When customers purchase services (including yours), they typically ask six basic questions. These are the questions you will be answering as well in your interviews. The actual questions asked may differ in format or content; however, the underlying information remains the same.
* Who is [company]? Customers are asking about industries or markets served, geographic presence, a layman’s expression of the value created, time in business, and the size of the company.
* What do you do for customers? Customers are asking about the value the company delivers and the top two or three ways customers benefit from it.
* Who are your top customers, and what do you do for them specifically? Customers are asking for more specific proof or evidence that substantiates the company’s claims of the value they deliver
* How are you different from other companies who do similar things? The customer wants to learn the differences between the products or services the company provides and those offered by competitors. It is an attempt to clarify why selecting the company is the best choice.
* Others have made convincing promises about these things and then not delivered. How can we be sure that you will do what you say? Customers have experience purchasing services that did not deliver the value promised, and they are concerned about being subjected to or persuaded by a clever sales pitch. They have been burned, and they are wary.
* How can we be sure that we would get the best value if we selected you? Customers have multiple companies from which to choose. Asking this question forces a company to make comparisons with competitors and helps clarify the selection decision.
As you prepare for your interview, develop answers to these six customer questions. Then, in your interview, listen for these questions and use your prepared answers. In addition, develop examples and stories to support your answers. In Chapter 10 of the book Active Interviewing: Branding, Selling and Presenting Yourself to Win Your Next Interview, you will learn learn how to develop powerful stories to support your claims of value.