If you're selling tech, you're always at a disadvantage. Your customer inevitably knows more than you do. And automation is taking over a lot of the the mechanical things salespeople do. But that doesn't mean you can't help your customers in a way that keeps them coming back.
SEE: Free ebook—How to choose and manage great tech partners (TechRepublic)
Here are the top five ways to win lifelong customers:
1. Don't waste their time. Get the right message for their needs in front of them and take less than 30 seconds to do it. If you're taking longer, ask yourself if your message is for them or for you.
2. Know your stuff. Even if you aren't the top expert, be able to demonstrate what your product can and can't do and go the extra mile to help out with tips and advice even when it's not directly related to the sale.
3. Listen. Find out what the customer needs and make sure your product fits those needs. Winning the wrong customer somehow, wastes your time and theirs eventually and does not help your reputation or your company's.
4. Value people. Make an effort to understand what kind of person your customer is and tailor your message so they can understand it. A person who wants to be seen as revolutionary will hear things much differently than someone who wants to be rewarded for stability.
5. Be accountable. In tech, things go wrong. Don't pretend they haven't. Be open and responsive and do everything to solve the problem. Customers often evaluate you more on how you act when things go bad then when things are good.
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Tom is an award-winning independent tech podcaster and host of regular tech news and information shows. Tom hosts Sword and Laser, a science fiction and fantasy podcast, and book club with Veronica Belmont. He also hosts Daily Tech News Show, covering the most important tech issues of the day with the smartest minds in technology.