How has the evolution of value changed in your customer’s perceptions? Below you’ll find 4 questions you should be asking your key customers and prospective customers to find out.
After graduating college at the age of 23 I wanted to buy a new Mazda B4000 pickup truck in black. After visiting the Mazda dealer and reading reviews on their new model of pickup truck for a couple of years I had set in my mind a very distinct truck that I was going to buy once I graduated college and had my first job. What I ended up buying was a Mazda B3000 (smaller engine) that was blue in color. Not what I had planned to purchase, but I was still satisfied.
Less than two decades later I have purchased 2 new cars without physically seeing or test driving the car. In fact in one instance I didn’t set foot in the dealership until the day I picked the car up.
Times have changed; what we value as consumers, business owners and entrepreneurs have changed. We want exactly what we want, when we want it, for the price we believe is reasonable to pay.
What does this mean to business owners? Well, to begin with, it’s no longer acceptable to put a sign on the front of your business and just expect people to flock to your door with an overwhelming desire to buy exactly what it is you’ve painstakingly prepared for them. Only Apple seems to get this kind of response to their products.
Just as we have evolved, that which our customers value has evolved. In order to have a profitable and sustainable business we must rethink our perspectives around value.
While working with a large privately held distributing company, I interviewed their key customer accounts and employees. This allowed me to best ascertain what it was that customers perceived as valuable – regardless of whether it existed as a product or service. The results were shockingly dramatic. Their customers placed significantly more value in the services they were offering (as a compliment to the products they had been selling for decades) than in the products themselves.
What their customers perceived as valuable was NOT what they were leading with during a sales conversation, and it definitely wasn’t something they were attempting to generate new business or significant margins in.
By repositioning their offerings, marketing materials and educating their sales team, we were able to transform their business from a Distributor Selling Products to a Service integration Business that also sold complementary products.
Determine How Your Customers Perception of Value Has Evolved
Here are four questions you should be asking your key customer and prospective customer accounts today:
- What do you value in our products and services?
- What would you like to see us change or improve in our products or services?
- What challenges or opportunities do you face in the near future as it relates to our products or services?
- How might we increase our value to you as a partner in your business?
In order to improve your companies profitability and ensure sustainability, you must rethink what it is your customers value, and build your business to support offering that value on a continuum.
© Shawn Casemore 2015. All rights reserved.