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Five Things More Important to Buyers than WHAT You're
Selling I Article I of a two-part series
For Article II
Dr. Lynella Grant

No matter what customers say they want, what they're really
looking for is "something special." They can't quite
describe it, but when they find it, they know.

Indeed, those little details of the buying experience may
appear intangible. But what you sell is usually less
important to customers, almost incidental--unless they don't
get what they expected.

As Walt Disney said, "Do what you do so well that people
want to bring their friends to see you do it again." Any
business able to satisfy customers in these five ways will
consistently beat the competition.

NOTICE: More important than WHAT you provide, is HOW you
provide it.

So much attention is paid to the WHAT, the HOW often takes a
backseat. Yet it's the quality of your HOW that determines
whether the sale is made or lost. Buyers focused only on
price are likely to be one-time visitors, but even they
sometimes decide the cheapest price "just isn't worth it."

1. How well they're treated
People (even business buyers) care about the human touch.
They want to be treated with respect and fairness. They want
to feel like valued customers--whose time and opinions
matter. If people can't trust you to treat them right, they
certainly won't trust you with their money. Whether or not
the sale occurs depends on whether the customer feels taken
for granted--or taken.

Equally important is how the business deals with problems or
complaints as they arise. Making mistakes needn't be fatal,
customers understand that. However, the willingness to fix
them and minimize their impact on the buyer is crucial.
Solving it immediately, with the right attitude, can even
strengthen the bond. But fumbling the ball a second time
simply isn't forgiven.

2. How efficiently the buying process went
From start to end, did each step of the sale go smoothly?
Could the buyers get the answers or help they needed? Could
they find what they came for (or why not)? Was the operation
arranged to accommodate them? their time frame? Were prices
and payment options clear and easy to deal with? Can most
buyers complete the transaction without triggering number 3?

3. How much aggravation they had to endure
Aggravations are of two types--those that shouldn't have
happened (glitches). Or those that happen to everyone, like
long waits, multiple visits, shortage of parts, etc. A buyer
is willing to endure a little inconvenience, but not for
long, not every time. Your job is to minimize inconveniences
so they don't arise--not treat them like business as usual.

Here's where the helpful, informed employees will make or
break the business. First in building customer rapport,
anticipating their concerns, and avoiding problems in the
first place.

4. How many mind games are played on them
Sorry to say, the word "sales" gets misused too often.
Selling isn't an opportunity to manipulate the potential
buyer to do what the seller wants, rather than providing the
buyer what they want.

No one wants to feel like a sucker or to be mislead about
prices, delivery dates, or terms of the sale. Even a hint of
such treatment kills trust, kills their willingness to hear
you out. And if a person feels tricked into buying, they
won't buy again. Or they might cancel the sale afterward
from buyer's remorse.

5. How well the business has its act together
Starting with the first impression, did everything about the
business live up to its promise or reputation? If every part
of the operation works smoothly as an integrated whole,
consider the customer well served. When the parts are
mismatched or full of snags, it screams "small potatoes."
That scares business away. Even if the issues are minor,
they pull the plug on trust. Fortunately, a focus on your
HOW yields big benefits from quick and inexpensive
solutions. For tangible ways to wipe out small potatoes
signals, visit my website where I discuss this.

Get your HOWs in order, and you'll drive the competition
Customers notice when they're treated well. Let your
uniqueness shine in the HOW of customer-pleasing practices.
It pays off in your bottom line.
(c)2004, Lynella Grant
This is Part I of a two-part series.
Part II, about Internet buyers, can be read at:

This article was submitted by - Dr. Lynella Grant Please Rate/Review this Article - Recommend it to friends

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