Kama kawaida, sio? (The usual,huh?), says the waiter. You nod. And he proceeds to present your order just right. It could be two bottles of beer: one very warm, another freezing cold; or tea, with one and a third teaspoons of sugar. That’s how you buy-and he knows it. And you feel good about this; you feel appreciated, respected. All the more, because you’ve never noticed him yet he knows how you buy. This is what it means to sell to how the customer buys

How do you sell the way your customer buys?

Selling to how your customer buys saves time and propels the sales process. The waiter does so through observation.  Of course, a more sophisticated sale will require more than this. For instance, being stumped on a sale because procurement has sat on your order is not productive. Understanding how the prospect buys is more useful. The discovery that procurement will not move until Finance approves the cost gives new insight as to where the real blockage is. Further research may demonstrate that the Senior Finance Officer must build a business case to the CFO justifying the purchase because it is a capital investment.

Sell to how the customer buys

And the Senior Finance Officer has been very busy or has the reputation of dragging his feet. Now that you understand how the prospect buys, you engage your company’s finance officer and together(using valid assumptions) you create three cases (conservative, aggressive and moderate) showing the different ROI’s  (returns on investment) in each that come with investing in your IT solution. You have done the customers homework for him.  If you were a waiter, you have his order ready. You just need him to walk into the restaurant. So you call the Senior Finance Officer seeking to meet and show him the ROIs. At this stage your chances of a nod are pretty high.

How to motivate customers to buy your product

Understanding how the customer buys deflects frustration and endears you to the buyer because it shows you have taken the trouble to know his business.  If your prospect meets sellers after 5pm, asking to meet him before five is counterproductive. If you are an importer intending to supply shocks to a large motor vehicle dealer, they will more likely embrace you, if you ask for their production schedule, because you want to synchronize your order schedule to it and avoid stock-outs.

What are my customers shopping and buying habits

Sounds easy, yes? No. Most sellers don’t bother to find out how the customer buys. And why? Because it is “work”. It is work to have to research on the buyer’s habits. It is work to have to engage your Finance officer for a joint presentation. And it is work best avoided because of the other reason why many sellers don’t sell to how the people buy-naiveté or indifference. ‘We beat two other contenders and it’s just their procurement that’s sitting on our order otherwise we would have closed by now’.

It is extra work because you don’t want appointments after 5pm.  You also don’t want to insist the husband comes with the wife to view the house yet you know the wife’s word is the determining factor in the purchase. And so the average seller defaults to what he knows best-pushing.  And the response they get is the one you give the waiter who is serving you for the sixth time this week, and despite your unchanging order still asks you, “Nikuuzie nini leo?” (What are you buying today?)


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