Wong is the author of “Winning Lifelong Customers with The Five Abilities.”
“Companies don’t make decisions—people do,” Wong said, “and people make the most crucial business decisions for personal reasons.” Hence, personal factors are more important than ever, Wong said.
With more than 35 years of experience growing revenue at Hewlett-Packard, Microsoft, and other Fortune 100 companies, Wong created a guide for salespeople and executives that defines what he calls the most important “outside the contract” factors that decision-makers care about most when making important purchase decisions.
You'll never be left asking yourself," What do I do now?" because you'll have a framework to answer that question quickly and correctly. Wong lists the following five abilities that can help decision makers make smart decisions:
1. Optimize visibility. Be consciously and consistently seen in the right way, at the right time, by the right people, Wong said. “And perfect your messaging so you know you can get people curious in less than 30 seconds, delivering heightened value-add that surprises them and exceeds their expectations,” he said. “Design every communication so that every time people see, listen to or watch something by or about you, they will quickly pay more attention, and naturally step in, bring you closer, and focus on learning more about what you can do for them.”
2. Demonstrate credibility. Or “show your creds,” as Wong calls it. Demonstrate superior knowledge and use your experience in ways that prove you know how to help people. Deliver what you’ve promised,” Wong said. Better yet, deliver more than what you promised. “Impress every prospect, customer, decision-maker and influencer and make it a total commitment to offer and give helpful advice and assistance that goes beyond your stated product or service,” he said. Be consistent and you will get referrals and achieve loyalty that opens the doors to new opportunities.
3. Assess viability. Let prospects and customers articulate their needs, hopes and desires fully, Wong advises. Use your knowledge, expertise and experience to evaluate, coach and correct their expectations. Ask yourself if you are properly qualified and capable of delivering what they need. Can you be successful? Do they have realistic expectations? Success speaks loudly, but failure speaks much louder. Be averse to failure and choose your customers wisely so that you end up having only happy customers. If not, know when to say no, and move on.
4. Apply special capability. Go beyond just completing the minimum specifications of a job or piece of work. Satisfy customers by identifying and addressing the personal motivations of your customer, said Wong. Find out how they like to communicate, how they like to appear to others, and who they need to impress in order for them to be successful. Then design, propose and get concurrence on the specific ways you will deliver “their personal win and fulfill the hidden and unique motivations that are often not found on contracts, income statements and balance sheets,” he added.
5. Demonstrate reliability. Be accountable when the unexpected happens, Wong advises. Be open, and communicate actively, engaging the right technical, sales and management people when things go sideways. Anticipate challenges and be honest about problems. Never blindside a customer and be a good listener when a customer is angry or unhappy. And be open and responsive to the need for change and new solutions.