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Marketing 101 - Educating Your Customers


Marketing 101 - Educating Your Customers

By Elizabeth Slater

There is s lot of discussion at businesses and especially in the wine business regarding the need to educate customers about products and services. I am definitely not against education, though it’s important to realize that education is not usually at the forefront of someone’s mind when they walk into a business. It’s not so much about education as giving customers the facts they want and need to make a decision to purchase your products or services. 

For example, if a customer walks into a hardware store to buy paint because s/he is planning to paint the living room, giving them information about the latest model of kitchen sink is not going to do you or them any good.

Before you give customers the facts, you should know what it is that they are looking for, what information is relevant to them and what will make them want to buy from you. So start by asking questions, creating a personal relationship with them and listening. Let them talk first and for most of the time, you will have plenty of time later when you know what it is that your customers want.

It’s not only the verbal clues that you need to pay attention to, it’s also the non-verbal clues, the customers’ facial expressions, tone of voice and body language are great places to start. Learn to read people, do they look interested or are they giving out signals that they are bored or not excited about what you have to say to them?

In addition to getting the information you need to help make a sale from the customers, be sure that everyone who deals with customers knows the products and how to describe them. As an article from Forbes (April 2015) said, 

“If there’s a starting point when it comes to educating your 

customers, it’s probably this: Believe in your product. But more than 

that, make sure you know how to express that belief.”

Giving your staff the information they need to be successful will not only make you happy, it will also make them happy. Most of us want to be successful in our work, train your staff so they know the basics of good customer service. 

For instance, at all times the focus should be on the customer. While the features of your product or service (what the product or service can do) are very important, the benefits (how the product or service will make the customers’ lives easier/better) is even more important. The customer wants to know how the product will relate in the real world, how it will impress their friends, problems it will solve and how others feel about it.

You want to leave your customers with the view that your product or service will make their life, simpler, better or more fun. Find out what is important to them.

Making the purchase is only the first step in the process. Once you have made the sale it’s time to start going further. You want them to come back so find out what satisfied them and make sure that you can do it again. That means that you need their contact information. Get their name, address, email address and cell phone number. Make sure they opt in to receive information from you.

Then be sure to follow up with these customers. Almost immediately (within a day or two) send them an email or text thanking them for shopping with you. The email can come from the person who served them, making it personal in some way. 

A short (and I do mean short) survey on their experience with your business is a good second step. Keep the survey to three questions, giving them the ability to rate the service and the option to make longer comments if they wish. 

Remember too that most people these days would rather text than talk, so if they have given you their mobile number and agreed to receive texts from you, take advantage of this way to keep in touch with them. Don’t overdo it, and keep in personal. 

If customers have a problem, get it solved. If you can’t solve it right way, at least stay in touch with the customer to let them know what progress is being made.

Let your customers know that they are valuable to you. They will stay with you longer and make you their go-to company when they need information, advice or products.

Elizabeth Slater: In Short Direct Marketing 707.953.1289