There's an old folk saying that goes like this: "Never forget where you came from, because when you do it's a long road home."
That's great advice in general, but especially for a salesperson. After all, long before you were in the sales business, what were you? A customer, right? And obviously you still are in most aspects of your life.
So if you want you (and your team) to be more relatable, to sell with more confidence, and to take business to the next level, it's time to rediscover what it's like to be a customer. And not just any customer, but your own customer. Optimize your customer experience by putting yourself in your customer's shoes. Circle back to how your customers are really experiencing your brand, and your product/service offerings.
Now, don't get me wrong. We're not talking about some vague mental exercise here. If you really want to tap into the power of customer-centered empathy, guide your team through an actionable process. Dig deep into the customer experience with these three steps.
Step #1: Realization (Think of Yourself as the Customer)
It's absolutely vital that you, as a salesperson, constantly remind yourself of what it's like to be a customer. Granted, a lot of companies use buyer personas to help them identify "target consumers." These semi-fictional profiles certainly have their place. However, as a salesperson on the "front lines" of your business, you need to go deeper than demographics and the surface level of a persona's hypothetical sales journey.
For instance, think about your own customer experiences. Ask yourself questions like:
Write down the answers to these and similar questions. Then, spend some time analyzing those answers for actionable insights.
And don't stop there! Get different perspectives from your friends, colleagues, current customers and past customers. Schedule a team meeting, and ask your employees to prepare examples they can share to educate and inspire the entire team. Have an open dialogue with one another. Encourage creative thinking. Collaborate.
Training yourself and your sales team to really "step into the customer's shoes" is the first step toward optimizing the customer experience and growing your business. In fact, a whopping 86 percent of customers say that they're willing to pay more if it means getting a better customer experience. Chew on that for a moment!
Step #2: Processing (Identify What's Important to Your Customer)
Now that you've gathered quite a bit of data from the "realization" stage, it's time to organize and filter that data into meaningful patterns. Use plenty of questions during this second step to honestly assess the strengths and weaknesses of your product/service offering.
Think of yourself as a guide. If you were in the buyer's place, how would you want to be guided along your journey? What would be most helpful to you? What would help create a memorable customer experience?
For example, think of the following points:
As you process the information you've gleaned from the "realization" phase of this process, you'll no doubt discover new insights about both your customers and your brand.
Step #3: Action (Make the Customer Experience Better)
Finally, it's time to take your research and turn it into results. Develop a workable plan of action to implement the insights and opportunities you've discovered.
As an example, think about how you could use the information from the previous two steps to improve the customer experience during a sales call. Ultimately, there are three elements of a great sales call — but how can you achieve them?
Keep Learning. Keep Growing.
At the end of the day, the three-step process that we've discussed will help you to stay aligned with your values, your company's mission, and the needs of your prospects. Basically, it's a powerful way to "remember where you came from," and grow from the experiences you've shared (and still share) with other consumers.
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