Magazine article CRM Magazine

Harnessing the Power of Why: The Customer Holds All the Answers

Magazine article CRM Magazine

Harnessing the Power of Why: The Customer Holds All the Answers

Article excerpt

Competing in the marketplace today is harder than it used to be. Too many businesses continue to rely on old sales techniques, constantly changing pricing and pushing "buy now" incentives. What they don't realize, however, is that these approaches have become much less effective at drawing in consumers and building lasting relationships with them. To remain relevant and fiscally successful, companies need to shift the focus to the customer and embrace a "unique value promise," a term C. Richard Weylman coins in his new book, The Power of Why: Breaking Out in a Competitive Marketplace. Associate Editor Maria Minsker caught up with Weylman to find out what companies are doing wrong, and how they can adjust their business strategies to be more customer-centric.

CRM: You talk about the need for a shift from a company-centric approach to a more customer-centric one. What happened to the consumer in recent years to create this need for companies to change the way they do business?

C. Richard Weylman: The economic downturn was a cataclysmic moment, so a huge shift came in 2008. Consumers became much more skeptical and very cautious about how they were going to spend their money. They felt that they had been misled by companies and politicians and, as a result, began to grow tired of doing business with people that just wanted to sell something. Rather, customers now wanted businesses to help them solve something, or experience something. They started asking: "Why? Why should I do business with this company? Why should I be loyal to this brand?"

CRM: What are some common mistakes that you see companies making in their attempts to appeal to customers?

Weylman: People might not realize it, but we actually hear these mistakes all the time. Companies are constantly saying, "We're number one; we have the largest selection of Product X; we have years of experience; we give great service." They tout their attributes or the attributes and features of their products. The reality is those are all coming from the perspective of the firm, the salesperson, or the marketing department. They are continually marketing their attributes. They're not talking to the consumer at all. This is a very old school approach. Today's consumers are far more interested in a unique value promise.

CRM: What is a unique value promise? How can this philosophy help a business? …

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