Much has been written about sales techniques, #strategy and skill training including closing techniques. I believe, “Closing the Sale” really revolves around satisfying the customer’s real needs.
“What’s In It For The Customer?”
“What’s In It For The Customer” should be a question ever present on every employees mind no matter what function they are performing. Customers are looking for solutions. Bottom line, you must be able to provide the solution to his or her problem. Consider this, using the building trades as an example, if the customer is a do-it-yourselfer, the problem could be as simple as recommending the right replacement filter. If the customer is a contractor, the problem could be ensuring customer satisfaction. If the customer is a builder, the problem could be providing maximum value with an acceptable return on his or her investment. Simple enough, yet, providing real solutions beyond price is often the part many sales people find very difficult. This happens because we often forget that simple concept —- “What’s In It For The Customer?”
Asking that simple question can help enhance our ability to WOW the customer. Everything has a “Wow” factor. The “Wow” factor is an intangible set of pleasing and valued features and components that make the selling process itself dynamic. It gives the customer a feeling of exhilaration and intense interest. What better way to retain customers than by enhancing customer service channels with a “wow” factor. This often means we must begin by bolstering our brand image and our value propositions. That starts with the question for everything we do —– “What’s In It For The Customer?”
Be honest with your customers
Set out what you can and can’t do from the outset of your relationship with your customers. Don’t propose doing things you don’t know how to do and don’t accept assignments you can’t complete or don’t know how to do. If, for some reason, you can’t meet an assigned deadline, be honest with them about why you can’t meet it and ask for an extension. Let them know as early as possible that you can’t meet it and go from there. If you can’t do something that a customer asks of you, provide alternatives, whether it’s farming some work out to a subcontractor or suggesting other product lines altogether. This not only makes customers think you’re honest, but it often results in positive word of mouth.
Under-promise — over-deliver
Recently my eye caught sight of a poster in the crew area of a cruise ship. It said “Deliver the Wow! Go above and beyond their expectations”. I walked away mulling over this statement. Wouldn’t the world be a better place if everybody made it their business to go above and beyond expectations? It all starts by asking that simple question —– “What’s In It For The Customer?”
Growth enhancing initiatives such as suggestive selling, up-selling, promotional sales techniques or follow-up sales calls to existing accounts require more than just training. They too start by asking that critical question —- “What’s In It For The Customer?”
There’s more to achieving sales and profitability gains than just skills training. Success demands that you become customer driven-not productivity driven. What does that mean? It means productivity driven employees are motivated to quickly handle an inbound call or counter sale in order to take the next call on hold or wait on the next customer in line. They service as many customers as quickly as possible.
• No time is available to use up-selling or promotional sales techniques, much less the time to think about additional products the customer might need.
• Just making timely follow-up calls to customers or prospects requesting information is a problem despite good intentions.
• Conducting outbound sales calls isn’t possible for lack of time.
To overcome this inherent, productivity driven mentality management must support the sales effort and train sales people to become total solution providers. Ask the question—“What’s In It For The Customer?”
A culture based on building customer relationship equity is essential. This includes making sure you are staffed adequately so you can justly service the customers in the manner in which they deserve to be treated. That builds loyalty and repeat business which drives growth.
Progressive managers truly understand what that means in regard to sales growth. They know that the consistent use of suggestive selling techniques, up selling and promotions can have a dramatic impact on average order size and increased share of spend from each customer. Customers must always come first. This must become a culture, not just a slogan. World-class service must become a core competency if you are going to create competitive advantage and differentiate yourself from the competition. And never, ever forget to ask the question — “What’s In It For The Customer?”