10 Things Every Customer Wants
May 22nd, 2013
We all have “customers”. In fact, in the nonprofit world we have multiple customers- those who directly benefit from or “consume” our services, and those who “pay” for the services we provide and that others utilize. Regardless of what sector we’re talking about, we all can benefit from understanding what customers want. According to research recently conducted by the Rain Group and summarized in an article by Geoffrey James, customers tend to “buy” from one organization over another based on their ability to:
1.Bring New Perspectives and Ideas
If customers could diagnose their own problems and come up with workable solutions on their own, they would do so. The reason that they're turning to you and your firm is that they're stuck and need your help. Therefore, you must be able to bring something new to the table.
2. Be Willing to Collaborate with Them
Customers absolutely do NOT want you to sell them something, even something that's wonderful. They want you to work with them to achieve a mutual goal, by being responsive to the customer's concerns and ways of doing business. Ideally, customers want you to become integral to their success.
3. Have Confidence In Your Ability to Achieve Results
Customers will not buy from you if you can't persuade them that you, your firm, and your firms offerings will truly achieve the promised results. It is nearly impossible to persuade a customer to believe in these things unless you yourself believe in them. You must make your confidence contagious.
4. Listen, Really Listen, to the Customer
When they're describing themselves and their needs, customers sense immediately when somebody is just waiting for a break in the conversation in order to launch into a sales pitch. In order to really listen, you must suppress your own inner-voice and forget your goals. It's about the customer, not about you.
5. Understand ALL the Customer's Needs
It's not enough to "connect the dots" between customer needs and your company's offering. You must also connect with the individuals who will be affected by your offering, and understand how buying from you will satisfy their personal needs.
6. Help the Customer Avoid Potential Pitfalls
Here's where many sellers fall flat. Customers know that every business decision entails risk but they also want your help to minimize that risk. They want to know what could go wrong and what has gone wrong in similar situations, and what steps you're taking to make sure these problems won't recur.
7. Craft a Compelling Solution
Solution selling is definitely not dead. Customers want and expect you to have the basic selling skill of defining and proposing a workable solution. What's different now though is that the ability to do this is the "price of entry" and not enough, by itself, to win in a competitive sales situation.
8. Communicate the Purchasing Process
Customers hate it when sellers dance around issues like price, discounts, availability, total cost, add-on options, and so forth. They want you to be able to tell them, in plain and simple language, what's involved in a purchase and how that purchase will take place. No surprises. No last minute upsells.
9. Connect Personally With the Customer
Ultimately, every selling situation involves making a connection between two individuals who like and trust each other. As a great sales guru once said: "All things being equal, most people would rather buy from somebody they like... and that's true even when all things aren't equal."
10. Provide Value That's Superior to Other Options
And here, finally, at the No. 10 spot (below everything else) comes the price and how that price compares to similar offerings. Unless you can prove that buying from you is the right business decision for the customer, the customer can and should buy elsewhere.
Posted by CNP Staff
2012 Nonprofit Compensation Survey Released
May 15th, 2013
For nonprofits as for all organizations, attracting, retaining, developing, and motivating talented staff is essential for accomplishing the organizational mission and maximizing its impact. In any economic environment, nonprofits are challenged to design total compensation packages that enable them to “get the right people on the bus,” as management expert Jim Collins puts it, and to compete for staff with the government and for profit sectors.
In October of 2012, the CNP invited regional nonprofits to participate in a statewide compensation study, designed to collect, analyze, and disseminate useful information about nonprofit salaries and benefits in Tennessee and surrounding counties, noting differences in organizations’ size, field of work, and location. Compiled by the accounting firm Watkins Uiberall in partnership with two other regional nonprofit support centers in Nashville and Memphis, the recently published 2012 Nonprofit Compensation Study provides a detailed look at compensation in the nonprofit sector in Tennessee and surrounding areas, together with comparative national salary data.
In addition to salary information for a wide range of positions, some additional findings include:
- 34.4% of respondents anticipated raises of 3-4% in 2012; 26.7% anticipated raises of 1-2%; and 28.9% did not anticipate offering any raises
- Only 8.2% of organizations reported decreasing salaries since the recession began
- 31.6% of organizations offer a bonus program. Of these organizations, 66.3% offer the program for all employees, while 16.8% reserve it for senior management and 28.4% for the CEO/executive director.
- 76.2% of respondents offer health insurance to employees. Likelihood of offering health insurance increases with organizational budget, with 100% of large organizations, 82.1% of medium-sized organizations, and 30.4% of small organizations offering insurance.
- The majority of organizations offer some type of retirement plan for employees. The most popular are 401(k) plans, offered by 27.3% of respondents, and 403(b) plans, offered by 26.9% of respondents. Likelihood of offering a retirement plan increases with organizational size.
- 22.5% of respondents indicated that they had eliminated or decreased fringe benefits since the recession began.
- For organizations offering a set amount of paid time off (PTO), rather than separate vacation and sick days, the median range of days offered was 11-20 for employees with up to 10 years of service and more than 20 days for employees with more than 10 years of service.
- While 14.6% of respondents have no part-time staff, 61% have between 1 and 10 part-time employees.
