It is your job to know what your customers need. And to do this, you need to listen to both what they are saying and what they are not saying.
Here are a few techniques to becoming a successful listener:
Collect Customer Information
The first step to “reading between the lines” with your customers is to make the lines. Ask them basic information of their wants, needs and where they want to grow. Know who the key contacts are both on an everyday basis and who are the ultimate decision makers.
Here are some questions to ask:
- What do they care about? Turnaround time? Cost? Innovative Technologies?
- What do your customers’ consider their biggest challenge? Does your product or service help with this? If not, is there something more you could be doing?
- What types of R&D do they perform? Lab? Field testing?
- Why does your manufacturing process or solution work well in their business model?
- What end markets do their products work in?
Acknowledge what is Important to Them
Once the basics are out of the way, get down to the nitty gritty. Understand their value system and what they deem beneficial.
Customers may need a cheaper option or they may be ready to invest in something more. Note, price is not always the most important part of a sale. In fact, in the majority of buyer surveys about large B2B transactions, price rarely makes the top five. If your whole pitch resides in monetary terms you may miss out on potential customers because you are failing to provide to them what they need.
Embrace a Sales Team That Listens, Not Just Sells
Your sales team knows your products and services like the back of their hand. Any adventure outside of the office can turn into a lead, so these people are always on their game. But a quality sales person needs to be more than that. They need to listen.
We’ve all had the uncomfortable encounter with a salesperson who immediately pitches their product or service. A few weeks ago, I was price researching a new car to see if it would be worth trading mine in. After only one minute into my online search, I began to receive phone calls. And emails. Every day. I finally responded to an email saying their aggressive follow-up has turned me off from ever buying a car from them. That quickly stopped the conversation.
I was in the awareness phase of the buyer’s journey and the experience took me out of the process completely, not continuing down the funnel.
Listen to what your potential and current customers are saying. Not all potential leads are ready to buy. Some are just researching possibilities. While it might not be the time for the hard sell, you can still nurture the relationship by sharing useful information of value.
Need help nurturing those would-be customers with engaging content? We can help. Let’s chat!