An underrated but important topic for sales reps to consider is how exploring and fulfilling your customers’ unstated emotional needs may help you find more success in your selling practice.
Why is this important? On the most basic level, a seller’s role is to fulfill our customers’ business needs. There are stated needs, what the customer asks for and articulates, but also unstated needs, things the customer doesn’t know they need or problems that they’re not currently thinking about. Great sellers work to fill both stated and unstated customer needs.
But Other-Centered sellers, those who reach Trusted Partner status with their clients, also work to learn and satisfy the unstated, emotional needs of their customers.
We’re salespeople not psychologists, so we’re not talking about turning a sales call into a therapy session. But the truth is, everyone wants to feel uniquely valued and understood – it;s an unstated emotional need that all people have, our customers included.
Let’s talk about how to expose and satisfy those unstated emotional needs in order to better serve our customers and improve our success in sales.
Why do emotional needs matter in sales?
As salespeople, if we don’t understand the importance of emotion in the buying process, we’re at a disadvantage.
A recent article published by Gartner revealed that customers spend 62% of the buying process researching and learning independently. From this we can infer that customers don’t want to spend too much time with sales reps. It’s not necessarily that they don’t trust sales reps (although this could be the case), but customers do not feel the need for them.
The role of a sales rep has changed with the availability and accessibility of information. In addition, there are so many options that it can be difficult for buyers to differentiate between the many solutions and providers. As sellers in this environment, our ability to connect emotionally with prospects becomes one way to differentiate ourselves and our solution.
How can we meet our customer’s emotional needs?
In commoditized markets, where your product or solution doesn’t naturally differentiate itself, the pressure falls on the reps to differentiate themselves and/or their solution. But how?
What’s the algorithm for meeting people’s greatest emotional needs?
The answer is simple: Serve More.
Our ServeMore³ (Serve More to the power of three or “cubed”) formula consists of three parts:
Care More + Learn More + Do More = ServeMore³
To ServeMore³, to meet someone’s emotional needs, to make them feel special, follow each of those three steps, in order:
First off, a disclaimer: if you try to use this as a tactic or technique to win someone over, it will come across as cheesy and insincere. If it’s not authentic, it will backfire. You have to actually care about your customer, because remember: your motive is transparent.
“Caring more” is simply about making a decision – a decision to serve your customer, and to put them and their needs first.
Despite your commission, your quota, any pressure from within your organization, can you stop and make the decision, before every interaction, to consciously put the other person first?
It’s hard to do. As human beings, we naturally default to self. It comes from a basic need to survive – and those instincts still kick in, even when they’re no longer necessary.
We need to acknowledge that, and make a decision to shift our mindset. That’s what we mean by “Other-Centered”: put the other person first.
Here’s the difference:
Imagine you’re on a call with someone and they tell you, “I have to wrap this up by 4 o’clock because I gotta get to my daughter’s basketball game.”
You may think to yourself:
- “Ugh, now I have to cut my meeting short.”
or you may think
- “I get it, they’re busy, they have a daughter and family time is important to them. I can work around this.”
That’s an either/or scenario, there’s no middle ground. Our brains are wired to think the first thought. But if you make the decision to care, it will go a long way. Respect the hard stop at 4 o’clock and before you hang up, say something as simple as, “By the way, have fun at the game and good luck to your daughter’s team!” It will make your customer feel heard and understood.
You have to mean it, and feel it. If you’re insincere, it won’t carry any weight with your customer or prospect.
Decide to care.
The next step is to learn more. To learn, we have to listen.
Stop and think about what the other person (your customer) has going on. Pay attention to what they are telling you and what is implied. Listen for cues about what is unique about them.
Paying attention to people is in and of itself unique. People don’t pay attention. Sellers are especially guilty of trying to advance the sale on our own terms. We worry about what we’re going to sell, how much, when, etc.
Don’t just go through the motions. Be present and listen to learn.
Do More is about taking and applying what you have learned by caring (deciding) and learning (listening). Show your customer that you’ve been paying attention by doing something simple to reflect that.
Summing it Up
Remember, everyone wants to feel uniquely valued and understood.
If you can understand, acknowledge and satisfy those unstated emotional needs that your customers have, you will better serve them while improving your own success and fulfillment in sales.
Care More + Learn More + Do More = ServeMore³
If you found this blog helpful and want to go deeper into the concept of serving more, check out Tom’s new book, UnReceptive, at unreceptivebook.com.