Sales and marketing can be the easiest of the 4 business areas for some people to understand if their background is in sales, but for others it is a skill to be learned like any other.
As a basic principle you need to align your services with the needs of the customer. Sounds simple but isn’t always so simple in practice.
To deliver what you said you would, when you said you would and at the price you said means that you must have good technical knowledge to get the product right, good systems in place operationally to be on time and to have done it without any problems to get the price exactly as you said.
The first point in all of this is to be a good listener. When someone is describing what they want, you must really listen to what they are saying to come out of it with a clear understanding of what they are actually asking for and what you need to deliver to satisfy them.
The second point is to be able to put this into place operationally so that the exact specification is what is produced.
Pricing is a whole topic of its own but in this example, you have to have put enough work into the quote to cover each aspect of the job and be able to deliver the price that you promised. If something does go wrong or material prices go up you have a decision to make about whether you pass on the price or not. Was it something that you did differently that caused a rerun or was it an external supplier that put the material price up?
So you have delivered to the customer and they were pleased. Great! So how do you get repeat business? You could start by asking if it’s okay if you keep in touch and then ask them for a referral and a testimonial so that other prospects can look at someone else’s review rather than just taking your word for it.
A referral from a happy client is always valuable as you they will often also tell the other person to expect a call from you rather than you calling up on spec.
Being able to deliver sensational service time after time is what will keep customers coming back. It needs to be an ingrained part of your business so that it comes as second nature. If you have employees it is important that they too understand this and deliver it.
Disney is perhaps one of the best examples of this. They try to anticipate the needs of every visitor to ensure that you have a magical experience. It isn’t just the parks that are amazing but all of the small things combined in case something doesn’t go to plan. They have shaded areas in queue spaces and fans hanging over the queue to cool everyone down, they have a car park team to help if you can’t find your car or have lost your keys – all of the small detail covered so the customer leaves happy.
To make sure that you continue to deliver what the customer expects it is good to get regular feedback from them, and best of all you can then use this (with their permission) to tell prospects what a good job you’re doing.
This really is the essence of marketing – getting your name out there in a positive way, communicating with your customers both face to face and with blogs etc and being able to show the comments of people who are a customer and the experience that they are getting.
Next week we’ll be looking at operations