By: Astrid Vélez*
The world of sales evolves daily, based on, among other things, generational change and the use of new technology. When making a sale to a customer, it is vital to win his or her mind. I use the word “win” because it means gaining control over something. Each win allows a relationship, which can be either at the individual or group level. What is important is to develop a relationship of trust that meets a need.
From the 1970s through the 1990s, a sales person was someone who offered a product or service. In the 1990s and 2000s, we began to hear about the benefits of transforming the sales person into a consultant. Currently, the most commonly used term is advisor. What’s the difference? Consulting is offered by an expert who provides a direct solution. An advisor focuses on the customer.
The process is different for each because one imposes and the other allows the customer to feel in control. This creates a process that flows in an orderly or sensible way in the mind of the customer or prospect. This control enabled by understanding lets the customer make the best decision. This creates long-term relationships tied to loyalty.
If you ask me which is correct, consultant or advisor, I answer: “It all depends on the product or service, the profile of the customers, the culture and their expectations.” What is important is to influence the customer from a true and objective position so the customer does not feel pressured or taken advantage of. This is winning the mind of the customer, meeting his or her need with value.
As a strategist, I have seen how business owners have drifted farther from knowing their customers and ensuring that they are effectively meeting their needs.
So, how are we able to win the mind of the customer? The first step is to determine who are your customers and what are their characteristics. One of the most commonly used tools is to design a customer profile.
How can I win a mind if I don’t understand it?
When we develop a profile, we define groups with common characteristics so we can develop a strategy to win minds. Consumer behavior varies based on environment, gender, age and professional level, among other factors.
It is important to tie the need to the words and expectations used by the group of customers you are aiming at. One tool for evaluating how to win the minds of your customers is asking them questions. Surveys can be effective. They may be used by both existing and new businesses. This will enable you to learn the language, expectations and goals of the group and connect them to an offer.
First steps toward winning the mind of the customer:
- Design questions that allow you to understand their minds and, therefore, their needs
- Evaluate whether what you offer meets their needs
Sales are made when an offer is tied to a demand. It is important to connect with the mind (whether consciously or unconsciously) of the person who has the need. One very effective tool is to speak the customer’s language by using words that connect with his or her mind. That is when you begin the process of developing a strategy.
*Astrid Vélez is an international business strategist, coach and speaker, as well as the owner of Astrid Vélez & Alliances. She is a specialist in transforming central areas of businesses and companies to achieve increased sales rapidly and efficiently. Innovation, self-motivation and strategic alliances are some of her main tools.
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