2-0-largeAre you living up to your customers’ expectations?

Technology might make us faster, better, and stronger. But it has also made our customers much less patient.

Buyer 2.0 expects us to move quickly—to deliver solutions and results almost immediately. To some degree, technology enables us to do that. But a word of warning: Faster does not always mean better. Speed can make us careless, sloppy, and less thorough.

Here’s the problem: If you do things quickly and deliver on target, your clients will think you’re a rock star. But if you goof, you have no time to recover. Your buyer will move on to your competition—after trashing your reputation and brand on social media.

Be Realistic

There’s an old saying in sales: Good, fast, cheap. Pick two.

Customers who want top quality and want it fast must be prepared to pay a premium. Cheap and quality don’t belong in the same sentence. You get what you pay for. Clients who try to beat you down on price will continue to expect the same level of expertise and responsiveness. If you’re a low-cost provider, then you probably have a fulfillment process that is automated and efficient. If, however, you sell a more complex product or service, forget fast and cheap.

Most companies can’t do good, fast, and cheap—at least not if they want to make a profit and stay in business. Just be up front with your customers about what you can realistically deliver and why.

Be Prepared

Buyers value speed, which means salespeople must always be prepared to move quickly when opportunities arise. We might not be able to get our clients a ROI overnight, but we can certainly prove we value their business by responding quickly to their needs.

A 2011 survey from InsideSales.com shows that, for inquiries submitted on the Web, 78 percent of deals went to the first companies that responded. Yet, 35 to 63 percent of companies failed to respond at all. Among those who responded, the average response rate was 38 hours.

Amazing! What have these salespeople been doing?

Speed counts, and we drop the ball when we don’t follow up quickly.

Be Willing to Walk Away

One way to ensure you can respond quickly when prospects and clients need you is to stop taking on customers who aren’t worth your time.

Every buyer isn’t your customer. If someone continues to make unreasonable demands and keeps changing requests and deadlines—even after you’ve given that person exactly what he needs—then you probably have a PITA client. Run the other way as fast as you can. I don’t usually suggest sending business to your competition, but in this case, I just might…

Walking away from bad business frees you up to serve the Ideal Clients you want—and to deliver the value, speed, and personal touch they want.

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Comment Here

How do you ensure that you meet your customers’ expectations for both speed and quality?