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Market Research

Forum Research Corporation analyzed 14 major service companies in terms of customer satisfaction.

Their results follow:

  • 15 percent of customers switched to another business because of quality problems.
  • 15 percent left because of price.
  • 70 percent departed because they didn’t like the human side of doing business with the prior provider of the product or service.

How do you drive that human bond?

Three simple (not easy) pieces:

  1. Align values (also known as conditions of satisfaction)
  2. Get into their top-of-mind-awareness
  3. Frequency of contact around items #’s 1 & 2
  4. Avoid upset
  5. Be worthwhile – offer real value
  1. Dress and speak in ways that are reasonably similar to the ways the people you wish to sell to dress and speak.
  2. Ask, record, remember, and act on, what they feel is important.
  3. Leave religion and politics at home. At best, those topics are a crap shoot.
  4. Never curse or use any sort of marginal language, such as inappropriate slang.
  5. Always show respect for everyone you mention in your dialogue.
  6. Listen 70 percent of the time.
  1. Be fully present. Don’t engage with half your mind on another topic. People can always tell at some level, even if it isn’t conscious.
  2. Find out what is top-of-mind for them at the moment you engage.
  3. Link to what they care about right now in a reasonable and logical fashion, if possible.
  4. Ask if they are interested in talking about what you have to offer.
  5. Be willing to put off your agenda and try another day.
  1. Thwarted intent: They are prevented from doing what they desire to do.
  2. Unmet expectations: They were told to count on something (from you) that did not come about.
  3. Undelivered communications that lead to one of the first two, above.
  1. Aligns with their values (also known as conditions of satisfaction).
  2. Gets into their Magic 7.
  3. Has the appropriate frequency of contact around items #’s 1 & 2
  4. Does not upset them or their employees.
  5. Is clearly worthwhile and offers real value.
  • 15 percent left because of price.
  • 70 percent departed because they didn’t like the human side of doing business with the prior provider of the product or service.
  • Send them a good book relevant to what you sell.
  • Send them an article.
  • Write an article for your market. Some sample title ideas:
    • The Top Seven Reasons for XXX
    • Ten Ways to Avoid YYY
    • Three Secrets to Success with ZZZ
  • Point out something (in an email message or phone call) that you know your target will value, and that does nothing for you besides building or maintaining the relationship.
  • Make sure you deeply understand the value of what you offer.
  • Do the above and more, in a systematic fashion by using a schedule or plan.

Get into their top-of-mind-awareness:

Example: I flew from the West Coast to the East Coast for a meeting with a client in New York City. I got to her office on the 38th floor of a high-rise at 10:00 A.M. just moments before she came in the door with bloodshot eyes and a tear-stained face. She greeted me and asked for five minutes. I said that I could tell something horrible had happened to her, and that I could come back another day. She stammered her agreement.

Two weeks later, she called and invited me back, at her expense. It turned out that she had been walking into the building when she got a call saying her father had been diagnosed with terminal cancer and had just six months to live.

It also turned out that my being willing to cancel the appointment, for which I had flown across the continent, showed her that I would take care of her best interests, no matter what. That was what eventually won the deal.

Frequency of contact:

The chart below says it all.

Avoid upset:

It makes sense that, if you largely manage to avoid upsetting your prospects and customers — not to mention those you love — everything in your life will be immeasurably better.

I have found that there are only three sources of upset in human beings:

The key to all this is simply keeping your word. Easy to say, and hard to do.

Be worthwhile:

Give people information they feel will be useful and interesting to them. This newsletter is one example. It doesn’t cost a dime and some of most successful people in business today read it weekly. Other ways you can offer useful and interesting information:

A dirty little secret

Most sales people need to plan to spend at least one day per week just marketing and maintaining relationships. For some, it could take two full days per week to cover the marketing and relationship activity that their business requires. Whatever it takes, you must do it if you are truly committed to success in sales.

The habit

The good news is that when you market and tend to your important relationships, your selling time will tend to be short and sweet because most of the roadblocks that the amateur salesperson encounters arise from insufficient marketing and relationship maintenance, just as the Forum Research Corporation findings, above, point out.

So why do customers choose one business over another?

They choose the business that:

  1. Aligns with their values (also known as conditions of satisfaction).
  2. Gets into their Magic 7.
  3. Has the appropriate frequency of contact around items #’s 1 & 2
  4. Does not upset them or their employees.
  5. Is clearly worthwhile and offers real value.

The road to being chosen most of the time is yours to start today. What will you do?

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