How to Qualify the Customer –
A Case Study
How to Qualify the customer can be tricky if you have never done it before. It all goes back to that target audience that you created for yourself when developing your product. Who is your target audience?
It’s important to know your target audience’s likes/dislikes, personality types, etc. You are not selling to the individual most of the time because you are actually selling to your customer’s personality, influencers, bypassing their gatekeepers, and jumping through obstacles for them.
Some are trickier than others. Each customer will be different, so your goal will be to:
Qualify Qualify Qualify….Ask, Listen, Qualify, Repeat
ABC – Always Be Closing
Know Your Customer’s personality
Identify gatekeepers, influencers, etc
When I was working for a Jewelry shop, I believe I started out as a mix between an aggressive and submissive salesman because I always assumed I knew what was best for the customer, but I never did any probing when the customer was uninterested in an item.
I was brand new, learning about the inventory, and really wanted to showcase what I knew to the customer, so I would socialize with them and get to know them a little bit.
My main goal was to get them to come into the store first, and then I would pick something that caught their attention.
Then, I would tell them almost every little piece of information I knew about the product because I just wanted them to know that I knew the merchandise.
A specific incident was when a customer came in looking for a birthday gift for her niece.
After asking a couple questions such as how old is she and when is her birth month, I came up with the idea that she should get her niece something in her birthstone.
The customer went along with it, so I took her to the birthstone area where I pulled almost every item that was in her birthstone out. I didn’t qualify the customer by asking her questions about what was important to the niece or what was important to the customer.
As soon as I pulled something out, the customer said “oh, she wouldn’t like that,” but I never asked why.
Always remember that you can’t ever squeeze blood from a turnip. This means qualify your customer before pulling an item out of the shelf, and trying to sell it to your customer after they told you they can’t afford it.
Know your customer needs so that you can anticipate how they feel.
The concept of money is truly different to everyone. Some people have it and other’s don’t.
One dollar means nothing to one person, and everything to another person, and who are you to judge.
The worst sales people are the ones that say to the customer ” it’s only a dollar, so what’s the big deal?”
The point of this article is not to just qualify the customer, but to also be respectful of the person’s hopes, goals and dreams for making that purchase.
A bad sales person insults the customer without ever really knowing it
They don’t listen, they aren’t respectful, and they can’t relate to their customer’s thoughts, feelings and emotions.
If a product is not suited well for the customer, don’t sell it and don’t push it even if you have a quota because it’s not ethical.
Back to the case Study:
I just decided to show her what I believed to be best for her niece, and did not even ask her what she was willing to spend or anything. I believe I overwhelmed the customer because she decided that she didn’t like any of the birthstone options, and eventually went to the diamond section of the store and then left completely.
I believe it’s important to understand the deeper meaning behind why a customer makes a decision to buy something, and a good salesman is able to point out those reasons to the customer continuously.
Eventually, the customer will become mindful of those reasons, and those reasons will be reinforced by their own words spoken by the customer and restated by the salesman to end up with an effective close.