How to Reveal Your Customer’s Motivation
David was nervous. With his new business venture, everything was on the line. Three kids, a wife, a mortgage and two car payments were depending on his success. Every sale had to count.
David looked at the clock, his heart beat racing. A jingle from the front door indicated someone entered his sporting goods shop. Here’s his chance. It’s time to make a sale.
His fight or flight instinct kicked in. He raced to the front of the shop eager to make a sale. He barely heard the customer when she told him she was looking for a set of golf clubs for her husband’s birthday. Instead, David assumed she was in shopping for herself and rushed her towards the women’s clothing section, where he knew she would find the perfect North Face jacket for the season.
The customer, overwhelmed and frustrated at his lack of attention, glanced at a few items, thanked David for his time, and left.
What just happened?
As a business owner, risks are high and often we have others that depend on us. While an employee works during the week and enjoys free time in the evenings and weekends, most small business owners are catching up on all the other parts to the business: marketing themselves, paying bills, submitting taxes, paying insurance and monthly salaries, interviewing new vendors, collecting overdue payments, the list goes on and on.
For David, it’s no surprise that he raced forward to close a sale, only to end up disappointing both himself, and his customer.
Here’s how to get the Selling Advantage and ensure a much smoother ride.
First, take a breath, collect your wits, and follow these steps.
Rule Number One: It’s not all about you.
If you are concerned about your mortgage and children at home, how can you focus on the person standing in front of you? It would be nearly impossible. As soon as a prospect knocks on your door, remember that they are the star of the show. They have shown up because they have a need, and it’s your job to figure out what that need is, and determine if you can provide the solution.
Let’s go back to David and his customer who is looking for some new golf clubs for her husband. As she enters the shop, he has the opportunity to discover the logical reason she is looking for clubs, and the motivation behind it. In this new scenario, David greets her with a calm, warm demeanor and asks her a few questions.
- What has brought you in the shop today?
She would like to buy a new set of golf clubs for her husband.
- When do you need it by?
Delivery in less than three weeks.
- What is your budget?
No more than $3,000.
Those are good foundational questions. While they tell you the logical reasons a person has come to see you, it doesn’t address the motivation behind the reason, such as:
- What is the urgency around making this purchase?
She has forgot her husband’s birthday and annual golf trip with his friends from high school are both coming up at the end of the month.
- What impact is expected?
Her husband has complained for the last two years that his clubs are old, clunky, and while he doesn’t like to admit it, he wants to make an impression with his friends on the course.
- What are the consequences around not making a purchase today?
She will be in the dog house that she forgot his birthday, and will hear him complain again about his old golf clubs.
With David’s vast experience in the sporting goods industry, he is now in a much better place to help his customer with a decision that will solve her problem. If he was still concerned about making a sale, he may be urged to sell her the latest, greatest, and most expensive set he has on hand.
Based on her sense of urgency, and her husband’s need to look good in front of his friends, he recommends a gift card with a personal consultation to fit him with a set that is just right for his handicap level and needs.
The sense of relief in his customer’s eyes is apparent almost immediately. She purchases her husband some of the latest Titlest shorts, shirts, and a gift card for a consultation and set of golf clubs.
As basic and 101 as it sounds, listening to your customer’s needs trump your own personal needs. And while the logical reason for a new purchase may be apparent, the motivation underneath the logical reason is where gold sits. When we turn off our own inner drivers and instead focus on the needs and motivations of our customer, we stand a much greater chance at reaching a decision that benefits both the small business owner and customer.