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How can we better understand the customer?


If you can understand how your customer thinks and what their priorities are, you can better plan and manage potential issues that may arise in your sales meetings. Knowing this background also explains what drives their behaviours, and again, you can prepare for this ahead of the meeting. Therefore, if you want a successful sell, you need to put yourself in the shoes of the customer so you can consider their point of view and what they might challenge you on. Here are some areas to consider:

Tips for understanding the customer

  1. What are their KPI’s? – KPI’s really do drive behaviours. If a buyers KPI is to improve margin, then every meeting will be focused on driving the margin down of the product or service you are trying to sell. If their objective is differentiation, they will demand innovation and something unique from their competitors. Ultimately though, all buyers and business follow a profit hierarchy. The key goal being to increase profit. The aim is to understand the levers that you can utilise within your armoury to drive the profit up i.e. increase sales and decrease costs; and also the strategies within which you can affect these, such as increasing loyalty to drive sales, and introducing efficiencies in supply to decrease costs.
  2. They are trained to challenge! – This should not be a surprise, as salespeople are trained to overcome objections, buyers are trained to make the objections! Their role is to unsettle a salesperson and demand more for less. By pre-empting what the objections will be, you can prepare for an effective response. You can also ensure your proposition hits the mark, making it more difficult for the buyer to object.
  3. What are their personality traits? – Even after a initial phone call, or first meeting, you can start to build a picture of an individuals personality, style and what makes them tick. Knowing their personality means you can adapt yours accordingly. For example, they may be a detail person, so providing all the data and information they need will help them to make a decision. Or they might be a buyer that just wants to get to the idea quickly rather than all the initial summary and positioning. Remember one size does not fit all, you need to adapt your presentation based on the buyer’s style.

Our final tip:

4. Think Customer, Think Category, Think You:

Put yourself in the shoes of the customer first and ensure the proposition meets their objective. Think Category next – will it enhance the category – this is a win for your customer and for you; And finally, Think You – does it meet yours and your business objective? By considering all three of these areas, in that order, you are more likely to get the success you are after.

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Book onto our Selling Programme now!

If you want to know more about how to understand the customer, book onto our S2 programme/  Or if you would like to find out more, contact us at