Put the customer outcome first, not your product or service

By Sean Tilbrook,
Principal at PrintSync Business Solutions

Every business sells a product or service, but the best ones sell outcomes. Let me explain. I’ve noticed a lot of suppliers selling to my business lately focus on telling me how good their offering is; all its specifications, features and benefits etc. with little focus on how it will give me the outcome I need!

I’ve literally just been through the process here at PrintSync looking for a Telco partner. When we narrowed it down to the final two, it soon became clear who I should choose. One supplier was all “me me me” during the sales process and I couldn’t understand where we’d find value in the relationship; I didn’t feel like it would be a partnership. By contrast the second option made me feel like I knew what the outcome would be, they focused on PrintSync and what our needs were.

It may seem a little strange that there are still people out there that sell on features and benefits. But the reality is that if you don’t really understand your customer and why the buy from you, then you’re your sales team will go back to features, benefits, and ultimately price. And that isn’t a successful long-term strategy.

So what are the three things I think you can focus on?


Know your “why”

There’s a very popular TED talk from Simon Sinek, a sales and marketing guru who focuses on a methodology called the Golden Circle. He has a simple statement on sales and marketing: “People don’t buy what you do, they buy why you do it”. It’s very true: you need to know why you do what you do, what it is about your business that makes it special. It’s why a customer would care about your business and therefore why they’d buy from you.

It might seem a little nebulous and fuzzy but knowing your ‘why’ changes your business from product-focused to outcomes-focused; it starts you on the journey towards understanding what value you provide a customer.


Build strong employee engagement

Once you have your why, you need to start living it everyday. It’s crucial that employees believe in to too and the best way to do that is when they see you’re leading from the front, living the values.

At PrintSync we’re proud of the fact that we’ve built a team with a range of different experiences and backgrounds. They’ve all bought-in to our customer-focused way of working. We see everyone in the business as part of the solution for our customers; in effect we’re all “customer facing” regardless of our role.

For example, we have a large number of employees who have been with us for 5+ years. They know how we work and have bought-in to the way we operate. The really great thing is that each group of employees has brought a different skill set: our younger employees for example are true digital natives and have really helped drive innovation in our business, which ultimately benefits our customers.


Use some common sense: Don’t make your problems your customers’

This might sound cliché but I think this is vital. I believe you should apply a common sense approach to driving the right outcome for your customers. Coming from a small business background, I know that a flexible approach is important.

For example, don’t let limitations in your systems or processes affect the customer outcome. We make sure any internal process we implement gives us the ability to respond dynamically to our customers. Too often I see businesses forcing their inefficient process problems onto their customers because ‘that’s the way we’ve always done it’. A little common sense here can go a long way.

In today’s market there’s too much competition and so many options for your customers if they don’t see value in your offer. Try these strategies to become outcomes-focused. I guarantee it will change your outlook and improve your business.