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He Should Have Been My Customer…

When I’m conducting a training session with business owners or sales people I often ask “What do you sell?” The answer is usually the same; a long list of products and/or services.  It is as if the participants are looking at a menu board or a brochure and calling out what they see there. My next question is “Why does your customer buy these things from you?” These answers tend to have a similar theme as well…”because they need it”…”because I’m the cheapest”…”because I offer a quality product”.

Technically, none of the answers are wrong, but I don’t believe these are the right answers either. If you really stop and think about what you buy, and why you buy it from the company you currently buy it from, I think you will see what I mean.

I’ll give you a few examples. I hate to admit that every now and then I find myself sitting at the McDonalds drive through. I guess you could say that I’m there because I want a cheeseburger and a diet coke, but that is rarely the case. If I really have a craving for an awesome cheeseburger, McDonalds is not the place I would go. So why am I there? What do I really buy from McDonalds? Clean kitchens, fast service and CONSISTENCY.

So what do you really sell? Why do your customers buy from you? Answer this question, and you’ll solidify your brand promise, elevate your brand identity and change the way you market to your customers.

With Christmas just around the corner, I’ve been spending a lot of time on Amazon.com. I have 3 major shopping centers within 3 miles of my home, yet Amazon is the place I buy most everything these days. Why? I started to go to Amazon for books I couldn’t find in my local store. But books are only part of the reason I shop there today. So what do I buy from Amazon? Convenience? Yes! IDEAS? Yes, Yes and Yes!

Where else can you sit in the comfort of your own home and get an endless variety of products, complete with customer reviews and suggestions for companion-type products? What mall offers lists of ideas, like top 10 gift ideas for teenage boys, or 10 items every kitchen must have? I buy from Amazon because they have things I didn’t even know I wanted.

In both of these examples, it isn’t really the products I buy. Think about it–if all I need is lunch, there are thousands of places to go. The companies I buy from offer more than products. What they really offer makes my life easier, takes away fear, makes me think differently, makes me look cooler… the list goes on and on.

So what do you really sell? Why do your customers buy from you? Answer this question, and you’ll solidify your brand promise, elevate your brand identity and change the way you conduct your marketing communications. Most importantly, you’ll increase customer loyalty, ensuring that your customers come back to you time and time again.

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