Why do your customers buy from you? Find out the answer and you’ll be rewarded with greater connection, more sales and long-term loyalty.

Everything SMB owners do (or should do) is geared toward making customers happy and keeping them loyal to the business’s products and services.

But how much do you really know about your customers? To understand why your customers buy from you, you have to take the time to walk a mile in their shoes.

What benefits can be derived?

Looking at your business from your customers’ perspective reveals where the problems or obstacles are in your company. You also gain a better understanding of your strengths and differentiators. Knowing the reasons why some of your customers are buying your product or service gives you the opportunity to do more of the same, perhaps even better.

A less obvious benefit of this exercise is to determine why you are either losing customers or not winning new business. The customer experience has an impact on your bottom line. Where in the system are potential customers turning away from you and going somewhere else, and why? The answers to this question can be applied to retain customers, gain new ones and boost profitability.

Here are three questions to ask while walking in your customers’ shoes:

1. Where are the customer pain points?

One of the biggest reasons to put yourself in your customers’ position is that it helps you to identify and understand where the pain points lie.

Can your customers easily move from finding your business – whether brick-and-mortar or online – to making a purchase? Try ordering your own product online. Is the process easy or difficult? How many steps did it take to complete the order? Customers like to share their experiences on social platforms. What are they saying about your business? What opinions do they have about your competitors? How can you use this information to improve the customer journey in your business

2. What does a day in the customer’s life look like?

Business products are generally purchased because they solve problems, so a deep understanding of the buyer is required.

To build strong relationships with clients, ask them to walk you through their day. How do the potential end users of your product spend their time? What do they do? What other products do they use? How much time do they spend using them? How would life change for these users after they have your product? How does your product or service fit into their lives?

3. What stands in the way of delivery?

Look closely at your organisation. Are there systems, people or performance metrics that get in the way of delivering? Are your employees selling because they are responding to demands and incentives?

Understanding what the customer needs and selling them the right solution for those needs allows your business to do right by the customer and is also the best way to build trust and develop long-term relationships. People want to do business with others they see as problem-solvers and partners who can work with them, rather than someone who is just trying to sell them something.

Selling value – and not products or services – will make your SMB stand out from those that are focused solely on closing the sale.