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Buyers Know

Want to know what keeps customers coming back? Why don't you just ask them?

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This story appears in the December 2008 issue of Entrepreneur. Subscribe »

How do we stay close to our and understand their key needs and the changes going on in their environment? Also, what probing questions can you ask to understand them better than before and better than your competitors?

Some 20-odd years ago, I started a process of customer interviewing that had tremendous benefits in both keeping customers and acquiring new ones. Some would be audio interviews, in which customers talked about why they bought, who they considered in the process and what benefits they had received since using our services. These interviews would then be played as testimonials and tools to handle common objections from prospects where a satisfied customer became my best salesperson. A funny thing happened in these interviews: I learned why customers buy and what I needed to do to maintain and grow their loyalty long after the sale was completed.

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