For starters, qualifying customer needs and wants just makes good sense. It saves you a lot of time; differentiates you from the hustlers that want to sell based on their self-interests; positions you as a professional sales person that is genuinely interested in understanding your customer’s requirements in order to offer relevant and valuable solutions. Once you have thoroughly and carefully qualified your customer’s requirements, you can present solutions and options in the form of products, services and resources that satisfy their expressed needs, wants and desires or conversely, help them avoid their fears, concerns or reservations.
If you read my previous blog posted March 25th on the importance of properly engaging a customer, you’ll remember the sales clerk could have significantly improved her chance of making a sale by asking me a few simple qualifying questions relating to what I wanted; why I was looking; my preference regarding style; material – e.g. synthetic or natural fabric or my price range. Any of those types of questions would have helped qualify my requirements.
Qualifying establishes you as a true professional and positions you as an advisor.
Your customers can deal with your competitors to receive similar services or products. Why should they deal with you? Ultimately it must be a unique experience and perceived value that only you can provide. They must also realize a positive and beneficial outcome or result which is supported by a professional sales and service experience that leaves them wanting more. This means not just “taking their order” as that only applies to fast food restaurants and even there they try to upsell you to a larger size.
The entire sales and service process must be designed and executed in a manner that is unique and of high value in order to demonstrate they were understood, are important and valued. By identifying their specific needs, wants and desires you will be able to customize a solution, even if it is as simple as making their favorite coffee, in order to be perceived as offering personal value. When this is achieved, you will be seen as more than a service or product provider, but rather a solution provider and potentially an advisor. A customer whose requirements are clearly identified, and is presented an appropriate solution, will generally remain engaged and move to the next step of the selling process with you. Furthermore, consistently re-qualifying long term customers is a good practice to ensure that you are not basing your service on outdated assumptions.
Qualifying can also become part of your initial Go – No Go process. This is an opportunity to not only understand the customer to better serve them, but to also determine if this is a customer that you should be moving forward with, a “go”, or if they do not meet your target market or ideal customer profile and should be identified as a “no-go” I have seen too many sales people waste valuable resources pursuing potential customers who, for various reasons, are not a good fit for them or their company.
“Quality in a service or product is not what you put into it. It is what the client or customer gets out of it.” – Peter Drucker