Salespeople seeking ways to improve the sales process may be overlooking a specific strategy. Sellers have the opportunity to learn more about themselves and their offerings by putting themselves in buyers' shoes.
Improve the sale process by thinking like a customer
You may think that you already know how your customer thinks and how they use your solution. But Chris DuPrey, IMPACT, thinks you may still be missing out on the full experience. Why? You really don’t know how they think.
“While it seems like common sense to ‘think like your customer,’ I’m always astounded at how many businesses struggle to do so,” he explains. “And here’s the worst part: They think they understand their customer. But they really don’t.”
Commonly, sellers have outdated ideas or basic assumptions about who should be buying from them.
To really get a clear understanding of customers, and ultimately improve the sales process, DuPrey recommends posing as a customer.
Go through the process
One way to do this is to go through your sales process as if you were a prospect. While you know the process from your point of view, have you experienced it from a buyer perspective?
He recommends starting at the beginning: Visit your website, and explore and scrutinize the experience. Does it flow? Is the information about what you have to offer clear? Was it easy to submit forms for more information or book a call?
Also, keep the technical aspect in mind as well. Take note of slow loading, dead links or areas for improvement.
“Then,” DuPrey advises, “you should role-play a full sales call with members of your sales team. At the very least, watch the recordings for a full sales cycle — both for customers who bought from you and customers who didn’t.”
Writing for Inc., Molly St. Louis also recommends going through your own buyer journey to better understand your buyers.
“In order to revolutionize your customer journey, try approaching your business as one of your customers would,” she writes. “Go through your own sales process as a non-biased party and see what you like / dislike about it. When you start thinking like one of your customers, you start generating better service solutions.”
Listen and learn
Sellers often miss out on opportunities to improve the sales process simply by talking too much. If you want to think like your buyers, you must listen and learn.
“How can you put yourself in your buyer’s shoes if you talk more about how great you are than you do about the problems they’re facing?” DuPrey asks. “The more you listen to your customers (in sales calls, surveys, interviews, etc.), the more you’ll hear them articulate their challenges.”
And when asking questions or soliciting feedback, engage in active listening. This means that you’re listening to understand and learn.
“The best active listeners approach conversations with a sense of wonder and curiosity,” explains Yesware’s Casey O’Connor. There are no ‘right or wrong’ answers when someone is listening to truly understand.”
Active listening typically takes practice; it doesn’t come naturally to everyone. To get started, take a look at these tips.
Put those skills into action anytime you engage with a prospect or current client. You’ll find that you will walk away with a clearer understanding of what they want and need. Then, you can adjust your strategy to better accommodate them, thanks to this deeper level of understanding.
Empathy is the key
Both of these efforts to think like one of your customers require tapping into your empathy. By placing yourself in the buyer’s shoes, you’re considering things from their perspective. This can give you unique insights that you can use to improve the sales process.
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