Zig Ziglar famously quoted, “Stop Selling. Start Helping.” While this may seem like a counterintuitive practice for any sales-based company, he does make a pretty good point.
When acting as a salesperson, you have a couple main objectives in mind, which can include job expectations such as sales quotas, commission targets, and other personal goals. The salesperson pays little attention to the individual needs of the customer, not out of negligence, but out of a misplaced center of focus. To the person selling, the end game is generally numbers-based, with focus on the value and quantity of the sale. To the person helping, the end game is more focused on the satisfaction of the customer, which will ultimately lead to the success and prosperity of the business.
This mentality can jeopardize the customer-to-company relationship and result in a robotic, unpersonalized experience. While some customers may seem to prefer the service and expectations of a big-box store, business owners and entrepreneurs know that customer service and experience plays a dominant role in the future success and expansion of your company. The following tips and tricks can help enhance both your customer experience and your company’s growth.
Why has “selling” become a negative word?
There is a definite negative connotation hanging around the word “sell” or “selling”. Where has this negativity come from, born out of a sales-based world? One of the first examples of a salesperson appearing in a less-than-savory manner was the used car salesman, known to be stereotypically sleazy, pushy, and prone to the ‘occasional’ over-exaggeration of quality. His job was to line his pockets as quickly as possible by selling a sub-par product under the impression of a great deal. The public has gotten smarter in recent years, however, and not all salespeople are as single minded as the aforementioned example. So why is a sale still seen as such a bad thing?
Where is the Focus?
When engaging in a sales transaction, the two parties involved will generally both benefit from the sale, although this benefit will present itself in wildly different ways. From the perspective of the seller, the salesperson may receive commission or dollars towards a sales quota at the completion of the sale. The company is profiting from the sale itself and has also gained the opportunity for a free marketing experience, as word of mouth and positive feedback is an invaluable resource for a company.
From the perspective of the consumer, they have either specifically sought out this product, or happened upon it and decided to purchase it for themselves or a loved one. Either way, they will benefit from the product itself rather than the transaction. They hope to feel heard and important by the salesperson when making their selection, as if they are not A customer, but THE customer.
The focus of the sale should be centered about what the customer wants and how they can achieve maximum benefit, rather than focusing on the needs of the business and salesperson. Building this relationship with each customer helps to create lasting bonds between your company and your consumers, leading to returning customers and positive feedback. You win when your customers win.
How can I help my customers Win?
It is important to remember that without customers, there is no business. Companies are reliant on new and returning patronage in order to be successful, therefore the needs of the customer should always be first priority. The foundation of a healthy customer base begins with earning the trust and respect of prospective consumers.
Something old with something new
We aren’t trying to say that traditional management tactics such as sales quotas and commissions aren’t effective practices; these tactics encourage selling and growth within the sales staff by incentivizing each sale and interaction. In order to provide the best experience while also reaping benefit for the company, these practices must be successfully melded with the understanding that the needs and experience of the customer are top priority.
Design your sales staff training programs with your customers in mind; they are individual human beings, not just another credit card. Proper training and comprehension of these ideals will improve the overall experience of both the salesperson and the customer. They should know to ask questions to determine which product or service will best fit their needs and make recommendations as such. Their ability to successfully guide your customers through the process personally helps to establish a positive, helpful relationship with the consumer that will lead to a successful purchase and repeat visit.
Providing a personal touch during a sales experience should not interfere with the required aspect of a sales job. The process should not be significantly more time-consuming; you’re selling a product, not befriending the customer. Your customers win when their needs are met, their questions are answered, and they feel fully satisfied with the experience and with the product.
How can my customer’s experience affect me?
It is incredibly easy for salespeople to find themselves caught up in the moment of the sale, ensuring all questions are answered and all requests have been satisfied. Once the customer has finished the transaction, they are promptly forgotten or de-escalated in lieu of a new prospective sale. Oftentimes, one of the most important aspects of sales to a company is overlooked or ignored completely – Peer to Peer Marketing.
Marketing in a modern age
Peer to Peer Marketing, also known as P2P, is a marketing strategy that takes advantage of interpersonal communication, which is a basic human instinct. It doesn’t matter if you have the best, most expensive web development team or the most efficient, prosperous business model. Word of mouth plays an incredibly influential role in the success and growth of any business.
When the customer visits a store, whether brick-and-mortar or online, their experience begins from the moment they enter that front door or home page. That experience will not end until the customer either leaves empty-handed or receives and uses their product for the first time. If the customer is satisfied with the product and/or service, he or she may be inclined to voice his or her satisfaction via word of mouth or an online review. This positive feedback is invaluable to any company as it cannot be purchased or fabricated; you simply have to have a quality product and a successful sales approach.
On the other hand, if a highly-recommended product or company proves less than adequate, an entirely positive experience can take a dreadful turn. Studies have shown that after just one negative experience, consumers are likely to at least reach out to a competitor, if not switch companies altogether. People are also much more likely to talk to friends and family about a negative experience than a positive one. This is because as a general rule, shouldn’t all sales experiences be mostly positive?