Knowing Your Customers; Closing the Sale


Just because your business is based in your home that doesn't mean you can afford to ignore the most important element of your success: sales. The bottom line is that your sales ability will make or break your business's future. Chances are, however, that unless you have a background in sales, you lack the helpful training which will give you a competitive advantage.

The key to closing the sale quicker and easier than you ever imagined is to understand your customers. Below you will find some advice that will help you get to know them a little better.

Who They Are

Things have definitely changed dramatically in the last several decades. Even if you ignore the role of technology in sales, there are still enough changes from that old sales model described above to require a significant shift in attitude.

For one, men are no longer the only ones doing the buying. As you probably already know, women are out there spending their hard earned money and making important decisions about their family's budgets. Unfortunately, many of these women still feel treated as inferior or "stupid" by salespeople.

Another issue that has changed is the age of buyers. Today, many young people have enough disposable income to purchase nearly anything their hearts' desire, especially if they don't have the added responsibilities of excessive debt and dependents.

However, younger buyers also feel that they are not taken seriously by sellers. You can gain an advantage with these buyers by catering to their specific needs and by treating them with respect. It's not hard to do, but it will definitely make a difference.

If you do most of your business over the Internet, you might even want to stress that it provides a more equal playing ground for buyers of all genders and ages.

One last critical point is that buyers, regardless of their age or gender, are more informed and more knowledgeable about the products they buy and most simply won't take your word for the benefits of your product.

To make the sale, you'll need to show instead of just telling why your product is a worthy investment. Use statistics and testimonials to support your claims. Allow users to have free trials or demonstrations before they make up their minds. When they are convinced that you are being honest with them, that's when they will trust you with their money.

What They Want

Each customer is an individual who will react to the sales situation in different ways, but essentially all of them will fall into one of four categories: decisive, inquisitive, rational, and expressive. Knowing each customer's behavior style will let you know how to effectively meet their needs and finalize their transaction.

Decisive customers are typically more forceful and assertive. They know exactly what they want and don't want to waste time getting it. If you appear knowledgeable and professional and stay focused on meeting their needs, you will win their business.

Inquisitive customers are full of questions and want just the facts. They are incredibly formal and come off as distant which may discourage some salespeople. You can win their good favor by being honest about the pros and cons of your product. Also, never pressure them into making a decision. If you wait patiently, your efforts will be rewarded.

Rational customers are the easiest to work with. They ask questions, avoid conflict, and seem relaxed. They are friendly but no overly so, but don't try to put one over on them or they'll spot it right away. To succeed, stress guarantees, encourage them to get a second opinion, and present everything logically.

Finally, expressive customers are the ones you'll always remember. They are full of enthusiasm, very animated, and always upbeat. Unfortunately, they are not concerned with time and will delay making a decision for as long as possible. To win them, focus on telling your own stories about the product instead of just the facts. You'll also need to keep encouraging them to make a decision or they may never reach one.

If you don't have much interpersonal interaction with your customers, you still need to understand these four behavior types. For one, your sales writing will need to captivate all of them in order to turn them into customers. If you leave out a mention of a money back guarantee, for example, you may have a hard time convincing those rational buyers to spend their cash.

The bottom line is that all customers, regardless of their demographics or behavior style, want two things: quality and quantity. If you can convince them that you offer both, then you have closed the sale.


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