Editor's Note: This post was originally published in April 2009 and has been updated for freshness, accuracy, and comprehensiveness.
Do you sell business-related products or services through a channel? And by “channel,” I mean another party between you and the end customer/consumer/user. Channels could include retailers or dealers or be multi-level with distributors involved.
Channels Can Equal a Gap
If you do use a channel, you’re a bit removed from both your current and prospective customers, which isn’t good – without ongoing contact with customers, you can lose perspective.
Here are some questions you need answers to:
- What keywords are prospective customers using when they come across your product?
- What are those people saying about your product when they find it?
- What are they saying after they buy it?
- Or, if they don’t buy it, why?
- Are they going to a competitor or refraining from making a purchase entirely?
- What other solutions are out there? (Aka, who are your competitors?)
- What is causing the fear and uncertainty that may lead to a lack of purchase?
- Are there other problems/needs that your product isn’t meeting? What are they?
Eliminating the Gap
If you don't know the answers to those questions, consider this idea to get them: find four to six of your prospective customers and invite them to dinner. Then, over dinner, have a frank conversation about what they see in their business and what their view of current market is. What improvements in your products or services would ease their decision-making process? What could you do to offer them better answers and solutions?
This is NOT a sales call – it’s just you listening to prospective customers talk about what they see happening and offering them an opportunity to interact with their peers. As you’re listening, make sure to take good notes. That way, you can follow up with them one-on-one later about specific issues.
Great information about specific issues straight from the horses’ mouths – all for the cost of dinner. You have to eat anyway, right?
Call us – we can help you eliminate your gap!