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Why you need to stop selling and do this instead

It seems like a crazy idea to stop selling to customers, but there’s a better way to generate revenue. Focusing on quotas, cold calls, and profit margins alone are outdated sales strategies. And for your business to thrive, you need a different approach.

Instead of pushing sales goals onto customers, it’s your company’s job to figure out what problems a customer has. When you identify customer concerns, also known as pain points, you have the chance to increase your revenue from four to eight percent above your current market standing. No matter your business size, that’s a percentage you can’t argue with.

But how do you understand customer pain points? As a business owner, what can you do to adjust your sales strategies from sales-focused to customer-centric? Discover all you need to know to stop selling and start solving a problem.

Where to focus your sales efforts

Now, you won’t actually stop selling at all but will fine-tune your sales strategy instead. You may already have an emphasis on customer experience, service, and satisfaction. But you can take your sales (and marketing) to another level when you focus on paint points.

What are the pain points?

Customer pain points vary by type and level. If you care about improving any customer experience, either current or potential, you need to know where consumers “hurt.”

  1. Financial: current services or products are too expensive, and consumers seek affordability
  2. Productivity: lost time with inefficient providers, goods, or services
  3. Process: potential customers want clarity about who they’re working with
  4. Support: gaps in the sales process or customer journey leave customers unsupported

Without an awareness of these general pain points, it’s harder to understand how you can better serve your customer base. As a business owner, it’s also important you know which level customers experience each type of pain point.

  1. Interaction: customers are passed from one support to another and another
  2. Journey: receipt of goods paid for is significantly delayed
  3. Relationship: customers experience ads even after paying for service

These levels can interact with the different types of pain points listed above. For a better customer experience, you must learn where your consumers are stuck, frustrated, unsupported, etc. Let’s break down how to identify pain points so selling to customers is easier than ever.

Solving a problem through market research

The best way to stop selling to customers with outdated strategies is through market research. There are many types of market research, but the most important one for improving your sales is qualitative in nature. You’ll need to conduct qualitative market research on both your customers and your sales process.

Researching your customers

There are many ways to research consumers, but the best way often involved directly talking to them. You can use one of many quality methods to interact with them and gather valuable data. As a business owner, you need a clear picture of who you’re serving.

  • Surveys: polls and other questionnaires with open-ended questions
  • Interviews: direct one-on-one conversations with targeted questions
  • Secondary source: using existing information from books, graphics, videos, etc.
  • Focus groups: starting a conversation amongst a group of people

With a little bit of brainstorming, there are plenty of ways to apply these qualitative methods. You can conduct surveys through Twitter polls and email campaigns. A quick Google search for specific research questions will produce many secondary sources. And, you can create focus groups on any social media platform using your current following.

Researching your sales process

Examing your sales process can be done using the same methods you would for consumer research. Part of your interviews or surveys may specifically target salespeople in your business. Their experience can potentially reveal more obvious pain points.

You can also solicit customer feedback from past and current customers. Incentivize testimonials and reviews on certain products or services to see how well your efforts address their needs. Don’t be afraid to compare your sales process to the competition either.

Stop selling to customers and start solving problems

If you’re worried about how to be successful with customer-centric sales strategies, it’s time you look internally. Start with an evaluation of your sales process first. It’s easier to conduct internal research before launching research campaigns with consumers.

When you prioritize your customers’ problems, they’ll notice. Instead of pointless hours spent prospecting, you’ll nurture strong relationships. And focusing on people over profit nurtures loyalty and long-term connections. These kinds of relationships keep small businesses in business.

No more acting like a giant company that doesn’t know its customer base. As a small business owner, take pride in the privilege of knowing your clients. Stop “selling” to customers and start selling solutions to their problems.

Editors' Recommendations

Amanda Hoyer
Former Digital Trends Contributor
Degreed in Psychology and English, Amanda fell into copywriting and blogging when she discovered an innate gift for narrative…
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