It’s easy to find platitudes like “the customer’s always right” and “the client comes first.” But actually putting this advice into action can be challenging.
This is true whether you’re a salesperson or you’re overseeing a team of sales representatives. Either way, it’s important that you invest the time in figuring out how to truly put the emphasis on the customer.
Here are some tips and suggestions to help you create a customer-centric selling strategy.
1. Start with the Numbers
Any good customer-centric sales process should be built on an analytical foundation. This helps you avoid wasting valuable time trying different things that don’t work. Successful sales analytics breaks down existing information in order to find out, among other things, valuable customer insights. These can then be used to target and inform a customer-centric sales strategy.
For example, analyzing past customer behavior and data can help you understand several things. It can reveal customer problems and concerns. It can also help you understand common preferences. This can enable you to segment and personalize your sales process.
In addition, things like email tracking can provide tremendous insight into customer behavior. You can see who is opening your email, how much content they’re reading, what links they click on, and so on.
Collecting customer feedback is another excellent way to implement analytics. You can request feedback regarding products and services, the sales experience, your website, shipping, and even customer support. As you gain information, you can use this to help target your sales strategy towards the customer.
On top of that, it’s wise to implement a customer relationship management (CRM) tool. This can gather and organize all of the known information about existing customers. Quality CRM software can also offer other tools, such as marketing automation, personalization, and customer support. All of these can further help you focus on putting the customer first.
From analytics software to email tracking, collective feedback, and CRM software, there are many ways to use information in the sales process. If you want to put the customer first, a solid sales analytics foundation should be in place. This gives you a look at past and present customer information to help inform and improve customer-focused interaction in the future.
2. Foster the Right Soft Skills
All salespeople need soft skills. Interpersonal interactions and the transfer of information always require some amount of people skills. However, if you want to put the customer first, you need to ensure that you or your team have the soft skills to do so. There are many soft skills that can smooth this process. Three of the most important include:
- Communication: Two-way communication is key to customer-centric selling. Use tools like active listening to help understand each customers’ pain points. From there, you must avoid the temptation to simply push your own sales solutions. Instead, use the information to help find and fit solutions to their problems.
- Empathy: Putting the customer first requires the ability to understand and empathize with them. Once again, quality listening helps with this. Reflecting information and sentiment back to the customer can demonstrate that you understand them. It can also show that you’re interested and invested in helping them.
- Adaptability: Prioritizing the customer requires a certain degree of flexibility. You must be willing to adapt to whatever situation or circumstances a client may find themselves in. You should also be ready to adjust timelines and other expectations to match your customer’s needs whenever possible.
It doesn’t matter what you’re selling or who you’re selling it to. If you don’t have soft skills like these, it will be challenging to get the job done.
If you’re a team leader, look for job candidates that have these skills. Cultivate them within your existing staff as well. If you’re a salesperson yourself, it falls to you to hone your soft skill set. The better it is, the easier it will be to prioritize your customers.
3. Anticipate Customer Needs
Anticipating your customers’ needs is another great way to center the selling process on the end-user. This can come through the utilization of both of the first two tips.
You can use data and analytics to gain insight into common customer needs. From there, you can use things like communication and adaptability to understand each individual customer’s current issue. You can then direct them toward existing solutions that you have already set up.
One clever way to do this is to create an omnichannel selling experience. The goal is to bring all of the touchpoints where a user interacts with your brand together into one seamless experience. This knits every customer interaction into a single-minded focus on your overall product and brand.
An omnichannel retail strategy is a great way to put the customer first. It resists the classic approach of taking a prospective customer and plunking them at the beginning of a sales pitch. Instead, it adapts to wherever each individual is in the customer journey.
If they’re seeking information about a problem, make sure you can provide it. If they already understand their need, you can offer expertise on the different solutions available. If they’ve decided on which solution they want, you can help them make a purchase.
Omnichannel marketing is a great way to bring a customer-centric focus to your selling strategy.
4. Be Accessible
Analytics, soft skills, and anticipating customer needs are all important. At the end of the day, though, if you want to put the customer first, you have to be available to them. It’s as simple as that.
Accessibility should be a priority for every customer-centric sales strategy. This should start from the first point of contact and continue throughout the sales process. It should also carry past the point of a sale through prompt customer service. By being accessible, you show the customer that you’re ready and willing to do everything you can to solve their problems. From calculated analytics to nuanced soft skills, customer anticipation to steady accessibility, there are many ways to focus your selling on the customer. By utilizing these four tips together, you can create a synergistic selling strategy. Used in concert, all four can help you put your best foot forward every time a customer makes contact with your brand.