Have you ever worked on a project and at a key moment someone offered valuable help?
That happened to me while building my house nine years ago. The person at the lumber yard wanted more than my material list. They wanted to know all about my project. They kept asking me questions and all I wanted, was for them to take my order. More than once in the process, someone slowed me down to inquire further. It’s funny how sure I was that I was doing it right. Yet people who were “interested” kept helping me see a better way or remember materials that I had left off my list. That’s because they were walking in my shoes. Their interest in me and my project was beyond basic customer service. They were able to visualize what I was going thru and willing to help me get it right.
Now let’s transfer this thought process to our customers. Whether we are on the phone, in their office or at the counter, my favorite question is Mr. Customer, what are we working on today? Asking our customer what he or she needs puts all the responsibility on them. Asking them about their project helps us visualize their project and their struggles. Visualizing our customer’s struggles helps us visualize solutions. I am reminded from time to time, that our customers come to us for solutions, not a material list. They need and want our help.
I had a sales coach once that asked me to visualize my customer 30 minutes before he arrived at the store. What was he doing? What was he thinking about? What were his expectations? Was I up to the challenge of meeting his expectations? As a classroom example we used an HVAC installer working in an attic during the summer. How hot it must be? Was he covered in itchy insulation? Was someone pushing him to hurry? Now….What happens if he crawls back into the attic with a wrong duct fitting? Even if he ordered it wrong. How frustrating that must be? Imagine if we catch his mistake before he makes it. We cared enough to engage and ask questions. We visualized his project and offered a helpful perspective.
What if “We walked in his shoes”?
District Sales Manager