When did you last ask your customers why they bought from you?

I’m sure you can all remember a time when you were hauled into the MD’s office to dissect all the reasons why you had lost a contract or sales opportunity. What went wrong? Did you have the right contacts? Did you ask the right questions? 

It’s all very useful to learn after the event… but, frankly, it’s a bit late and I’m sure you’ll agree that, in many situations, the lessons learnt weren’t often implemented!

But the main issue here isn't the meeting. It's that the conclusions are yours... not the customers!

So, how do you really get a good insight? You could ask for a post-contract award meeting… but another, more insightful way is by asking customers, every time and just after they have bought from you, why they placed their business from you in the first place!

You’ll never win every deal, but why not find out the value that you offered and what they really liked? This knowledge might just reinforce your existing value proposition… but it might also give you some useful feedback that brings you new insights.

For example, you might have won, not because you were the cheapest, but you were seen as a safe pair of hands. You might have won, not because you could fulfil today’s brief, but because you could demonstrate a future product strategy that inspired trust and excitement. You may have won because your sales person returned the prospect’s call the same day, whereas your competition didn’t.

It’s often said that “People buy from people”. That’s true to a degree but I’ve often bought services in spite of the people selling to me. What I bought was the value I could see being offered to me… even if the person selling to me didn’t understand my perspective as a customer.

So next time you win a deal, ask your customer straightaway why they placed their business with you… you might just be surprised!