What Customers Really Want

August 19th, 2013 | Posted by Tony Bowne in Communication Skills | Communications Skills | Sales Training

A recent study by McKinsey & Company provides interesting insights into purchase motivations and the keys to sales success. These findings are based on a survey of more than 1,200 purchasing decision makers in small, medium and large companies throughout the U.S. and Western Europe. Consider these insights relative to your own sales process:

The Role of Price: There is a discrepancy between what customers say is most important versus actual drivers of their purchase behavior. Survey participants said price is one of their biggest concerns, but further dissection of their ratings of vendor performance indicate that overall sales experience carries more weight in the purchase decision.

Counter-Productive Sales Behavior: The most destructive sales behavior identified was too much contact by the sales professional, with only 3 percent indicating they weren’t contacted enough. McKinsey & Company associates are quick to interpret this as too much meaningless contact. In their article, The Basics of Business-to-Business Sales Success, Nate Boaz and John Murnane point out that communication should be based on the needs and profit potential for the customer. Contacting customers to simply ask if they want to buy anything or make small talk feeds into customer perceptions of sales reps wasting their time. Instead, sales professionals should trade quantity for quality, providing insight and information that create value and contribute to customers’ profitability.

Both of these findings speak to the importance of understanding customer needs. Continually review and hone your EXPLORATORY skills to better understand GAPs and support your customers’ and your own success.

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