Pay Attention to Your Customer Needs

By: Gordon McWilliam

Several months ago my wife and I were looking to purchase a new car. We were having a difficult time figuring out what to buy, as there was nothing we lusted after as had been the case in previous years. As a result, we visited a number of dealers who carried every make and model, big, small, gas hogs, hybrids, SUVs etc.

Other than selling cars, each dealer had only one other thing in common: all of their sales people were hopeless. Cars have now been sold for a very long time and yet, even in this day and age, the sales people had no idea how to sell. Not one salesperson knew how to probe to see what we were interested in, how to ask questions that would help them pinpoint what I was looking for and how their product might best suit my needs.

Each salesperson immediately began to recite the extensive list of the features of whatever car we were looking at. Engine type, 5, 6, or 7-speed transmission, BLUETOOTH, heated seats, 0 to 60 in X seconds, 6-way electronic driver seats, satellite radio and on and on and on. Apparently they were hoping that one of the many features would strike a chord with me and get me to buy their car versus another model (which most likely had the same list of features).

Mind you, this was every salesperson regardless of the dealership – Mercedes, Volkswagen and everything in between. It was like they were throwing darts at a dart board blindfolded. They were hoping that I was already sold, hoping that I would pick them and their offering and hoping that I would pay their price, which they assured me was lower than any other dealer of that model in town.

Features, Features, Features…

Does any of this sound familiar to you? Does your sales conversation consist of all the features your product has to offer? If so, you are not alone. It’s easy to remember and recite features: our product is the biggest, fastest, cheapest, most reliable widget on the market, it comes in black, white or blue and you are going to love doing business with us. Does your sales effort end in “Gee, thanks for the information, but I’m just looking today” or “I’ll have to think about it”?

If you have done all the work to generate leads, created the website and done everything you can to get into the sales conversation, wouldn’t it make sense to give yourself the best chance of making the sale, to give yourself the best chance to convert that hard-earned prospect into a paying customer? Here’s how:

  1. Prepare yourself mentally for every single conversation. You can’t win if you are not in the game.
  2. Know as much as you can about the prospect before you engage in the conversation. With all of the information available to us these days, it is inexcusable to not prepare for every call you make.
  3. Ask questions. Prepare a list of all of the pertinent questions you need to ask to determine whether or not you have the right solution to solve your prospects problem.
  4. Present your product in a way that demonstrates how it solves the problem(s) of the potential client.
  5. Ask for the business. It’s amazing how often this step is left out.
  6. Answer any questions or requests for more information and ask for the order again. Notice I didn’t say objections; more often than not what we think of as objections are only questions or a request for more information.
  7. Follow up

Remember, it’s not about you, your company, your products or your services. It’s about meeting customer needs and adding value. When you start paying more attention to your customer needs than your revenue needs, you’ll find you no longer have a revenue problem to complain about.

– Gordon

“There are worse things in life than death. Have you ever spent an evening with an insurance salesman?” – Woody Allen

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