3 reasons why you should interview a customer this week

Posted by Matthew Parker

Do you want to find out more about what makes Apple tick?

Here’s a great interview with their chief of design, Johnnathan Ive.  John Arlidge, the interviewer, gives us a real sense of the culture at Apple and what drives one of their chief innovators.

Just like journalists, print sales people can gain great insights by interviewing people.  But, rather than current affairs or technology, their insights will about their customers.

Printing companies that interview their customers have a route to creating better client relationships

marketing-strategy-for-printing-company

A 20 minute customer interview can be very valuable for a print sales person

They will have a better understand of their customers’ needs.  That will lead to being able to achieve more for the customer.  If you have happy customers placing more work, you have a better control over your company goals.

Here are three ways you can benefit from interviewing your customers.  The first one is all about sales.

Interviewing your client creates a customer profile

If you have a customer profile, you will find it much easier to be in the world of similar prospects.  You will understand their company better.  You’ll know more about the role they carry out.  You’ll understand where print and how your company fit in with this sort of prospect.

There’s another sales driver that you’ll uncover too.

Interviewing your customer allows you to understand their pains

Pain is usually the most important buying motivator for someone.  It’s vital that you understand your contact’s work and personal pressures.  How can you help them overcome these challenges?

A customer interview will help you understand these issues.  You’ll be in a good place to expand your relationship with your customer.  You’ll also be in a good place to sell effectively to prospects that fit the same profile.

There’s another benefit to interviewing customers.

You’ll hear the customer’s language

Mirroring is an important sales skill.  One of the best ways to make a prospect or client feel comfortable with you is to use the same language that they do.  If you interview a customer you have a chance to use the same words that they do in future conversations.

So there are some good reasons to talk to your customers like this.  However, some people are scared to ask for an interview.

Why should a customer give me their time for an interview?

Good clients are usually happy to help. I try and interview a customer a month.  No-one has ever refused my request to spend twenty minutes on the phone with them.

But it is important to remember that this is a research interview. It is not a sales conversation.  You don’t want to risk losing customer goodwill by turning the conversation into something that they weren’t expecting.

Here are three action points to get you going with a first customer interview

  • Choose a favourite customer
  • Arrange a time to talk with them
  • Draw up a list of questions before the meeting

Remember: you don’t have to be a journalist to carry out a great interview.
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P.S. Download more advice for effective print sales – written by a print buyer. You’ll also receive a free copy of my e-book “Ten Common Print Selling Errors and What To Do About Them” (worth £19/$29)

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