Steps to Management Success – Step 96: Be an Armchair Psychologist

Written By Rick Frishman Published April 8th, 2010

STEP NINETY-SIX

Be an Armchair Psychologist

As a prerequisite for attracting more customers and providing superior customer service, you need to get into your customers’ heads. That’s the kind of information that isn’t fully revealed by marketing databases or by tracking buying preferences and patterns—which is why you need to dig a little deeper.

WHAT IT MEANS: The more you can understand why your customers are buying from you—and what key factors influenced their buying decision—the more you can leverage this information into more on-the-money marketing, advertising, and strategic planning decisions. People buy things for all different kinds of reasons—price, proximity, availability, to fill stated or unstated needs, because you placed a coupon in the weekly shoppers’ periodical. Those reasons may not always be what you think they are—and they are just too important to guess—so make it your business to learn what really makes your customers your customers. Once you gain this information, you can incorporate it into your marketing materials, and thus make your message more appealing to like-minded prospects.

ACTION PLAN: Encourage both formal and informal research as a means of determining what your customers’ “hot buttons” are. You can do a survey (reward participation with a small gift or an entry into a sweepstakes drawing), encourage your sales reps to ask their customers and compile this anecdotal information, or conduct focus groups with customers and noncustomers. You can test customer reaction to new products, new ad messages, or your overall business image.

EVEN BETTER: It also can be useful to discover why prospective customers don’t buy—as this can reveal the obstacles, psychological and otherwise, that your advertising people and/or salespeople may need to address.

(Excerpted from: 10 Clowns Don’t Make a Circus. . . and 249 Other Critical Management Success Strategies by Steven Schragis and Rick Frishman)

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