Know Clients

Customers expect you to be knowledgeable in several areas. They expect you to know your own product and your company. They also expect you to know something about them and their company. It is also helpful to know about your competition. By doing some simple research before the sales call, you can determine the customer’s values, needs, and possibly have an analysis of the needs before you arrive. Being knowledgeable with the customer and their environment is a trait that every sales person needs to possess.

Research

Customer satisfaction many times is reflected in the research performed by the sales person. Finding out your customer’s opinions is beneficial. Conducting primary research, by collecting data from the customer themselves is usually cheap and quick. This can be as simple as asking them their ideas, their observations, and opinions.  Observation of the customer themselves, is also important. If you watch how they handle your product and you can discover what is important in the product, what is the customer looking for, and in turn better take care of their needs.

Customer Values

What is customer value? Is it the value that the customer adds to the company? No, it is just the opposite. A customer benefits from the product, but at a cost, the price paid for the product/service. Customer value can be simply defined as the traits that a customer requires from their purchases, for the money they spend. 

What are some of the things that customers value? Much research has gone into trying to pin down exactly what customer’s value. And generally speaking, here are the top five:

  • Ease of doing business
  • Quality of the product/service
  • Reliability of product and provider
  • Customer service
  • The overall value for the amount of money spent.

Customer Needs

In this age of technology, you almost need to know what your customer needs, almost before they do. The only way to accomplish this, or attempt to, is to understand your customer. Immerse yourself in their world, and understand all aspects of your product in their world. Consider the shipping, the payment, the product’s function. You also should fully understand all of the disadvantages to your product’s use, and also the choices that may lie with your competition. 

Another way to determine the needs of the customer is to simply ask them. Ask their employees if possible. See what their ideas or suggestions are for the product. This will better help you in presenting your customer with solutions and build rapport with the client.

Anticipate Needs

Up until now, you have completed the research, and you understand your customer’s values. You understand their challenges. What can you do to make your service above average? Foresee the future. Now, none of us have a crystal ball, but we can foresee challenges that may be in the customer’s future, and help the client overcome these challenges.

How do you do this? You take a little extra time to make sales calls “just in the nick of time”. For example, if a customer has a big event coming up, and is going to need extra paper supplies, make contact with that customer before they call you. Call on your seasonal clients, before the season starts. This not only beats the competition to the customer, but it will also show the customer that you take interest in them and their world.

Case Study

Tammy decided to find a mentor to help her with the new sales career that she started. Jenna was happy to help and first told Tammy that they needed to review how Tammy viewed her customers. Jenna asked Tammy how much research she had put into her customers. She told Tammy that she needed to research the client and understand their company to understand their needs.

Tammy asked what in specific she needed to concentrate on, while researching the clients. Jenna said to look to find the client’s values and what they hold important. Jenna also suggested defining the customer’s needs so that Tammy could anticipate those needs. A simple survey or face to face questions could lead to Tammy being able to foresee sales opportunities with her clients. Tammy was extremely thankful for all of the good information, and plans on continuing her mentoring with Jenna.