Customers don’t want to hear your generic sales pitch. Instead, ask about their needs and find out how you can solve their problems.
When new customers come to the Return to Ease Wellness Center in Dublin, Ohio, Carolyn Barnes devotes significant time to talking with them about why they scheduled a massage. The conversations provide perspective about the person’s condition and how she might relieve their ailments long term. Armed with that information, she formulates a strategy for solving the problem over several sessions.
Barnes believes that her desire to help clients get lasting results through an ongoing relationship differentiates her from other massage therapists and companies that try to attract customers with sales or deals.
“The value in coming to me is that I want to know how I can help them deal with their issues,” she said. “Instead of constantly treating the symptoms, I want to treat the root cause and get rid of their pain.”
Solving problems is a prime way to differentiate yourself from the competition, said Lewis VanLandingham, owner of the Sandler Training Center in Dublin, Ohio. Too often salespeople are so caught up in sharing the features of their products and services that they don’t take the time to listen to a clients’ concerns. “The key is to differentiate yourself by understanding the prospect’s reasons for buying,” he said.
Customers don’t want to hear a generic talk about your product because the reality is that it’s probably not all that different from your competitor’s product, VanLandingham said. What they want is for you to tell them how your product or service will solve their specific problem or need, he said.
And the only way you can do that is to listen to their story. Good listening starts by with asking questions about their business and challenges, he said. “Better questions are the answer.”
VanLandingham likens the process of understanding customers’ needs to visiting the doctor. A good doctor will not diagnose your issue without asking questions. Likewise, business owners should not suggest products or solutions without formulating a diagnosis, he said.
The process can be a challenge — especially if you love the products you sell, said Stacy Daumeyer, a natural health and wellness coach for Young Living in Mason, Ohio. She first finds out why someone is interested in essential oils. “Listening is very, very important,” she said. “It’s not sell, sell, sell. It’s let me tell you how this could help.”
Based on their reasons, she steers the conversation to how her products would address their concerns. She has come to see her role as that of educator. “After I’ve answered their questions, it’s up to them to make their own choices,” she said.
For Daumeyer, It’s not just about making a sale. She focuses a lot of energy on building relationships with clients. She runs a Facebook group for customers where she offers wellness tips. She holds classes designed to help customers find more uses for their oils.
Barnes also understands the importance of ongoing relationships. She checks in on clients after their appointments. She also sends newsletters and carefully curates the articles for it.
“I want to share things that would find of value,” she said. “The more we can educate the more we can help them see value in what we’re doing and how it can help them. That keeps them coming back.”