Sometimes people’s real needs have little to do with logic. They are usually emotional instead. It may be that people who contact you or come in to your business are unsure of what they really want. They may be afraid of the buying or servicing process. Many customers are confused by product claims. When it comes to getting their cars or appliances serviced, they feel very inadequate in communicating with the service advisers or repairman.
When I work with my clients in the Auto Service repair industry and conduct training programs for their sales and customer service staff, we focus on listening and asking the right questions. The biggest challenge that they had in the beginning in listening to their customers, was a gigantic problem they seemed unaware of at the time. The simple fact was that customers are terrified of the car servicing experience. The goal of my training for any business, is to learn how to ask sensitive questions that will get the customer to talk about their fears. When a new customer, comes into your business they are usually closed, suspicious and defensive. Try to come around the counter, introduce yourself, sit in a chair in the waiting area if available and tell them that you would like to ask a few questions to better understand their needs and wants.
For example, I use these questions with my auto dealership clients but you can tailor them to any business.
- “So, what kind if car (running shoe, appliance, home, etc ) are you driving?”
- “How do you use your car?”
- “What are some of the features you want in a car?”
- “What have you looked at so far either in person or online?”
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After those questions the next goal is to understand their fears by asking this question.“What unpleasant experiences have you had in shopping for cars in the past?”
Once the customer shares their fears with you, empathize with them and thank them for telling you this. Most customers will appreciate you for listing but mostly for caring. This will form a bond of trust which is so important in the decision making process, not just price. Price might seem the most logical reason to buy but remember, people don’t always think or decide purely for logical reasons. They are frequently influenced emotionally- by fears, need for recognition, selfish motivations or momentary moods. All that are often illogically.
Asking open-ended questions will not only help you understand your customers, but it will demonstrate your concern and care for their needs and wants. Asking these type of questions and listening to your customer’s responses can help you gain and enjoy trust and help build relationships with your customers. When you understand what your customers really want, their fears and why they came to your business or contacted you, you’ll just naturally be in position to help them.
When you develop trust and build relationships with your customers FIRST you will build customer loyalty for life and a business that will LAST. Now that is MAGICAL!