Brampton - If prospective clients evaluate our products / service based on their perceptions, how are we to ensure they are evaluating them to our advantage? Clearly this is a rather basic and straight forward question.
Unfortunately the answer may not be quite as straight forward. The reason being that each prospective and even our existing clients see things through a filter that is their own life experience. Consider that everyone has had a different life experience to this point in their life; now the solution to the basic question of understanding their perceptions gets even more complex.
However, each of us has at our disposal the means of determining their expectations and matching our promotion to the majority, if we are clearly identifying our target market. That is, if we sell bottled water the market is not identified as "anyone who drinks water". Rather the market is for example "those who prefer the convenience of having water prepackaged for easy transport and use".
Once we have clearly identified our target market, a few options we can consider for gauging the perceptions of existing or potential clients are:
i. Use social media such as twitter; facebook; U-tube; etc. top test campaign ideas before launching to the masses
ii. Conduct small focus groups in person or perhaps virtually by distributing material and asking for input
iii. Float a few trial balloons by offering part of the product / service as a "loss leader" and gauge the reaction to the offering
iv. Practice effective listening when talking to prospects about your product / service, note when their attention is high and particularly when it drifts away
v. Ask the question "what would it take" when a pitch does not generate business, i.e. "what would it take for you to consider engaging us to do X?"
The bottom line is we need to treat our existing clients and our prospective clients as if they were someone we were courting. In such a relationship the other person's interests are placed first.
When was the last time you paid specific attention to speaking no more than 30% to 40% during a discussion or presentation? Do you make notes of specific comments / behaviours exhibited during your sales presentations?
Have you recently come right out and asked your clients exactly what their perceptions of quality and value add were for your services or products?
Think about it.A rather famous quote fits here perfectly; "if you always do what you've always done; you will always get what you've always got".
What can you do differently starting today?
Copyright 2010 Gordon J. H. Newman, CPT