The market is changing very fast and requires a new approach to sales, service and customer relationships.You must become the trusted advisor to your clients in this volatile, uncertain, complex and ambiguous world.
In the current virtual scenario this can be complicated for several reasons:
- First: why when your customers feel reluctant to buy or overwhelmed by current circumstances, you may find it challenging not to be able to sit down with them personally to try to minimize their concerns;
- Second: if you are below your own sales goals, it can be tempting to push your product or solution more strongly or faster than you normally would;
- Third: It can be tempting to tell your customers that you have a solution to their problems, because you can easily identify their problem points – even if you know you should be listening more than talking.
And what else?
If you are driven by a single result – selling now – you have a lot to lose, including the opportunity to learn more about helping your customers in the long run.
To create customer relationships in a remote environment, you need to adjust your “I know what my client needs” for “I want to learn what my client needs“.
You need to change your habit of talking nonstop to start asking – and then really listening to the answers.
You need to change your approach to trusting what has worked in the past to experience what can work best in the present moment, in this new normal.
Jonah Bergerteacher Wharton Business School, wrote in his book – The catalyst: how to change someone’s mind – that asking questions changes the role of the listener.
He says that instead of counter-arguing or thinking about all the reasons why customers disagree with a statement, they are busy with a different task: finding an answer to the question.
This will help your customers explore how they feel or what opinions they have – something that most people are more than happy to do.
Most importantly, questions increase adherence.
Customers are much more likely to follow their lead than yours. The answer to the question you ask is not just an answer; is their answer.
And because it reflects your own personal thoughts, beliefs and preferences, that response is more likely to lead you to action.
Sell better by talking less and listening more
Here are 21 questions for you to discover your customers’ wants and needs.
- Planning: “What can you still do exactly as you planned?”
- Reflection: “What is hindering your next steps?”
- Frustrations: “What is being more difficult for you now?”
- Exploration: “What options are you considering / have you considered?
- Adaptation: “What can you still accomplish but with a different approach?”
- Novel: “What approach haven’t you tried yet?”
- Affection: “How are you feeling about the current situation?”
- Possibility: “What would be the best possible scenario?”
- Cause and Effect: “What can be the biggest impact if you do X?”
- Perspective: “How will this be in one / three / five years?”
- Allies: “What suggestions / opinions are most important to you?”
- Empowerment: “If it was your decision, what would it be?”
- Options: “What can happen if you do X / don’t do X?”
- Hope: “What do you feel most hopeful about?”
- Appreciation: “What is working well now?”
- Evaluation: “What is the opportunity that you have?”
- Experimentation: “What would you be willing to try?”
- Acceptance: “What just can’t happen now?”
- Prioritization: “What are you putting off / putting aside that you can capture now?”
- Excitement: “What makes you excited about your plans?”
- Support: “How can I be a good partner for you?”
What you can and should offer is your curiosity and care (in the sense of really caring) for your customers.
Here we have a question that is part of our culture: “Hi, how can I help you?”As curiosity, care and search for the solution.
And finally: the answers given by customers, which start to appear more frequently and which help you and your company to close more deals, should be included in the persona.
This needs to fuel new training for the sales team, which feeds back into the process and relationship improvement.
Strong hug and success!