Sales Insights March/April 2022

March 8th, 2022 by Nathan Hobbs

Shoring Up: Create and Maintain Customer Satisfaction—Even in a Time of Chaos

By Dave Yoho

Take a close look at what you’re experiencing in your business these days. Take a closer look at what your customer is doing. Then take an even closer look at what you and those you employ are doing. How is that working for you?

The real answers lie in the outcomes you’re experiencing. Examine the difference in attempting to fulfill customer wants, versus searching for their real needs.

Various exponents of modern marketing and sales methods speak to the need for virtual methods replacing face-to-face selling, or the lack of need for structured sales methods. But in each case research indicates otherwise.

Customer satisfaction can be better understood when viewing the findings of a lengthy study we undertook. We surveyed thousands of homeowners to determine the thinking and feeling of those who attempted to sell to them or convince them to do business. The study found that prospects most frequently purchased products based on the credibility of the salesperson making the presentation, and the degree of rapport between the salesperson and the customer. Rapport is a state of mind that begins with feelings. It can be developed in the early stages of contact and usually is based on the salesperson’s understanding of how prospects think and feel. People listen to those who listen to them first, to others who respond to and appear to endorse their values, and to those who work at uncovering their needs.

Hitting the Mark

What satisfies customers on a sales call? We found factors to include:

• Consideration given to a customer’s value system (While not easily detected, this is an outgrowth from the use of “step selling” and can be uncovered while inspecting the project and developing a needs assessment);
• The perception of unique, quality products and services tailored to the customer’s needs;
• The perception of a product or service which was superior to other options (more durable, longer lasting, long range affordability, less maintenance);
• The value of the products and services being perceived as equal to, or in excess of, the price quoted;
• The perceived ease or simplicity by which the customer could make a purchase;
• How common inconveniences will be addressed during the completion of the project; and
• The salesperson was a knowledgeable specialist who listened to and cared about what the customer was saying.

Despite what well-intended sources may imply, the normal process of a “buy/sell” relationship comes down to understanding how customers think and feel and examining what portions of you or your company’s customer interactions are understood.

In the normal process of making a home improvement purchase, research indicates customers usually consider the following.

Gain: How do I, as a customer, profit or benefit and how does this product and service meet my needs better than others?

Pride: Will I or others in my household enjoy the use of this product and service? Will it make us feel more secure and comfortable?

Fear: What can happen in the event I decide to procrastinate and do nothing? Am I properly protecting my original investment in my home?

Imitation: Why many others with the same conditions or circumstances chose this method and solution.

People dislike coming to the realization that they were sold. They prefer to make up their minds after thoughtful consideration, reviewing all the facts and arriving at a decision—often on the first call. Closing the sale is a natural conclusion to the effective use of a sales system that seeks customer satisfaction.

Dave Yoho is president of business consulting firm Dave Yoho Associates. Dave Yoho Associates (www.daveyoho.com) promotes the company as the oldest (since 1962), largest and most successful consulting company representing the remodeling and home improvement industries.
dave@daveyoho.com

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