Oct. 25 2018 10:32 AM

In a workshop, expert says the key to success lies in meeting a client’s inner needs, wants and desires.

Green industry consultant, marketer, author, speaker and founder of True Nature Inc., Jeff Korhan conducted a workshop titled “Getting to the Heart of Customer Relationships,” during the 2018 GIE+Expo, Oct. 19 in Louisville, Kentucky. Addressing a group of expo attendees, his main point was that the focus should not be on “the sale,” but rather on the customer’s needs, aspirations and lifestyle. Does he have a problem, such as poor drainage? Give him the solution.

“Buying is always personal,” he stated. You and your competition are selling similar products; in order to stand out from the pack, realize that what you’re really selling is a collaboration between you and the customer that will satisfy his inner hopes and desires. Big corporations understand this. To bring the point home, he spoke of how a past CEO of the Coca-Cola Co. was fired for “focusing too much on selling Coke.”

Korhan stressed the need to really listen to the customer. He cited the example of a client he’d dealt with when he was a contractor. This man really wanted his landscape to be a showpiece, something that would “wow” his guests; he wouldn’t get any enjoyment from it unless others were impressed by it. That was his core need, and until Korhan “got” that, he didn’t really meet that customer’s expectations.

Buyers want several things, according to Korhan: information, quality work, appreciation for their business and satisfaction with the outcome. They want reassurance that they’re getting a good deal, and that their money has been well-spent. Their expectations include speed (75 percent), consistency (56 percent) and communication (36 percent).

Afterwards, they want to know “What’s next?” — now that you’ve built me a patio, what project should we work on together after this one? A water feature? An outdoor kitchen? Never conclude any meeting with a customer without setting up the next one. It was a fast-paced, well-organized presentation that asked for audience participation. Those who attended surely got some valuable insights to take home with them.