Monday, August 8, 2011

Learn Your Customers


How much time did you spend last week selling your customers? And how much time did you spend last week learning your customers? Oftentimes, we get into a mode where we are pushing our agenda but not taking the time to understand our customers' needs or understand them as people.

Successful salespeople take a genuine interest in their customers and actually care about them, not just to increase their commission but also for their customers' best interest. The more a salesperson knows about a customer, the better they are equipped to help the customer accomplish what they want to achieve. You need a human connection with your customers -- not just a business transaction connection. It's best to care about your customers as if they were members of your family.

Not learning your customers is not an option. If a sales rep is not learning their customer, they are too focused on the tasks/duties of their job or too focused on their own outcomes. Sales reps must have social acumen in addition to business acumen.

People stay with people, not companies. Customers frequently remain loyal to the person servicing them. Your ability to keep customers is far more dependent on the relationships you develop with your customers than your company itself.

How To Learn Your Customers
1. Step #1 is to actually care about them. You can't fake this.
2. Identify what you want to learn about them.
3. Put yourself into situations where you can learn your customers.
4. Gather information. Ask questions to gain a better understanding of what's really important in their life (business and personal), what they're struggling with, and how they're engaged in that struggle.

Besides getting to know your customers personally, you should have data to answer these questions:
* Why do they stay with you as a customer?
* Why would they leave?
* What one thing could you be doing better for them?

The Erie Sales Club is a joint effort of three leading local businesses: Jameson Publishing, Marsha Marsh Real Estate Services, and VertMarkets.

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