Of all the value-driven selling tips you’re likely to get, “listen to your customers” ranks among the top ten. This seemingly simple act can make the difference between maximizing value and having your customers jump ship to go with a competitor. Today, we’re going to explore what we mean when we’re talking about “listening to customers,” why it’s important, and how you can incorporate effective listening into your value-selling strategies.
When we say “listening to customers,” what comes to mind? Contrary to popular belief, it’s about much more than just paying attention occasionally—when there’s a customer service issue, or you’re trying to field complaints, et cetera. Listening to your customers should involve a genuine connection with customers—one that shows you’re in-tune with their POV and not all about trying to push through a pre-rehearsed sales presentation. In the process, you’re laying the groundwork for a whole host of benefits, including:
- A better understanding of your potential customers’ situation. It will be easier to ascertain whether or not a particular prospect is worth the effort, and, as a result, easier to identify the right types of prospects to pursue in the future.What’s more, it will allow you to identify the real decision-makers, rather than floundering by giving your well-rehearsed pitch to someone with little to no power.
- In establishing and maintaining this connection with customers, you’re more likely to make them feel valued. This will simultaneously reduce the likelihood that they’ll seek out competitor options. In essence, you’re earning their loyalty, and that loyalty will often ensure that they’ll stick around to buy from you (provided you’re pulling your weight in all the other ways that matter).
- Building on the above point, when your customers are loyal, your customer retention numbers are obviously going to improve. Retention isn’t the only thing growing, however. Repeated interactions will allow your clients to feel more trusting, and that trust can open the door to even more new possibilities.
- You might, for example, be able to identify more opportunities to attempt to upsell and cross-sell. Customers might be able to point you in the direction of other interested leads, who could lead to bigger sales. You might also be able to learn more about some of your competitors from your customers’ perspective, better enabling you to identify weaknesses and devise strategies two put yourself ahead.
So, how are you supposed to pull the listening game off? It starts with giving your customers room to speak. Generally speaking, they have plenty to say, so all you have to do is give them a forum to say what’s on their mind and be quiet until they’re through making their case.
Sometimes, what you hear might not be what you like. Sometimes, the answers to your customers’ questions are so blindingly obvious that you instantly feel the urge to scoff, but you’ll have to remember to be patient and remain accommodating. Engage with your customers, meet them where they are, and focus on them as a person and more than just an issue that needs to be dealt with.