To be successful in today’s market you must “Think Like Your Customer”. And that requires some work.
No … it requires lots of work. And all too often, it’s easier to do just the opposite … “Think Like a Sales Person”. Thinking like your customer means plotting a chart that will capture their agenda at each step of their shopping process and matching it against your selling process. Jan Carlzon, author of Moments of Truth, did the same thing years ago while he was at SAS Airlines. Simplistically, he looked at each point in his “sales” process where employees might come in contact with their customer. Next, he polled customers in order to understand what they expected at each predetermined touch point. From there it was easy for him to develop an “easy to execute” satisfaction (contact) plan.
Think what might happen if you could match your departmental processes to your customer’s expectations at those points in their home buying process. And on top of that … think how different you would be compared to all of your competitors. Thinking Like a Customer To start “thinking like your customer” you need to begin by asking yourself the following question, “What are my customer contact points?” In other words, what are the major points that you come in contact with your customer. I’ve provided an easy way for you to think about it with some examples. Your “contact point” list can be shorter or longer … it’s up to you. Let’s use the sales process as an example.
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Next, and be honest with yourself, decide what your customer wants to accomplish at each of these contact points. In other words, what is their agenda? Let’s use your customer’s arrival at your sales office as an example for some the questions you might ask yourself.
• What’s my customer’s overall agenda for their visit?
• How do they want to feel when they first arrive?
• Do they want me to begin with a business or non-business agenda?
• What do they want while spending time with me in my sales office?
• What do they want from me as far as my sales process?
• What would make them want to talk to me?
• What would make them want to listen to me?
• What do they expect during their entire visit?
• And the list goes on …
I know it’ll be easy to justify that your customer desires all of the things that you already do, but are you being honest with yourself? Take rapport for instance. I know rapport is important to you, but ask yourself, “Is rapport important to my customer when they first arrive”. If you think through it, you have to say, “No”. Customers don’t want to build rapport with you when they first arrive because they don’t even know if they like what you have … and that makes it a waste of their time. This means that you have to think “out of the box” and decide what they do want. The answer is Comfort.
Customers will only “take” what they need at each point in their shopping process. And in terms of the steps leading to a relationship … they look something like this:
This is called a relationship model. And as customers progress deeper and deeper in their shopping process, they’ll actually want to progress deeper and deeper in this model. Want proof? What’s your customer’s agenda for their first visit? Is it to see if they want to buy a home from you? The answer is no. They’re trying to decide if they want to include you in their “Keep” pile. In other words, if you are going to be one of the two to three “finalists” for more comparison as their decision process moves forward.
And that means one thing:
Your customer doesn’t need Rapport … Trust … or a Relationship to decide if you should be one of their two or three finalists. All they need and want is to feel comfortable. It’s this kind of “out of the box” thinking that will allow you to revamp your sales process and make it a “give and take” proposition for both you and your customer? Remember, this doesn’t mean that you have to give up your sales strategies. On the contrary. “Thinking like your customer” means adjusting your sales process to match your customer’s agenda. You’re after the same results … but in a faster and much easier manner.
Remember, with today’s market and today’s customer it’s important for you to look for every advantage you can get. As always … the choice is yours. Good selling.