Crucially important nowadays is to recognise that our role is to help the customer buy whatever product or service you sell. This is just as important in a business to consumer market than ever before.
Firstly have a good grip on how your particular customer normally buys. For example, with mortgages and protection, it looks something like this:
Our role is to help them along this process without them losing control, and there’s a variety of disciplines you can use. Here’s a couple of my favourites that I use every day when selling.
I use the treadmill at my local gym but only a fast walking pace. Some guys like to run really fast, and I often observe the HIT (High Impact Training) dudes taking a breather and resting on the sides of the treadmill without stopping the machine. Once they’ve had a rest, they start their logs going again in mid-air, then jump back on the treadmill all in a seamless manner. Pretty cool but dangerous.
They’ve hit the road running, so to speak. The trick here is to ask the customer where they are in their buying process as you engage with them, and then help them complete the process. For example, if the customer has already realised their need, why labour this part, instead move onto helping them research the options. Likewise, if it’s protection that you sell, they may not have realised the need for this, so you would want to establish this before you look at options
Everyone has varying decision strategies, and I like to ask the customer what theirs is. I use the question “How do you lie to decide?” Listen carefully, and they’ll tell you.
- They may be options people who like to consider a number of choices before making a decision.
- They may be detail, small chunk people who require lots of information or they may be big picture, large chunk folk who want to trust you and be guided sparing on the detail.
- They may be process people who like to be guided along a process, ask what this is and map it.
- Feeling – they may want to feel good about the decision, or they may be logical people, who need a list of pro’s and cons before they can decide.
- They may want other people’s support; this is particularly commonplace in business to business selling.
Personalise their Buying
The steps above are only typical customer buying stages. I like to use the phrase “When you buy X, what steps do you take?”. So for example “When you secured your mortgage on your first house, what steps did you take to buy it?” Listen carefully, and they’ll paint their own buying process for you. Use this and help them buy.
There are plenty more ideas to help personalise the buying experience for your customers. Remember that’s not our job. We used to be salespeople – we’re now buying facilitators – but that term won’t catch on, too wordy.