The world financial crisis has posed important challenges to both the sellers and customers of any business. The economic turmoil has also been fueled by various factors among them the notion of firms concentrating on pure profit maximization in the short term with out connecting with the firms future performance. In selling therefore, a firms goal should be to maximize its value. This requires the consideration of the customer; in short maximizing on a firm value in terms of sales is equivalent to putting the customers at the center of all the firms plans.
As the world continues to ponder on what needs to be done to sustain the economy and to avoid more harsh economic turmoil in future, sales heads should be strategising on new ways of selling their products and services, which translates into an equally critical attitude that strives for improvements in the sales arena.
Sales heads should therefore adopt a number of important considerations in ensuring the business is customer centric, in order to take their businesses to the next level.
Changes in selling framework: With globalization, markets are changing and this goes hand in hand with changes in the selling framework. Any sales person should contemplate on the challenges that come with a competitive market. New trends in business require new skills in sales; complex needs of the customer, require more complex sales techniques that must recognize and demonstrate their understanding on what the new perspective means for their customers business.
Customer should always be the definer of value: The customer is always the king/queen in any business and the center of any product or service, therefore value is always defined by the customer. Hence, the sales person should always understand value from a customer point of view. When selling, the major question should be what value will this product or service add to the customer.
Capturing customer attention: Many customers want to be listened to rather than listen to. To be able to do this as a sales person requires a detailed level of experience in terms of understanding the resources and capabilities of your organisation and that of the customer. Knowledge of what you are selling should be evident and clear. Understanding the customer needs will add up to a customer wanting to hear more from you.
Consultative skills: A sales person should be a consultant to the customer in a strategic way. Meaning the customer should be able to trust in you either through your ideas and constant communication. Communication should ensure quality interaction with the customer in terms of finding out the needs of the customer, the risks they are facing and connecting with the rhythms and cycles of customers business. Consultative skills also entail jointly exploring the ideas and opportunities with the customer.
Customer understanding: Customer understanding requires taking responsibility of the customers result, taking customers problems as your own and being able to share and build trust with the customers. Three key factors are crucial in customer intimacy: One is Tailoring this entails having the right product at the right time, crafting custom – made solutions and the ability to solve customers problems. Coaching is the second factor that involves guiding towards better result in terms of bringing out full benefits to the customer. The third factor is partnership which enables co innovating for instance collaborating in the development of new products, services and/or solutions with the customers.
They are many reflections that can be incorporated to new trends of selling, one key perspective that all heads of sales need to consider is planning ahead of the customer. Long term performance is what makes a difference. Essentially when the customer is the center then it means the long term goals are always in perspective. They may be difficult challenges but as Patricia Fripp said You dont close a sale, you open a relationship if you want to build a long – term successful enterprise.