Prospects and Persuasion

Every business starts with a belief that they have a product or service that others need and will buy. The business usually starts slowly, as time, energy, research, and an untold number of conversations with friends, colleagues, external advisors, and potential customers begins to congeal into a Vision, Mission, and Purpose.

Assuming the business has achieved a reasonable measure of market traction, and as the business pushes through its initial months and years, the structure, strategies, and tactics of the business solidifies. Processes and practices are formed, refined, integrated, and executed by employees, each with specific roles and responsibilities to create and retain customers. We call it Customer Building.

But, it’s not just about creating customers. Ultimately, it is about thrilling your customers to promote retention and long-term advocacy. To create, thrill, and retain customers is, truly, a never-ending set of activities.

What is included in the process of customer creation? It must involve:

  1. Understanding the opportunity and the prospect’s business needs and concerns,
  2. Creating trust in you and your company,
  3. Solving prospect problems aligned to your company’s offering,
  4. Effectively communicating how your company can and will accomplish the objectives, and
  5. Building an ongoing relationship.

Some would describe the above process as selling … the requisite steps in closing a sale.

In certain business settings and industries, these individuals would be titled as Sales Representatives, Sales Managers, Vice President of Sales, and similar titles. These companies are business-to-business oriented, and are in industries that are more typically product-driven and transactional.

Other businesses would prefer to describe the same process as customer or business development, and have the same objective – closing a sale.  These individuals frequently have titles that either say Business Development or Customer Development, or offer no indication that a core role and responsibility includes “selling” – regardless of the label assigned to it. These companies are also business-to-business oriented, but are in industries that are services-driven and far less transactional.

Many companies that emphasize “customer development” are lawyers, accountants, bankers, wealth advisors, consultants, architects, and engineers – and in other professions that have a longer vision of customer creation. Many of these individuals are owners, principals, and associates in their companies, or hold CEO, President, General Manager, and other titles that signify leadership rather than selling responsibilities.

Regardless of the title or label, the “selling” process is the same. Only the language is different.

You are persuading a prospect to become a client.

CX FANTASY vs CX REALITY

80% of Companies Say They Deliver Superior Customer Service.  ONLY 8% DO!

A startling statistic from the Social Fresh 2016 Conference. GAPWORX has multiple tools to deal with this challenge.

The above statistic spurred us to make the following observations. Unless you frequently get customer feedback that affirms you are consistently delivering “Superior Customer Service,” the likelihood is that there is room for improvement in company processes, best practices and how employees communicate with each other and their customers. Continue reading “CX FANTASY vs CX REALITY”

Customer Experience Continuity

Here is a real life story about poor customer service and the challenge of maintaining customer loyalty.

I decided to have a quick lunch at a favorite restaurant chain. Their menu choices, food quality, service and atmosphere have consistently appealed to me for many years; a predicable experience that I enjoyed. Yet, twice this year I have experienced poor service quality from this restaurant at two of their locations.

I will not share the name of the restaurant. Instead, I want to use this experience to illustrate the importance of customer service and how, in its absence, customer retention is at risk.

The restaurant was busy, vibrant with customers enjoying their food. I was greeted, taken to a booth and told that my server would be there soon. Exactly 18 minutes later I was given a glass of water. I quietly asked the server to get the manager, who arrived quickly. I explained what had happened, being civil and respectful of him and making certain that other customers were completely unaware of our conversation.

Continue reading “Customer Experience Continuity”