Three decisive moments shape customer relationships.
1. The “First Contact” Moment
During your first meeting with a prospective customer, keep your company’s introduction brief so more time is available to ask questions that reveal the prospect’s story, their needs, and why resolving them is important for their progress. What barriers are constraining that progress? Then, propose a couple of possible solutions to demonstrate how your company’s experience, offerings and commitment can resolve their immediate challenge, while also contributing to their progress. Prospects become customers once they confirm that:
- you have heard their needs, and have the experience and competencies to address them;
- you seek to understand why resolving their needs is important to their success; and
- you are committed to exceeding their expectations and will remain engaged until they are satisfied.
2. The “Promises Kept” Moment
Your proposed solution to a customer promises an outcome. Make only those promises that you are certain to keep, and whenever feasible, deliver more than expected. Monitor your performance to ensure that you’re delivering the promised value, and report these results to the customer; confirm their view that your promises are being fulfilled. Consistently doing this affirms your accountability, reduces your customer’s vulnerability, and builds trust, establishing you as a reliable contributor to the customer’s progress.
3. The “Advocacy” Moment
One-time customers become recurring customers when you deliver as promised. Understand how the value your solution produced for the customer strengthened their business, and ensure that the customer shares your perception. Generating promised, quantifiable benefits that help customers achieve their goals, in addition to resolving their needs, earns you preference as a trusted advocate for your customers’ success. Enduring relationships, and referrals, are the return on your efforts.
How consistently is your business performing in these 3 decisive moments?