You know what they say about assuming… | 3 tips to avoid losing customers

The other day I was driving home from an out-of-town client meeting. It was dinner time, and while I’m usually more of a fast casual fan, my options and time were limited so I decided to give Arby’s a try — specifically the $1 sliders they’ve been advertising.

When I pulled up to the menu board and looked at the list of slider options, I found myself questioning, “Well, how big is one of these sliders? How many should I order for a meal? What if I don’t order enough? What if I order too many and eat them all anyway?”

Feeling a little dumb for having so many questions about a little (or maybe not-so-little?) slider, I bailed and ordered a No. 1 combo. I never asked a single question, and I spent more money on the combo meal than I would have spent on five sliders. And I didn’t sample those new sandwiches the advertising campaign has been pushing.

Arby’s had me in its clutches at that moment, but I slipped away. I could have loved those sliders and bumped Arby’s up to my A-list of restaurant choices, but because they assumed anyone in their right mind would understand how big a slider was, they lost the potential to turn me into a slider advocate.

My point? In B2B, we’re dealing with much more complex buying cycles and more complicated purchasing decisions than whether or not to try a $1 sandwich, and missing a sale due to a simple assumption is quite a bit more costly, too.

So, take a step back, and consider these steps to becoming assumption-proof:

  1. Review your content, and consider what you’re not saying.
    If you were to show your marketing materials to a friend outside the industry, what questions might he or she ask you? For example, are you assuming that buyers understand the importance of conserving a particular resource? Buying a product made out of a particular material or ingredient? Choosing a company with after-hours support? Maybe it’s something you’ve been preaching for years, but remember that prospects are likely responsible for much more than buying your product or service and may not be aware of certain foundational information.
  2. Interview a few non-customers.
    What was top of mind when they made their purchase? Did they consider your selling points? Did they care? Often we don’t do enough voice of the customer (VOC) research, and when we do, it seems easier to reach out to current customers for feedback. However, current customers chose you for a reason, so getting perspective from those who didn’t would be more helpful in this case.
  3. Identify the best educational opportunities.
    Integrate video into your marketing to explain or show why something is important. Include a short callout or sidebar on printed pieces. Pursue thought leadership through self-publishing or trade media. Include a section on your website with educational content. Show a picture of a hand holding a slider — whatever works.

Note: To the Arby’s marketing executive who stumbled on this through a clips report, I totally understand if you’re rolling your eyes at me. I promise to try a pizza slider (or five) one day soon — even if it’s no longer $1 — because it really does look delicious. 

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