about this for years haven’t we? Still many retailers say they don’t have time for pictures and getting testimonials. Those who do will find themselves on Angie’s list with the referrals.

I feel like we’re going backwards to where we were years ago.  Show the customer how the product will look in someone’s home. Now we can post the photo along with the dialog on social media, and the consumer can engage with the home owner about the process.

If you’ve done a great job, you’re likely on your way to a new referral.

Lisbeth Calandrino helps businesses build loyal customer relations through customer service and sales training. To book her to speak at your business, she can be reached at Lcalandrino@nycap.rr.com.

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