What Do Your Customers Really Value?

Republished by permission of FreeEnterprise.com, in agreement with NY Enterprise Report, Jaynie Smith explains how to align your products or services with what your customers are looking for.

If you were to ask each member of your executive team, sales team, and rank-and-file what they think customers value most when they decide who to buy from, how much agreement do you think you would find? I can tell you with complete confidence you will find little or no agreement. Of the 150 companies my consulting firm has worked with, fewer than 10 percent had much internal agreement at all among the staff on what their customers valued most, and fewer than two percent were in alignment with what their customers told us they valued, in our double-blind research studies.

This process is really an eyebrow raiser for most companies. We must ask, if the staff is not in agreement internally about what matters to their customers, how can the marketplace know what the company is about? Is the message the company conveys to its market relevant to customers?

Frequently, the different internal opinions are a reflection of who is voting and how they see their own job. When we ask internal teams to guess what their customers value, we make note of how various staff positions vote based on their own functions. We have noticed that salespeople, for example, will say “post-sales support” or “the knowledge of sales staff” is most important. A plant manager may say that the “quality of the product” is important and a logistics manager may say “on-time delivery” provides the most customer value. The customer doesn’t always agree.

 

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Republished by permission, FreeEnterprise.com, in agreement with NY Enterprise Report. Copyright© is owned by the author of this article. FreeEnterprise.com is your home for free market news and ideas.

Jaynie L. Smith is founder and CEO of Smart Advantage, Inc., author of the best-selling business book Creating Competitive Advantage (Doubleday, 2006), and author of the newly-released Relevant Selling (Executive Suite Press, 2012). To learn more, visit Smart Advantage at www.SmartAdvantage.com.