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Are you customer-centric?

 

Who matters most when you sell? You, or the customer? When you shift your emphasis towards the customer, you can reap the rewards. Let’s find out more.

There’s a saying in sales that we all like to buy, but none of us likes to be sold to. I think that’s true. Although we’re all salespeople, we all believe we are immune from other people’s sales techniques. Being part of ‘the funnel’ is not for us.

Here’s the thing: your buyers don’t want to feel they’re being sold to either. In today’s sales environment, buyers do their own research on sites like G2. They know what your product does and why people like it, before they even pick up the phone to you.

Once they pick up the phone, they want an easy-going experience that fits around the way they want to buy. If they can’t get that from you, they may go elsewhere.

In this article, we’ll look at customer-centric selling and how putting the customer first can never be a bad thing.

What is customer-centric selling?

It is not rocket science. To be honest, you should be following the methods of customer-centric selling anyway, without having to give it a label.

Customer-centric selling is simply shifting your emphasis away from yourself and towards the customer — you put the customer first in every interaction.

It works because it helps you stand out from the competition and builds a longer-lasting relationship with the customer, leading to a higher lifetime value compared to a simple transactional sell.

Now, let’s look at three ways you can be more customer-centric when you sell.

1 — Adjust your approach

The best customer-centric salespeople think about sales in a different way. They prioritise the wants and needs of the customer about their own. So, they’ll align with the customer’s buying process and timeline, rather than dictate how the sales process will work.

If you want to be more customer-centric, here are three things you must incorporate into the way you sell:

  • Empathy — Put yourself in your customer’s shoes, to truly understand the size of the challenges they face and the impact of the solution

  • Curiosity — Ask questions to help you understand the fit between the customer and your product, while you guide the customer towards the solution

  • Shared goals — Make your goals the same as your customer: solving the problem that’s keeping them up at night. Be a problem solver, not a salesperson

In a customer-centric sales team, leaders will hire for these strengths.

2 — Customer experience throughout the sell

From the second the customer first encounters your brand, through to them signing on the dotted line, and beyond — you should be thinking about the customer experience. What can you improve to make their journey smoother?

Every part of the sales process should be seen as an opportunity to delight your customer. At SaaSGrowth 2019, Andy Farquharson from Winning By Design called them ‘popsicle moments’, after the Magic Castle Hotel in L.A. that has a hotline that guests can phone at any time to get a popsicle delivered. It’s a small initiative, but it created a talking point that made them famous.

To create a delightful, consistent experience from end-to-end requires alignment and collaboration between the sales and marketing teams.

3 — Be an expert

When you are knowledgeable about your product, your industry and your customer’s business, it is much simpler to build trust with your customer. You become seen as an advisor rather than a salesperson, talking with credibility and confidence around the solution.

This is where you have to fight your natural instincts to pitch and sell. Instead, qualify, guide and reassure.

Over to you

Those are our three tips for customer-centric selling success. Now we want to know what you think.

What do you do to put the customer first?

How do you delight them as you sell? What are your ‘popsicle moments’?

Let the Sales Confidence community know with a comment below.

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