By Daniel Anderson
The advent of digital marketing has largely transformed the traditional sales process. Marketers have become accustomed to developing funnels that educate leads, address common objections, and offer the company’s products or services as a solution.
This more automated approach has turned much of marketing into a colder and more numbers-oriented game. Driving results is all about lowering cost per impression, improving click-through rates, and optimizing conversion rates.
But what if there was a better way to close leads? What if focusing on the customer, rather than on the sale, could be the key to driving more conversions? Enter customer-centric selling.
What is customer-centric selling?
Customer-centric selling offers a more humanized approach to sales that focuses on solutions rather than metrics to drive sales.
This technique requires a deep understanding of customers and their goals. The salesperson must take on more of a consultative role, working with the customer to understand their specific needs and pain points. The goal is to build a relationship with the customer, and ultimately, provide them with a genuine solution.
Although this approach to selling largely disregards the sale itself, it is actually a very effective way to close more leads and drive conversions. In fact, Deloitte found that customer-centric companies are 60% more profitable compared to companies that don’t focus on customers.
It’s clear that the time and energy invested into building trust and rapport with customers pays off, resulting in a more loyal customer base.
Why is it important to implement customer-centric selling?
There’s some truth to every idiom, and “the customer is always right” is no exception. The customer should always be the priority, regardless of what business you’re in.
Customer-centric selling puts the customer first by taking the time to understand their needs, goals, and unique situation. This technique is important for a few reasons:
Improved sales numbers
While it may seem counterintuitive, focusing on the customer rather than the sale itself can improve sales metrics. Building trust between the salesperson and the customer can create a feeling of reciprocity. Customers recognize when they have been provided value, and often feel obligated to return the favor.
Customers are more loyal to people than brands. By forming authentic relationships with customers, businesses can benefit from increased loyalty. This loyalty may be represented by a lower churn rate, higher lifetime value, and improved engagement.
Customer-centric selling is all about providing the customer with a real solution that meets their specific needs. By deeply understanding the customer, businesses can provide them with a product or service that they genuinely appreciate. This alignment on customer priorities can continue beyond the sales cycle and lead to further business development.
Customer-centric selling acts as a great filter. The process effectively removes any potentially dissatisfied customers, leaving only the business’s ideal clientele. This filter improves retention rates and allows businesses to go deeper rather than wider to provide additional solutions for their loyal base.
With satisfied and trusting customers come increased referrals. Positive feedback and social proof can create a flywheel effect that makes landing additional customers even easier. Over time, businesses with a customer-centric lens develop a competitive edge over those without the benefit of word-of-mouth marketing.
In fact, word-of-mouth marketing was found to be even more effective than paid ads, resulting in five times more sales.
More articles from AllBusiness.com:
- 12 Ways You Can Use Great Service to Keep Customers Coming Back
- The Secret to B2B Selling: How to Identify the Pain Points of Your Customers
How to build a customer-centric sales process
1. Ask questions
Before beginning with customer-centric selling, salespeople must first make a concerted effort to understand the customer. For this reason, it’s important to lead with questions, not a sales pitch.
Rather than speaking over a generic presentation, converse based on the customer’s individual needs and experiences. This customer-first mentality likely explains why 82% of top B2B salespeople display high levels of inquisitiveness.
2. Evaluate customer pain points
Through the question and answer process, salespeople should begin to piece together what the client wants and what their specific pain points are. Remember that the core of customer-centric selling isn’t selling at all—it’s solving.
In order to provide a comprehensive solution, the customer’s needs should first be explored and evaluated. Focus on patiently and actively listening, and trying to identify the root of the problem the customer needs to solve.
3. Align with the customer’s goals
With the customer’s objectives in mind, salespeople can now shift their focus toward problem-solving. If, and only if, the client is a good fit, pitch in a way that directly addresses the client’s unique challenges.
By having built a shared understanding of the customer’s perspective, salespeople can more effectively communicate the value of their product or service. Instead of highlighting specific features, hone in on the benefits to the client. Explain how they will save time, money, and energy. And more importantly, highlight how they will feel once they have been freed from their pain points.
4. Empower the customer
With customer-centric selling, salespeople are encouraged to prioritize relationships and sell only for the client’s benefit, not to reach quotas. This process ultimately empowers customers to reach a decision with confidence.
This priority shift also helps to lower clients’ natural defenses in sales calls or meetings. Customers feel more candid and comfortable reaching a conclusion when the salesperson acts as a team member rather than a source of pressure.
Instead of bringing the hard sell, salespeople should gently guide clients through an educational process. This journey should emphasize how the product or service solves a salient problem and include unbiased advice.
5. Provide continuous support
Remember that the customer experience does not end with a sale. Customer-centric selling is effective because it creates a human bond that transcends the business transaction.
Continue to nurture these newfound relationships with excellent customer service. The salesperson or a customer success manager should remain available to answer any post-sale questions, support the onboarding process, and maintain the underlying relationship.
Delivering on customer expectations not only reinforces the value proposition, but also creates loyalty and instills confidence in customers at every stage of their journey.
Long-term benefits of customer-centric selling
The secret to building a better sales process isn’t a secret. By putting the customer first at every stage, customer-centric selling allows businesses to increase conversions, close more deals, and build better relationships with potential clients.
Implementing this technique may take some getting used to, but the long-term benefits are well worth the investment.
About the Author
Daniel Anderson is a marketing expert who writes about finding opportunities and making money online. Daniel teaches readers how to start a side hustle, scale through digital marketing, and plan for financial freedom at TheMoneyManiac.com.
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