Hosting a guest on the blog. The sales process need not feel ‘icky’, here are some tips to think differently about how you ‘sell’ in your business. Stop pushing and start communicating…
“Failure to communicate” is the most cited reason people give for their problems, especially in times when nothing seems to be going right.
If we would only sit down and communicate better, all our problems would disappear.
But communication is not only about talking, just like there is more to sales than just selling.
In fact, sales and communication are alike.
It is not enough to just talk to get your message across, and it is not enough to merely sell to get your product to the customer.
You need a deeper understanding of your target audience and their needs if you want to succeed.
Business-centric thinking is old news. It’s time to switch to a customer-centric approach. But where to start?
Practicing Empathy to Improve Performance
If you want to provide a solution that will make both parties in the process happy, it is vital to understand the customer’s problem.
You can’t do that without empathy.
Empathy is key to a successful sales performance as it goes hand-in-hand with trust, successful communication, and problem-solving.
Prospects and customers are above all human beings and should be treated as such.
That’s why the best kind of selling feels like helping — when salespeople apply empathy to their approach, prospects notice.
An empathetic attitude will make your customers open up to you, not only because they trust you more, but because you give them the space to speak and ask the right questions.
With a clear understanding of the problem, it is much easier to come up with the right solution.
Here are a few ways you can practice empathy in sales.
Start With Your Team
Effective communication within a company is the prerequisite for its success.
In order to improve the sales performance, it is crucial to transform the mindset of your team.
Teach them to slow down, listen actively and speak less. Most importantly, show them how to put themselves in their customers’ shoes.
Practicing empathy among your own employees so they understand its benefits is fundamental.
When they experience an empathy-based approach in their own workplace, they’ll be able to implement it in their relationships with their customers.
Put Your Customer First
Make your customer feel understood first and foremost. Instead of focusing on being interesting to them, be interested in them.
Focus on your prospects’ needs rather than their possible wants and make sure that what they need is something you can deliver.
Empathy fuels connection. Allow your prospect to explain their frustrations and listen carefully before you offer a solution.
The more you learn about a client, the better you will be able to tailor your offer to their specific needs.
Consider Things From Their Perspective
You have to be able to put yourself in your customer’s shoes, while temporarily setting your own needs to the side.
Unfortunately, many small businesses fail to devote enough time to getting to know their customers.
They’re so busy setting up the business that they get distracted from what really matters.
The customers will ask many questions about your product or service, but they’ll likely care less about what it has than about how it can help them.
Being able to look at things from your customers’ perspective will prepare you for the sales process and put you ahead of the competition.
Seek to Understand
A good salesperson will be fully involved and pay attention to the customer’s needs and objections until they can find an opportunity for themselves.
For that, they’ll need to ask the right questions.
Asking questions is not only a way to show interest and make your prospect feel heard.
It’s a way for you to learn more about their requirements, find ways to personalize your approach, and successfully overcome objections.
Always start with an open-ended question to identify the prospect’s problems and aspirations, as well as find out about their buying process.
For instance: “Our clients would often tell us they failed to close opportunities even though the groundwork was done. Is that something your team is struggling with?”
Then, use closed questions to confirm that you and the prospect are on the same page.
Ask questions like: “Do you think your team underperforms during negotiations for lack of information about your product?”
However, closed questions can sometimes signal the end of a conversation.
So, make sure you ask several in succession, or follow up with another clarifying question (such as: “Does our solution make sense to you? What are your thoughts?”), both to avoid making that impression and get further insight.
Not asking questions is one of the biggest mistakes in sales, but as with everything, you need to be customer-focused to be effective.
Stop Pushing, Start Communicating
We’ve all been there. Someone has tried to aggressively sell us something at least once in our life.
We all know how that feels — and that’s reason enough to avoid making the same mistake.
It’s a waste of time for both parties if what you’re trying to sell doesn’t hold any value for the prospect.
In the popular imagination, sales is often perceived as the process of tricking the customers into purchasing at any cost.
However, all salespeople worth their salt know such an approach is as ineffective as it is harmful.
Don’t push prospects into buying something they don’t need and risk making your company look bad.
Instead, focus your time and energy on qualifying prospects and finding those who would really benefit from your product.
That way, even those opportunities that fail to end in a sale will be to your benefit, as the prospects will be impressed with how professional you are.
As a result, you will likely be top-of-mind when the need arises for your solution.
Empathizing with the prospects and communicating more is going to boost your sales performance and give you more insights into what truly matters.
Empathy is a truly powerful tool that can put your sales team at an advantage you never thought was possible.
It is not a skill your team can develop overnight, but starting is the first step towards establishing meaningful connections with your customers.
Other aspects of your business are important, but they would be nothing without those who need your product.
So next time you find yourself selling something, make sure you remember that you’re value-selling and adopt a “customer-first” mindset.
Let the buyer anticipate enjoying the benefits of your product or service and watch the magic happen.
Michelle Laurey works as a VA for small businesses. She loves talking business, and productivity, and share her experience with others. Outside her keyboard, she spends time with her Kindle library or binge-watching Billions. Her superpower? Vinyasa flow! Talk to her on Twitter @michelle_laurey.