Best practices for becoming an adviser, rather than a vendor, to your customers
By JASON FORREST
Imagine you walked into a psychologist’s office, spent the entire hour talking while the psychologist silently listened, and at the end of the hour the doctor tells you, “Eventually you’ll figure it out. See you next time.”
How do you feel walking out the door? Do you feel valued? Do you feel like you truly received any help? What are the chances that you’ll return to that doctor again? I’m willing to bet you wouldn’t, because they’re not actually providing you any value for your time.
As a salesperson, you have to understand your prospects’ problems, but you also have to solve them and resolve them. It’s not enough just to listen and ask questions. It’s your mission to lead the prospect to life improvement, and that means guiding them through the sales process. You can’t accomplish this as a vendor, because you’re just releasing your prospects to the confusion and tyranny of their own mind.
When your customers see you as an adviser, certainty increases. Your customers can walk into any situation and find a vendor who sells a replaceable commodity, but a trusted adviser is hard to replace. Becoming an adviser goes hand-in-hand with creating certainty because it ensures you understand their mission and are on their team to make it happen.
You are the primary source of confidence, motivation, hope, and certainty for your prospects. That comes from being an adviser, not a vendor.
Here are four pillars of certainty you can use to become an adviser and increase customer commitment:
Good internal communication is crucial to building customer certainty. When you communicate with purpose, confidence, and direction, you’re an adviser. Certainty requires communicating with purpose, and that builds trust with every move
2. Challenge perspective
Challenging in a purposeful, assertive way solidifies your place as an adviser. Challenging your customer’s perspective isn’t about asserting dominance and rocking the boat, it’s about changing the way your prospect looks at what’s in front of them.
the compromise Sometimes your prospects think they know more than you. When you involve your customers in coming up with their own solutions, they’re more likely to see them to the finish line. You might know that something isn’t going to work, but instead of putting them on defense by shutting them down, allow them to be part of that decision. Advisers are partners in the solution, because they provide a choice. Once you’ve provided a choice, you’re able to identify the right destination and lead your customer towards it.
We defend what we create. If builder representatives challenge and force compromise without including collaboration, they may end up with the desired result, but the prospect won’t feel confident about it. Your role as an adviser is to be a collaborator, because collaboration builds loyalty and makes prospects feel proud of their decisions.
Dozens of workplace studies have shown that a culture of collaboration is one of the top priorities that Millennials look for in an employer, so it’s no surprise that collaborative buying is a top need for them as well. The four pillars of certainty are universal for any prospect that seeks your service.
These pillars are a great outline for building certainty for your customers, but sometimes actually following these pillars during a sale can be nerve-racking.
Keeping your positive intention, as a homebuilder in your focus is a powerful way to reframe your mindset to take whatever reluctance you have and diminish it until it’s no longer a fear. The more you follow this process, the more certainty you’ll give to your customers.
Communicating advice, confidently challenging perspectives, facilitating compromise, and collaborating with your customers creates maximum certainty for them. Letting go of any fears you have and sticking to the four pillars will build your reputation as an adviser. When you follow these processes, you create increased commitment and lifetime loyalty.
Jason Forrest is the CEO at Forrest Performance Group in Fort Worth, TX. Jason is a leading authority in behavior change, creating high-performance sales, and best-place- to-work cultures through complete training programs. Connect with Jason @jforrestspeaker on Twitter and LinkedIn.