One of the most important lessons in sales is understanding the mind of the customer.

This seemingly difficult approach can yield retail gold if properly employed by empathetic business owners like yourself. After all, if you can think like your customer, you can make better guesses at how they’ll behave and what they’ll purchase in the not-too-distant future.

Getting into a Customer Mindset

Connecting with your customer isn’t as difficult as it sounds, but it does take a fair amount of stepping outside of your comfort zone in order to really judge your own processes in a balanced way.

There’s no one perfect way to engage with a customer mindset, but these tips can get you started:

  • Know who your customers are. If you assume a customer that isn’t actually accurate, your efforts will have been wasted. This is why it’s so vital to properly segment your audience and really understand who they are.

    Are your shoppers mostly young women who live alone in apartments with their cats? Or are they older men with adult children and a dog? These two groups can have very different attitudes toward products, an informal survey of your customers can help you step into their shoes.

  • Consider their motivation for buying. Once you know who you’re dealing with, the next question is “why?” Why are they shopping on your site? What’s their motivation? Imagine you’re in their situation, what possible motivations can you think of? A busy professional woman might be using your site because she’s short on time and needs the convenience of an online retailer, for example.

    Knowing a customer’s motivation for buying helps you better place products, services or offers that can solve their immediate problems. That busy professional might appreciate free return shipping with her purchase, since she doesn’t have the time to run her order to one of your brick-and-mortar stores if it doesn’t fit.

  • Examine their barriers to buying. Customers have motivations to buy, but they also have hurdles to overcome. When you understand these hurdles, you can lower them for your shoppers to encourage them to make purchases.

    Maybe you mostly sell items to older people, who aren’t necessarily all that comfortable giving out their credit card numbers online. Offer them an 800 number through an answering service to stimulate more sales.

Thinking like your customer is the best way to increase your sales, reduce your returns and really endear your brand to shoppers. Of course, you’ll need to be able to complete all of the order fulfillment that comes from switching to this approach, so don’t forget to contact your favorite 3rd party logistics company, or 3PL, if your in-house team will be overwhelmed.