Customers care about themselves and their biggest problems.
Talking about the services you provide is just background noise. Uninteresting. Irrelevant. Talk about having the best quality and service and you’ll sound like all your competitors and you’ll erode trust.
A solution solves a specific problem. Your services aren’t solutions. To be valuable to your customers learn their sales and marketing processes and identify their biggest problems.
There are a few simple questions you can ask that will allow you to propose solutions to their biggest problems. But first, you’ll need to define your customer’s sales and marketing processes.
A Revenue Framework
There are certain steps all customers go through no matter what they are buying.
The future customer becomes aware of a problem or desire. They then become aware of a company, product, or brand that can solve the problem or satiate the desire.
Once awareness is established, the future customer begins to clearly define their needs and evaluates how alternatives address these needs.
A preference is established, and the purchase is made.
This process is relevant whether a consumer is spending a couple of minutes buying a soft drink or a business spending months to research and purchase a new accounting system. While the same Awareness > Consideration > Decision steps occur, the process is much different.
To increase revenue a company needs to be effective at each step. It is important to understand what is working and where the problems are. It is best to focus on the one or two biggest problems at a time. Once these are analyzed and solved, take on the next biggest problem.
Don’t try to force services on a customer that doesn’t solve their biggest problems. Help identify solutions to the high priority problems, whether you provide them or not, and you will be trusted.
Using a framework such as Awareness > Consideration > Decision allows you to describe the customer journey, which is the steps a person or company goes through to become a customer. While the simplicity of the ACD model makes it easier to use, there are other marketing models and sales pipeline models that companies use.
Find out how your customers define the customer journey and propose solutions using your customer’s frameworks. If they haven’t defined one the simplicity of the ACD framework makes it easy to use and understand.
You can provide solutions to problems once you’ve defined them. Here are some typical problems your customers may be having and how you, as a commercial printer, can help.
|Customer Problems||How print can help|
|Awareness||Potential customers haven’t heard of us and don’t know anything about us.||Direct mail to purchased list
Trade show graphics and handouts
|Consideration||Potential customers don’t understand the features they need so they may make poor decisions.
Customers are not familiar with our products.
Product brochures and data sheets
Direct mail nurture campaign
|Decision||Customers ask why they should buy from us.
Customers don’t understand why our price is worth it.
Key decision makers don’t engage with us until the end of the sales process.
Proactive direct mail to key decision makers
In my earlier blog post 4 Email Marketing Problems Direct Mail Solves for Reaching Customers, several problems specific to email marketing were identified, with ideas how direct mail could solve them. Once you understand your customer’s problems this blog post may help provide solutions.
Questions That Help Define Solutions
Now that we’ve defined how to frame sales and marketing processes that help identify problems you are ready to put this to work for your customer. Here’s a series of questions to ask your customers that will help you find areas where you can help.
- How do you find customers, or how do they find you?
- What do your ideal customers look like?
- How long does a typical buying process take?
- What steps do customers go through before buying?
- What are your biggest problems?
The discussions initiated by these questions will provide insight into your customer’s strategy and how you can help. Offering solutions to the highest priority problems help establish trust and increase your likelihood of success. There’s a good chance you’ll also be asked to provide services that solve immediate tactical issues they have.
A commercial printer is a marketing services provider. Use these same techniques to help grow your own business.