Really getting to know your customers: part 1

| By: Scott Marshall

Wouldn’t it be nice to start out your prospecting journey with a better understanding of what your prospective customers really need from you? As hard as you work to expand your reach, build your business, and achieve your goals, there is one powerful way you could make things simpler.

What’s the secret? Really, truly getting to know your customers. When you deep-dive into the motivations and underlying pains that form your customers’ business needs, you’ll be ready to take on a better approach to meeting and exceeding expectations.

Who is your customer?

Creating a better relationship with your current customers can go a long way toward not only better serving them, but also getting a clearer snapshot of your prospective customers’ needs at the same time.

Figuring out how to know your customers’ needs might seem like a big job, but there are a few easy ways to start collecting the right information.

Ask customers for testimonials. What has their experience been and what did they need most?

Once you have some established customers onboard, give them the chance to share the details about their business, their experience, and their results to help you discover the real reasons they value your service. Capture the story on video or recording and allow your customers final approval rights on anything you plan to use the information for.

I once worked for a company that sold a web application performance tool that was primarily focused on the network’s role in delivering performance. Though we sold the solution based on this “network performance” value, we later learned that customers were experiencing the most value by being able to detect network traffic that would spring up between two IP addresses that normally wouldn’t be exchanging information. This became a security red flag that the customer found invaluable. It enabled us to refine our value proposition as well as our business model around security considerations in addition to network performance.

Take part in the associations and conferences your customers attend. What are they interested in learning more about?

If your customers are law firms, go to LegalTech, ABA TechShow, or Clio Cloud Conference. Insurance agencies? Check out Insure TechConnect, Global Insurance Symposium, Dig | In, or something else similar. Every industry has their associations and conferences, and every one will give you the chance to attend breakout sessions where leaders will share challenges and the potential benefit of technology.

Keep tabs on social media conversations from conferences, competitors, and your customers. What are they talking about?

Go to LinkedIn and join the Discussion Groups that are relevant to your customers. Your role here is to listen in on the conversations your customers are having with their peers. Be prepared to stand back and gather information, not actively participate in what’s going on or push your solutions. Allow them to use these groups to solve challenges, get recommendations, and find solutions.

Ask your major accounts for an annual review. Get written and face-to-face feedback on how their businesses are doing.

Talk to your top customers in each vertical and set up an interview time. You’ll have the chance to sync up, gather feedback, and use it to continuously improve your service delivery. Start with an online survey that you can send to all of your main customers, asking questions about how they see your solutions and services supporting their specific business goals. For anyone who responds to the survey, follow up with an interactive session to verbally walk through their survey responses and inquire about any future plans and priorities, allowing you to track your services alongside their future plans.

Rely on your technicians. Train them to keep their eyes and ears open on site visits.

Make every on-site visit count by asking your technicians—and anyone else visiting customers—to listen to comments, questions, and conversations that could help you better understand your customers’ needs. Look for information about new initiatives, interest in competitive solutions, and direct feedback about what you’re doing right (or wrong) and keep asking your customers what the most valuable part of your support is.

So what are the key questions you should be asking your current and prospective clients? We’re glad you asked. Stay tuned for part 2 and in the meantime, share what questions have worked best for you when it comes to building your customer and industry knowledge on our social channels.