marketing+sales : Partner Selling:
8 steps to serve your customers and be rewardedNovember 2012
Partner selling is a logical approach to selling in today's electronically connected world. We all like to do business with people we know and trust. This simply makes buyers more confident in their purchases. If you sell from the perspective of serving customers as a partner, rather than an opponent, your rewards will certainly follow. Here are some suggestions to get you started:
Step 1: Be Caring
Your customers' perception is their reality. Seeing things through their eyes will help you to position yourself as their caring and trusted partner, rather than just another vendor.
Step 2: Do Your Research
Without product knowledge, it will be impossible for any salesperson to translate product features into customer benefits. Also, know your customers' needs, wants and desires. This comes from direct and meaningful communication with your customers. I've found that a basic understanding of Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP), the science of how the brain learns, will assist any salesperson to become substantially more effective in the sales process.
Step 3: Be a Better Listener
Listen for NLP indicators. Everybody has a primary basic learning strategy: visual, auditory or kinesthetic (feeling). While people use each of the three strategies in different learning environments, most favor one strategy. Determine your customers' preferred strategy by listening to the kind of words they use. Talk with them in their NLP-favored terms to quickly build rapport. For example, the customer who asks, "I wonder how this will look on me?" is most likely a visual learner. Talk to that person in visual terms. An appropriate response might be: "Just picture yourself..." This is called direct or matched communication; in other words, you are mirroring your customer. If you responded with: "Feel this fabric," there would have been a communication mismatch. The more rapport you have with prospects/customers, the more they will tell you exactly how to sell to them.
Step 4: Ask Questions
One learns more through asking than through answering. "Ask and listen" is the formula for selling success. The correct questions, if answered, allow you to hear exactly how to sell to the individual or organization. Asking about needs and wants—along with past purchases—will help you understand what product features will deliver the benefits desired. In your questioning, determine the preferred learning strategy quickly and use "seeing," 'hearing" or "feeling" words when questioning prospects and customers.