MD of Virada Training Debbie Barrow says understand what the client is and isn’t saying
The changing customer landscape throws up some challenges.
Customers today have more access to information, greater choice, higher expectations and more confidence to challenge the price. They often have more pressure, less time and want to be in control of the process.
Adding to that, the growing amount of multi-cultural buyers who require a different approach.
So there are a number of challenges, even for seasoned sales experts.
Research by Virada Training shows one of the skills needed to sell to today’s customers is the ability to manage the interaction; to be in control in a way that makes the customer FEEL in control. That’s quite an art. But for most customers, this feeling of control can be achieved by ‘conscious’ selling.
‘Conscious’ selling is about having a heightened awareness of what the customer is saying, how they’re saying it and what they’re NOT saying.
It’s also about understanding which of the eight stages of the ‘buying decision’ process they’re at and where any influencers or decision makers are at.
It includes the use of ‘rising awareness’ questioning.
Asking the customer: What drew you to contacting us? achieves many things.
The answer reinforces their positive decision to contact your company and it raises awareness of the key drivers; useful for both you and the customer.
Other good questions are: What’s important to you in the choice of kitchen design company? In the absence of all decision makers, key questions are: Is anyone else helping with the decision? and what would be important to him (if it’s the husband)?
There is also ‘multi-level’ questioning.
For example: What do you think about this one?
Customer might say: I like it.
Probe further. What is it you like about it the most?
If they say: ‘It’s unique‘, you can ask: ‘Is unique important to you?’
So there are three levels of questions aimed at helping to externalise the decision process.
‘Conscious selling’ is more than just questions, but the approach is always subtle, which is perfect for today’s independent customers, yet it’s powerful and takes sales to a higher level.
This article first appeared in Kitchens & Bathrooms News October 2014 issue