How to Learn about Your Customers

It has been said that business success is 85% people skills and 15% technical knowledge. In the sales profession, this may be more heavily skewed towards those interpersonal skills. When you ask sales people if they feel it is important to develop relationships with their customers, they invariably say yes. But when you ask them how they do this, they don’t seem to know what to say. It seems that many people struggle with how to develop those business relationships.

Until you know who your customers are and what they treasure (and act on this information in a way that demonstrates that you care), you are not going to progress in your relationship with that individual. Most of us tend to be “me focused” and enjoy talking about ourselves—and this applies to our customers. Therefore, it helps to learn about your customer, what they are truly interested in and get excited about.

Oftentimes sales people do not know where to start to learn about their customers.  It helps to be able to have a guide in terms of what type of information you should be gathering.    We use the acronym FORM to provide some categories on which to develop questions.

F is for family or questions about parents, children or siblings

O is for occupation or questions about what they do, what they would like to do, what they are studying, or what they like best about their job

R is for recreation or questions about what they like to do in their spare time

M is for motivation or questions about what motivates them in life

Keeping this in mind will help you think of questions to ask your customers so you can develop an understanding about them.  And knowing more about them as individuals and caring about them is a great first step.  I recommend that you use FORM to learn more about your customers and develop a deeper relationship with them. Odds are you’ll see the results reflected not only how your customers respond to you but also in your sales numbers.

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