Why this is a common criticism of salespeople
In short, this is a reflection of salespeople not taking the steps to find out about their customer. This can be because of:
- A lack of preparation before the call (“homework”);
- A conflict between salesperson and customer;
- A failure to ask the right questions in the call;
- A failure to listen to the customer and fully comprehend their goals and objectives;
- A failure to ask important follow-up/supplementary questions.
In other words, failing to have a conversation with the customer!
What are the consequences of this for the business?
Failure to understand the client’s business and objectives will prevent the salesperson from being able to recommend the ideal solution to meet those objectives – disastrous for both the business and the salesperson!
What are the consequences of this for the salesperson?
Not gaining a full picture of the customer’s business and their requirements will lead to missed opportunities to maximise the client’s return on investment (ROI). A recommendation, based on incomplete business information, results in an unsuitable product or service being supplied. And there follows the inevitable complaint about a lack of results.
What can a salesperson do to genuinely understand their customers?
- a) Find out whatever you can about the customer before you make contact or visit. The internet is full of tools to help you do this so there is no excuse for not doing it! CRM systems will also give an insight into existing or lapsed customers to provide a “full picture”.
- b) Ask great questions – this should be a conversation, not an interrogation. There is nothing more irritating for a customer than running through a list of irrelevant questions.
- c) Listen to the answers and demonstrate to the customer that you have listened and understood them.
What help is available to salespeople?
You could trawl the internet for all the hints and tips you need or…you could attend a sales training course followed by some “on the job coaching” to embed the learning. Ontrac Training provides a wide range of sales training courses for people that are new to sales (either telesales or field sales) or those that have never received any formal sales training.
About the author
Richard Claessens is an experienced sales professional and a Director of Ontrac Training. He has sold a diverse selection of products over the last 35 years including machine tools, directory advertising, websites, and business services. In his spare time, he volunteers as a qualified athletics coach at his local Club.