Partnering When the Pressure’s On
As sellers, consultants or service professionals, we are face to face with an increase in complexities brought on by this current, largely virtual and economically stressed climate. Clients have postponed critical solutions that were going to propel their business because of budget issues. Decision makers are more reserved about taking action, yet taking action is the very thing that you know will help your client navigate future risks. Other more pressing priorities have risen and there “isn’t time” to discuss objectives. If an aspect of your product or service is disrupted for whatever reason, customer reactions may be surprisingly more volatile. Pressure and emotions are running high.
To add to this, the mental effects of isolation from quarantine efforts are very real and can be subtle or very pronounced. Feelings of loneliness, anxiety, restlessness, and dissatisfaction have increased. The loss of business opportunities is surely heightening the levels of pressure and anxiety that our customers and clients are experiencing– both professionally and personally. This may be impacting their attitudes toward risk and may even impact their ability to make clear business decisions.
Pressure and Opportunity
As consultants, we have a huge opportunity! Successful selling and service hinges on our ability to consistently identify customer needs that can be met by our products or services and to help meet them .
Business needs are met by WHAT we sell (our products and solutions). Personal needs are met by HOW we sell. Personal needs have more to do with how your customer wants to be treated and regarded within and outside of her own organization. They also include goals for her career and personal life! So, in a stressful business environment fraught with challenges, her personal needs might be to maintain job security, to look superior in her role, or, more basically, to be heard.
Our customers are always looking for solutions, whether for specific business problems or for a way to alleviate the pressures they feel. If we are skilled enough to understand a customer’s professional AND personal needs, we can strategically increase our effectiveness in meeting these needs and, as a result, be perceived as a CRITICAL resource.
That’s why we must look beyond the immediate business situation to the individual. By noticing and listening for verbal and non-verbal cues, by probing to understand WHY a customer is feeling the way he is and what is at stake if his problems go unsolved, we gain insight into specific personal needs and how we can most appropriately help meet them.
By responding attentively, we communicate that we are listening, and that what our customer is saying and feeling is important. We can make HUGE strides toward meeting the personal needs to be acknowledged and supported. These are needs of every individual!
The outcome? Relationships are strengthened in ways that we once may have taken for granted. Through positive, valuable dialogue, the customer becomes more open and willing to share more insight which leads to more discovery and ideas. With more discovery, ideas, and options , your client is on her way to seeing you as THE ONE who can help relieve pressure and provide solutions – so much so, that she will likely bring you into the conversation BEFORE stacking you against your competition. As relationships grow stronger, your ability to influence the customer decision process also increases.
Customer Crisis – New Opportunities
At Acclivus we teach that, as consultants, our greatest opportunity to create the most value is during the times of greatest challenge for our customers. If there has ever been a perfect example of such a time, it is now. Just like always, customer goals are being established, decisions are being made, solutions are being implemented and, hopefully, in an optimal way. With added pressures, the challenges become more complicated, and the opportunity to create value grows even more.
Acclivus programs help sales, support, and service professionals partner well. Our R3 mission is to create stronger RELATIONSHIPS and focus on optimal RESULTS which result in ongoing, profitable REVENUE. The most valued consultants are those who can recognize, understand, and relate to both the personal and positional needs of customers in order to address both.
Contact us to schedule in-person or online programs to learn the principles and models to grow R3!