How to Create Loyalty with Customers Before You Sell Anything

medium_4638947724Do you know how the best salespeople develop loyalty from the start, before the sale is even closed? 

They find the customer’s pain. 

The customer may not even be consciously aware of it, but in a skillful way, the salesperson digs it out, placing it before their eyes so they need a solution.

We have talked about it as critical to the sales process.  But do you have the investigative skills needed to find it?  Read on for tips from sales experts.

Just in case you are not convinced of the power of customer pain, here are several benefits that make the time digging worth it.

  1.  Overcome objections. Before the bulk of the sales process begins, objections become minimized because the customer realizes they have a problem (beyond price) that needs to be solved, and creating that pain gives an urgency to having it fixed. 
  2. Creates relationship wedge.  Their previous sales person hasn’t found the pain, or they wouldn’t be talking with you.  Immediately you get your foot in the door, and begin questioning the relationship they have with their current sales guy.
  3. Establishes credibility.  You know something others don’t.  You become credible.  You have found something others haven’t.
  4. Expert status.  Before your product is shared, and details are talked about, you begin to be viewed as an expert, just because you know where their current product has failed them.

So how do you find a person’s pain?

Questions. 

Sound’s simple, but we love to talk or we wouldn’t be in sales or customer service.  Yet, the best sales and service people I see everyday listen more than they talk.  They ask questions, and let the customer do the work.

It’s not just any question that gets to the heart of a problem.  Three types are needed the most.

1.  Stay Open.  Don’t ask “yes” and “no” questions, or questions with one word responses.  Ask open-ended questions.

“How long have you been with your current agent?  Why are considering leaving?  What kind of experience have you had with your agent?” 

You may have to ask a one word question, but always follow-up with an open ended?

“Have you had any claims experience?”    “How was it?”  “Can your current agent not help? Why not?”

2.   Tell Me About It.  While not technically a question, nothing gets people talking than this one statement.

Agent: “What’s your relationship with your current agent?”  Customer:  “Good”  Agent: “Tell me about it.”

Before they realize it they expressed a frustration or disappointment, and this is where the gold is.

 3.  Dig with the Why.  This may be the best question you can ask.  Nothing fancy is needed.  Just as why?  Why are shopping?  Why is that important?  Why don’t you like…?  Last question should be “anything else?”.   A great book I picked up on this topic is The Power of Why.

 So, you’ve mined the customer’s problems and frustration, what’s next.

  1. Support it.  If you have found problems and frustrations, and convinced you can solve it, support it with examples in your shop, then start your sales process.
  2. Reject it.  Perhaps, you found someone that you know you can’t satisfy.  He is unreasonable, and you can’t make him any happier than his current situation.  It may be time to walk away.  This is hard, but even if you make a sale, the maintenance of this customer may be greater than you can fulfill.

Spend some time alone thinking through these strategies.  Craft out sample questions, bring them to your next sales meeting.  Get all your sales and service people involved.

 

Be Productive,

Theron Mathis

photo credit: drewleavy via photopin cc

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