Are You Missing Your Biggest Opportunities?
Has this ever happened to you? A customer calls your company and ask for the price of your service and then says thank you and hangs up.
Or a customer comes into your store and looks around. A staff person asks if they are looking for anything or need any help. The customer says no, walks around the store and then leaves.
Lost opportunity? Probably! And yet you or your staff think they have done a good job because they offered to help.
Here is the challenge – your customers (and prospects) don’t even know how to THINK about what you do or what you offer.
Which means when a customer asks the price of something, they may or may not understand how to evaluate what they are asking for.
For example a customer calls the ABC Carpet Company and immediately asks how much it will cost to clean her carpets. If you are quoting a price at this point you are either losing the sale, or worse you are probably undercutting yourself.
I’m not saying to avoid quoting a price but before you do, you probably need to define what the customer is really looking for. What type of questions would you ask in your business?
For example for ABC Carpet – How much wear do your carpets have? Do you have pets in your home? Children? Anyone with allergies? Do you have a special occasion coming up? What type of carpet do you have? Are your carpets an investment or a short term transition? Is it important for you to protect your carpets?
The secret is in the questions. By asking probing questions of your customers not only do you find out what they really need, you also guide their thinking in how to consider and evaluate what you have to offer.
A friend of mine, Dan, went into a shelving store looking to buy a shelf for his office. He expected to spend about $25, and was in the aisle looking at floating shelves when a clerk came up and asked Dan if he needed any help.
Dan replied “No Thanks”. Now most of the time the clerk would simply leave at this point, but this young man came back with a different question – more specific.
“What type of wall are you putting up a shelf on?” Great question! Dan replied the type of wall (drywall).
The clerk then asked a second question “What do you want to put on the shelf?” and Dan responded (books).
The clerk asked simple but engaging questions to find out what the customer was looking for, and based on the responses he recommended shelving that was completely different to what Dan was looking at.
“For the weight you want to put on the shelf, and the type of wall you are putting it on I recommend going with these types of shelves. The one you are looking at will fall off the wall within a short time”
Needless to say Dan walked out of the shelving store with the recommended shelves. He also spent $85 compared to the $25 he expected to spend but he left much happier about his purchase because he had confidence that he had bought the right shelf for what he wanted it for.
The same story illustrated importance of Up Solutions (rather than UpSelling) and interestingly, part of offering Solutions is asking good probing questions!
Your customers are starving for your knowledge applied to their issues and they often don’t even know what to ask for.
Applying This to Your Business:
- Pick a product or device that you offer.
- Choose someone on your team to role play as the customer – what is a typical question would ask? What would your customer typically know or not know?
- With the rest of your team – brainstorm propping questions that would help you identify what your customer is really looking for (and what they are really looking for may to be what they ask for!)
- Practice with your team some specific probing questions
Try out using your probing questions with customers and then share the results and what happens at your next team meeting – uses it to fine-tune how your team are trained to work with customers, providing a more consistent On-Brand expeeience for your customers and increasing your growth and success.
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