Confronting a persistent slow down in sales, companies and individuals begin to think of internal changes – re-purposing their assets, intellectual and physical to better align themselves with external forces such as changes in technology and market structure that may be hindering their sales. At times this can be a positive approach, however, this focus on internal change may miss significant opportunities in external changes: re-framing customer and prospect problems and solutions.
Re-framing can be applied as a sales tactic to break through with a customer to a new engagement. And, re-framing is an ongoing process of making sure that your prospects and customers actually know what you do. Continue reading
Recently I worked with a new client on their proposal process. This revisit brought me to expand my notes.
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Objectives for proposals
- Communicate with decision makers
- Win business that you can successfully deliver at a profit.
- Develop and retain repeat customers
The first point is key to the task. Your proposal must win the confidence of the prospect while defining the approach, scope, deliverables, and pricing in such a way as to assure that you can exceed expectations and do it profitably. Continue reading
It is a well-known fact that early customer involvement in product or service development leads to better results in the marketplace, much higher quality and lower costs. Despite the fact that this practice has been considered a best practice for several decades, most entrepreneurs and small business people still fail to follow it. The results are predictable and almost always negative. Continue reading
A central business problem (and opportunity – these usually come in pairs) is to figure out who your customers are, what they value and how they talk about what they value.
A key concept FAB – Features and Benefits. Companies reflexively think about their products and services in terms of features. This is especially true of technically based ones – software, internet, medical, etc. Customers on the other hand buy Benefits. And most crucial to the concept of Benefits is that the customer decides what they are. Value is defined by the customer……
A classic example from the world of Web marketing is: people do not search for inexpensive airline tickets, they search for cheap tickets.
So, to round out this little rap, we need to understand who our customers are, what they value, and how they talk about that value.
Here is a link to a TED video I stumbled on that illustrates some of these principles: Amy Lockwood: Selling condoms in the Congo
Recently I was working with a new client, the owner of a one year old manufacturer of retail signage. It was our introductory chat. I asked him how he would describe his business model. His first words were,” I want to build a sales company that makes things.” Continue reading