No matter what size your business is – a one-person, home-based business, or a huge, global conglomerate…AND no matter what you are selling – could be a product, a service or influence [I believe politicians are salespeople – they sell their influence in exchange for votes] – your customers are looking for 3 key things.
1. Quality. Regardless of price, people want quality. Granted, some people will begin with price [could be low or very high] and then find the highest quality they can within that price. Other people will assume quality based on price. Whichever it is, the customer is looking for quality. The definition of “quality” can be subjective. Quality could mean in the product’s fabrication or production. It could be in the promptness and timeliness of service, of meeting all conditions of a contract within an acceptable framework…it depends on what the customer is looking for.
2. Value. How does “value” differ from “quality?” I’ve heard people say, “The cost was a bit high, but it was a good value.” Or, conversely, “I can’t believe the value for such a low cost, low quality item.” Value is a subjective measurement of a product or service. I’ve previously used the example of a fast food hamburger lunch as both a good quality product and a good value product. Now, there are fast food franchises that have low cost, good value [as compared to cost], but the quality is not high. Maybe you get two burgers for the price of one. That might be a good value for the price, but the overall quality of the food is low. Regardless, your customer is also looking for value…however he or she defines value.
3. A reason to return. Many people, when they find a product or service they like [the quality is what they want and the value is what they expect] want to return again. Once I find a good place for a quality, low cost burger that I value, I want to return there for more. That way I’m not always having to search for a good place to have lunch when I only want to spend a few dollars but I don’t want to compromise quality.
How do you get people to return? You offer “added value.” Not to be a constant flag-waver for In-N-Out Burger, but another key reason I return is for the friendly service. For the clean interior and exterior. For the clean restrooms. These are all “added values” that keep me returning.
What happens when you give your customers the 3 key things they want? They give you referrals. More business. People love to tell other people about great products and services they’ve used and people love to share their stories of “added value.” Yes, even politicians use – and rely on – referral marketing. A warning: people also will share their negative experiences and not only will you lose that person as a customer, you lose all those they told. Duct Tape Marketing’s John Jantsch has some great insight on referral marketing.