Each time you meet with your customer, you should always share at least one thing that customer shared with you the previous time you met.

One thing I’ve heard time and time again from customers is how they hate dealing with salespeople who don’t listen.   It doesn’t matter if the salesperson is calling on a customer for the first time or it’s a salesperson who meets regularly with the customer.  I’ve come to believe it is one of the biggest problems we have in the sales community.

One of the best ways to give the customer a level of comfort that you do listen to them is by bringing up information from previous meetings.  In many of the sales training sessions I deliver, I share how by making one of your opening comments be something the customer brought up the last time you met, you help the customer connect with you.  I believe in this concept for two reasons:

First, it tells the customer you do listen and you do remember. By starting off the sales call by bringing up something from the last call, you show the customer you value their comments.   Not only do customers believe salespeople do a poor job of listening, they also believe that you as the salesperson couldn’t care less about what they as a customer has to say.  By mentioning something they shared previously, right away you’re demonstrating just the opposite to them.

Second, I like this approach because it gets the customer engaged early in the sales call. People will always feel more respect for the other person when they hear them talking about something they said.  The added respect typically results in a better conversation.  Again, it’s simple — when somebody feels the person to whom they are talking values what they’re saying, they’ll share more.

One of the best ways to make sure you bring up something from a previous meeting is to make sure you take good notes every time you meet with the customer.  Right after you end a sales call, take a couple of minutes and record what the customer shared with you and identify right then the comment you intend to use the next time you’re with that customer. If you wait until the next sales call to determine what it is you will share, you will be far less likely to do it.

A side note: Over the years as I’ve used this method myself and taught it to others, I’ve been amazed at how customers react.  There is no doubt it is effective in raising the level of trust and confidence, but it has done something else.  What I’ve found is on many occasions when a comment a customer has made on one call is brought back up on the next call, the customer will share considerably more detail.

The additional detail the customer brings up many times is the key information needed to help close the sale.  Salespeople have told me how this new information they get is many times information they’ve been unsuccessful in getting any other way.

Copyright 2011, Mark Hunter “The Sales Hunter.” Sales Motivation Blog.

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