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In this age of constant information getting feedback from your customers can be a simple process, but are you actually listening to what they have to say? If you do, you’ll find they’re telling you what they want and how they want it.

Here are five top tips for listening to your customers that will boost sales and customer satisfaction.

Stop selling and start listening

From the floor salesman at that big box store to the high level corporate pitchman your first interaction with a customer should be “Tell me what you need and I’ll do my best to help. No one wants to be given suggestions to purchase a product that they don’t want or need. So the most important skill is letting the customer talk about what they need and how they need it.

Do the research on your customers and pay attention.

If you’re customer base has an economic profile or is a business with a particular set of issues do the research before you open your retail door or enter that big pitch meeting. Knowing your facts before you meet the customer will go a long way toward building goodwill. An additional tip to refine the technique is to ask the customer if your suggestions are wrong. The customer is likely to approve of your suggestions because you did the research.

Go further.

Offering a customer what they asked for is just not enough. Take the time to think about what the customer needs and come up with a complete solution. You’ll find the customer is happy to get the extra attention and your sales bottom line will improve. If it’s as simple as a home theater system asks them detailed questions about the room the theater system will be in, ask about how they’ll use the product. Oftentimes this leads to direct opportunities for upselling.

Develop quality listening skills.

Avoid thinking about what you’re going to say after the customer stops talking and focus on what they’re actually saying. This will show the customer you value what they have said. A handy tip that comes from the world of science is to repeat what your client has said to you to show them that you heard what they have said.

Think of your customer not as someone to be sold but a partner.

The entire process of sales at its most common element is problem solving. Weather you are doing high end complex deals or helping that customer find the right phone, sales is offering a solution to an existing problem. If you approach the customer as a partner in discovering the solution to the issue at hand the natural bonding that occurs through this type of sales process will go a long way toward solidifying the customer choosing your solution to the problem over some one else. It will also create a pleasant sales experience for the customer giving you the edge for repeat sales and customer referrals.

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Posted by Bill Fisher

Bill Fisher is a professional blogger who provides information on automated marketing software services. He writes for Totus, a company the provides automated marketing solutions.

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