Understanding your client is key for any business endeavor. Successful business owners understand what their clients want and the most effective way of making their product or service available.
So for me, I carefully study my clients to ensure that we have a connection. I gather enough information to ensure my pitch is bulletproof and eventually, I bring in sales.
The depth of knowledge is also crucial – it requires knowing more than their name, age, and income. As a business owner, knowing your customer’s hobbies, tastes, and interests along with what they watch, listen to and read can be a profitable advantage.
I discovered these steps to sell better on my way up and I hope they work for you. Here we go:
1. BE CUSTOMER OBSESSED
Customer obsession is about genuinely putting the customer first rather than obsessing about the company’s bureaucracy. A good starting point for becoming customer-obsessed is humility.
Humility involves constantly listening to and observing customers. It means making decisions based on evidence of customer behaviour, not opinion or ego. Most importantly, it means measuring success based on customer success, not organization success. Be customer obsessed and watch sales follow.
2. TELL STORIES
Often times, I’ve been able to convince clients to see things my way by telling stories related to the issue/product/service being discussed.
“Facts tell but stories sell”
People want to hear stories, and it gets even better if the stories are the ones they can easily relate to. As a business owner, you need to incorporate good stories that are associated with your product in your pitch. An example could be what happened to a prospect who ignored your product at first then decided to give it a try and is now your biggest source of referrals.
Sometimes, the clients may have even heard similar stories, but for even trying, you get an extra credit and all of their attention.
Be honest. How much of problem is the fact that you’re not retaining the information your client is already giving you?
In many cases, the problem lies not with our failure to get the prospect to talk, it’s with our failure to actively listen to what the prospect is saying.
Active listening is not easy. It took me a while before I could master it, however, once you become a good listener, you will get the information you need much easier.
Here are some tips I use for active listening:
- Maintain eye contact. If the interaction is in person, don’t allow yourself to be distracted. Your attention needs to be on your prospect alone.
- Don’t listen to respond, listen to understand. Many times, we find ourselves already concocting our pitch in response to what the prospect is saying. Active listening means suspending any responses until you have all the information you need.
- Try to picture what the prospect is saying. Sometimes visualizing the customer’s statements in your mind can make it easier to comprehend and retain later on.
- Listen for all opportunities, not just the ones that allow you to pitch your product. Even if your customer isn’t saying something that gives you an opportunity to sell, they may be giving you an opportunity to give advice and guidance. This allows you to further establish yourself as a credible authority in the mind of your prospect.
4. BUILD RAPPORT
During my time as a marketing officer, I got to understand that if you want to get rejected, then you should make the mistake of getting right down to business and going straight for the sale.
The thing is, the prospect isn’t able to relate to you as a person when you make this error.
You’re just another self-interested sales person who is trying to get their money.
The result? Yet another lost sale.
If you’re looking to establish a profitable long-term relationship, it can’t be all about business. Build some rapport first. As a matter of fact, don’t ever stop building rapport. Even when you are eventually selling.
Because people buy from those they know, like, and trust. How can they know, like, or trust you if they don’t even know you? Let your guard down. Don’t be in such a hurry to talk about how great your products are. You can get to that later, I promise.
Find areas of commonality with your prospect. Unless you’re from another planet, there won’t be a single prospect that doesn’t have something in common with you.
Maybe they like the same sports teams. Perhaps they listen to the same types of music as you. They could frequent the same restaurants you do. Whatever it is, use it to your advantage.
Find those areas where you and your prospect connect, and she will become more comfortable with you. This will make her more likely to open up to you when you start asking questions.
5. USE HUMOUR
When it comes to getting your prospect to let his guard down, Humor is one of the most effective tools. Not only does it allow you to set the tone for the rest of the interaction, the positive emotions it brings out will instantly endear you to your prospect.
I know what you’re thinking. You’re thinking “but I’m not funny!”
Hey…I’m not funny too. Sometimes, just a smile will do. Often times, my clients tell me that my smile is contagious and others say they cannot say no because of my smile. Does it really mean they can’t say no?
Of course, they can actually say no, but they don’t want to because they’ve developed a certain liking to me and they just want to patronize me.
So what am I trying to say here?
It doesn’t matter if you don’t have the Kevin Hart humor to use to your advantage.
You don’t need to tell jokes. There are other ways to get your prospect to laugh. Try telling a story that relates to something your company does. Or even a funny story that relates to something you and the client were discussing previously. Chances are, if you have stories that you think are funny, your prospect will probably think they’re funny as well.
If you have anything funny that has happened over the years, or maybe there was something funny that a customer did when doing business with your company, it is probably worth telling. If it can get even just a chuckle, it’s worth using. Anything to make the conversation go smoothly.
6. KNOW THEIR “WHY”
As entrepreneurs, we always want to focus on our purpose. After all, building a successful brand means figuring what your company’s purpose is.
If you’re trying to better understand your customer, why not find out what their purpose is? What do they stand for beyond consuming your product or service? This may seem like something that’s only applicable to business customers, but it can also apply to consumers as well.
What is the reasoning behind their interest in your product? What lifestyle does your product or service promote?
Figuring out your customer’s “why” is the key to understanding them. It’s also the key to being able to solve their problems and help them get where they want to be.
A good example of this is what we do at Epower. Whenever we meet a new prospect, we never go for the sales at once. We try to understand them first. We consider this a necessity so we can do good work.
7. TALK LESS
When interacting with your prospect, it’s very important to remember that it’s about them, not about you. Your prospect should be doing most of the talking.
Speaking from experience, there will always be times where you will be tempted to interrupt and start pitching your solution while the customer is talking. You have to resist that temptation at all costs.
If you interrupt and start pitching, you will derail the entire conversation.
The only time you should speak is when you need to clarify something the prospect is saying. It’s okay to rephrase the prospect’s statements in order to comprehend what the customer is saying. As a matter of fact, doing this will show your prospect that you are paying attention. This will help you establish a closer connection.
It is always best to understand your prospective clients before discussing your products or services.
The first step to a successful sales interaction is understanding with who you’re dealing with. Without knowing who your prospect really is, you’re trying to hit a target blindfolded.
Always remember; the more homework you do, the better you’ll understand your prospects, and the better your sales will be.
“Treat a first-time client right
And secure yourself deals
You don’t know of just yet.”
_(Damilola Emmanuel Akinosun,
Visual Designer, Epowerng)
Damilola Emmanuel Akinosun