We all know that businesses are becoming highly “customer-centric” with the customer being at the center of almost every business policy. The importance of customer satisfaction is obvious, as without customers there is no business. It has also been discovered that a single unsatisfied customer can ruin the possibility of attracting ten potential customers.
Thus, it becomes important for organizations to focus on customer retention and customer support by making customer satisfaction an integral part of sales process training. Sales people are the first one to meet and deal with customers and understand their requirements. They need to come up with the best possible solutions so that customers are satisfied and become loyal to their organization. A sales process involves seven steps; let’s see how an effective preparation at each stages helps in gaining customer’s acceptance and happiness.
- 1) Planning and Preparation: Properly planned sales training ensures that sales personnel possess adequate knowledge of the product – its purpose, features and benefits. It enables sales people to promote the USP of the product to the customer. Once customers are convinced of the value offering, it is likely that they will buy the product and remain satisfied with it. Sales training also prepares sales people to understand the prospect’s issues and problems and to come out with strategic solutions providing additional value to customers.
- 2) Introduction or opening: How a sales person introduces himself will establish his credibility. We all know that the first impression is the best impression. Therefore, training that emphasizes how to talk and converse with the customer will go a long way in helping the salesperson earn good will and acceptance from the customer. This will ensure that the customer is comfortable and enthusiastic to listen to the sales person.
- 3) Questioning: Questioning is facilitative in nature and aids the buyer to make a decision. Questions showing empathy towards the customer’s needs help in gaining critical goodwill. Through questioning, the sales person gets an opportunity to clarify the doubts that the customers have in their mind. Teaching the salesperson to ask the right questions along with appropriate listening skills and body language, will help in winning loyal customers.
- 4) Presentation: A sales person needs to present his product to different people and he needs to be trained to alter his presentation style depending on the needs and requirements of his customers. What appeals to one group may not to another and a sales person needs to have good judgment about the tastes and expectations of his customers and should be sharp enough to alter his presentation style accordingly. For example, while presenting his product to a customer with sound technical knowledge, he should talk in technical terms with respect to the features of the product and when he is talking to a customer who is only the end-user and is interested in how it benefits him/ her, he should be able to speak in terms of the benefits that the customer will get from the product. His training should equip him with these necessary skills.
- 5) Overcoming objections or negotiation: Customer objections are normal in any sales process. Good training anticipates possible objections and helps the sales person to negotiate his way through them. A customer whose objections or concerns have been answered will be more convinced and satisfied with his purchase.
- 6) Close or agreement: It is not sufficient to gain customer acceptance. Once the customer has expressed his/ her desire to a sales person, the sales person shouldn’t be in a hurry to clinch the deal and leave. A customer who is not rushed is happiest and convinced about the ‘buy’. Therefore, proper closing techniques need to be part of the sales training process.
- 7) Follow up and fulfillment of delivery: Conscientious follow up is an important indicator of integrity. Having a sales person follow up on the customer’s feedback with respect to the product that he/ she has recently purchased helps in building a lasting relationship.
Sales process training that is customer-centric acts as a binding force between the customers and the sales person. It ultimately helps in creating a strong and satisfied customer-base. Do share your thoughts on the same.