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Apr 1, 2009 12:00 AM
We all have stories about investments we are proud of. Sales came rolling in. The customers loved the new service and everyone was happy. Oh, and we made a ton of money. I'm sure all your investments turn out this way. Right? I will confess I have invested in new products or services I thought would sell — I thought the customers would flock to, I thought would have a solid ROI — but it did not happen. Of course this happened before I got smart.
There is an alternative to basing investment on gut feelings or anecdotal evidence: Ask customers about future needs in a methodical, deliberate way. Invest a little of your time with your most important asset, your customers. In this economy we don't get second chances. Knowing what is on your customer's mind helps in three ways. First, you now have the most qualified sales leads to roll out your new idea. Second, your customers are committed because they are part of the process. Third, you are grounded in your decision. I recommend that you reach out and dialog with surveyed customers to fully understand the demand and how truly committed they are to buying the new product or service from you. Explain your plans and connect them with the project. Then the sales will roll in, everyone will be happy, and you might make that ton of money after all.
Michael Casey is president and founder of Survey Advantage (www.printers.surveyadvantage.com). He is a strategic partner with NAPL supporting its consulting and research practices, he integrates project surveying with MIS systems and he is an approved supplier for several franchise networks.