Anticipate Customers' Needs in Advance

Recently, I attended a LinkedIn seminar. Several vendors’ had set-up booths in the hallway outside the meeting room. One was a photographer offering updated professional head shots. She brought along several business appropriate ties along for men who weren’t wearing oneand wanted a picture taken.

To the photographer’s right, a jewelry designer displayed her custom made rings, bracelets, earrings, pins and necklaces. She was lending various pieces to women being photographed for their head shots.

Both women ran businesses with services to sell. At the same time, each one made it easier for potential customers to buy from them, by anticipating their needs in advance.

At past seminars, men must have said to the photographer, “I’d like to get a picture taken but I don’t have a tie on.” Likewise, women must have alluded to the fact that they weren’t wearing the right jewelry for a professional photo.

Impressed with the way both women handled their interactions with customers, I took their cards. Who knows when I might be able to recommend their services to a colleague?

When coaching your salespeople, ask them to ask their customers how your company can make doing business with them easier. At the next staff meeting, brainstorm with the sales staff to create a list of strong questions such as:

  • Are you having any issues with our company that isn’t getting solved?
  • Do you have any suggestions for us that I can pass along?
  • Is there a way for us to make placing and receiving an order from our company easier?

If the customer has a suggestion or asks a question, make sure your reps forward the information to the appropriate party. That employee should contact the customer. The rep should check in with the customer to see if any progress has been made.

Use these customer exchanges to generate great ideas. Make it easier for customers to do business with your organization.