Customer Centered Selling – PART 1

Selling happens to be one of the most betrayed professions. Simply because people think sellers as the one who speaks deceptively and manipulates price. But, the truth is selling is an ART. More important truth is that there is no occupation that does not require selling skills.

Today people think that they could become efficient sellers by using some computer or technology. But if you would look closely into best sellers you would find that ‘ People sold – and they sold because based on who they were not how computer literate they were’. The point is that one cannot become a best seller just by depending on computer or technology. But by depending on a skill.   The best way to learn selling is by learning a good technique and practicing it and mastering it.

Through customer centered selling process you would find that customers go through a REPEATABLE , PREDICTABLE process when they make a decision to commit to change or buy. This repeatable and predictable process is what we call is as Customers decision cycle. The key concept is to try and understand where your customers are in their decision cycle and assist them in moving them through a decision. [This process cannot be applied for decisions involving less than Rs.1000.]

The best way to learn customer decision cycle is to analyze our own decision cycle, when we intend to buy something. Try answering the following questions relating to last time you purchased a mobile phone?

1. What mobile were you using?
2. What were the stuffs you did not like about it?
3. What were you looking for in a new mobile?
4. When did you realize that your old mobile was less than perfect
5. When did you start seriously looking for a mobile phone?
6. When did you actually buy the mobile?
7. What other mobile you considered for buying?
8. Where did you get the information
9. Given another change would you take the same decision?

Answer all those questions and think you would find that customers go through the following cycle before purchasing any product

1. Satisfied – Customers are satisfied with what they have.
2. Acknowledge – Customers sense and acknowledge that they have some issues with the product they have.
3. Decision – Then they decide to look for alternatives.
4. Criteria – Then they set the condition/features of the product
5. Measure – Customers define his criteria list
6. Investigae – Comparing solutions
7. Selection – Then they select the best one that satisfies their problem
8. Reconsider – Then he re-evaluates his decision.

Here is the secret sause for selling – People do not make decisions based on needs; they make decisions based on problems. The bigger the problem, the bigger the need. The bigger the need, the more the customers are willing to pay.

There are usually three decision points what customers go through

  1. Should I fix this or not?
  2. What am I gonna fix?
  3. From where am gonna get it?

In the next post I shall post on the essence of Customer Centered Selling.

[ Courtesy : Customer Centered Selling by Robert L Jolles]