Your Customers Want and Need These Six Things

Last Updated Sep 21, 2010 8:56 AM EDT

Selling B2B is all about satisfying customers wants and needs, right? Maybe so, but do you know what they really want and need? Turns out there are six items that consistently come up in surveys of B2B buyers:
  • "I want and need you to be personally accountable." Customers hate "hit and run" sales reps. The don't want you to pass the buck to somebody in "sales support." If they're going to work with you, they want your skin in the game.
  • "I want and need you to understand my business."
    Customers don't like being interrogated. So do your research first, and don't expect your customers to answer questions about anything that you could find out on your own.
  • "I want and need you to be on my side." Customers are risking their careers by doing business with you. They expect you to represent THEIR interests, and not just the interests of your company and your own pay package.
  • "I want and need you to make things simple."
    Contrary to popular belief, customers don't give a rat's behind about product features. They want to know how you can help them be more successful... in one or two sentences.
  • "I want and need you to be easily accessible." Customers know that, if they're a priority, you'll get back to them immediately if they call with a problem. If you don't, they rightly conclude that they're just not very important to you.
  • "I want and need you to be creative."
    Customers are fully capable of solving their own problems and creating their own opportunities. They need to you to find new methods that wouldn't turn up during in-house discussions.
If you can meet these wants and needs, chances are you're on the way to a long term customer relationship.

BTW, this list is based on a conversation with Howard Stevens, the head of the HR Chally Group, and one of the deep thinkers in the sales research community.

For more on how to sell B2B try: