How can you paint a better picture?

You need to be asking how you can demonstrate your value in a way the customer can see it and better yet start to talk about it.

Now I will be the first to admit that I am no artist. Heck.. I even make drawing stick people a chore. But real artistry in business isn’t drawn on paper it’s neatly crafted in the back of the customer’s mind. It’s the picture we help them paint when they think about our relationship with their business. Let me explain.

Years ago I was speaking to a group of over 300 business owners about demonstrating customer value. My point was customers don’t trust what they can’t see. We can yell and scream and make all the claims we want but unless the customer can see it, it’s a struggle.

Selling a tangible product is easy because you can touch it, feel it, try it and often times the customer can get a really good idea if this is the product for them. They even have the additional comfort of knowing that they can return it if it doesn’t do exactly what they thought it would. But the product is seldom where the customer makes a buying decision because in today’s highly competitive world anyone can create the product. Successful business leaders know that it is a matter of months, not years before the competition has their version of your product on the streets. So our real value is the invisible stuff we wrap around our product and everything we do. It’s the intangible that makes the difference and leads the customer to making a buying decision.

So here I was trying to demonstrate how extremely difficult it is to sell value because it’s invisible and customer’s don’t trust what they can’t see because there is nothing to grab hold of, nothing to try and nothing to return if it doesn’t suit your needs. Now You can define value however you want but I think of it as service commitment, ethics, level of caring, ability to anticipate needs and the wealth of knowledge/intellect we can provide to our customers.

Anyways, as I was sharing all my thoughts someone stood up and said, “Curt, if people don’t trust what they can’t see then why does ¾ of the world believe in God?” Well, I have to tell you, I had a divine intervention because I immediately looked back and said, “I think it’s because God has a better sales team!”

Think about it. When are the two times in your life you adopt a belief in God? One, you are cultured by someone you trust; a spouse, family member or close friend.

The second; a life crisis and you see how your life will be different with the belief of God in it. My point point is not intended to be a religous one but it is to demonstrate that your customers must picture in their minds how their lives will be different with you it. So if you help paint that picture I guarantee you will “own” the relationship.

It’s extremely challenging today because there are so many choices and so many broken promises. We all say we are great but admittedly some of us have lied. So today’s customer has become confused or cynical. Our word alone means nothing. You need to be asking how you can demonstrate your value in a way the customer can see it and better yet start to talk about it. You need to be one of the very few that understands that your product is not the business but a small part of the value you offer.

Take some time this month to start thinking about how you can make everything you do a little more visible. I can guarantee you most customers have no idea of what it takes to service them or how many people you have behind the scenes to support their needs. Yes, we all speak of great service but your challenge is to let them experience it first hand. The better you help them paint the picture, the quicker they will get the picture and in the end you win another great opportunity.

Let me leave you with one closing thought. If I were to ask who believes in God I bet many hands would go up, but when I ask who will be at Church on Sunday many hands would drop back down. My point is, it’s easy for the customer to say they believe but what we really need them to do is say they believe so much that they are prepared to commit to doing business with us.

Curt Skene