Fresh out of my Carew training and waiting for my wings to dry, I realized just how powerful building relationships can be! Listening to your customer’s needs, acknowledging their requests, asking questions to understand their Gaps, and THEN giving a solution that will truly help them – bonding before responding! Creating a bond with your customers creates a level of comfort where they will tell you their true Gaps, allowing you to provide the right solution.
Being new to the sales arena and learning all the ins and outs of this process, I have been trying to connect to my past life as a middle school teacher. For me, the most important aspect of being a teacher was creating relationships with my students. The sales profession is no different; you must create a relationship with your customer BEFORE providing a solution to their needs and ultimately closing the sale.
We have all been in a situation where we go to purchase something, and the sales professional DOES NOT listen to our needs! How frustrating is this? Very! You are annoyed because the sales professional is not listening to you, and the sales professional is irritated because they are trying to sell you what THEY THINK you need. This is the perfect cocktail for creating tremendous amounts of dissatisfaction for both parties and does not close many sales.
Let’s look at this from a different lens. You go in to purchase a product; the sales professional is getting to know you and the needs of your purchase. Asking questions about what you are looking for in the product, actively listening to you, acknowledging your needs, showing you a product that matches the requirements you have expressed, and THEN goes to close the sale. There is no frustration for either party. You leave with the product that will work best for you, and the sales professional has just sealed the deal.
These two scenarios could not be more different! For most people, the first scenario is the norm and not a good experience. We would like to experience the latter scenario, but unfortunately, it is not as common as it should be.
As sales professionals, we need to create a bond with our customers before we respond to their needs! So how do we do this?
LISTENING! Listen to what the customer is asking for; listen to their needs! And show them you are listening by asking questions about those needs.
Asking questions is a two-pronged approach; it clarifies their requirements and allows you to dig deeper into their ideal state, enabling you to uncover if there is a greater demand to be addressed. When a customer feels heard, you have begun to cultivate that relationship. Then, customers will reveal more insight into their ideal state, making it easier for you to provide the correct solution and close the sale. It’s really that simple.
Take the time to create a bond with your customer. Ask questions to get to the root of their wishes; sometimes, the hardship they want solved is not the genuine concern that must be solved. You may uncover the real requirements and provide a solution that will solve many issues, making your customer even more satisfied and, in turn, creating a stronger relationship. It is a win-win for the customer and you, the sales professional.