4 Tips to a Successful Customer Centric Selling Training

Selling doesn’t have strict rules. Sure, there are guidelines and best practices but if it were a dance, it would be jazz not ballet.

The one exception to the rule is that you should always focus on your customer, that’s why customer centric selling training is important.

Salesforce’s survey last year found that the top 20% of sales teams are 3x more likely to focus on personalizing customer interactions. A whopping 79% of business buyers say interacting with a trusted advisor is critical or very important.

If you focus on your customer’s needs and their wants, it will have a direct impact on closing more deals.

Becoming a more customer-focused seller takes time. It’s not something you can do overnight, like flipping a switch. Customer centric selling training takes time. 

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Go through a variety of filters to zero in on the leads you want to reach. This is crazy specific, but you could find all the people that match the following: 

  • A company in the Financial Services or Banking industry
  • Who have more than 10 employees
  • That spend money on Adwords
  • Who use Hubspot
  • Who currently have job openings for marketing help
  • With the role of HR Manager
  • That has only been in this role for less than 1 year
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Customer Centric Selling Training Step 1: Diagnose Prior to Prescription

This is a common saying in sales. It’s become so popular that it has been adopted by the American Psychiatric Association as part of their Principles of Medical Ethics.

If you walked into a doctor’s office with headaches and they prescribed heavy medication without asking any questions about the problem, you would think it was crazy.

After just a little bit of research, they’re presented with high-priced solutions and long-term contracts. It’s no wonder the prospect feels frustrated.

When they feel like you don’t understand their issue, the sale is lost.

When you are discovering problems, go beyond the surface to reveal how it impacts your customer.

What’s the financial impact?

What’s the personal impact?

Do they want to solve this problem?

The answer is unclear to them, but they know that it must involve diversity and inclusion initiatives.

How does diversity improve the current hiring process?

It can be difficult to find out if someone is committed enough to a problem. You would have to ask them, but they might hang up on you after hearing the question.

For this, you need to do research with the person. You also have to establish rapport and be able to ask open-ended questions.

Research, Research, Research

Research allows you to create a map of where the conversation should go. It gives an idea on how to get there.

For example, a 10-K report can tell you about the company’s goals and financial situation. This could help give you an idea of how your specific solution will impact their business.

You should also consider researching the person you’re talking to: what their role is, how big of a team they work on, and if they have any past experience.

You can learn a lot about someone from their LinkedIn and social media profiles.

Research will help you ask the right questions.

Say, from the 10-K you learn that the company’s stated goal is to increase sales by 15%. And from your social media research on LinkedIn and Google+, it appears as if they only have 5 employees in their sales department. You don’t see any new hires or job listings either.

They may be more interested in the amount of time and resources that could be saved with our tool.

When you’re interviewing, make sure to have a plan of attack before hand. Then let your prospect fill in the blanks for you.

You should be careful not to assume you know what your prospect needs after doing this research. You want to avoid that.

Focus on Building Rapport

Rapport is very important with a prospect, but it’s also the most fragile. One wrong word or one step too fast can ruin it.

Building rapport is all about being patient and listening.

This is a basic principle, but you need to make the prospect feel like they are not just another sale.

One key to building rapport is being patient and asking simple questions first. You have earned the right to ask deep ones later.

Lanette Richardson says that there are three types of answers you’ll get from a prospect, and it could take time to move through all the levels.

The first answer you’ll get is usually very flat. So, if you ask “What’s the biggest problem your company faces right now?” They will likely come back with something simple like “Our customer churn rate is too high.” But that first level of reply isn’t where the true pain point lies.

Lanette Richardson says that you need to go deeper.

Ask questions like:

“How has this diversity initiative affected you and your team?”

“Is this a new problem?”

“What are your current plans to tackle this problem?”

Then you can have a conversation to figure out how they feel about it.

You should take your time and dig into these questions to build a rapport with the customer. This way you show that you care about their problem, which will give them deep answers they wouldn’t have been able to get at the beginning of the call.

Ask open-ended questions

The questions you ask are less important than how you approach them. For example, your goal during the discovery process is to get as much information from your prospect as possible.

Open-ended questions are important because they help uncover the underlying issues.

You should always try to ask open-ended questions that encourage the applicant to elaborate on their answer.

When I interview a customer service representative, instead of asking if they want to fix churn, I ask them about their retention.

If you have done your research and are taking the time to figure out what they’re looking for, this step should be easy.

Customer Centric Selling Training Step 2: Understand Your Product — But Avoid Being an Expert

It may sound like a paradox, but it’ll make sense in just one second.

Know your product

When you are recommending to prospects, your advice will be more meaningful when it’s tailored and specific. To do that, you need to know all the details of what you’re suggesting.

Many larger companies will have a team in place to help you with this, or they may also provide customer tutorials and demos for learning more.

If you don’t have the resources for diversity, take initiative and research it yourself.

You can learn a lot just by having lunch with someone in product development or customer success.

It’s better to use the product yourself so you know how it works.

Leth them recognize their problem

“I know that your problem isn’t X, it is Y. And I want to tell you how we can fix this issue together.”

If you’ve ever said that, or something similar, it probably means you are an expert at what is being discussed.

It’s more common than you think, but it can cost your company sales.

