Thursday, January 27, 2011

What Do Customers Really Want?

Recently I came across answers to what customers really want, in a book entitled "Sales Secrets from Your Customers" by Barry J. Farber.  Farber lists 25 points that customers made during interviews on how sales people should sell to them.  Given my own over 20 years of business development experience in B2B setting, I thought it was an excellent list.  Much of what he shares I can back up with my own sales success.  Therefore I wanted to share this list with you all.  If you're in sales, I think you'll find it very useful.

But first, a special note for my fellow introverts who find themselves in sales.  As I once used to, in this extroverted dominated field, many introverts often feel they are not cut out for selling, doubting their own sales abilities. 

Speaking from personal experience, however, when it comes to complex solution selling, where success is a function of long-term relationship building, I firmly believe that introverts truly rock.  With this in mind, as you read this list, you'll note that many of the items listed actually play to your introverted strengths.  So my introverted friends, never never undermine yourself as a sales person. Tap into your special abilities, apply this list in how you serve your clients, and success is yours to be had.  Now read on.
  1. Don't sell me products-sell me solutions.
  2. Understand my business, my industry, my market.
  3. Understand your products or services thoroughly so that you know every conceivable way it might help me solve my problems or meet my goals.
  4. Know everything about your competition.  I have to make decisions about which product is best, and I need to know what makes your the best choice for me.
  5. Watch what you say about the competition.  I want to know why your product is the best choice, but I don't want you to knock the competition.  Concentrate on your strengths, not their weaknesses.
  6. Don't give me a canned, generic pitch.  Appreciate my unique qualities and challenges.
  7. Have my best interest at heart.
  8. Make me feel important.  Make me believe I'm the only customer you have--even though I know it's not true.
  9. Have a purpose for every call.
  10. Organize your materials so that when I ask to see information, you have it easily accessible.
  11. Return my calls promptly. I expect that you'll be as available to talk to me now as you were before the sale was completed.
  12. Let me know how to reach you. If I can't find you, I'll go with someone else.
  13. Help me solve a problem, even if it's my fault, and I'll most likely remain a loyal customer.
  14. I'm looking for a sales rep I can consider a partner-almost an employee.  When you help me find solutions to run my business better, it's easier for me to see you in that light.
  15. Keep your promises.  If you say you'll get back to me, do it.
  16. Anyone can make a one-time sale. It's the follow-through that keeps me coming back for more.
  17. If you don't have an immediate answer, don't try to fake it or make one up.  I'd rather you say, "I don't know, but I'll find out."  Of course, once you say that, you must get back to me with the answer as soon as possible.
  18. Let me know that you're interested in my success. If that means that you sometimes recommend the competition or tell me I'm better off with the product or service I now have, I'll respect you greatly and find a way to do business with you in the future.
  19. Be my consultant.  Show me how others in my field have been successful.  Become a resource for me so that I can call on you when I'm in a bind and need advice-even if it's got nothing to do with your product or service.
  20. Create added value.  Price is not my only criterion.  The extra service and special attention you give me is worth more than dollars in many instances.
  21. Exceed my expectations.  Let me know that you are willing to go beyond the norm, to make that extra effort it takes to ensure success-mine and yours.
  22. Don't keep me waiting.  If you're going to be late, call me.
  23. Exhibit a positive attitude and enthusiasm about your job and your product. If you don't believe in yourself, I won't believe in you either.
  24. Don't argue with me or be too aggressive. If I feel like I'm being pushed into a sale, I know you're interested in your commissions, not your customers.
  25. Be honest with me in all situations. If there are problems, let me know so that together we can begin to think of solutions.

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