What Customers Really Want to Hear
As sales professionals we sell products and services, sure, but we also sell ourselves – our individual commitment, expertise and value, as well as that of the company we represent. In fact, there seems to be a very clear correlation between the most accomplished sales professionals and their ability to sell their personal value/worth and bring products and services along for the ride.
How, exactly, does one sell oneself? We start by considering what customers don’t want to hear. In a recent article for Inc.com, Robin Camarote sums it up succinctly, writing, “Potential buyers don’t care about the things we think they will. They don’t care about where you went to college. They don’t care about how long you’ve been in the business. And they really don’t care about your proprietary four-step process. All they want to know is this: Does she understand my problem and can she fix it?”
Camarote is spot on in her assertion that our prospective buyers need our competence, not our (or our company’s) resume. Save your mission statement, capability statement and rich company history. Instead, Camarote recommends we focus on the following:
Start with why – and not your why. Write your customers’ why. What’s their problem and why do they want to solve it right now?
Have a perspective. Establishing credibility is less about what you’ve done and learned in the past and more about how you view the present. There is no right or wrong answer here, but you must be prepared to offer a recommendation. What do you believe will be the most promising path to solving your customers’ problems? You’ll lose potential customers who don’t share your worldview while eliminating doubt that you’re the right solution among those who do.
List the opportunities and risks of not acting now. Your customers inherently know these. Listing them validates their concerns and spurs action.
Talk about results. In the most honest and uncomplicated way you can, list the results your customers will see after buying from you. The most compelling ways to do this are to show them or to have someone else tell them through testimonials.
Camarote’s philosophy may seem counterintuitive, but it is perfectly aligned with the talk-less-and-listen-more philosophy that is the linchpin of Carew’s sales training process. We must always explore and then listen carefully to understand the customer’s needs and motivations. When we do talk, it should be information that will benefit the customer, how we can help them now and how we have helped others like them. As Camarote writes, “Customer’s don’t want your life story, they want to know that you can fix their problem –and that’s what your capability statement should be all about.”
Read the full article: The Surprising Trick to Selling Yourself