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Pay Attention To Your Customers!
How being a good "people watcher" can improve sales.
by Kevin Nunley


A lot has been written about what makes a good salesperson. Education, experience, training, and even a certain inborn "killer instinct" have all been mentioned as necessary qualities to be good at sales. From my experience, however, the best salespeople are the ones who are the best "people watchers."

In other words, to be able to sell to your customers, you have to be able to know who they are, what they want, and what they are feeling. All of these can be determined with good research, strong observation skills, and an attentive nature.

Knowing your customers is not just a one-time act -- you want to pay attention to your customers before, during, and after the sale.

BEFORE THE SALE: You should have a feel for your "ideal" customer before you launch any advertising or marketing campaign.

What newspapers, magazines, and e-zines do they read? What topics interest them most? What groups or associations do they belong to? You can devise a questionnaire to send to your best customers and prospects.

Entice them with a free offer or a big discount. Many actors start developing their character by writing down a long list of words that describe the character. This helps the actor think deeply about the part they are going to play.

This strategy works well to help you figure out what kind of people buy often. You likely know far more about your prospects and customers than you realize. This method helps you get a clearer understanding of what you probably already know.

DURING THE SALE: You can save yourself time and energy by paying close attention to your customers during the sales process. One thing you should definitely do is watch for signs that the customer is ready to buy. The more expensive your product or service, the more time it takes to sell it.

Customers want to know all about how it works and what it can do to make their life or business better. Help them work through this process and you will make more sales. Here are a few signs customers give you when they are ready to buy.

The customer suddenly speeds up the pace. She has decided she wants to buy and is moving with more purpose toward the sale. Some people are just the opposite. They slow down the pace when they get serious about buying. Rush them and you will lose the sale.

Your customer starts asking a lot of questions. Remember that customers only ask about things that really matter to them. Take this as a good sign you've got a serious prospect.

Others will ask all about terms of payment, delivery, and guarantees even before they tell you which item they want. They feel more comfortable doing this because they can show serious interest in buying without letting you know exactly what they want to buy.

AFTER THE SALE: This could be the most important time to pay attention to customers, especially if you want to make repeat sales or get referral business. Contact your customers to see if they are satisfied with their product or service. If the customers have questions or complaints, do your best to answer the situation quickly.

Remember that you can sometimes head off future problems by paying attention to customer concerns. If you find that your customers are completely satisfied, ask if you can get a testimonial. Nothing helps you make a sale like strong testimonials from satisfied customers.

Prospects are impressed when they hear positive things from those who have already bought your product or service. "This gadget doubled my gas mileage and saves me $200 a month! Buy it!"

Some types of customer recommendations work better than others. "This is great stuff" is a good testimonial but "This stuff cut my costs by 20%" is even better.

Try to get customer recommendations that tell what kind of results the user got. When customers say something good about your business or products, ask them if you can use their comment in your marketing.

Almost everyone will be delighted and flattered that you want to use their words. Write them down and file them away for later use.

Even though the Internet is probably the most technological thing in our lives, we need to remember that Internet BUSINESS still revolves around PEOPLE. We should always make sure that we pay attention to the people we do business with -- there is really NO better way of doing market research.

Kevin Nunley provides marketing advice and copy writing for businesses and organizations. Read all his money-saving marketing tips at http://DrNunley.com/. Reach him at kevin@drnunley.com or (801)253-4536.

 
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