Why is customer focused selling so important? Take a look at any article on why a business fails. Failure to focus on the customer is always near the top of the list. It’s logical. Without income from sales no company can sustain itself, let alone grow. Great salespeople know focusing on the customer and their wants and needs is the most important skill they have.
What Is Customer Focused Selling?
The name of the skill says it all. Great salespeople practice putting the customer first. They do it by asking good questions and actively listening to what the customer tells them. I know what you are thinking: The salespersons goal is to get a prospect to buy the product or service. True. But to have a successful outcome, the salesperson needs to understand the customer. That’s where customer focused selling comes in.
Know Your Prospect
All decisions to buy are made by a person. The salesperson’s challenge is to understand the need and wants of that person. Great salespeople practice getting to know the customer. What their pain points are. The effect the pain is having on them professionally and personally. How dedicated they are to relieve the pain. Salespeople do that by focusing on the customer not the product or service. The time to bring your product or service into the discussion is when you present the solution to the problem.
Great salespeople understand what drives a customer’s buying decision. They know the depth and implications for solving the problem. With customer focused selling great salespeople win the order.
Customer Focused Selling Works!
Once upon a time I sold safety products for a large national distribution company. We had a small amount of business with a major railroad in my territory. The railroad hired a new purchasing manager. To make his mark, he sent a letter asking for a 5% reduction in the price of the products we sold them. When I asked my national accounts manager what to do he said: “Respond but ask them why they only want to save 5%”. The buyer took the bait. We arranged for a meeting which included the railroad’s safety manager. During the meeting we asked the safety manager what his most pressing safety issue was and how much the railroad would save when it was eliminated. He said: “Accidents at night when the train engineer didn’t see the yard workers costs the company dearly in lost time, workers compensation, decreased productivity.” We proposed specially designed clothing making the workers highly visible at night. The railroad saved money by reducing accidents. My territory substantially increased sales to the railroad. It was a win-win outcome.
With customer focused selling we found the major pain point. Only afterwards did we present the solution and win the business. Knowing how much the customer’s business benefited by reducing accidents eclipsed the 5% reduction in purchase price of safety products. Customer focused selling won the business!
What You Can Do Right Now For Customer Focused Selling
- Improve your asking and listening skills
- Always ask questions to understand the customer
- Never discuss your product or service until you know how it will solve the pain
To learn more sales secrets see Chapter Seven, Understanding Buyer Behavior, in Secrets of the Softer Side of Selling. For even more sales encouragement, join our FREE Sales Club! “See” you next week.