1 - Record Everything
When a customer is talking to you about their wants and needs, record everything. No matter how trivial the information might seem, make sure it's written down.
From specific product information right down to the names of their pets, the customer will appreciate your attention to detail.
Imagine a customer walking into your shop on just their second visit and you asking how little Billy's football match went on Sunday.
Sales is all about relationships, and paying attention to everything will help cement that.
2 - Don't Prejudge
With knowledge comes great power.
If we know the customer is having some goods paid for by their parents, it could be assumed that the customer is short of money and the parents are helping them out. You therefore subconsciously find yourself offering the cheaper options.
There could be a million and one reasons why the parents are paying. Don't start to make assumptions based on what you hear.
The customer could be spending more as a result of the arrangement, so don't second guess the situation.
3 - Listen
If, like a Word document, you could do a word count at the end of the conversation with the customer, their words should far outweigh yours.
Too many times I listen to salespeople talking and talking and missing all the signals that the customer has lost interest and their glazed expressions are now showing that they are wondering what they are having for their tea rather than engaging in your product or service.
The biggest complaint from most customers is that they didn't feel like they were being listened to.
Make sure the customer doesn't leave wishing they had said more.
4 - Keep In Touch
Probably the biggest sin of all sales people is the lack of follow up.
We do all the hard work in speaking to the customer, getting their details and selling the product and yourself, and then they go home and never hear off us again.
When you are with the customer, agree the next time you will contact them and then make sure you honour it. The customer will be expecting your call and there is no need for you to be treating it as a cold call, you've told them you are ringing !
5 - The Questions You Need Answered
a - How
How is the customer paying ?
What is their budget ?
Do they have the funds ready ?
b - When
When does the customer need your product or service ?
Are they aware of your lead times ?
c - Why
Why is the customer shopping for a new product or service ?
What are their "needs" and their "wants."
d - Where
Where else is the customer going to compare prices ?
Do you know your competition ?
e - What
What happens next ?
Have you agreed the next steps with the customer ?
Have you put the follow up call in the diary ?