By Jim Kasper, President & CEO, Interactive Resource Group
Understanding how, why, what, and when our customers buy has been the
life study of many academicians and professional marketing researchers
Understanding how, why, what, and when our customers buy has been the life study of many academicians and professional marketing researchers, as well as the topic of a good many informal discussions within our profession. For sure, we know that customers respond favorably to one or more of the following conditions:
Your product or service satisfies a customer want or need.
All customers have needs and wants. Needs are different than wants. Wants are higher forms of needs. Your customer may only need or could get by with a Geo, but wants a Lexus. Successful sales professionals identify wants, sell to them, and find the means to make them possible. You must recognize that wants are very much an individual issue. In the above case, the customer may not need the Lexus, but wants to realize some of benefits (image, prestige, value) it offers. Your job is to make it happen.
Your customer trusts and likes you.
Many salespeople have the erroneous impression that their customers buy from their company. The fact is that your customers buy from people they know, like, and trust. (That's you!) The trusted and liked sales professional is the company in the customer's eyes. Think back to your very first romance. Remember the feeling of trust and closeness? This is the same feeling your customers should have when you walk through their doors.
You have provided a value-added benefit of doing business with you.
Let's face the facts: it's purely competitive out there. Your customers have a host of your competitors to choose from. What then differentiates you? Value-added benefits are programs that you can offer to your customers that directly benefit them. Some examples: a medical equipment rep offers free stress-reduction workshops for staffs of her accounts. A landscape equipment representative offers hiring seminars for his customer's supervisors. They are information rich and are designed specifically to solve the customers' business problems. You might get some ideas by asking some of your existing customers exactly what you could do that might benefit them. They'll be glad to tell you.
You are expeditious in your response.
In general, the more we make our customers feel that "they're the only one," the more likely we'll be able to count on them for return business, as well as a steady source of referrals. Some seasoned sales pros have employed a "Time Criteria Benchmark" with success. The criteria established included:
Speed of follow up
Time between visits or telephone calls
Time taken to complete a task or respond to a request
Use of time in the customer interview
The criteria helps the salesperson be as expeditious as possible toward reacting quicker to customer requests. This is your link in the time-based competition chain.
Your customer perceives your service/product is worth the price.
It is your job to assist the customer in the decision making process. Part of this responsibility is to help the customer see how what you've recommended to them fits into their plans. This simple action justifies your commissions. You are the consultative professional. You can readily determine how your customer perceives your services by asking a few basic open-ended questions:
What are your thoughts about..................?
What are your feelings about....................?
How does our proposal fit with your...(goals, likes
Jim Kasper is the Founder and President of Interactive
Resource Group. Mr. Kasper has over 26 years of practical experience in
direct sales, sales management, sales training, and marketing. Contact
him at www.salestrainers.com or call 800-891-7355