Customers expect to be schmoozed by salespeople. They expect that in the course of this schmoozing, the salesperson will at least pretend to take an interest in them as individuals. They expect to be asked a few questions about their situation and their individual needs.
Then the product presentation begins, perhaps with a demonstration, and guess what? The customer’s individual needs are forgotten as the demonstration turns into a canned sales pitch that addresses all the glories of the product with no regard to which features this person actually might care about.
That’s like throwing darts in the dark, hoping something will hit the target.
Schmoozer vs. Partner
If you really want to distinguish yourself and build customer loyalty, here’s how: Conduct sales calls in which the focus on understanding customer needs never goes away.
In Action Selling terms, the product presentation occurs in Act 6. But a demonstration also should be a spot where you continue to Ask the Best Questions (Act 3). Demonstrating a product or walking a customer through your process gives you a wonderful opportunity to drill down on specific needs and concerns. How might the customer use this or that feature in his operation? Why would one of your capabilities be more helpful than another?
Here’s a chance to understand your customer’s world even more clearly and specifically. So why on earth would you stop asking questions and clarifying needs while you demonstrate a product?
Our sales book “Masters of Loyalty,” describes ways to gain your customers’ loyalty and trust by behaving like a business partner instead of an ordinary vendor. How would you feel about a “partner” whose concern for your actual needs suddenly evaporated while he gave you a canned product demonstration?
If your focus on the customer’s needs comes and goes, you’re just another vendor, and the customer knows it. A partner is committed to the customer’s success. And that focus doesn’t waver.
Action Selling In Action
Farm-equipment manufacturer AGCO Corp. has trained its salespeople in Action Selling. So has HJV Equipment of Ontario, Canada, a distributor for AGCO and other brands. One Action Selling professional can always spot another, as AGCO’s regional manager Arnie Sinclair discovered when he rode along on a sales call with an HJV rep named Randall.
Sinclair was especially struck by the way Randall demonstrated a crop sprayer to a farmer. Instead of just showing off all of the machine’s features, Sinclair observed, “Randall used the demo to ask great questions (Act 3) about the customer’s needs and then to Agree on Needs (Act 4).
“Randall then sold his company (Act 5) by stressing HJV’s and AGCO’s commitment to service and support. When it was time to Ask for Commitment, the customer basically came out and said that what he was really buying was the salesperson. Randall had sold himself!”
Contact us to find out how to forge unbreakable bonds with your customers.
ABOUT DUANE SPARKS
Duane Sparks is founder and chairman of The Sales Board, the authoritative source of practical and leading-edge information about the art and science of selling. He has created Action Selling sales training products and learning systems that transform sales organizations. Duane is author of these best-selling books: Action Selling, Selling Your Price, Questions (the Answer to Sales), Masters of Loyalty (How to turn your sales force into a loyalty force), and Sales Strategy from the Inside Out (How complex selling really works).
Discover how the best sales training process can make spectacular improvements in sales skills. Action Selling: How to Sell Like a Professional (Even If You Think You are One).