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Sales Performance Blog

28 Aug 2013

Need-Based Selling: 3 Ways to Put Customers First

By: Nick Kane
Need-Based Selling: 3 Ways To Put Customers First

If you’ve read any number of our past blog entries, you’ve likely noticed the emphasis placed on Need-Based Selling™ or, consultative selling as it’s also known in the marketplace. This intended approach is not something that will change any time soon. We feel that the ability to implement Need-Based Selling by putting the customer first lies at the core of every successful sales interaction.

That said, here are three tactics you can implement in keeping the customer’s needs top of mind.

1. Don’t waste your customer’s time!

Today’s consumer is more informed than ever before. Do them a favor and don’t bore them with information they’ve just read on the homepage of your company website. Instead, spend time telling them things they don’t know, which begins to position you as a trusted advisor and a valued source of information.

Dealing with an uninformed customer? Some people will choose not to do their homework and rely on you to explain the nuts and bolts of your product or service. The only way to gauge their level of understanding is by asking questions e.g., Have you visited our website? Have you heard about our new automation feature? From there, you can tailor your approach accordingly, being sure not to talk over their head or risk being repetitive.

2. Address their priorities, not yours.

It doesn’t matter that you have an unfilled quota and two days left in the month. It also doesn’t matter that you have 15 minutes before your weekly lunch date with friends. Those things are your priorities, not your customer’s. Your main priority should be making the sale and that means keeping a laser focus on your customer’s needs.

Ask questions about their situation and find out what may be influencing (perhaps hindering) their decision-making process. How can you help? Maybe timing is a concern of theirs. What can you do to better facilitate from your end?

Take cues from the way they talk to you as well as their non-verbals (if over the phone) such as sighs and long pauses. Don’t create urgency where there isn’t a need; and at the same time don’t belabor your points or benefits if the customer appears to be in a hurry. Remember, it’s about them, not you.

3. Get really good at confirming.

Some sales professionals feel that gaining confirmation can get repetitive. (Again, not about you.) In actuality, the act of confirmation can do wonders to increase a customer’s comfort level with your product or service. It can be a simple, “So if I heard you correctly, your goal is to consolidate your debt and have just one monthly payment. Is that right?” Sure, you may have heard them correctly the first time, but perhaps the customer hears something they’d like to alter before moving forward. If not, they will appreciate the clarification and show of concern from your end.

Confirmation doesn’t need to happen after each and every bit of information you receive, but it should certainly happen multiple times throughout the conversation and most definitely before any decisions are made, or deals closed.

So while it may seem like an unnecessary step from your end, it will go a long way in building trust with your customer. Did you get that last point? Good, we just wanted to confirm.

Check out our Critical Selling® Skills program for more ideas surrounding Need-Based Selling. And if you have any good tactics for putting the customer first, please feel free to share with us!

Categories: Sales Training, Sales Coaching

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