In the movie “The Wolf of Wall Street,” the main character is asked to sell a pen; most people immediately start thinking about selling techniques and words they can use to sell the pen. However, that is not the first question not even the second you should be asking. Instead, it all starts with who your customer is. To determine the intent of the pen, you have to understand the direction of the customer. What is the customer's main concern?
There are thousands of questions about how to sell and even more if you want to form a partnership with your customer. Here are 6 tips for how to become the partner your customer is looking for and increase the value you offer them.
- Understand the Direction of the Customer
- Recognize Customer Pain Points
- Reduce the Noise
- Focus on Service: Deliver What is Committed
- Invest in the Future and Innovation
- Retain and Start Over
The world is changing and it’s changing fast, but in which direction are we heading? The answer is unclear for many people. Understanding the direction of your customer can help you create a strategy that is aligned with your client's goals. For example, let's assume the customer does not solely want his pen to have writing capabilities but instead wants to also be able to use it with his tablet. To satisfy this customer, you need to make sure your pen has both features (the actual pen and the soft end for the touchscreen).2. Recognize Customer Pain Points
Now that you know the direction of the customer and goals, what are the pain points? You could be using the wrong selling approach because you were unable to answer this question. Perhaps the customer wants a new pen for the tablet because the old one was too fragile and made of wood; they now want a durable one made with aluminum. Using that small piece of information, you can save time by getting the right product in front of him instead of trying to sell something the customer is not interested in buying.3. Reduce the Noise
How many times have you been involved in a situation in which you talk about “A” and your customer about “C” and he keeps coming back to “C” every time?
Reducing the noise means to first give the customer what they need. Eliminate their previous mindset so they can be 100% open to hear what you have to say. For example, to this customer the pain point is the pen but you sell tablet covers, so he won’t listen to you because he is thinking about the pen; give the pen to the customer and then they are more likely to listen to your other selling points on the tablet cover.4. Focus on Service: Deliver What is Committed
In today’s world we must strive to have a perfect service for everything we offer. A cup of coffee is not new in the world but Starbucks added the service and experience allowing them to up charge the cost. A taxi service is not new but Uber sells the service and experience.
When working with your customer, make sure you deliver what you committed (otherwise this will be a noise point) and then move to the next step; more business, increase sales, innovation in service (Starbucks at hotels and airlines, Uber eats and Uber freight). Going back to the pen example, first sell the pen then focus on the tablet cover. After you provide the product or service you can innovate with a new version of the pen; lighter and shinier. But continue to innovate and move forward. If you don't others will.5. Invest in the Future and Innovation
3M has a policy that allows the employees to use 20% of their weekly time in “thinking and innovating,” the result is more than 100,000 patents.
I remember my first mobile phone weighed around 4 kg, current mobile phones are less than 200 grams, in addition to providing thousands of apps. Innovation and constant investment will allow us to grow and keep that gap between us and our competitors.6. Retain and Start Over
Now that you have your customer engaged with 1 pen (shiny and light) and 1 tablet cover (quite fancy), you have a happy customer. Maintain that condition and start over.
This is a cycle, so never take anything for granted. Continuous presence and attention makes the difference between growing companies and failing ones.
Understand what else the customer wants and needs. What is that secret project your customer is working on? Give more attention to what the customer says; they are telling you the answer to the questions you haven’t ask yet.