Every one of your customers is different. Your customers have different personalities, needs, and ways they like to engage with you. Your challenge is to develop a deep understanding of what makes each of your customers unique and adjust your sales presentation and style to meet that uniqueness.
The pre-call planning phase of your call is the time to think about tailoring your call. Tailor your calls to specific customers by:
Creating customer-specific call objectives
Your ultimate goal on every call is to sell your product, but you usually need an incremental process to get to that end. Therefore, each call should have a specific objective you want to accomplish that will advance the customer at least one more step in the buying journey.
One useful tool for advancing customers in the buying journey is SMART objectives. You may be familiar with SMART—Specific, Measurable, Action-oriented, Realistic, Time-bound—from goal setting. However, SMART also is a good tool to apply when setting call objectives. Your call objectives should be:
- Specific – Customize the objective for this call
- Measurable – You can determine whether you accomplished it
- Action-oriented – The objective accomplishes something that advances the customer in the buying journey
- Realistic – It’s a reasonable objective for this call
- Time-bound – You will accomplish it during the call
Focusing on their needs
Customers are unique in that they have specific needs. Sometimes a salesperson can develop the idea that all customers have the same need. That’s a mistake. If you can meet a need with the features and benefits of your product, the customer will change his or her behavior. The cost or pain of switching is less than the cost or pain of continuing to do what the customer is already doing after hearing about your product’s features and benefits. The trick is to gain a deep understanding of what the customer is currently doing—more specifically the needs the customer has— and then meet those needs with your product’s features and benefits. Your messaging to the customer is then customized to the unique need-feature-benefit that will drive behavior change.
Customizing it to their personality
Every customer has a unique personality, so if you treat every customer the same, you won’t be very successful. There are training programs that examine the ways customers like to communicate, often called social or communication styles, that can help you tailor your messaging. At a high level, all these programs divide customers into four groups:
- Cooperative – These customers are easy-going, relaxed, and friendly when you are communicating with them.
- Authoritative – These customers are results-focused, to the point, and would like to be in command of the decision making in a conversation.
- Investigative – This type of customer focuses on details and wants the conversation to have a logical, slow-paced flow.
- Demonstrative – These customers are high energy, fun-loving communicators. The pace of conversation is quick and often lacks a logical flow.
As you plan your call, customize the way you deliver it for the customer’s personality by trying to mimic some of the communication behaviors you are seeing and hearing.
Planning strategic questions
Good salesmanship involves asking good questions. Typically, the more you involve the customer in the conversation, the better the outcome. Questions are one of the primary tools for creating that engagement. Asking good open-ended questions and then listening carefully to the responses will give you the critical information you need to make the sale. A common mistake salespeople make when asking questions is failing to listen to understand. Instead, they listen to reply. A good salesperson will ask a question, pause, and then carefully listen to the customer’s response.
Don’t treat all customers alike! Not only is it bad for your sales, but it can seem disrespectful. Treat each call as an opportunity to discover an important need your product can meet. By setting a SMART call objective that focuses on uncovering the customer’s specific need, customizing the call to the customer’s personality, and asking good questions, you are setting yourself up for success. Selling is a personal, one-on-one communication process you can do well only if you customize it for each customer.