Do You Know What Your Customers Want?
This is a common statement and question for sales people and comes up in sales training sessions on a common basis. However, in practice, do sales people really understand the true meaning of this question? Do they understand the ramification of a lack of understanding of this key success question?
I’m sure that you know the Golden Rule and probably the “Platinum Rule of Selling” if you have been in sales for any length of time. Yet, Bob Burg who is a prospecting guru states a little different golden rule and he has been quoted:
“Internalize the Golden Rule of sales that says, ‘All things being equal, people will do business with, and refer business to, those people they know, like, and trust.”
This statement is very true – even in today’s economic climate. In fact, I would believe that it is even more important today than ever. Customers and Prospects are looking for people to trust more than ever! They seek out referrals based upon who others like and trust.
An example of this in today’s climate is something that has impacted our business to some degree. We have used Executive Briefings during the past decade to provide information and knowledge to both customers and prospects. The interesting fact in today’s climate is the lack of trust automatically given to strangers – prospecting sales people or business development personnel.
The past few executive briefings have shown an interesting trend. People that know us (and like us) show up for the briefings and enjoy the information. People that don’t know us – will not even return or take a phone call! This has an interesting message. And, based upon my discussions with customers and clients, it is also very much in vogue with their customers, prospects and clients.
The learning points from this information is two fold. First, people must like you and especially trust you to be willing to take action regarding your requests for action. Second, referrals become a more important asset for you in this age of “I’ve got no time for this!” answers to request for action.
What are you doing to improve communication with customers and clients? What are you doing to gain or improve rapport building with these important people? What are you doing everyday to improve the trust bond with your customers and prospects? You need clear and accurate answers to these questions.
A second area for self examination is regarding the development of referrals or overcoming the “stranger” position in a prospects mind. Regarding this there are series of questions that must be answered. First, do you have a referral system in place with your existing customers? How well is it working? How often do you ask for referrals – if at all?
Additional questions to ask refer to systems to use if no refer system exists or you are new to selling and have no customers to ask for referrals. So then the questions become: How often are you contacting a prospect? Are you using different methods – such as phone calls, letters, emails, reports, newsletters, white papers of specific topics of interest, and success stories. These actions build a relationship over time. The key is not to sound like a sales person ALL THE TIME!
Remember, my story about the Executive Briefings. I learned recently why people do not go to these anymore. It seems a large number of people are offering Executive Briefings that are nothing more than “let me tell you about all my products and why you should buy them – even if you are not interested in buying the product or service!” In other words, people have been tricked or mislead by invitations to learn about something of interest only to be high pressure sold to because of a breakfast or lunch or snack being served by the presenter. The outcome of these events is a lack of trust by association. Oh, for the good old days!
Get to know what your customers want and make certain that they can get it from you or a referral from you to a reliable source where they can get it. People (Customers) remember who helps them get what they want and need. Your turn will come if you understand this concept.
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