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The Right Questions Can Define Customer Needs

The Right Questions Can Define Customer Needs

Many business coaches believe the strongest sales approach rides on building trust with customers. This means providing solutions to problems rather than turning up the sales pressure. In a competitive environment, this may be what differentiates you from your competitor.

The consumer experience strategy can boost profits, growth and customer satisfaction. As the credit remains tight, customers are fighting back against poor treatment – and this directly affects the bottom line. A multifaceted positive approach includes:

  • Interpersonal relationship-building. This process sidesteps potential glitches, rectifies problems and builds rapport for future sales. Active listening constitutes fully 90 percent of these conversations. As such, it requires the listener to care about what the customer is saying – a fundamental requirement for good relationships.
  • Open-ended questions. This type of query allows for a wide range of responses, allowing your customer to tell you what they consider important, expand on their answer and share more than just facts. Open-ended questions elicit answers that:
    • Offer information about the person's agenda
    • Clarify your understanding of what is being discussed
    • Help you connect with and better understand the customer
  • Listening. Remaining silent and attentive while customers speak drives the focus to their needs, generating solutions that build trust and form relationships. Often, this method leads to up selling or cross-selling to higher priced products, enriched customer satisfaction and profitable sales teams.
  • Cross-cultural communication. Assess your business's cross-cultural attitude; teach employees to respect the cultures of customers and other employees; and use this diversity to improve customer interactions – and sales margins.
  • Feedback. Learning what customers think will keep your finger on the pulse of the consumer. Use surveys, focus groups, informal one-on-one conversations and problem-resolution interactions to determine further actions to improve business objectives.
  • Employee input. Encourage staff to share ideas for product or service innovation. By implementing employee suggestions whenever possible, the employee feels validated as a team player, while the customer benefits from improved service.

A motivated sales team helps the company stand out in today's competitive marketplace. Successful retailers can leverage their resources in a systemized manner so that employees can literally run the business. Valued and competent employees can more effectively lead the company to a large repeat-customer pool, as well as higher profits.

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