How do you think your customers or prospects see you? Does it match with how you want to be perceived?
I was recently buying a gift for someone and had very limited knowledge about the item they wanted. Therefore, I did the usual research on the internet, made a shortlist of potential suppliers and made subsequent phone calls to each of the three chosen.
My selection criteria was to select suppliers who I felt were professional, ethical and reliable out of a huge list from Google. My shortlist consisted of:-
- The supplier who kept popping up on practically every other listing
- A supplier who’s web site I felt was the most professional
- A supplier who gave lots of product information on their site
My phone calls produced the following:-
Supplier 1 – A very polished sales person who made me feel that I was wasting their time asking questions that “I should know answers to”. They referred me several times to the website I had told them I had already visited and reviewed.
Supplier 2 – A warm and professional sales person took my call. They told me everything I wanted to know, assured me of their warranty, delivery times and how I should proceed if I wanted to go ahead. They offered to send me an email containing further product specifications and urged me to call again if I had any further queries.
Supplier 3 – The sales person answered the phone with a child screaming in the background. After numerous apologies about the noise and several attempts of asking me to repeat the same question which they could not hear because of “the baby”, I was informed that they were “too small” to meet my delivery deadline as it would require too much additional work (unless I was prepared to pay extra) but asked me to keep them in mind as a last resort.
As you probably guessed, I went with my gut instinct and chose supplier 2. They processed my order, delivered ahead of schedule and telephoned me to ensure I was happy with the purchase a few days later.
Ironically, I have since found out that supplier 2 is a “one man band” who operates out of a garage at their home address. Never would I have suspected this. From reviewing the website and speaking with them on the phone, I had categorised them in my own mind as a sizeable, successful and customer focused business.
I didn’t not choose supplier 3 because they worked from home but felt that they were too distracted and unprofessional. Despite knowing that supplier 2 is in the same situation, I still perceive them as a very professional and dedicated outfit and would have no qualms of using or recommending them.
Often when we work with clients their perception of themselves differs to that of their customers. We help them to close that gap to get both aligned. For further information please contact me.