Friday, January 17, 2014

Getting and Keeping Customers

It takes cash to pay salaries and all the other bills that are part of staying in business. Cash comes from customers. They give us their cash because we gave them something of equal or greater value.

Selling is all about explaining the value of our products and services. If we can clearly explain the value, and the customer has enough information to assess the value, we're done selling.

Of course, we still don't have the cash. That's because there are two more steps after we're done selling. The first of the remaining steps belongs to the customer. That step is called deciding. Sometimes customers make prompt decisions. That's especially evident when the decision is to NOT buy your product or service. Sometimes, the customer takes a while to decide. You really can't speed that up. It's a matter of temperament and personality.

Some folks, once thy have all the necessary facts, make prompt decisions. And some people simply never make prompt decisions...but they do follow a consistent decision making process, whether or not they are aware of it.

But there's a third category of folks who can't make decisions. And I think these are the folks you're thinking about when you have negative thoughts about the nature of selling. That's because you think selling is all about convincing this group of folks to buy your product or service. It's true you can apply various techniques to "get" these folks to buy...but here's the can't keep them. There's a delay, but eventually they figure out that you talked them into something and even if they were deliriously happy with the service, they will resent the way you got them to buy it and will never return.

There are some appropriate, moral, and ethical things you can and should do to assist customers with the "deciding" step. But more about that in the next post. And then we'll talk about the final step, which is actually getting paid.

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