How to adapt to clients and sell better
Updated: Jul 9
Take a moment to think about the last purchase you made. Whatever it was - a new book, a subscription to Netflix, a new laptop - you went through a process to eventually own that new product or solution. The decision making process.
It’s human psychology - may not be always aware, but we always go through key stages of a process when deciding to buy something and if we look closely, we can track these stages. It is no different for your own clients.
The better we can understand this process, the more effectively we can understand our clients. The more we understand them, the better we sell. Understanding this process and how to adapt our behaviour will lead to better conversations with clients, increase conversion and to us adding more value.
So how can we break this process down? Here are four stages that we, and our clients, go through when deciding to buy or not to buy.
The sales process
The first stage is MOTIVATION, this is the why, it always starts with Why as Simon Sinek shares. Our heart overrides our head at the start of our decision making, we ask why?
At some point our head joins the conversation and starts to think about the NEEDS, we might ask ourselves do I really need this? At this point, we think about our list of needs - the size, colour, cost, style of what we are purchasing.
Once we have decided on our list of needs we look at the potential SOLUTION and choose one that best meets our motivation and needs.
Just before we are about to buy we have that moment of DOUBT, asking ourselves am I sure? At the point of decision making our tolerance to risk goes down, so we start to wonder if we should make the purchase at all. If offered the right amount of reassurance through reviews, friends recommendations or number of stars we will proceed with our purchase.
So how does this work for our clients?
Let’s take the example of a person who is looking to open a bank account. They also start with their heart, their motivation. They are motivated to open a bank account because, when they retire, they want to sail around the world.
Then their logical side starts to think about their needs - they want to see certain returns on their money, they have a level of risk they are willing to take and it’s essential to them that their money is invested ethically.
They do some research and look at potential solutions. Should they:
Put their money away with you, a well established investment company?
Put their money away with your competitor?
Manage the money themselves?
Do nothing at all?
Importantly, the solution that is most tailored to their motivations and needs is the solution they will choose. If your solution is generic, jargonistic or presented too soon they will be far more likely to reject it.
When this person is in their final stage, the doubts stage, they will be looking for reassurance that they are making the right decision. This is when you should be keeping in touch with them, holding their hand and reassuring them. If you step away to “give them space to decide” then they may not feel reassured and they may decide to do nothing. Or worse, choose another partner who is staying closer.
How can we use this process to sell better?
It’s essential that we adapt our activity to match the buying stage that our client is at. This is to ensure that we present the right solution at the right time, and increase the chance of them choosing us.
Here are some areas to focus on:
Ask questions to find out their why
Prepare thought provoking questions to help them share their motivators
Avoid making assumptions about their motivations
“If you listen better, you will sell more”
~ Jeffrey Gitomer
Avoid making assumptions about their needs - if you hear yourself thinking “I’ve seen this before, I know what solution they need” stop yourself, every client is unique and you should hear their story first
Ask questions to understand all their needs - don’t just hear one need and jump straight to solution
“If I had asked people what they wanted they would have said faster horses”
~ Henry Ford
People don’t always know what they need, you can uncover their needs by asking great questions.
Always tailor the solution to them; don’t provide a generic solution
Share the solution in their own words, avoid jargon
Ensure you have actively listened before sharing a solution
“People don’t care how much you know, until they know how much you care”
Stay close and offer reassurance
Share third person validation, people like to know others have done it first
Stay in touch even if they are not ready to commit now
“It is not your customer’s job to remember you. It is your obligation and responsibility to make sure they don’t have the chance to forget you.”
~ Patricia Fripp
Always focus on the client's MOTIVATION and NEEDS first, find out what is motivating them to move forward and what needs they have. Then, and only then, can you share a SOLUTION tailored directly to what they have shared. Keep in touch and offer reassurance at every step to avoid any DOUBTS.
Get in touch with the Higson team if you would like to learn more about how to use this process to sell more effectively.