Customer Centered Selling – Part II

Because of the wrong training sales people  talk way too much and listen way too little. In the name of training sales people are put through information and more information about products and are then asked to vomit all those in front of a customer. There could be no deadly sin than this in sales.

To give you an example, a sales guy called me for selling a ticket for a event. He asked my name and went rattling about the event. He said what the event is about, who is going to come, how big it is going to be and blah blah blah…never did he ask me if this event would be of any interest to me. After completing all his rattling about the event, he simply asked how many tickets I would need. I coolly said, I need none. No wonder why most sales people fail.

In Customer Based Selling you are taught to PERSUADE customers from moving from one decision point to another and persuade them into buying. This happens with the important point that Customer do not make decisions based on needs. They make decisions based on problems.

In Customer Based Selling first we need to realize where the customer is based on the Decision Point.

For example, consider the following statements with respect to buying a mobile.

  • a) You feel its perfect.
  • b) You feel its perfect but not good enough
  • c) Fed up. But still willing to put up with it.
  • d) Actively looking for new ones.
  • e) TREAT – Brought a new.

As you see, it is easy to sell to the customer who is in ‘d’ stage. And it would be very difficult to sell to a customer who is in ‘a’ stage. But the issue is only 20% of the customers would be in ‘d’ stage. And if you are a sales man who is only in order-taking mode then you end up in Price-war.

On the other hand influencing the other 80% of the customers who are not in mood of buying but persuading them step by step opens up a new world of opportunities.

The ways to Persuade the customer, will be said in the next post.


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]