This is the fifth of my 7-post series on coaching a sales professional. These 7 suggestions don’t cover everything you could coach, but they set a solid foundation by helping you coach a sales professional on the basics. The previous 4 were:
Today, we’ll discuss the importance of being CUSTOMER CENTERED. When sales professionals are selling to clients, one of the most critical things they could do to further their success – would be to truly attend to customers’ real needs. Many sales professionals are self-centered, focusing entirely on their process, their success and their goals. But, a SuperSTAR sales professional is client-centered. They care more about meeting the client’s needs than they do about making their own sale.
An excuse you’ll hear if a sales professional is self-centered is, “The client just doesn’t understand.” They’ll claim that the customer doesn’t get it, can’t see the vision, won’t compromise. The real reason you’ll get from a client-centered salesperson is, “Next time, I would like to better understand the customer’s needs because I think with more research, I could have asked questions that would have helped me present a better offer to them.”
Sounds pretty selfless, and not really sales-like, right? I know. It’s backwards to how most do it, that’s one of the reasons that sales professionals who operate this way – often set themselves apart from others.
So, what do you do with a salesperson who won’t take their eyes off themselves? Swap places and role-play.
- Arrange a role-play scenario, where you’re the sales professional.
- Play the role of a self-focused salesperson. Don’t be overly dramatic, or they won’t be able to imagine being as egocentric. But, do play up a sales scenario where it’s all about you – the professional. Make it brief, less than 10 minutes.
- After the role-play, ask your client a few questions about how they experienced the sales professional: How did you feel? Did you sense that I cared about your needs? Did you get the feeling that I was someone you could trust? Would you want to accept my offer? Would you refer others to me in the future? If someone asked you to describe that experience in a sentence or two, what would you say about me? What was the most frustrating thing about that experience?
- Then, ask them what they learned from the experience: Do you see why it’s important not to be like that? What would you do differently if you had been the sales professional in that role-play? What can we do to ensure that in the future, you don’t come across like that with your sales clients?
- His greeting
- The quality of questions he asks
- The length of the call
- The degree of listening he does
- His approach to arranging the sales meeting.
Provide feedback after the call. Give him a week or two to test your tips, and then listen to another call. Do this again and again, until he gets the hang of it.