Serving Customers What They Need (and Like to Eat)

Smart solution providers don’t sit on their heels waiting for customers to tell them what they need, because oftentimes customers don’t know or can’t know. As the trusted advisor, it’s your job to understand your customer’s business so that you can make the right recommendations. Education and outreach are key too, especially when major new products are rolling onto the market – like Windows 7.

Outreach is also a form of marketing and the personal touch can be quite effective, especially in a down economy. It also doesn’t hurt to throw in a free meal.

MJ Shoer gets it. Shoer is president of Jenaly Technology Group in Portsmouth, NH. (a fine state if ever there was one I’ll note), a solution provider specializing in the serving small to midsized customers. On his blog this week, Shoer is inviting existing customers – and potential – to a Windows 7 educational seminar on Sept. 16 at a seafood restaurant in Kittery, Me.

Among the topics attendees will be regaled with over lunch:

• Should you upgrade your existing computers? • What is so good about Windows 7? • What will my users experience with the new operating system? • What has changed? • What are the tips and tricks I should know about Windows 7?

Not many customers are breaking down doors because they just have to have Windows 7 installed on Oct. 22 when it launches. Shoer knows that. But he also knows that an event like this lunch will draw an audience that will leave full and far more open-minded to the investment than they had before. And whom will they call when they decide to pull the trigger and upgrade?

Face to face marketing isn’t cheap, and it doesn’t scale like a mass-mailing or other broader campaign. But the return in terms of new business is at a much higher rate than watered-down impersonal marketing activities.

How many of you are doing local, in-person customer events – with no sales pitch attached?

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