Starting Today, Think like the Customer

This week’s blog is by John Morey, who brings a real world look at what it takes to be an elite Sales Professional in his informative sales training articles. John goes beyond the training class and offers real life sales advice to help Sales Pros and Sales Managers achieve greater success. Visit John’s blog, The Sales Hangout.

In my opinion, the worst mistake you can make in any sales call is to approach it with a canned script or pre-set list of questions that you are determined to ask no matter what. It’s important to observe and adapt to every sales call that you’re on, read your prospect and the environment around you and then ask RELEVANT questions.

Experienced sales people can ask questions, listen to the answers, assimilate the information they have received and then generate follow up questions on the fly… without breaking a sweat!

Sounds easy huh? Well it’s not, and that is why sales is the hardest high-paying job or the easiest low-paying job you will ever have.

Asking the right sales questions is a complex topic, but here are some things you might want to think about as you prepare for your next sales call:

  • Who are you meeting with and what is their title?
  • Based on their title, what do you think is important to them?
  • Do a Google search on the person you are meeting with and their company.
  • Check out their website – what is their mission statement and focus?
  • What industry is your prospect in and how is it doing in today’s economy?
  • Are they publicly traded? If so, check out their financials (gold mine!)
  • How do they make money?  Who are their customers?
  • Who are your prospect’s competitors and how well are they competing in their space?
  • Reach out to your social network – do you know anyone who has sold to this company?

The bottom line is that you need to gather any and all information that you can on your prospect and their company. Some of it might be of little or no value. BUT you may also land on the one hot button for a successful sales call.

Once you’ve done your homework, start building an image in your mind about what your prospect’s working environment is like. More importantly, put yourself in their “place.” Imagine yourself in their job, on their side of the desk, and start thinking about:

  • What drives this person to make a decision?
  • What benefits will they derive from your product or service?
  • What will buying your product or service do for them personally (i.e. promotion, less work, job security, recognition, money, etc.)?

Beginning today, start thinking like the customer. You will learn more about them, build longer lasting relationships and, most importantly, you will have more successful sales calls!