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    Be the Partner your Customer is Looking For

    Nov 28, 2018 3:42:02 PM / by Julio Soto

    In the movie “The Wolf of Wall Street”, the main character is asked to sell a pen; most people immediately start thinking about selling techniques and words they can use to sell the pen. However, that is not the first question not even the second; it all starts with who is your customer? To understand the direction of the customer while also considering what is the intent of the pen? What is the customer’s main concern?

    There are thousands of questions about how to sell and even more if you want to form a partnership with your customer. Here are 6 points to become the partner your customer is looking for and increase the value you offer the customer:

    1. Understand the Direction of the Customer
    2. Recognize Customer Pain Points
    3. Reduce the Noise
    4. Focus on Service → Deliver What is Committed
    5. Invest in the Future and Innovation
    6. Retain and Start Over
    1. Understand the Direction of the Customer

    The world is changing and it’s changing fast, but what direction are we heading in? The answer is uncertain for a lot of people. Understanding the direction of your customer can help you create your own strategy aligned with the customer’s goals. For example, let’s assume the customer that wants the pen does not want it solely to write something down but to use it for his tablet, then you need to make sure your pen has both features (the actual pen + the soft end for the touchscreen).

    1. Recognize Customer Pain Points

    Now that you know the direction of the customer and goals, what are the pain points? You could be using the wrong selling approach because you are not familiar with their pain points. For example, perhaps the customer wants a new pen for the tablet because the old one was too fragile and made of wood, they now want a durable one made with aluminum. Using that small piece of information you can save time by getting the right product in front of him instead of trying to sell something the customer will not buy.

    1. Reduce the Noise

    How many times have you been involved in a situation in which you talk about “A” and your customer about “C” and he keeps coming back to “C” every time?

    Reducing the noise means to first give the customer what they need. Eliminate their previous mindset so they can be 100% open to hear what you have to say. For example, to this customer the pain point is the pen but you sell tablet covers, so he won’t listen to you because he is thinking about the pen; give the pen to the customer and then they are more likely to listen to your other selling points on the tablet cover.

    1. Focus on Service → Deliver What is Committed

    In today’s world we must strive to have a perfect service for everything we offer. A cup of coffee is not new in the world but Starbucks added the service and experience allowing them to up charge the cost. A taxi service is not new but Uber sells the service and experience.

    When working with your customer, make sure you deliver what you committed (otherwise this will be a noise point) and then move to the next step; more business, increase sales, innovation in service (Starbucks at hotels and airlines, Uber eats and Uber freight). Going back to the pen example, first sell the pen then focus on the tablet cover. After you provide the product or service you can innovate with a new version of the pen; lighter and shinier. But continue to innovate and move forward if not, others will.

    1. Invest in the Future and Innovation

    3M has a policy that allows the employees to use 20% of their weekly time in “thinking and innovating”, the result is more than 100,000 patents.

    I remember my first mobile phone weighed around 4 kg, current mobile phones are less than 200 grams, in addition to providing thousands of apps. Innovation and constant investment will allow us to grow and keep that gap between us and our competitors.

    1. Retain and Start Over

    Now that you have your customer engaged with 1 pen (shiny and light) and 1 tablet cover (quite fancy), you have a happy customer. Maintain that condition and start over.

    This is a cycle, never take anything for granted, continuous presence and attention makes the difference between growing companies vs. failing ones.

    Understand what else the customer wants and needs, what is that secret project your customer is working on. Give more attention to what the customer says, they are telling you the answer to the questions you haven’t ask yet.

     

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    Topics: Center of Excellence, customer loyalty, supply chain solutions, growth, innovation, future, GEODIS, customer satisfaction

    Julio Soto

    Written by Julio Soto

    Julio has a Degree in International Business and Management and has been with GEODIS for 10 years working in different positions within the Americas Region. He graduated with his Master’s in Business administration from IPADE Business School in Mexico City. Julio is the Commercial Key Account Manager in the Americas with over 4 years of experience in operations plus over 3 years of Procurement experience. Julio is also a dive master and beach lover.

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