It’s easy sometimes to get wrapped up in a sale, focusing purely on the end result and an order form. But what your customers want and what you’re giving them are often two very different things. They’ll stall if you’re not pushing the right buttons and you’ll lose the deal if they’re not impressed with your approach. But what do customers really want from you and what don’t they need?
Without getting that Spice Girls song of yesteryear stuck in your head, this post is all about what your customers and prospects want from you as a salesperson, which you might not be giving them. And it’s definitely not a ‘zig-ah-zig-ah’!
I can’t stress this enough, and we write about it a lot on this blog. It sounds the most basic of things, but, and I’m going out on a limb here, I’d say it was the single most pivotal part of your sales approach. If you aren’t listening, you’re not solving problems and selling solutions, you’re just talking in your prospect’s general direction and hoping for a sale.
Every customer is unique, and while some share similar problems, their intrinsic niggles will vary from company to company. You need to get to grips with this as a salesperson and learn to listen.
Learn about their business
This follows on from my previous point. Listen and then learn from it. Don’t listen just for the sake of listening. You need to take this on board and come up with a bespoke solution for their problems. Get into their mind and understand what makes their business tick, what keeps their directors up at night and what makes them, well, them!
While this does take a little more effort than simply tarring every prospect with the same brush, it lends itself to a longer and more fruitful business relationship.
Follow up post-sale
Closing a deal is not the end for you as a salesperson; at least it shouldn’t be anyway. Getting a ‘yes’ out of your buyer isn’t the end game, a satisfied, returning customer should be. It takes five minutes to put in a call once your buyer’s order has been fulfilled to check that everything was as expected. It’s courteous and you’ll look like you actually care that your customer is satisfied and happy.
Who knows, it might even be a stepping-stone to getting a referral or two out of them if they’re over the moon with your service and personable approach. Referrals and recommendations are such easy business. Don’t trip at the first hurdle.
Treat them like people
Your customers are not an account number or another check at the end of every month. They are paying customers that expect to be treated as such. Parting with hard earned cash demands a level of customer service that will keep them coming back again and again. For me, bad customer service is an instant turn off and will likely stop me from ever being a customer of yours again. It’s uncalled for and just downright rude sometimes.
Treat your customers like they deserve and take the time to look out for them, send them any valuable content you think they’ll enjoy, look at where they could be saving money or even getting them a free sample of your latest product can all help them to feel valued and not another cog in your corporate money-making machine.
And the thing your buyers don’t want (or need) from you:
Don’t diss the competition
It’s not professional and not really a good way to make a sale. “Company X is rubbish so you should go with us.” Of course, your prospect knows that is exactly what you’re thinking when the competition is mentioned, but don’t sell by it. They don’t need it. And it makes you as a salesperson look pretty desperate. If you know your product has the better functionality, lead your pitch with the benefits it will bring to them as a customer of yours. Will it save them time? Earn them extra cash? Make the most menial of tasks a breeze? Sell with these. Don’t raise hell on the competition.
It’s good business practice and bad sales behavior will only come back to bite you one day.
I’d love to hear about the things you are doing when it comes to keeping your buyers happy. Are there things that you religiously do or even things that you steer well clear of? Let us know in the comments section below.