Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Your Customer Has a Burning Question -- Are You Answering It?

Your potential customer has a burning question about your product and service.   A question that only you -- or your competitor -- can answer.  Depending on how you answer it, you will either drive them to your business or away from it.

Here are the first steps to take to find out what the question is and how to answer it in such a way that customers are drawn into your business.

1. Find Out What The Question Is

Most businesses have the answers they want to give, or what they think the customer should ask.  But, you need to know what questions your customers are asking about your product and service.

  • What are the first three questions callers ask your representatives?
  • What are the top 20 questions potential customers ask?
  • What are the main objections to your product or service?

2. Find Out Why They Don't Ask the "Right" Question

When you talk to frontline staff -- whether they are sales representatives, receptionists, business developers, engineers, or principals -- about what frustrates them about their customers' questions, they will tell you:

  • "They just don't get it." 
  • "They aren't asking the right questions."
  • "They always ask the same stupid question."
  • "They aren't making the competition answer the right questions."

Those are exactly the areas that your customer needs attention and education.  If you can help them understand why they don't get it, and educate them on how to get it, you will be doing them a great service that leads to a great business relationship.

3. Answer the Question When They are Asking It

Although you have the information they need, are you giving it to them when they need it?  Or, or are you holding onto the answer until you are ready?  Many companies don't want to give any answer until they go through their process -- getting the customer's information, assigning a representative, meeting and evaluating the person, etc.

Remember, you are trying to answer their burning question -- it has to be a timely answer or the fire will be out.

Although getting accurate information from a customer is important before you give a detailed, technical, legal, or financial answer; you will not get to that point with them unless you give them something when they are ask their question.  They will either give up and move on -- or ask a competitor -- or they will continue with you but without a sense of trust -- and that is something you have to have.

  • Reconsider what information you can give freely without compromising good judgment or ethics.
  • The thing to focus on isn't what you can't tell them -- it's what you can tell them.
  • What are the questions I can answer without knowing their details?
  • What is the question I can answer now that will help them move to the next level of disclosure?

4. Be Where They Are When They Ask Their Burning Question

  • What might appear to you as someone playing with their laptop or smart phone during an important business meeting, just might be a potential customer trying to get their burning question answered -- so they can share it with their team and make a decision.  They are searching the internet to get an answer.  Do they find your answer?
  •  When a customer asks your office manager the same question she hears 20 times a day, is she giving the answer that educates and engages the customer, drawing them into going further with your company?
  • When a production engineer has a problem and digs out the brochure your representative gave her, does it answer her burning question or lead directly to the answer?
 The question has to be answered whenever and wherever it pops up.

Most companies I talk with are not only very good at what they do, they are also a wealth of information about their products, service, and industry.  Many love to talk about their business.  Why not share your information in a way that answers your customers questions and leads to more and better customers for you?

Just Like That
Originally uploaded by nateOne

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