Last week I walked into a business because I wanted to hire them. Before I could even explain what I wanted the person who greeted me started “selling” me. I was doing more listening than talking. It seemed he had the idea that if he answered questions I didn’t ask I would never say no to the sale.
Here’s the problem – he was so busy selling he never bothered to listen. I didn’t need someone to solve problems I didn’t have. I needed someone to listen to what I wanted and let me ask questions. I didn’t get that and ended up leaving to go to his competitor.
Your customers and clients don’t want to be viewed as cookie-cutter, one-size-fits-all or just another sale. They want to be viewed as the unique individuals they are. Even if you think you’ve heard all the questions and have all the answers, you can’t just churn information at them.
Think about doing these things instead:
Learn what they are trying to accomplish – Everyone has a story. No matter whom your clients are or what you sell, each person who comes through your door has a different idea about what a “successful” interaction with you looks like. Let them tell you what it is. Take the time to ask questions and listen to understand their unique reason for wanting to work with you. Only then will you be able to articulate how you can help them.
Let them know you understand – It is easy to jump into responding without letting someone know you actually heard what they had to say. Take the time to engage in active listening to show that you hear and understand them. Even if you aren’t actually learning anything new, this step allows you to connect with the customer in a way your competitors won’t. You never want a client to leave thinking, “They didn’t listen to me.”
Become part of their success team – When your client believes you really understand them your relationship shifts from being an outsider who has something they need, to being an insider who is pivotal to their success. Engage with them using ‘we’ language rather than ‘you’ and ‘I’ as you continue the dialogue.
Follow up – When you are part of someone’s team your relationship doesn’t end when they make a purchase and staying top-of-mind doesn’t happen just by sending holiday cards. Cement your "go-to" status by following up with them to ask how things are working and if you can help them again. After all the effort to become part of the team, don’t take yourself out of the game by disappearing.
Too many people view sales as a wrestling match where they try to impart their will on their opponent … er … customer. How often have you left a business with a product (they made a sale) but with a bitter taste in your mouth about the interaction. Instead, think of it as a dance where the customer is leading and you are following. It is much easier to show them the path to where they want to go than to force them down one they don’t. Which customer do you think is more likely to tell their friends a positive story about the experience?
As always, I wish you the MOST from your potential!
PS - If you are interested in working with a coach, I'd be happy to have a conversation with you to discuss how I can support your success. All you have to do is ask.
Dr. Robyn Odegaard (aka “Doc Robyn”) is internationally known motivational speaker, executive coach and corporate trainer. As CEO of Champion Performance Development, she works with executives, professionals, athletes, and coaches to help them achieve excellence by sharing active leadership, powerful teamwork, conscious communication, Productive Conflict™ and professional disagreement skills. She is the founder of the Stop The Drama! Campaign and author of the books Stop The Drama! The Ultimate Guide to Female Teams and The Ultimate Guide to Handling Every Disagreement Every Time. To work with her one-on-one, have her present to your team, request a custom workshop or invite her to speak at your event, please call 302-307-3091 or email her at DocRobyn@ChampPerformance.com.