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Forget Your Sales Manager, Why You Should Ask Your Customer This Question

Ask your sales manager this question and all you’ll get is facts; ask your customers however, and you’ll get something much more valuable - insight.


Great meeting earlier with a super-smart international student at The University of York recently.

Group of 6 University students together with late middle-aged businessman
We Love Mentoring Business Students

After we’d finished the mentoring part of our session, I asked her one of my favourite discovery questions:

Ask Your Customers This Question

Out of all the other Universities within your (global) reach, what made you choose this one?

I know what you’re thinking…

Was it The Western Education?

There are 20,000+ universities to choose from, so Western Education is hardly a differentiator or USP

Was It A UK Uni?

Again, there are 285 Higher Education providers so this can't be the answer either...

Was it the QS Ranking?

Er, no (that's mainly the parents and a bit of the student's decision)

Well, what was it then? 🤔

If you can't hang on any longer, click here to go straight the answer.

Often, your customers see something in your company that you may have completely overlooked.

And, sometimes, that something can be totally left-field as was the case with my student mentee.

Why Asking The Customer Is Often Better Than Asking The CEO

Ask the CEO why their company wins business and all you’ll get are the facts, which almost anyone can get from the internet.

Ask their customers, however, and you’ll get something much more valuable - the gift of insight.

The answers are often surprising, always insightful and can inform your messaging strategy going forward.

When you have insight as to why customers buy from you, you have an incredibly valuable data point which you can now use to inform your marketing strategy to recruit even more customers - in this case, students.

The Shambles - a beautiful, old, cobbled street in York UK
The Shambles, York looks like something straight out of Harry Potter

Why Customers Know Better Than Your CEO

Your CEO knows that customers buy from them because they're going to get certain benefits - say A, B and C - but does your CEO know for sure, for certain, that’s why specific customers bought from them?

Not unless they've asked them recently, no; in the case of my Chinese student mentee, it was the impact and brand attraction of Harry Potter!

Now, who would have guessed that?

JK Rowling's fantasy novel has had a significant impact in China, not only as a great read but also as a cultural phenomenon.

The Chinese translations of the Harry Potter series have played a crucial role in making the stories accessible and engaging to Chinese readers.

Translators have gone to great lengths to preserve the essence of the stories' magic, adapting names and spells to reflect their meaning and maintain the series' charm and mystery within the Chinese cultural context​​. This explains why students are so attracted to the Harry Potter brand.

Speaking the language of your target audience is absolutely smart selling

More Than 1 Buyer

True, the student is ultimately the customer so far as the University is concerned but it's not just the student making this buying decision. it is the parents who are most likely funding the purchase. The parent are the economic buyers and will want surely want to have their say in this decision too.

The choice of studying abroad, such as destinations like York, is influenced by students' own research and their parents' opinions. Chinese students value student reviews highly, which suggests that peer experiences, possibly including those related to cultural aspects like Harry Potter, could indirectly influence their decision-making process​​ too.

Additionally, the broader context of Chinese students studying overseas indicates a pursuit of academic excellence and personal growth, including the opportunity to experience life in another country.

These motivations suggest that while Harry Potter might not be a direct factor affecting the decision, the cultural appeal of the UK, potentially including associations with such globally recognised brands, could contribute to the allure of studying in places like York for Chinese students​​.

Whilst Harry Potter may not be explicitly cited as a reason for Chinese students' attraction to York, the cultural impact and global popularity of British media, including Harry Potter, likely contribute to the UK's appeal as a compelling study destination.

3 Top Tips To Get Customers Talking

Customers are much more likely to give an honest appraisal of why they bought from you and what differentiated you from your competitors if they're speaking to an independent organisation about your service.

  • Ask them via a customer survey

  • Get your account manager to ask them

  • Ask an independent marketing company to talk to them

Want to Chat?

A younger man and an older man talking to each other . In the foreground , a woman looks at her smartphone .

We love helping even the most experienced salespeople get even better by helping them cut through the noise of their competition to win more in the market. Hi

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Noté 5 étoiles sur 5.

🙋1st. Class !


Noté 5 étoiles sur 5.

I meant five stars so delete four stars and add five !

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Thank you !🙋


Noté 5 étoiles sur 5.

Super insightful.

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