Before you sell anything to someone, you must first understand their needs. Here are some ways to do this:
Do your homework
Before meeting the client, do some research to find as much information as possible about his business? Read appropriate journals, find articles about their product or industry journals in the library, read the Wall Street Journal. Find out who are the competitors of your client the changes affecting their business and what its main concerns are. Remember that you will get the information and insights about the most important commercial concerns of your customer by contacting him directly.
Open your mind, not your sample case
Do not attend a meeting of customers with a preconceived idea of what you are going to sell and how you sell it. You will sell more in the long run by finding what aspects of the transaction that matter most to your customer. For example, even if you and your competitors selling the same widget at the same price, your customer can pay more attention to payment terms, another may be concerned about the reliability of shipments while another will care only guarantees product. If you enter and open your widget case before they have found this information, you will have missed an opportunity to differentiate yourself from your competitors.
When you make a sales call, your goal is to gather as much information as you communicate. This means that you must ask questions and keep quiet while your client has responded. Do not start to offer objections before your prospect has finished speaking. Plus your customers talk, the better you will understand what is important to them. Once you understand this you can ensure that your presentation addresses their concerns – and then get their business.
Ask questions that lead to a dialogue
Avoid asking closed questions that will lead to answers “yes” or “no”. Such questions usually begin with words such as “Do,” “Do not you think,” “Have you”. Instead, try to ask questions that begin with “what” “when” “where” “how” “tell me” and “why” because they almost force the person to develop. You will get answers that are used to start conversations. For example, “Do you have any problems with vendors?” will not bring you as much as “Tell me about the improvements you expect from your vendors.” Your goal is to encourage the prospective client to talk about their problems and concerns so you can determine how your company can solve.
Attention to issues that will end the discussion
Instead, ask questions that solicit key information. If you ask a client “Can I offer you a proposal on this project?” You will receive a reply with “yes” or “no” and that’s it. But if you start the process by saying “Tell me the criteria you are looking for in a proposal …” you will get important information rather than complete the discussion.
Survey your customers and potential customers
Use written questionnaires or telephone surveys to obtain more information about your customers and potential customers. Solicit feedback from current customers about their level of satisfaction with your product or service. Or you could develop a survey that will inform the business needs of your potential customers. When a customer or potential customer takes the time to answer a questionnaire, you not only have been answered. The mere fact that he made little effort shows you their level of interest in your product or service. You now have a potential client that you can follow.