Customer Focused Selling Is Here to Stay
Every sales leader worth their salt knows that their success depends helping their clients and customers to succeed. We call this customer focused selling.
That part of the customer focused selling approach is a bit fuzzy for many sales teams.
An Example of Not Focusing on the Client
Let’s start with an example. A prospective client called us for help. They wanted to improve the internal consulting and partnering skills of their HR, IT and Finance organizations so they could add more value to their stakeholders. During the discovery process, we learned:
So Why Did the Client Reach Out To Us?
The sales person, who wanted to meet their end-of-year quota, told the client that they had to sign the next year’s contract before the end of the year or they would incur a 25% price increase. This is the opposite of customer focused selling. The client was planning to sign the contract, but not until the new year due to end-of-year obligations and personal family issues.
The sales person was more concerned with meeting their personal targets than in understanding their client and helping them to be successful in a way that makes sense to them. Our sales experts call it being “other centered.”
When sales people are NOT customer focused, they perpetuate the adversarial relationship, the root cause of why selling is so difficult, between buyers and sellers. So the client decided to call us. Good for us. Bad for that self-centered sales person.
Six Customer Focused Selling Tips
Based upon 25+ years of consultative sales training, here are some tips on what it really means throughout your sales process to live and breathe customer focused selling best practices:
1. Really Listen
Observe the best interviewers. They are totally present as they ask their questions. They fully concentrate on their interviewees’ answers. Rather than thinking ahead to their next question while the interviewee talks, they are able to link parts of the answer to their next question. This is how they “unpack” and thoroughly understand their subject.
2. Be Authentically Curious
The more sincere you are in learning as much as possible about your customer, the more honest and reliable their answers.
3. Know Your Stuff
Don’t ever waste your customer’s time through your own lack of preparation. Be thoroughly familiar with your offerings so your solutions can legitimately address their priorities. Be able to differentiate your offering from those of competitors and to succinctly describe the business value from your target customer’s point of view.
4. Be Truthful
What is it we don’t like about the stereotypical used car salesman? It’s that he fudged the truth about the lemon he wants off his lot. Remember that you are trying to develop a trusting relationship with a customer whose loyalty you want. Give your customer all the information they need to make an informed decision that is in their best interests.
5. Don’t Get Emotional
Most every sales process involves some customer objections…those “buts” that are apt to frustrate you. You need to react calmly and with understanding. You may well be “sold” on your solution but your customer may need more time to consider and appreciate it.
6. Treat This as a Beginning
Even if you close the deal, do not treat your customer as if this is the end. Remember this is the beginning of a relationship that can be mutually beneficial. Whether or not you admit it, salesmanship is the profession of building relationships. Stay in touch with your customer. See that they are satisfied with your solution. Be ready to help them the next time there’s a need.
The Bottom Line
The customer who is lucky enough to interact with a solution seller who understands and practices these six customer focused selling tips is the customer who will come back again and again.
If you want to learn more about how to win business with ideal target clients, download 4 Steps to Identify and Target Your Best Clients to Accelerate Growth
How to Sell Value versus Price
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