With experience, you’ll feel like you know everything. You’ll have the answer to every objection.

If you go in to solve the problem too quickly, it can lead to a prescription problem. That’s what we talked about above.

If you’re not listening to them, they’ll think that their input doesn’t matter and the rapport will be killed.

You need to know your product is good, but you also have to find ways of connecting the dots for them and ask questions in order to understand their needs.

In the first section, we talked about guiding prospects to where you want them to be. These questions are open-ended and help move the prospect in that direction.

For example, let’s say you sell a tool that makes it easier to book meetings with prospects. You know from all your past experience that the salespeople who use this tool get more revenue because they save time and can make more appointments.

Instead of telling your prospect that, you’ve got to make them realize it on their own.

So, maybe you start by asking,

When hiring salespeople, I always ask when they book meetings after they give you an answer.

The question he would ask me was “Why does it usually take that long?” and I couldn’t answer because the meetings were worth different amounts.

The final question you ask is about the benefits of your product. You help them to connect the dots between what they’ve been talking about and how it relates back to their needs.

“If you could book just 10 more meetings per month, what would that do for your income?”

Now you’ve brought them with you on the journey. You don’t have to convince them anymore because they can do it themselves.

Customer Centric Selling Training Step 3: As a Listener, Be Active and Engaged

One way to gauge your listening skills is by recording yourself on the phone and then playing it back.

How often do you speak over your prospects? How often do you avoid answering their questions, and instead go back to what they were saying before the question was asked.

If you’re talking to your prospect for more than 60% of the time, they are not being heard or given a chance to participate in the conversation.

If you want to be a great salesperson, make sure that when they answer your question you focus on the details and ask more questions. It’s easy for us as sellers to think about our next step before we finish listening.

When you ask questions, it gives the prospect a chance to clarify their point. It also gives them an opportunity to open up more about what they are looking for in order for you have a better understanding of who your customer is.

Sometimes, even when you’re listening carefully, it’s possible to misunderstand the speaker. That’s why this is a good idea.

Give your prospect a few seconds to finish what they were saying. This will help them continue if they weren’t done talking and will often prompt them to keep going.

In addition to this, it gives you time to think carefully about what your next question will be.

Here’s one final tip that I think will help you.

Send a follow-up email after the call, and make sure to note everything they said. This will show them that you were attentive during their conversation with you.

Be authentically curious.

The more sincerely you ask questions about what they want, the more open and thorough they will be in answering your inquiries.

Customer Centric Selling Training Step 4: Rephrase and Reframe

When talking to prospects, the switch from discovery and listening to their problems can be dangerous. Doing it poorly could mean losing the deal.

In the end, you want to make sure that they know you’re there to help them. You can’t just come in with a sales pitch and be done.

Don’t give up now and let all the work you’ve done so far go to waste.

You will need to deliver your pitch at the right time and with the correct words.

Timing is everything

The timing and questions depend on the type of call you’re in.

I always ask budget questions upfront, because it can be a great way to weed out candidates who are not serious about your product. It also saves the buyer time if they find that you’re not in their price range.

My opinion is that these questions should not come up until the customer has already acknowledged your solution as a fit for their needs.

With this program, you diagnose and come up with a solution. You then ask for acceptance from the person affected by it.

Give emphasis on your phrasing

The other important part of this is the wording.

If you want an answer about when the company will be ready for something, don’t ask them what their timeline is. Ask them how long it will take to get things up and running.

When you call to speak with someone, do not ask for the decision-maker. Instead try this: “Hi! I’m calling about ____ and your company’s interest in it.”

“What do you think a typical buying process looks like? Who else would be involved in the discussion on your end?”

When asking for a raise, try saying:

If there is anything else your boss needs to know, we can schedule a call with them.

It can feel awkward to ask if someone has the budget for what you’re selling. Remind yourself that your prospect knows all about how much your products and services cost.

Customers can be sensitive about this topic, so it’s best to ask them directly with an open-ended question like:

“How do you typically budget for projects, items like this?” or “We usually discuss price at the time. How much can we realistically afford to spend on a project of this size?”

It Is Worth It

The benefits of focusing on your prospect’s needs before you speak are that they will be more receptive to what you have to say. And if they find themselves in a bind, it is much easier for them to trust someone who has made an investment into their well-being.

When sellers change their approach to customer-focused selling, they typically see increased revenue and higher conversion rates.

And that’s worth the time.

Need Help Automating Your Sales Prospecting Process?

LeadFuze gives you all the data you need to find ideal leads, including full contact information.

Go through a variety of filters to zero in on the leads you want to reach. This is crazy specific, but you could find all the people that match the following: 

  • A company in the Financial Services or Banking industry
  • Who have more than 10 employees
  • That spend money on Adwords
  • Who use Hubspot
  • Who currently have job openings for marketing help
  • With the role of HR Manager
  • That has only been in this role for less than 1 year
Just to give you an idea. 😀

Editors Note:

Want to help contribute to future articles? Have data-backed and tactical advice to share? I’d love to hear from you!

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Justin McGill
About Author: Justin McGill
Justin McGill is the Founder of LeadFuze - a lead generation platform that discovers new leads for you automatically. Get 25 leads free.