Re-assess your market for shifts

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Q. I've done my market research. Now what?

A. In previous columns, we've discussed ways to position your sales efforts to create "sales velocity." Sales velocity is developing sales that have growth and direction, and creating momentum. The CEOs I work with call it "a repeatable sales process."

We've also discussed the need to know your customers and ways to gain an intimate understanding of their needs and problems so you can position yourself and your products to solve them. We discussed how, once you gain that understanding and position your products and services in such a way, you need to use sales tools to also influence those who influence your customers, like caregivers, to help gain even more referrals.

Moving forward, you need to measure what matters. You need to constantly reassess--has your market changed, do you customers have different problems, what's their criteria for buying products? Each time you engage with a customer, it is an opportunity to listen and learn. Ask them: How did you learn about us? Did someone send you here? Who? How did you find our service and product knowledge? Is there something you wish we carried but do not? Would you refer a friend or family member to us? How could we have made your experience easier, better?

In their answers, what you are looking for are ways to better serve them. Customers who have a positive buying experience become "raving fans" and they, in turn, become part of your referral network. The sale of products or services to an existing customer is significantly more profitable than the cost of sale to a new customer, so take a few extra moments and ask questions to ensure you are aware of the needs of your customers, their problems and the way they wish to buy.

Companies that wish to be the dominant market leader are always re-assessing their market and customers for shifts. This simple but critical step will position you to proactively provide new products and services, while your competitors are "waiting for the phone to ring again." hme

Mark Roberts is founder of Out of the Box Solutions training and consulting. Reach him at