Are you taking care of your existing customers? Paul provides three great tips to help with this important task.
“What is getting in the way of delivering the kind of experience that your customers expect?”
Make it easier to do business with your company.
Organization leaders, be open to employee suggestions. They work closely with your customers.
Is there something that your customer hates doing that you can do for them?
Add value with every interaction.
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How do I create more value for existing customers?
(Transcribed from podcast)
On today’s episode, we’re going to talk about ways to create more value for your existing customers. And this actually came from a recent training seminar. I was working with a group of salespeople and, after our training session, one of the salespeople came up. He said, “Paul, you know, all this stuff is great. Stuff you’re teaching us on how to prospect, how to find viable sales targets, all that—it’s wonderful. But I need some help in one area.” He said, “I’ve got an existing customer who I’ve had for a number of years. How do I create more value for them? I get a sense that they’re looking at some of my competitors and I’m just curious, how do I create more value?” So that’s the question we’re going to answer on today’s show.
Before we get into that, a quick shout-out to Andrea over at The Creative Impostor Studios. Podcasting is one of the best ways to connect with your audience. You’ve heard me say it several times, and I know many of you listening have an idea for a podcast. Maybe you’d like to create a podcast for your company, for your customers, whatever it may be. If you have an idea, reach out to Andrea and her team at The Creative Impostor Studios. They’re going to help you get started. They’re going to guide you, hold your hand, and show you what to do—exactly what to do—to make your podcast a success. So, reach out to Andrea and her team. We’re going to have a link over to her website on this episode’s webpage.
Also, we’ve got our a new book coming out September 28th. Mark your calendars. It’s going to be a glorious day. Selling Through Tough Times will be available. It’s available for pre-order right now on Amazon or Barnes & Noble, wherever you get your books. You can also buy directly from us if you’d like. You can call our offices. We’ll have that contact information there as well. But anyway, Selling Through Tough Times is your go-to guide for building mental resilience and also maintaining your profitability through any downturn. So pick up your copy today.
Alright, let’s get back to it. We are going to talk about ways to create value for your existing customers. I’m going to give you three tips on today’s show.
The first tip: conduct a barrier analysis. Ask yourself, “What is getting in the way? What is getting in the way of delivering the kind of experience that our customers expect?” A barrier analysis is about identifying those roadblocks— things that get in the way. And then you focus your energy and effort on removing those barriers.
You know, I think of one example. This company I did some training with. They went through this process of asking themselves, “Okay, what are some of the common complaints we hear?” And one of the common complaints was logistical concerns. Their customers were sick and tired of having to call in just to track their orders and their shipments. And so, this organization conducted a barrier analysis. They got together and they said, “Okay, let’s look where we’re at. Here’s our current client experience. Here’s where we want to be. What is getting in the way?” And they’ve determined that it was their internal process of how they would track orders. They did some research, they partnered with their third-party logistics company, and they were able to automate this process. They were able to take the tracking information and all that, and automate it so that the customer received email updates, they had the information they need. And what they noticed is that this created a better customer experience and also, it reduced the number of calls coming in. That’s an example of how you conduct a barrier analysis.
Now, the second thing: make it easier to do business with your company. This is closely related to the first piece, but there’s a specific reason we want it to be easy. Our research shows that when customers are looking at two different companies to work with, whether, you know, you’re selling insurance, you’re in distribution, whatever it is. When they’re looking at two different companies, all things being equal, the customer is going to choose to do business with the company that makes it easy. So, ask yourself, ‘Okay. How can I make it easier to do business with our company?’ Sometimes the simplest things can have the greatest impact. Not only that, but, if you’re a sales leader, a business owner, listening to this podcast, make it easy for your employees to give feedback on how you can improve and get better.
I remember—one of my clients I was working with—they set up an internal email address that was basically, it was like the employee suggestion box. It was an email address that any employee could send a note to on how they can improve. And the management team would review it on a regular basis. And what they found is that some of the best ideas to improve and make it easier to do business with them came from their actual employees. So, make it easy to do business with your company.
The third tip—and this is the third and final question. This, perhaps—this, perhaps, could be the most powerful question to improve your customer experience. That question is, “What does our customer hate to do that we can do for them? You know, anytime you have something your customers have to do that they just absolutely loathe, they can’t stand it, that creates an opportunity for you—an opportunity to go out there and create value.
I remember working with one client. They were selling in the construction industry. They were talking to their customer, a contractor out on a job site. And they asked a variation of this question. They basically said, “What do you dislike doing that we could do for you? How can we improve? How can we get better?” And here’s what the customer said. The customer said, “Okay, you guys are delivering all this product to our job site. You basically drop it off. Then we’ve got to organize it. We’ve got to break down the pallets. We’ve got to distribute all the material to different sections of the project.” They said, “What would really be easier for us is if you could just take those shipments, break them down and deliver them to specific sections of the project.”
So, here’s what the company decided to do. Rather than showing up with a truckload of product and just dropping it off, they partnered with the customer, and they were able to identify where the product will go. For example, they would shrink wrap and palletize product that was going to go to the third floor of the north tower. They would label it, and then they would deliver it to that actual floor for the customer. You know, they needed product over in the west parking lot. So they would shrink wrap and palletize it and take all of that product to that section of the construction project. And what this did is it freed up more time for the customer so they could do other things. It freed up internal resources. It made their life easier. And that’s the one thing that was painful for them. They just didn’t feel like delivering the product to different sections of the project. Again, that’s something simple that we can do.
So remember those three tips: conduct a barrier analysis; make it easier to do business with your company; and ask yourself, “Okay, what does this customer hate doing that we can do for them?”
Remember, to continuously add value, you need to look for those opportunities to add value. That means we challenge ourselves. We look for ways to improve. In Value-Added Selling, we call that tinkering with our solution. Tinkering is about looking for ways to enhance the overall experience for the customer. You’ve got to remember, your best customers are the competition’s best prospects. As hard as you have worked to win that business, you’ve got a competitor out there working just as hard to steal that business from you. Go in there, look for ways to create more value.
Make it a big day.