vs. why your customers actually buy from you
“What business are you in?” I ask you. “Uh . . . I’m a plumber,” you respond.
I google “plumber” for your area and find hundreds of listings. Why should I call you? Why do your customers call you? Let’s see what they say:
“I call Joe because he’s always polite and friendly, he gets there on time, he gives different options, he gets it done right the first time. I trust him.”
“We used to use another guy who said his prices would never be beat, but he always arrived late, and would find sneaky ways to jump up the price.”
Maybe you have the “I’m just a plumber” mentality — or whatever your business is. But with 100 other plumbers in the book, you need to know, and market, what makes you the top choice. What are the great things your customers are saying about you?
How can you find out? Ask them. Scary buy true.
Here’s an exercise: Call a few of your best customers — the kind you want more of — and ask them this question:
“Why do you do business with us rather than somebody else?”
Don’t email or message them, don’t send an online survey; call them and talk with them. You can also do this face-to-face, but that makes it very time intensive.
Finding out the “rather than somebody else” part is crucial, because you want to know how you stack up to your competitors in their eyes.
The first few calls you make might be a bit scary. Maybe you’re afraid that they will say, “I don’t know. Maybe I should be doing business with the other guy.” But chances are, you’ll be amazed and gratified by their responses, and empowered by what you learn.
Benefits of making these calls
- You will discover things about your business you never suspected. “I thought we just had a print shop, but people come to us because we help them with design, and show them how to get the best deal. And we always correct our mistakes.”
- The positive feedback will make you feel great! You’ll work with renewed excitement.
- You’ll learn how to promote yourself more effectively by focusing on your special qualities, maybe some you never even knew you possessed.
- You’ll get powerful testimonials you can use in promotions. (Make sure you capture them word for word, and ask your customer’s permission to use their words.)
- You get a chance to resell yourself to them, and remind them of the value you bring to them.
- You will learn what else you could do for them, and how you can improve your business. “You may not even realize that we also . . .”
- You may also learn some things you shouldn’t do, or that your competitors do better than you do.
- They may buy something from you right then. “I’m glad you called. I think we need…”
- They may give you a referral to a strong prospect.
Make sure you record what they say. Get it all down. Use a digital recording app on your phone or take detailed notes. Don’t rely on your memory. You’ll make it sound like either a bureaucrat or a used car salesman.
Can’t you just rely on Yelp reviews?
Sure, you can get some good material from your reviews on Yelp or other forums. But the real benefit comes from person-to-person connection, where you have the opportunity to ask follow-up questions and strengthen your relationship with customers.
Start now! Make a list of your top customers and make the first call. Your business, and bottom line, will thank you.
If you try this, and run into difficulty, let us know; ask us a question in the “Comments” section. We can give you a bit of free coaching.
Next up: What can you learn from your worst customers?