Salespeople who stay focused on the needs of their present customers are less likely to be unseated by special deals offered by competitors. They may also be rewarded with increased customer loyalty and repeat sales.
There are nine driving principles that build credibility and trust with customers and have a positive impact on revenue:
- Be bold. Increase your success in retaining and growing current customers by focusing your efforts on calling on the right people in the right accounts with innovative and unique ideas. Customers are so busy dealing with their own competitive pressures that they don’t have time to discuss tired ideas. What have you learned from other customers with similar issues that can relieve your present customer’s pain immediately? Packaging these insights creatively is key to increasing your business.
- Be a true consultant for your customer. Talk business strategy with your customers. Show how your product or service advances their strategy. Create solutions that solve your customers’ problems. Customers expect solutions that support and drive their central business strategies.
- Talk results with customers. Show how your product or service can positively affect customers’ performance. Identify the appropriate needs and create a compelling case for your solution.
- Be innovative. Increase credibility as a trusted advisor by bringing to the table innovative, highly differentiated solutions that respond to customers’ unique business challenges. Customers want new ideas and insights from your experience with issues like theirs.
- Do your homework. Focus on both results and the relationship. New conditions demand new strategies. Know more and turn that knowledge into value. Customers want insight. Go beyond asking good questions about customers’ situations. Before getting in front of a customer, know about his or her own customers, competitors, strengths and weaknesses.
- Resist the pressure to overpromise. Overpromising is a frequent trap that some salespeople fall into. Gaining the sale in the short term may create havoc downstream. The outcome is predictable: Customer trust is eroded, business that should have been won is lost, and entire relationships are jeopardized.
- Focus on results and relationships. Show commitment to your customer by adding value. Conduct periodic account reviews to summarize the value you’re providing and pinpoint areas for improvement.
- Go to school on your competitors. They have never been more aggressive or more vulnerable than right now. Develop defensive strategies and points of view. Help your customers develop strategies for dealing with their competitors. Be proactive in providing advice and insight.
- View each customer’s company as a market. Focus efforts on segmenting and capturing share of this market. Leverage successes and relationships.
Source: Ted Higgins is a vice president with The Forum Corporation, a leading sales training organization.