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How to Truly connect with Your Customers

By Cory Carlson September 11, 2017

The goal of selling has always been to figure out the best way to get in front of customers, find out their needs, tell them about our incredible products, and to finalize a purchase order.

Most of the time we don't think of Jesus as a salesman. If we take a deeper look though we discover that He was a master salesman. He sold something people not only wanted, but also desperately needed. The only difference was he's not selling a product, but rather Himself.

Throughout the Bible, we see how Jesus went through certain stages in order to draw in engagement from His “customers”. In our original blogpost How To Sell Like Jesus, we introduced each of these stages: Connect, Content, Close.

Now we'd like to go a little deeper into each stage to explore how you can effectively grow in each area.

We'll start with a deep dive into the first stage: Connect.

How to Truly Connect with Your Customers

We all have the same thoughts running through our head when we walk into a client’s office: Where is the family picture so I can ask questions about their kids? Where is the college logo so I can talk about college football? Where is the interesting piece of art or vacation picture that I can ask about?

You're not alone – we all are thinking the same thing. So, how do you set yourself apart and truly connect?

It starts with having the intention of building relationship and trust, instead of just making small talk with hopes of getting the sale. We build for relationship and not for transaction. 

When Jesus interacted with others in scripture this was his home base. We can learn a lot about how to connect by looking at how Jesus interacted with others.

Here are four lessons we can learn from Jesus on how to build connection:

 

1. Get Personal

Jesus cared for the women at the well. Even though it was not politically correct to talk to a woman then and there, he took the time and the risk to ask her questions. He asked questions about her marriage and he already knew the answer!

Ask questions to better understand your clients. Go deep by asking questions like: Why do you work here? What do you do for fun? How do you balance work and family?  

 

2. Actually Care

Actually care what they say. I know this sounds trite, but the client can feel whether you care or not. Do you ask the same surface level questions as every other sales person? Or do you take it a step deeper?

For example, perhaps your client shares that his daughter is starting college. Most salespeople end the conversation there with, “That’s great your daughter is a freshman in college this year.”

If you are showing you actually care, your next question could be, “How are you and your wife handling the new transition?” Now you are building relationship!

 

3. Determine Needs  

Now that you're building some trust, you'll need to shift into discovering their reason for buying. We cannot assume their reasons for buying are the same as the customer down the street. Maybe they want a permanent solution. Maybe they want a temporary solution.

I find it so interesting that Jesus always asked the sick if they wanted healing – even if he could tell they were paralyzed!

Seek to get to know their pain points. Don't assume you know what they need. Some sick wanted to be healed, while others wanted their sins forgiven. Understand your clients needs so you can later position your product as the right solution.   

 

4. Bring Joy 

Customers have plenty of options for people they can buy from. They want to connect to places and people that are positive. Staying positive and joyful though can be challenging when it's been a long week. But your clients don’t need your negative energy or frustration brought into their office.

Think of work as a ‘get to’ and not a ‘have to’. You are blessed to have your job and although there may be other things you wish you were doing, I am sure you can also list a ton that you are glad you are not doing!

God has you here at this moment. Lean into it! When you bring positivity into your job, joy will pour out of you and connection will be cultivated.

 

A Real Life Example

My career in sales has mainly been in the construction industry selling to contractors. Those who know me can attest to the truth that I am the complete opposite of a contractor. I prefer hair gel over hats, striped dress socks over thick white socks and trendy jeans over Carhartt pants.   

However, because I cared personally and professionally for my customers, they bought from me; even though I was not “their kind”.

Actually, some of my best customers have been the ones who were the most different from me! Our best distributor in Colorado taught me how to steer wrestle! We even travelled to Las Vegas to watch the National Rodeo show where I bought a pair of cowboy boots!  

You've probably heard the saying, “People don’t buy from people they know, but from people they trust.” Customers truly do want to buy from people they like, trust, and who show concern.

Take some time to dig into each of these areas. See where your strengths lie and where you can improve! And as always, we would love to hear from you and hear how we can continue to help improve your sales!

 

What’s next? 

Stay tuned for our next post where we take a deep dive into the second stage: Content. Here we discuss how to explain your products in a compelling way that meets the customer’s needs. 

If you're ready for help now with your sales calls and want coaching, contact Cory Carlson to learn more.

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