Building materials companies work hard to get that first order from a customer. When the customer doesn’t continue using their product, they wonder why.
The reason is that most companies have a bad habit: they focus on making a sale instead of making a customer.
The customer has a habit, too: buying from your competitor.
Habits are hard to change in an individual – if you’ve ever tried to quit smoking or stop eating junk food, you know this first-hand. It’s even harder to get an organization to change its habits.
Unless the customer is committing to an ongoing relationship with you, or their current supplier has really screwed up, you’ll need to help them change their habits.
But what’s the right approach?
You could focus your efforts on your customer’s bad habit of buying from your competitor. You can try to get them to quit their product.
In a lot of ways, that’s the hard road. If you’ve ever tried to get someone else to stop smoking or start exercising more, you know it’s an uphill battle.
It’s better to focus on your bad habit of trying to make a sale instead of a customer. That’s a habit you can take steps to break.
How to Break a Bad Habit
- Your whole organization needs to work together. Your sales and marketing may get an order but it’s the rest of the organization that creates a customer. Customer service, shipping and every other department that interacts with the customer needs to step up and exceed the customer’s expectations.
- Don’t just nurture leads – nurture new customers. You should have an onboarding process that reinforces how much you value them, explains how your process works and stays in touch with them.
- Support your champion. Someone at your customer’s organization led the effort to get you the business. There are others who would prefer to continue using your competitor. They’re waiting for you to do something wrong so they can point it out. You need to make your champion look good by making an extra effort with new customers.
- There are probably other influencers involved. You may sell a builder or an architect, but they work with distributors, dealers, contractors and others who also have habits that need to be changed if you want this to be more than a one-time sale.
Measure Your Performance
Most companies focus on top line sales and rely on the same habits that got them to their current level of success. They focus on more sales effort and more marketing programs when breaking a few habits may get them better results.
If you aren’t satisfied with the level of repeat business from new customers, you have some habits that need to change. And just like starting an exercise routine, you need goals and a way to measure your progress.
If lifelong smokers can quit their bad habit, you can quit yours. All it takes is a change of mindset and a new approach.
Ask yourself why buying from you would be a better habit. Ask yourself what steps a customer needs to take to change their habit. And ask yourself what habits you can break to help them make that change.
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