I was deep in thought about a topic for the blog when my wife uttered that well know phrase “A penny for your thoughts“, “meaning – what are you thinking about”.
The topic I was considering was how to find out what my customers would need next, a preliminary to product creation. Her enquiry gave me the blindingly obvious thought, why not just ask them! Why not just make a list of my best and most influential customers and ring them up and ask “what 3 things connected with telecoms would help you to grow or better manage your business right now?” Telecoms is my primary business as you probably already know.
Once I get a selection of typical responses from my customers, I can then look at how I might deliver what they have asked for. But better still, I can then contact prospective customers with the same question. Rather than take the usual telesales route of trying to pitch prospects on a particular service, I can ask them what they want with a fair idea of what their responses may be based on the results of my customer conversations.
Approaching prospective customers is a little trickier so a ‘softly, softly’ approach is best. I would simply ask if they could spare a minute to give me their thoughts on what 3 things about their telecoms would most help their business to move forward in the present economy.
You see, when you ask other people their opinion and express an interest in their business, they open up and are happy to talk to you. The normal ‘sales barriers’ come down leading to some very useful discussion, and what’s more – they will remember you as someone genuinely interested in their welfare not just as some salesman trying to make a buck.
So where does the ‘penny’ come in? Well, at current business phone rates (UK) that penny buys me a minutes worth of phone time, the very minute that I asked the prospect to spare me to give me their thoughts.
Of course most of them will talk for longer once they get started but by then I’ve turned a prospective customer in to a warm lead and a probable future customer.
“A penny for your thoughts“, a very inexpensive way to find out what the market will buy from you next!
Try it, let me know how you get on.
PS (shameless plug warning!) If you are a UK based business here’s where you can get your business calls at a penny a minute.