Are You Listening or Selling?
I was listening to a webinar that was presented by Bidclips. They were interviewing Tom Reber who was talking about a book he is releasing called “Wining the Contractor Fight.” During the interview, Tom talked about listening to the customer. In the many years I have spent training salespeople, one of the hardest things to get them to do is listen to their customers–to give them a chance to tell you how to sell them–before you launch into your sales presentation.
I believe customers will always tell you the key to selling them if you give them a chance. If you are talking to homeowners about a shower installation, provide them with a chance to list what is important to them. Are they looking for a company that can help them with the design? Is how fast you can get the job done important, or do they have a design in mind and need you to confirm their ideas are sound and something you can do.
If you’re dealing with general contractors, what is more important to them: price, lead time or are they looking for a professional that can offer solutions, or value engineering to help them bring in a project on time and within budget. Many customers want you to offer several solutions to choose from, while others want you to tell them as the expert how they should proceed.
One of the hardest challenges for salespeople is helping customers break old habits. If they have been buying from a supplier for years, how do you get them to pay attention to you? First, you need to find out what they like most about the companies with which they do business. Listen to what they have to say and let them know how your company can fit in. Habits do not change overnight, and you may need to look for your opportunities to be their secondary supplier to start. Listening to what they like about their current supplier will often tell you what you need to do to start getting some of their business.
Whatever the sales situation is, your customer knows what is important to them, and you will have more success if you listen to what they have to say.
I also wanted to let Paul Bieber know that all the Dodger fans out here on the West Coast are just as depressed as us Red Sox fans. Hopefully, we can make that bet next year. Go Sox.