- 64.9% of respondents use between 1 and 5 consultants each year, while 16.6% use none and 7.9% use 6 to 10. Consultants are used for a range of functions including bookkeeping (27.7%), marketing (15.9%), fundraising (8.8%), and grant writing (7.3%).
- 61.4% of organizations responding to the survey are led by a female CEO. Among small organizations, 78% have a female CEO, while only 35.3% of large organizations do.
Those who completed the survey received a copy through the mail; the CNP has a limited number of hard copies of the survey that CNP members may request, and a pdf version can be downloaded from our website.
Posted by CNP Staff
Food for Thought
April 10th, 2013
Every now and then we tune in to what's got the national nonprofit sector buzzing: recently, we've seen a lot of posts, tweets, and blogs mentioning a recent TED talk in which activist, author, and fundraiser Dan Pallotta decries an institutionalized "double standard" that drives the public's relationships with charities. Nonprofits, he claims, are generally rewarded for how little they spend and how frugal they are -- not for what they achieve and the scale of those achievements. He goes on to say that everything the donating public has been taught about giving is dysfunctional and he aims to transform the way society thinks about charity.
View the TED talk here: Dan Pallotta: The Way We Think About Charity Is Dead Wrong
We'd love to hear your thoughts in response to Dan Pallotta's talk. Leave a comment below!
Posted by Sheila Moore
Volunteering in America
April 3rd, 2013
As we approach National Volunteer Week (April 21- 27), we celebrate people doing extraordinary things through service. Established in 1974, National Volunteer Week focuses national attention on the impact and power of volunteerism and service as an integral aspect of our civic leadership. The week draws the support and endorsement of the president and Congress, governors, mayors and municipal leaders, as well as corporate and community groups across the country.
Just how much of an impact do volunteers make? According to the most recent report from the Corporation for National and Community Service, Volunteering and Civic Life in American 2012, more Americans volunteered in 2011 than they did over the last five years. With 64.3 million volunteering throughout the year (that's 1.5 million more volunteers than in 2010), the volunteering rate nationwide rose to 26.8%..
In 2011, Americans contributed 7.85 billion volunteer hours to “formal organizations,” the equivalent of $171 billion dollars’ worth in time. In terms of tasks, volunteers served most often in the following areas: fundraising or selling items to raise money (26.2%), collecting, preparing, distributing, or serving food (23.6%), engaging in general labor or transportation (20.3%), and tutoring or teaching (18.2%).
Based on this report, Americans in rural settings (27.7%) are slightly more likely to volunteer compared with urban (23.4%) or suburban (27.5%) residents, and more Americans volunteered for religious (34.4%) and educational (26.6%) organizations than all other sectors combined.
Nonprofits in Tennessee, Georgia, and Alabama have a great opportunity to engage more volunteers. These states ranked 43rd, 34th, and 41st in the nation in terms of overall volunteer rates. You can find more information about your state’s rankings – including demographic data – by exploring this interactive map.
We have a resource to help your organization with volunteer engagement: ihelpchattanooga.org! CNP member organizations receive free training and access to this online volunteer engagement and management service. Check out the site and contact Brooke Arnold to learn more about how you can use this tool to supercharge your volunteer program.
Posted by CNP Staff
Feel like you havenít quite conquered the giant of social media? Could you use some step-by-step help in truly implementing a social media strategy?
March 27th, 2013
Local public accountant firm, Hazlett, Lewis & Bieter, PLLC covered the topic of social media in the current edition of Muse, their publication dedicated to providing ideas and education to tax-exempt organizations. In the recent Muse article, “Six steps in search of a solution: How to tackle social media in six easy steps,” Suzanne Northington affirms that nonprofits who have “not fully explored social media as a marketing tool . . . are probably missing something.” She goes on to note that “even if your organization has some experience in social media – say, you have a Facebook page, and do sporadic blogging – you still have not tapped into the full potential of the medium if it’s not in the context of an overall plan.”
Most nonprofits are probably aware of the importance of using social media but may get stymied when it comes time for practical application. At times, the use of social media may simply be tacked on as an additional marketing responsibility, when – like most other elements of marketing – success depends upon a careful and thorough strategy.
If your organization is having difficulty getting up to speed with social media, consider Northington’s six-step approach:
- Take inventory: Evaluate where you’re at – take a look at the channels you are currently using, the strategy (if any) you have in place, and what resources – people and funds – you have available to invest.
- Develop a social media steering committee: Bring together personnel from across your organization, include some members from outside the organization, and focus only on social media.
- Develop a strategic plan: Survey your constituencies, look at what similar organizations are doing, decide on the appropriate channels for your organization, and assign personnel.
- Implement the plan – Designate a leader who can manage the plan’s execution.
- Monitor, measure, adjust: Set up processes to evaluate your implementation and document procedures and adjustments.
- Learn: Stay in the loop of what’s new in social media!
Read more! This article is part two of a four-part series addressing emerging technologies in the nonprofit sector featured in Muse over the last few months. You can access current and past publications of Muse on Hazlett, Lewis & Bieter PLLC’s website.
Posted by CNP Staff