Listen to What Customers Want

SCOREThis article is provided by the Greater Scranton Area SCORE chapter.

Sometimes, selling more means saying less. If your small business is attracting good prospects, but you keep hearing “no thanks,” it may be time to do a little less “selling” and a little more listening.

Take time to learn as much as you can about why your customers are coming to you. Ask questions, and listen carefully to the answers. Gather information on past problems and find out what’s working for them, what’s not and what they are really looking for that your business can provide. Armed with this information, your business can offer the solutions or benefits the customer is seeking.

Do they merely want a wrench?  Or do they need one for a very specific purpose such as making adjustments on an Italian-made bicycle? It could be a big difference. Your task is to help customers explore their options and select the right action to achieve their goals. Your small business will gain customer trust by listening, not rambling endlessly about what you offer. Results are what customers care about the most. If you provide results, you gain their business.

Once you’ve listened attentively, you have the information you need to create an urgency to act that is based on the client’s needs, not yours. No need to push. Just use your knowledge to understand the customer’s own urgency. That’s why they are talking to you in the first place.

To make more sales, you must keep the process in motion by establishing with the prospect what action will happen next. It may be a meeting or follow-up phone call, but it needs to be something. In the process, try to identify a consequence the customer will suffer if they don’t buy from you.

In all cases, you need to reach the decision-maker. Others may be too concerned with trying to “not be wrong.” Find someone who is motivated to accelerate the buying process. Do whatever you can to raise the comfort level of buying from you. One good way is to give them a way out with a satisfaction guarantee.

For additional planning help for your small business, contact SCORE “Counselors to America’s Small Business.”  SCORE is a nonprofit organization of more than 10,500 volunteer business counselors who provide free, confidential business counseling and training workshops to small business owners.  Call (570) 851.1608 or visit to contact the Greater Scranton Area SCORE Chapter.