Dave Yoho: Customer Satisfaction Selling

by Kyle Clapham
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Does your company’s sales methodology respond to your customers’ needs? Outdated sales systems exist because we are an ever-evolving society. Yet many companies have become content with their rate of growth, thus the perceived need for modern selling skills is diminished.

When an industry is experiencing substantial growth, marginal selling skills may not impede a company’s success. However, when there is a malfunction or drastic change in the marketplace, such as economic chaos, increased competition or perceived declining demand, many salespeople are often unprepared to use necessary skills to interact and sell customers and prospects.

Many companies seem to be searching for an overly intellectualized concept of sales success. Despite this, our research shows that nearly 80 percent of effective sales training focuses on teaching the basics on a repetitive and reinforcing basis, often including the use of electronic devices and artificial intelligence, any, or most of which are valid—only with customer satisfaction sales training.

Correcting the inequities in your sales systems.

My company has many clients who train their salespeople using methods that analyze the social style of their prospects. They utilize techniques found in Power Linguistics (a communication system developed by Dave Yoho Associates that is based on psychology).

In the early stages of training, most salespeople require basic instruction. This includes structured customer satisfaction sales presentations and electronic sales support, and it moves on to scripted, custom presentations. After mastering the basics, many salespeople can also master more sophisticated processes of interpersonal relations between buyer and seller.

Consider these truths:

  • In many moderately sized sales organizations, one-third of the sales force produces 50% or more of the total sales revenue.
  • Many salespeople are in a constant state of flux, battling personal, economic, domestic, emotional or legal problems. Many struggle with skill development and personal growth.
  • However, with proper training, most salespeople can be stimulated to upgrade their skills and increase volume and profitability.

Most sales organizations can take the needed steps to upgrade the skill level of their salespeople. However, it takes courageous management to assess the “realities of customer satisfaction selling.”

Most people don’t like to sell.

Business owners, managers and salespeople frequently disagree with this statement—that they don’t like to sell. They say, “I love to sell.” However, ask the average salesperson if they have ever experienced the following.

  • Had an appointment when the prospect was one hour or more late or didn’t show at all, or had a scheduled phone appointment that was not answered?
  • Fulfilled an appointment when the temperature was over 95 degrees or under 20 degrees?
  • Been allotted half the time you anticipated to make your presentation?
  • Been completely sure you were going to make the sale and did not get it?
  • Lost an order to lower prices?
  • Made a sale that was later credit-rejected or cancelled?
  • Had an upset customer due to late or delayed completion for what was sold, and then had them take out their frustration on you?

None of these occurrences are fun. They constitute a major challenge for many salespeople. Why would anyone enjoy these selling issues? For the most part, they don’t.

Getting an order, receiving a big paycheck, or winning a sales contest—these are the enjoyable parts of selling, yet they represent a relatively small part of a salesperson’s time and activity. Once a manager recognizes the indisputable truth that most people don’t like to sell, there’s a greater possibility of dealing openly and more effectively with realistic sales training.

Highly disciplined salespeople achieve the greatest earnings because they know the following. Calling on prospects, staying organized, travelling long distances, having appointments or orders canceled, overcoming objections, and perceiving rejection are all critical steps that lead to sales success. Great training includes understanding that, in most cases, it’s what you’re saying/doing that is rejected, not you.

Customer-satisfaction language is a key selling tool.

Any salesperson can become more effective by improving their communication style. Customer-satisfaction language is about encouraging another person (prospect/customer) to talk about themselves and their needs, values, likes, dislikes, goals and feelings, then to use that dialogue interlaced in your presentation.

Customer-satisfaction language is a powerful and essential tool for sales success. When you use customer-satisfaction language to ask the right questions, the prospect will respond with buying clues that enable you to turn them into buyers.

Customer-satisfaction language helps answer three essential questions.

  • What is the customer really interested in?
  • What are the customer’s needs versus their wants?
  • What will make them want to buy from you?

What the customer really means

When a prospect says, “Your price is too high,” it reflects, in many ways, their goals, values and feelings. But how can you determine the intent that lies behind these words?

Using customer-satisfaction language, which emanates from Socratic teaching, you would ask, “Why do you say that?” This is a customer-satisfaction question designed to obtain more information about what the prospect’s needs truly are.

Customer-satisfaction language allows you to answer questions or address statements with questions to obtain precise information about what the prospect means. There are numerous reasons that a prospect might say “Your price is too high;” however, only two of them directly deal with price. Most of the reasons represent tactics the customer is using or a condition they must have fulfilled before buying.

When you respond to, “Your price is too high” with “Why do you say that?” it forces the customer to redefine their answer. Here are three examples.

  • Customer response: “Because we can buy something similar for less.” Intent: Convince me yours is worth the difference. (More need to sell value versus price.)
  • Customer response: “It’s a lot more than we intended to spend.” Intent: Needs convincing to act now. (Requires a better selling of value—not a price drop.)
  • Customer response: “We like yours better, but we’ve got a lower price.” Intent: Might be a negotiation ploy.

Without customer satisfaction dialogue, the statement, “Your price is too high,” can be interpreted only from your viewpoint. There are over 270,000 words in the dictionary, although most people only use 2 to 3 percent of them. The most common words have several definitions; thus, it stands to reason that various words/statements may have different intent.

Once the prospect is questioned using customer-satisfaction language and offers a new response, you derive a greater understanding of their values, goals and feelings. At this point, you can pose another question to gain an even greater insight into their wants and needs.

At any time during a customer encounter, the golden rule is: When in doubt, ask another question. A classic customer-satisfaction question is, “What would need to exist for us to start the paperwork to get this product in/on your home as soon as possible?”

Customer-satisfaction language prompts prospects to tell you how to sell them. If you aren’t certain about something a prospect says, ask them a question to make sure you fully understand. Remember, closing the sale is the natural conclusion to a well-delivered customer-satisfaction presentation. QR

Dave Yoho’s success story emanates from founding a small sales organization, which when he sold his company in 1974 was doing more than $60 million in annual revenue (equivalent to $350 million by today’s economy). To learn more about Dave Yoho Associates’ new online sales training platform, visit supersalestraining.com or contact Dave directly at 703.591.2490 or admin@daveyoho.com.

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