Whose Side Are You On?

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Whose Side are You On?

 

Whose side are you on?  Or perhaps better asked, whose side do your customers think you're on?  Except for your family and a few close friends, no one cares about the product or service you sell, much less its features and benefits.  So why are you trying to sell something no one cares about? 

Customers do, however, have needs to fill and problems to solve.  That is what your customers do care about.  They also view as self-serving and are naturally suspicious of anyone who is trying to sell them something, and as such are sales resistant. 

What are your customer's real needs and problems?  Not the surface needs like they need to buy a car, but the real need behind the need.  In the case of a car, is it that the customer needs transportation because their existing vehicle is now an unreliable money pit that is draining their bank account and causing them to miss work?  Have they messed up their credit and are apprehensive about the car buying experience, yet need a vehicle and are looking for reassurance?  Are they entrepreneurs whose business has done well and want a car that shows their prosperity as it sits in the driveway or when they drive it down the street?  Do your middle-aged customers have a need for speed that makes them feel young?  Do they need a car that's safe because their daughter is starting to learn to drive and they want to protect her from harm?  

This type of  problem or need discovery process is relevant to almost any product or service.  If you're selling hair spray, you're selling more than just something to keep hair in place.  You're selling a means for customers to look and feel attractive, and feel good about themselves.  So what is your customer's real need that you can fill or real problem that you can solve? 

This is where building rapport with and actively listening to customers is essential.  Your clientele will tell you their situation if you build rapport with them, make an effort to get to know them and their situation, and actively listen to what they're saying or not saying.  

Once you have this information, you can position yourself as the customer's ally to solve their problem or fill their need.  If you care about your customers, using the information you obtain about their real problems and needs to help them puts you on their side.  Importantly, you are also effectively positioning yourself as the customer's advocate in the sales process.  If you're thinking that this sounds manipulative, it's only manipulative if you are.  If you're actively trying to solve your customer's real problem or fill their real need, you are helping them.  

Customers appreciate doing business with people who help them.  They will buy from them, repeat buy from them and refer others to them because they know, like and trust them.  So stop thinking of yourself in terms of the product or service you offer, and start thinking of yourself in terms of the real problems you solve and the real needs you fill for your customers.  You will sell more products and services that way.

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