• Don’t Guess: Defined

    “If you don’t know what your customer needs, you’re not in a position to present, or sell.”

    When you’re presenting your product or service and you have no idea what the customer wants or needs, you’re not selling. What you’re doing is you’re simply explaining and informing; but you’re not addressing a problem, you’re not presenting a solution. Therefore, you’re not selling.

    Real selling is identifying the customer’s need and providing an appropriate solution to meet that need. A salesperson’s real goal is to help a customer reach the right decision confidently and without a doubt.

    Below are some steps to help you remove guesswork out of selling:

    1. Plan your sales call. If you don’t know what your customer needs, a logical sales call objective would be to inquire. Prepare your planned questions. That way, you will know what questions to ask. Having your questions listed down will also allow you to focus on the customer’s reply, instead of worrying about remembering the next question to ask.

    2. Probe To avoid guessing, it becomes a must to learn and develop the skill of probing. To satisfy a customer’s need, we first have to uncover his or her needs and provide an appropriate solution. The appropriate use of “open-ended” questions plays a vital role in effectively uncovering customers’ needs.

    3. Listen After asking a question, most salespeople are busy thinking of what to say next instead of understanding what the customer is saying. Develop the skill to catch and discern significant customer comments. When the customer states a vague or unclear reply, be sure to probe to clarify. Avoid responding to comments that you don’t understand. Be deliberate.

    4. Take down notes Develop the practice of writing down significant customer comments or clues gathered during the sales call. This will help you avoid forgetting important leads and provide you with reference for planning your next sales call. Writing down important customer comments also shows the customer that you give importance to what he or she is saying. This helps you create a good impression with your customer.

    5. Present relevant solutions Based on the results of probing, present the relevant features and benefits of your product or service that will best meet the customer’s identified needs. By addressing specific goals or needs, you will make your presentations more meaningful and appreciated by your customers. By helping the customer solve a problem, a sale becomes a positive consequence.

    6. Check for acceptance After presenting a solution to an identified customer need, always check for acceptance. By doing so, you will get a chance to get your customer’s buy-in. On the other hand, if the customer does not agree with your solution, it will give you a chance to find out why, and provide an appropriate alternative.

    The above steps if followed, can be a reliable path towards satisfying customers’ needs and away from a self-centered sales call. Review your Systematic Consultative Selling and apply it in your daily interactions. Remember, you don’t have to be in front of a customer to apply SCS. You can apply this in your everyday interactions. Make it a way of life.

    Call to Action

    Answer the questions below. Your answers to these questions will help you determine your effectiveness in uncovering and satisfying your customers’ needs.

    1. What needs were you able to uncover in your sales calls last week? Are the clues you gathered recorded in appropriate Account Ledgers?

    2. How many of your sales calls last week had pre-call plans? Were your plans recorded in appropriate Account Ledgers?

    3. Recall your last sale, what needs were you able to identify and satisfy that gave you the sale? Are these identified needs recorded in an appropriate Account Ledger?

    4. If you’re not happy with your answers to the above questions, what do you think are the reasons that prevent you from effectively uncovering your customers needs? What do you plan to do to improve? DON’T GUESS: PURPOSEFUL SELLING

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