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Customer-for-life.jpgIt never ceases to amaze me how many sales people fail to take the time to really understand what the customer really needs. I dont mean what they say they want, but actually what they need to solve their business problems. Gone are they days where a sales person can turn up, ask a few questions and then Dive in the Bag for a brochure.


Customers have lots of reasons not to want to talk to sales people: 

  1. Customers are more informed than ever. The first thing the usually do when they decide they need to buy something is Google it! Here they will get various data points to give them some idea of potential solutions. This doesn’t need a sales person, unless the solution is more complexed, then what they want is education, not sales.
  2. Your product is being commoditised. The internet has brought down barriers of international trade, people are less concerned about paying in foreign currency, and comparing prices. With that in mind, they are only seeing price to be the comparison, I don’t need to see a sales person, just send me a quote!
  3. INERTIA and Risk.  Over the last few years the corporate executives have seen many of their colleagues let go as redundancies and layoff have been ripping through the business. There is a real risk of sticking you head above the parapet and making a spending decision that could go wrong! Doing nothing is an easier for the corporate person. Why change if there is no real pressure to do so?

 

To be successful in sales today

You need to challenge the customers thinking, not in a rude and obnoxious way, but in a manner in which you can offer a different viewpoint, which is well thought out, challenges the status quo, and create debate. To do that you must:

  • Understand the industry in which you work.
  • Why people buy your products and services?
  • What problems they solve?
  • How they help your customers Win in todays economy? and
  • Can you Prove It! Have you got statistics and facts to back up the claims?

 

If you do then the customer will be interested in talking to you. You are not just another sales person, you are a business partner, someone who can help their company WIN and provide competitive advantage. You understand them and can relate to the challenges and they can see that. They can use your expertise and knowledge to help them internally as well, to make themselves look good, and avoid costly mistakes.

Be the business partner, and reap the rewards – but first – make sure you understand the trends and markets, ensure that you can provide insight and challenge the customers thinking!

 

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