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March 2011


Relating To Your Customers

Product knowledge alone won't help you sell the products and services that will fulfill each of your customers' needs.  You need to know the customer, who they are, what features and benefits are important to them, why they are in the market for the product in the first place.

Want to improve your sales ability?  Start with these strategies.

Key Strategies

1. Ask Open Ended Questions

These help you to understand their needs.  Questions like:  What are your goals for this purchase? Why are those goals important to you?  How will you benefit if you can achieve those goals? 

Each question gets you closer to understanding the real reason for the purchase, and develops trust between you and the customer.

2. Qualify the Customer

You need to discover if your products or services can actually fulfill the customers' needs.  Focus beyond their obvious, immediate needs.  Focus on the "before-use" and "after-use" needs:  have they done the correct preparation so that your product can do the job?  Have they planned for the future, insuring that your product can continue to do the job?  If not, you need to help them plan for the full project, not just the obvious part.

3. Match Their Needs With Your Benefits

It is not enough for you to be certain that your product or service will be the long-term solution to your customers' problems.  You must help the customer see the solution in terms that they understand - in terms of benefits that they receive.  When you tell the customer about your solution, they silently ask themselves "what does that mean to me, how does that help me, what's in it for me if I choose this solution?"  You must answer these questions before they ask them.  Satisfied customers are the best place to look when building your list of benefits.

4. Answer the Customers' Objections

Remember, objections are not a permanent "no."  Objections are a request for more information, for a clearer view of the benefits.  Treat each objection as a question, and answer it in terms of the benefits the customer receives.  You may be offering a benefit that they don't value, in which case you show them other benefits or produce references of satisfied customers who originally had the same objection.

5. Ask for the Sale

Many "professional" salespersons never get around to asking the customer to buy.  It is the most emotional part of the sales process, and the most essential.  The salesperson is often afraid of rejection or objections; the customer is often afraid of making a bad decision.  If you have done your job as the salesperson, then act confident, believe in yourself, and ask them to buy your solution.



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