It is common to hear in sales and marketing that “people buy on emotion and justify with logic.” However, business owners also know that the ability to win over customers is not solely the result of having high emotional appeal. Advancements in technology give access to information in convenient ways, allowing us to make more informed decisions than ever before. Online customer reviews, for example, can just as well influence buying behaviour as would a personal story that connects with the prospective customer.
Although emotions still play an essential role in the buying process, many customers today have a deeper understanding of what they want, even before contacting a business. Merely appealing to their chief buying emotions, such as the need for belonging or validation, may not be enough to secure a sale in today’s digital environment.
1. Ask Relevant Questions
The American author, Jeffery Gitomer, reminds us that “people don’t like to be sold, but they love to buy.” Customers need to feel that they have reached an optimal buying decision through a rational set of choices. However, you can guide their buying behaviour by asking relevant questions to help them arrive at an optimal decision. Customers will more likely make a purchase if the perception of what the product or service is worth exceeds possible alternatives. Asking questions about what the customer is looking for will ensure that you are offering the right solution to create customer value.
2. Translate Features into Benefits
Once you have clarified what the customer needs are, you can start appealing to those needs by explaining how your solution can deliver the optimal result. Keep your sales presentation relevant by putting yourself in the shoes of your customers and asking “how do they benefit from this?” An effective sales presentation goes beyond explaining features of a product or service, but rather translates those features into benefits that customers would value such as saving time or money.
3. Give Customers Choices
Henry Ford once said “a customer can have a car painted any colour as long as it’s black” referencing the bottlenecks that colour variety would cause in the company’s production lines. However, General Motors discovered a cohesive substance that allowed paint to dry quicker on a vehicle while in production, enabling customers to choose from a broader range of colours. By 1931, General Motors outsold the Ford Motor Company to become the world’s largest auto manufacturer (a position it held until 2007). This story teaches us the importance of giving customers choices. Presenting them with a myriad of options will help find the right fit, and can influence the way a business attracts and grows new customers.
4. Be Personable and Helpful
Offering a highly personalized service is a great way of building trust. By focusing on delivering an excellent service throughout the buying process will likely lead to repeat transactions. It is noteworthy to mention that a small increment in customer retention can have a massive impact on profits. Statistics also show that happy customers are more likely to tell their friends about the experience, and thus can generate new leads for your business at little or no additional cost.
5. Manage your Reputation
Business owners who display a high level of integrity can positively influence what people will say about their service. Build a reputation of trust and honesty by delivering, at a minimum, a quality standard that is expected by the customer. The misalignment of expectations between the buyer and seller often comes from a breakdown in communication and can lead to poor customer experiences. Resolve any misunderstandings through active engagement. Spending time communicating with your audience demonstrates a genuine interest in customer concerns, and shows what you have done to diffuse a situation and brought about a timely resolution through clarity and action.