Sales Training Tip #372: What Did Your Customer Teach You Today?

Your customer is always ready to teach you something.

Many people talk about the importance of the salesperson being able to teach the customer — or as some say, educate the customer.  Yes, I do believe in this concept. However, it is even more important for us in sales to be open and ready to be “taught” by the customer.

If we enter into a sales call with the same attitude we would have if we were walking in to meet with our favorite college professor, we would be much more attuned to listening to what they have to say.  Not only would we be focused on what they have to say, we also would be very focused in trying to determine how what they have to say can fit in our lives. In the case of meeting with our customer, we would be better equipped to understand the needs of that customer.  

It is ironic as I use the professor example, because if you’re like me, you had teachers and professors with whom you were less than enamored. You probably tuned them out, right? I know I had those. Unfortunately, I tuned them out not because they didn’t have anything good to say, but rather because I perceived that what they were about to say wasn’t going to be worth anything.   I chose to ignore them based on what I believed they were going to say.

Now, after a few years of wisdom, I better understand why I maybe didn’t do so well in some of my classes. I also begin to realize why I didn’t close some sales I should have closed.  The attitude we have going into the sales call is going to determine how we perceive the sales call. Too many times, the end result of the sales call is driven by what we want it to be.

It’s for this reason I believe we need to go into every sales call, whether it be in person or on the phone, with an attitude of being open to hearing what the customer is going to say. We need to really allow the customer to teach us something.

Obviously, there are times when we need to filter what the customer might be trying to teach us.  If the customer is trying to teach us about how our prices are too high or our competitor has an incredibly superior offering for much less money, then we need to be discerning.   It is possible to listen and learn from the customer without accepting everything they say as valid.  This is especially true if they are trying to “educate” us on how our prices are too high.

We can take the information they’re sharing and use it to assess our business, but we should not allow it under any circumstances to take us away from believing 100% that what we are offering the customer is excellent.

If we haven’t closed the sale yet, it simply means we haven’t matched the customer’s needs with what we can provide.

So, what did your customer teach you today?

Copyright 2010, Mark Hunter “The Sales Hunter.” Sales Motivation Blog.

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