By Mark Riffey, 4-04-12
While the questions are different for the bakery, appliance store, law firm and butcher shop - much less a software company or SEO firm, the need is the same.
These 5 questions can make your business different in the eyes of your customers - and they're what you'd call attention to if you could do so without seeming so self-promotional.
Why questions? Because it feels out of context with the conversation you're having with a customer if you blurt out "Our on-time deliveries are at 99.3% no matter what the weather throws at us"...unless they ask.
So how do you get prospects and existing customers to ask these questions?
Maybe before we figure that out, we should make sure you know what the questions should ask.
If you're listening to your customers and observing your customers, you might already know what the questions should be. Joe Sugarman wrote about some of them in Triggers
(a book whose subtitle I don't care for, but whose content is pure gold).
Listening for and measuring what triggers customer decisions helps you not only know what customers should be asking, but when they should be asked and why the answer is so valuable to the purchaser.
It's important to encourage your customers and prospects to ask these questions, not just because you want another customer (or another sale), but because these are the questions that help them make the best purchase - even if it's made somewhere else.
So how do you figure out what questions your clientele should be asking?
Finding your five questions
Let's start with some comments that you would make about your business, your products and services, your staff and your clientele:
- People would buy my product instead of someone else's if they knew this one secret: _________.
- Our most loyal, repeat customers use our product/service despite the higher price because ________.
- When shopping by price alone, people looking for these items need to be aware of _____________.
- People who don't do business with us don't realize that we _______.
- People who don't do business with us are surprised about _____________ when they switch to us.
- The thing people most appreciate about our product/service is _______.
- Service/maintenance on our product is needed less frequently / unnecessary / less expensive because ________.
- Customers find it easy to use our product / service because _________.
- The biggest fear our customers have prior to making this purchase is ____________.
- Our on-time delivery percentage is higher than anyone in our market.
- We've never gone over budget on a project.
- Of 417 projects, we went over budget three times - but only with the approval of our client.
- Our warranty / money-back guarantee is four times longer than anyone else's.
- We're faster than our competition, but don't sacrifice quality.
- Our ingredients are all made / grown right here in Montana.
- Our staff is certified / highly-trained and renews their training annually to keep it up to date.
- We automate the mundane work so our people can focus on the things that make our stuff so special.
- Everyone else uses white pine internal framing because it's cheaper and no one sees it. We use oak / walnut / larch / etc because _______.
- We offer gluten-free / nut-free / allergic-reaction-causing-food-free dishes because we have customers who are allergic to those items. We aren't willing to give up those customers just because there's a bit more work involved in serving them.
- Our clients are highly-selective and do not have time to waste. Wowing them is what no one else is willing to do.
- We include 36 short how-to videos on our website that help our do-it-yourself customers do normal maintenance at home.
Now turn the ones that fit your business into questions. Pick the most important ones and put them to use right away.
- Use them to set the "rules of engagement".
- Put the 5 most important ones on the back of your business card.
- Blog about them.
- Include them in the monthly newsletter.
- Include them in your email sequence.
- Give your customer a checklist of things to consider when buying whatever it is you sell.
Use them to tell your story...and they'll introduce your business to others in the best possible way - by suggesting that no matter what your prospect buys, you're providing the tools to help them make the best choice for their situation.
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