By Jim Dion Director of Belief Based Selling™ at Partners in Leadership.

Sales professionals spend every hour of the workday angling for better sales numbers. But for all their hard work, drive, and commitment, today's well-informed buyers are nearly 60 percent through the buying process before engaging a sales rep.

What drives buyer behavior today is less about products and services and more about their beliefs: a culmination of experiences and information that a person has about you, your products, and your company--information culled from personal experience, trusted friends, and even complete strangers via online reviews.

So, what do you do when those beliefs are stacked against you?

Fortunately, you are not shut out from the decision-making process entirely. In fact, you might be able to influence a potential buyer more than you think, which is the foundation of Partners In Leaderships sales training: Belief Based Selling.

Breaking out of The Action Trap™

When a company feels sales pressure, too often it mandates more actions: increasing call frequency, trying different sales techniques, and calling on a broader customer base.

While this activity may drive some sales results short-term, it doesn't get to the heart of why customers think and act the way they do. It doesn't answer why customers have stopped purchasing. Or answer why the numbers are at an all-time low even while activity is at an all-time high. This cycle of doing more, more, more lands you in The Action Trap.

Effectively building and sustaining relationships with customers requires you to break away from The Action Trap and belief biases.

Rather than guessing your customers' needs and desires based on past buying patterns, and then creating activities based on those assumptions, taking a customer-centric approach to driving sales opens opportunities to engage your customer in meaningful conversations to get to the root of their business needs and buying behaviors.

The Customer-Centric Approach

One of the best ways to discover your customers' beliefs is also the simplest (though often the least utilized) approach: ask for feedback.

Have you asked your customers for feedback in the last week or month? If you haven't, you're not alone. Many people don't seek feedback because being vulnerable is uncomfortable. However, feedback conversations can make or break a relationship you have with a customer.

Dive deep into what your customer believes about a product, service, or your company by asking for feedback and engaging in clarifying questions. This is how you begin to truly understand previous experiences that may be hindering them from trusting you or your brand.

Creating New Experiences

Once you discover customer beliefs, you can take strategic action that adds value and builds trust into your relationship. Create new experiences aimed at shifting beliefs that support the actions you're looking for.

Building any relationship takes work. But if you approach the relationship by trying to connect with customers, the work will be worth your while. A customer relationship is a long-term engagement that requires ongoing feedback to identify opportunities to add value. By developing positive experiences for your customer, you will continue to differentiate you, your company, and your products from the competition.

For more information on Belief Based Selling, check out our sales training offerings, including a series of limited-edition complimentary webinars and nationwide Micro Workshops.

Jim Dion consults with sales leaders on developing and strengthening high-performance sales teams leveraging breakthrough curriculum and processes. He is the Director of Belief Based Selling™ sales training program with Partners In Leadership.

Published on: May 3, 2017
Like this column? Sign up to subscribe to email alerts and you'll never miss a post.
The opinions expressed here by Inc.com columnists are their own, not those of Inc.com.