Can You Anticipate What Your Customer is Thinking?

The best sellers I’ve ever seen have an amazing ability to anticipate what their customer is thinking.

Buying is a process, check boxes have to be checked. The checks are in the buyers head or in an elaborate excel spreadsheet. Buyers won’t buy unless the boxes are checked. Behind each box to be checked lies a decision to be made. To check the box the buyer has to believe AND feel the information adds up, that it corresponds with getting them to their goals and objectives.

When a sales person can anticipate what the customer is thinking he or she is much better prepared to have the boxes checked.

When a sales person can’t anticipate what the customer is thinking, they become reactive. The sales person waits until the customer gives them their next command, their next objective. The sales cycle slows down and the probability of closing decreases.

The best at anticipation live their life in their buyers shoes. They sell as if they were the buyer. They intimately understand the issues and challenges the buyer faces in their role. They are familiar with how their buyer is measured, who their competition is, what the industry is doing, what the common pitfalls are, what the risks are and more. The sales person envelops themselves in this information and sells as if they were the buyer. It is with this perspective they are able to anticipate what the customer is thinking.

Those that can’t anticipate what the customer is thinking sell from their own perspective. They think about how many widgets they have to sell this month. They think about how much their widget costs in comparison to the competition. They wait for the buyer to tell them what they need. They don’t have a clue what it’s like to be the buyer. They are too focused on themselves.

To anticipate what your customer is thinking requires you know what it’s like to walk in their shoes. Here are a few ways to do that:

  1. Sit and talk with people in the same position or role as you buyers. Don’t sell them anything, just talk with them. Find out what their key initiatives for the year are.  Learn what challenges they face and how they are looking to address them. Don’t talk about you or your product. It’s not a sales call. Spend the time to learn about their world.
  2. Subscribe to the same blogs and periodicals your buyer does. Find out what the most popular magazines, blogs, reports, websites etc. your buyers or customers subscribe to and read.  Take the time to read them too.  Embed yourself in their world
  3. Join the LinkedIn groups your customer(s) and buyers belong too. Get involved in online groups that address and share the challenges folks in the industry have. Be an active participant in the groups and make note of the trends you are seing. Common problems will always arise in online groups.
  4. Follow industry leaders and even your client on Twitter and LinkedIn. Use social media to gain insight into the world of your buyer. The more you know what he or she is doing and what others in their role are doing, the better you will understand their challenges.

Anticipating what your customer is thinking provides you with a tremendous advantage. It gives you and opportunity to drive the sale, lead with the appropriate tools and information and be a true trusted advisor.

Put yourself in your customers shoes, start with them. No one cares how many widgets you have to sell or what your quota is, except you.

Can you anticipate what your customer is thinking?  How do you do it?