It may or may not surprise you, but your potential customers have lots on their minds. They are busy. They have deadlines to meet. They have budgets and people to manage. Priorities dictate their working patterns. And, they ideally want an easy life.
As a consequence, customers don’t really care about you or your company. They are unmoved by your products and services. You may have the best solution on the market, and have outstanding customer service and reviews, yet your prospects, and even current clients, are only really interested in one thing; themselves. Their interest is primarily focused on their day job. In other words, on their challenges; their profitability; their projects; their staff issues; and getting their job done.
Responsibilities Get in the Way
We all have daily priorities. Our working hours are taken up with fulfilling the tasks associated with the role we have in the organisation. That’s what is uppermost in our mind. That may include solving problems that your business is uniquely positioned to alleviate. However, sometimes those issues take second or third place to other more pressing challenges. It also may perhaps be the case that, despite the fact that your target decision-maker would ‘like’ to initiate a new project or purchase a particular product, a lack of time, budget or bandwidth prevents them from doing so.
Sales People Don’t Understand Customers
And then you come along, disrupting their flow and interrupting their day. Whether it is during a face-to-face meeting or a Zoom call, quickly and genuinely demonstrating that you understand their challenges, and empathising with their plight is paramount.
Yet, many sales people are at risk of turning off prospective new clients right from the beginning of the conversation. They talk at them, seemingly being only interested in their products and services. They fire a long list of things they do at their prospects. They love the sound of their own voice and spend a woefully inadequate amount of time listening.
Many sales personnel may claim that’s not the case. However, sadly, their actions demonstrate otherwise. If you’ve ever found yourself in a sales meeting endlessly talking’, however enthusiastically, about your products and/or services, this could be you.
Customers are Interested in What Affects Them
Ultimately, it isn’t what you sell that resonates with customers. It’s what your solutions can do for them. Despite this, so many salespeople insist on trying to ram their solutions down customer throats.
From the standpoint of making a telemarketing call, let’s illustrate what we mean.
“Hi, I’m Jonathan. I’m calling from GSA. We’re a telemarketing company. We do outbound calling for a wide range of customers, and we’d love to talk to you about your lead generation and see if you have any projects with which we could help.”
If I received that call, it wouldn’t last very long. What about the customer? What about their problems? This poor introduction to a sales call is uninteresting, only focusing on the seller’s interests not those of the buyer. Yet, I routinely hear this kind of approach when running training courses for clients.
No one Cares What you Know Until they Know you Care
It’s maybe going too far to say that it’s always possible to gain the time from your prospects to chat about what’s going on in their world and what’s ailing them. However, some degree of rapport-building and empathy is essential in every interaction whether you’re on the phone or at a meeting.
Given that, on the telephone, the time you have to make a good first impression is restricted, a better way perhaps of doing that same call might be to lead with something such as:
“Hi, I’m Jonathan from GSA. I don’t know if it’s relevant for you, but we’re doing a lot of work with companies like X, Y, Z, who are struggling to generate qualified sales leads for their business. Have you got a second to talk?”
Naturally, it won’t work every time because some people are just not in the market. Equally, there will be gatekeeper blocks, out of office, no name policies and many other roadblocks to contend with. There’s also a lot more to this. And, you need to be prepared for either a positive or a negative response to the question at the end.
Equally, some might disagree on the precise words and/or approach used. So, it’s far from perfect. However, the point is that you should stop talking about features, in other words, what you do, and start talking about benefits, i.e. what you can do for them. That will help you build rapport and sell more.
Do you Know What Your Customers Care About?
To maximise the impact of the above, you need to be well-informed. What you say needs to have relevance. And, the only way to be relevant is to understand your customers’ world.
Are you aware of what’s going on in their marketplace? Do you know what upcoming changes might affect their business? If you don’t know, go and find out.
Factors could be environmental, political, economic, financial, or even legal. And whilst you don’t need to be an expert in every area, a better understanding will help you engage more with your customers, and show them that you care.