Shaking Hands, Tadpole TrainingHave you any idea what your customers want? OK – have you any idea what they don’t want?

Well, you probably have more of an idea than you think you do. After all, you are a customer too aren’t you? Maybe you could give yourself some sales tips. And I’m sure you have pretty strong ideas about how you do and don’t want to be treated – whether it’s in the supermarket, buying a new car or considering renewing your insurance. When you interact with a salesperson, there are rules. So when you are trying to sell to others, you will do a lot better if you remember some of the major turn-offs for customers. Here are the main things you should do.

1. Listen – time and time again in surveys, this is the one thing that customers really want more than anything else – they want the sales person to listen to them. What they do not want is someone who talks, talks, talks. So use your ears and your mouth in the correct proportion and listen twice as much as you speak. Customers will love you for it.

2. Tell the truth. It sounds obvious doesn’t it? However, sometimes you can be so desperate to sell something that you (well let’s be polite) exaggerate. However, as customers we can be a bit suspicious and our internal radars are going to spot any lies. If you want to build trust, you simply must tell the truth. Much better to say ‘I don’t know’ or ‘No, our product doesn’t  do that, but it does do this instead’. 

3. Don’t patronise the customer. You don’t like being talked down to and neither do your customers. Treat them like intelligent people and if they don’t understand something, then say it a different way. Just because you know your product or service really well, it doesn’t mean they do. And there is absolutely no point in getting impatient with them, otherwise you will be saying bye bye to the sale quicker than you can blink.

4. If you say you are going to do something, do it! So if you promise to call them back, do it. If you need to find out some information, make sure you find out and tell them. If you agree a deadline to do something, meet it. Each time you fail to do something, it erodes trust and gives your competitor a chance to step in and steal your sale. 

5. Don’t be negative. Don’t be rude or critical about your product or service, or your organisation. If you don’t like it, why on earth should someone else?  Similarly, don’t slag off the competition –  not only does it look a bit desperate but it makes you look unprofessional. 

These are common sense, but as someone wise once said “Common sense is surprisingly uncommon” Treat your customers as you would like to be treated and the whole process of selling will be much more lucrative.

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