Sales Strategy: How To Really Understand Your Customer

Hi there! You’re in the middle of a series on Sales Strategy.
This is the second installment, click here to read the previous step.

Asking Open Ended Questions

The easiest way to build rapport with your customer isn’t to force casual talk and other banter, it’s to get them talking!

To get someone talking you need to ask the right type of question.

If you ask a question that has only a yes or no answer, then that’s exactly what you’ll get. Where do you go from there?

An open ended question is where you ask a pointed question that requires thought and a longer response.

The hardest people I’ve ever come across to chat to in a sales situation are truck drivers. They spend hours on the road not talking to anyone and 9 times out of 10 are typically known as “a man of few words”. They can be a metaphorical brick wall when it comes to relating to them.

If this technique works on them (and it does) then you can use it to get almost anyone talking.

When you’re about to ask a question of your customer, ask yourself first “does this question have more than a yes or no answer?”. If not, reformulate the question so it does.

Listen Carefully

Once you get that truck driver talking you’ll never be able to shut him up, I can guarantee that.

Your next most important skill after crafty question creation becomes listening.

Pay attention to what they are saying, this will help you reform new questions which will lead to creating a mental check list of their needs.

I find it’s often helpful to restate their needs in a casual way to let them know you understand.

This technique of confirming at every step is an instant rapport builder, it will make your customer believe that you do actually understand their issues, problems, and could possibly hold the answer they’ve been looking for.

It will help you get them in a positive state of mind – that of thinking “yes”.

How To Do This Online

This is all well and good face to face. So, can you imagine a few ways you could implement this online?

Copywriting is the skill of relating to people via the written word and I suggest that if you’re working in online sales, or even print media then you should be studying this art form daily.

It takes the form of product descriptions, sales letters, blog posts, emails, service descriptions, and more.

Next time you’re browsing around the web looking for products, take notice of what questions immediately pop into your head about the product you’re looking at and try to find if the writer has provided the answer for you in their text.

Unfortunately, it’s a bit hard to get someone to talk to you and give feedback in a one-way medium, which does make your job as an online sales person a lot more difficult. You need to address questions that haven’t even been asked yet! The whole scenario is back to front from face to face dealing where it’s you asking the questions.

Still, by using copywriting techniques you can address those objections and get your customer saying “yes” in their minds just the same. This is the art of understanding your customer online.

Hi there! You’re in the middle of a series on Sales Strategy.
This is the second installment, click here to read the next step.

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About Josh Kohlbach

Josh is a programmer, entrepreneur and the founder of Code My Own Road. He started this website to help programmers with business stuff and also to get things straight in his head. You can read more about Code My Own Road and Josh on the About page

4 Responses to Sales Strategy: How To Really Understand Your Customer

  1. Dave Doolin October 5, 2010 at 1:43 pm #

    “Yes ladder.”

    I forgot about that. Now I’m wondering how to implement a yes ladder into a plain old blog post.

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