Want to increase sales? Your own customers will show you how.

Date: February 22, 2024
Author: Kristin Zhivago

Here’s the most interesting aspect of increasing your sales: It’s way more simple than you think. The methods and messages you should use are not to be found in the latest article, book, or video—or from any consultant or agency you might hire. 

The answer is right under your nose. Another way of thinking about it is that you’re sitting on a gold mine, and you don’t even know it.

Who is very familiar with your product or service? Who has looked and the competition and rejected them, in favor of you? Who had many questions about your product or service, and, once they were successfully answered, decided to take the leap?

Your customers, of course. 

They can tell you the fascinating story of what led them to you, what convinced them to buy from you, and other tremendously helpful information that will lead you to make spot-on decisions and sell more than your competitors. 

And, surprisingly, they will be happy to tell you all this after they buy, if you properly invite them to be interviewed, and ask the right questions. Those questions are like starting a construction job with the right tools. I’ve worked out these questions over literally thousands of customer interviews; I reveal them all in my book, in Chapter 3. They include the obvious:

  • How do you feel about our product/service?

  • Why did you pick this one over the others?

  • What could we be doing better?

  •  If you were going to use a search engine to find us again (or solve your problem), what would you have typed in? 

  • What is your biggest challenge?

  • What trends do you see right now in this area?

I should mention here that they will not tell you all this while they are buying from you; they are playing poker then and won’t reveal what they’re really thinking. But they will tell you after they have purchased from you and want to help you stay in business and be there when they need you. 

Now, take off your seller hat for a moment and put on your buyer’s hat. 

If you bought something, and the company reached out to you and politely asked you if they could interview you to see what they could do to improve, and that they will be asking open-ended questions (not a survey!) and your answers would be anonymous . . . wouldn’t you consider spending a little time with them? (The answer is, ⅓ of the people invited respond with a yes, ⅓ of the people will respond positively after the second invitation, and ⅓ of the people will never respond.) 

As someone who bought that product or service, will you have any problem answering these questions, especially for a product that you carefully considered before buying? Of course not. You’ll have plenty to say, especially if the interviewer is knowledgeable about the product or service, is listening intently and courteously, and never changes into “selling” mode during the entire conversation. 

Putting your seller hat back on, now imagine that you (or someone you hire, or your marketing person) have interviewed 5 – 7 people via Zoom (audio only). That the conversations were then transcribed. Then someone split all those conversations into categories (e.g., this section has all the answers to this question, this section has all the answers to this other question, etc.—so they become anonymized), creating what we call the Conversation Report. 

Now imagine that there is another report that summarizes each section of the conversation report, and includes recommendations concerning the promises your company is keeping (your brand), and the promises your company is breaking (which are sucking revenue out of your company—and therefore should be fixed); the trends you can leverage for more revenue, the channels and sites your customers would go to find you; the messages you should use in your marketing so you address their desires, concerns, and questions; and other strategy-setting information that will lay out your own personal “roadmap to revenue.”

The copy you end up using after this process will be your buyers’ own words and phrases—which is always more credible and relevant to your customers than any “marketing speak” you could write. As buyers, we recognize this immediately; as sellers, we think we can get away with marketing to people we don’t actually know.

This is not rocket science. It is a straightforward, efficient, and very cost-effective process that works, every single time. Carrying all this out is the opposite of guessing and assuming, which is a roadmap to failure. It also gives you an enormous competitive advantage if you decide to start mining that mother lode and respect what your customers have taught you, because chances are, your competitors haven’t been humble enough to do it.

If you know why your current customers bought from you—in other words, you “reverse-engineer” the sales you’ve already made—you can take that information and re-create new sales in quantity. 

I know, because this is exactly how we get qualified leads flowing into our clients’ companies, which, if they support the customer’s buying process properly (something we also help with), they close more sales. A lot more sales. 

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