Can We Excuse Poor Customer Service in 2021?
Part 2 of 2
4 Simple Rules to Understand Your Customers in a Changing World
The world of sales has dramatically changed since Covid-19 began - no more handshakes, less face-to-face catch ups - and old rules and best practices no longer always apply.
As the world is constantly changing, we need to adapt to new ways of selling. Being able to keep up with this changing world is key to staying relevant in your market and winning business.
So how can you better understand your customers in a changing world?
1. Maintain Up-to-date Market Knowledge
To be able to sell effectively, you need to understand what you’re selling; this doesn’t just mean being able to recite facts about your products, it means having an in-depth and comprehensive understanding of what you’re selling, how it benefits your customers, and why prospects should choose your company over your competitors. Becoming an expert in the products/services you’re selling helps you be more persuasive and generate more sales by presenting solutions to customers’ needs/problems rather than just pitching products.
There are many ways to keep your market knowledge up-to-date, including research, listening to podcasts, signing up to newsletters, and reading blogs. One of the main things to remember is that it’s crucial to gather information from lots of different sources and then form your own opinion. Taking all of your information from one person or organisation can lead to bias and prevent you from getting a well-rounded view of your market and industry.
2. Listen Effectively
The key to understanding is listening. As a sales professional trying to better understand your customers in this ‘new world’, it’s beneficial to go into every conversation with the assumption that you may not understand everything your customer is going to say - and that’s okay. With the immense changes that the world has gone through recently, it’s crucial that we listen to what our customers are telling us and learn from it, and take any feedback on board.
To be able to listen effectively, it's important that we practice active listening. Active listening helps us hear and understand what people are really saying - you can click here to find out more about what active listening is and how you can adopt it.
3. Identify Your Customers’ Needs
Put yourself in your buyer’s shoes; what do they really want and need? To be able to truly provide value to your customers, you need to understand what their needs are and how these needs have changed as a result of the pandemic. Studies show that customer expectations are on the rise, particularly in terms of speed of service and having a simple, fuss-free customer experience. If identifying your customers’ needs is something that your organisation is struggling with, you can click here to read about 4 Smart Ways to Get to Know Your Post-Covid-19 Customers.
4. Build Rapport
Building rapport is the key to nurturing relationships with prospects and, arguably most importantly, encouraging repeat business from existing customers - research shows that businesses have a 60 to 70% chance of selling to an existing customer while the probability of selling to a new prospect is only 5% to 20%, showing that it’s much easier to retain customers than it is to get new ones.
However, the way we interact with customers has changed significantly as a result of the pandemic, as well as the frequency of our meetings with customers:
- A recent survey conducted by TOPO revealed that nearly 50% of prospects aren’t willing to book a meeting right now
The meetings that are being booked are different from what most sales representatives are used to; the majority of sales calls and check-ins with clients are now virtual or, if they are face-to-face, social distancing and masks are mandatory. Below, we have collated 3 fantastic articles that explore how to build and maintain relationships with customers post-pandemic:
Struggling with These 4 Things?
These 4 things are all extremely important and will help you understand customers in a changing world. One of the best ways to improve your or your staff’s ability to maintain up-to-date market knowledge, listen effectively, identify your customers’ needs or build rapport is to network with other sales experts and gain inspiration from their expertise. Our sales trainers who deliver our Sales Executive Apprenticeship are all industry experts with years of experience. Our Sales Executive Apprenticeship covers all of these topics and many more. If this is something you would be interested in, you can download our apprenticeship brochure at the bottom of this article.
To conclude our ‘Can We Excuse Poor Customer Service in 2021?’ series, it’s crucial that we continue to put customers first and don’t let customer service slip despite the pandemic; ensuring that your organisation delivers exceptional customer experiences is more important now than ever.
Until next time…