Putting customer first in practice: a humble example

listening-and-asking-the-right-questionsSometimes ‘small’ examples and experiences can help you illustrate a more important point. As I am writing this, I’m sitting in a hotel room, wrestling with deadlines and taking care of some last-minute preparations for Fusion Marketing Experience congress. Somewhere else in the same hotel are the speakers. Among them, Kristin Zhivago.

As I mentioned earlier, Kristin wrote a book, “Roadmap to Revenue: How to Sell the Way Your Customers Want to Buy.” Very simply put it’s about how talking to your prospects and customers, asking them the right questions (about their needs) and providing what they need, using buying process roadmaps, leads to revenue.

You probably have heard how essential it is to ask questions, talk to customers, put their needs first etc. You’re maybe even bored with the message. However, today, sitting in this hotel room, I realize how hard these simple things are for marketers and how easy, yet powerful, they are ‘in real life’ by looking at what Kristin does.

Asking questions – the right ones

So, Kristin is a speaker at the conference. Who is her customer in this case? You could say I am. Who are my customers? In the first place people attending the conference. What do we offer them? Knowledge. Why? To provide them insights and knowledge they can take away and use to improve the results of their marketing efforts.

What do we need to make sure this happens, and we deliver what we promised? Understand the marketing and business challenges they have, what efforts they do in order to solve them and what knowledge they need to make that happen.

So, what does Kristin do? She mails and next calls attendees before the conference takes place. She asks them questions, the RIGHT questions. From the very beginning we talked, she insisted on doing that.

The answers shape what she offers, in this case insights and knowledge, shared at a conference. The result? People who come to learn from her, have been heard, will be satisfied and get served in a well-informed way.

How much technology and marketing tools did Kristin use? Close to zero: a few mails, a few calls. Again: so simple yet so effective. Imagine what we can achieve when adding all the channels and technologies we have today. It’s almost a sin not to ask the right questions, listen, understand, respond and improve.

That’s putting the customer first. Customer-centricity. And it can be so easy. Being humble and open. The sheer willingness to listen. And act upon it.

Here’s the hard part: think about how you can do the same thing with your customers. Can you? More in Kristin’s book.