I was talking with a client recently and he shared a story he had read.
The CEO of a dog food company was distressed because the company’s sales were not growing each quarter. He fired their marketing company because he didn’t believe they understood the dog food industry, and instead hired a marketing company experienced in the dog food industry. He expected steady sales growth, but sales stayed the same – stagnant.
Out of frustration, he fired that marketing company and hired the best marketing professionals from the dog food industry that he could find. Several quarters later, sales remained flat, so he fired his marketing department.
The CEO was expressing his anger and frustration about the lack of sales at a company management meeting. Elmer from Accounting timidly raised his hand and asked to comment. The CEO angrily replied “Yes.” Elmer asked a question: “What if the dogs don’t like it?”
I believe Elmer’s question goes to the heart of the matter. So often when sales do not meet a leadership team’s goals, the assumption is the sales team and perhaps the marketing team are not doing a good job.
Maybe they are doing a stellar job and the real issue is your customers don’t like your product or service well enough to purchase again and to provide referrals.
There’s a way to avoid this situation, and it starts with the initial conversation with a prospective customer. It’s a question, which goes something like this: “What has to be true when this product is delivered or this service is completed?” Here’s another way to ask the question: “When the product is delivered or the service is completed, what must have happened for you to be completely satisfied?”
There are many ways to ask those questions. The point is that if you ask before you close the deal, your prospective client has told you exactly what they expect. You can then determine if your company can at least meet, if not exceed, the prospects’ expectations.
Now you will know if the dogs liked it.
If you are interested in learning how you can better meet your customers’ expectations and therefore improve your sales, I’m happy to help. Please fill out the consult form below to schedule a free, 15- minute phone consultation with me. Together we can develop a plan aimed at understanding and solving for what your customers truly need.