Your clients and prospects are more diverse than ever. Knowing how to serve different market segments is crucial to your success. This means recognizing not just their ethnicity and age, but also factors such as socioeconomic background, culture and education. According to Christopher Lloyd Chang, the editor for LinkedIn Business, when you expand your thinking to include more viewpoints, you can often expand your potential markets.

To uncover how to create more inclusive sales relationships, Chang caught up with Meredith Powell, a business strategist who leads a LinkedIn course on inclusive selling. In this issue of Promotional Consultant Today, we share what Chang learned from Powell when it comes to diversifying your clients.

Consider your blind spots. Whether you have preconceived notions or weak spots when approaching your target customers, Powell says it’s wise to identify these assumptions and take time to address them.

Sell through cultural differences. According to Powell, “not knowing means not selling.” It’s important to understand your prospects and clients and to stay sensitive about their culture. Chang notes that when you learn what is important to them and stay respectful, you can show your potential buyers that you care about their needs.

Sell through gender differences. When you are building relationships, it’s always important to find common ground and understand how to bring value to your potential clients. While gender differences are not as stark as they once were, notes Chang, you should still stay cognizant of the other person and where they might be coming from.

Recognize generational differences. Another way to create inclusive sales relationships is to learn how to sell to people of all generations. Chang points out that Millennials have more buying power than ever before, while Generation Z is an up-and-coming force in the market.

Sell to those with different beliefs. You may be able to build rapport faster with those who share similar values and stances, but don’t write off those with different religious or political beliefs. Chang says it’s important to be honest and look for common ground while always showing respect.

Why Diversity Matters
Powell points out that there are four dynamic shifts happening right now. Here’s what sales professionals should account for:

How customers buy: Your potential buyers can get all the information they need simply by talking to other people or browsing online. In many ways, they have started the buying cycle before you even come in contact with them, says Powell.

What customers want: Clients can get nearly anything they want from almost anywhere. They want a personalized experience, notes Powell. By understanding who they are, you can provide that for them.

Team-driven sales: Sales professionals can often find more success by working closely with marketing and customer service teams. These connections allow them to expand their customer relationships.

Diversity in the marketplace: Customers come in all shapes and sizes, says Powell. You need to know who your new customers are and how to sell inclusively.

When you actively work to create more inclusive sales relationships, you can improve the sales process for everyone.

Compiled by Audrey Sellers

Source: Christopher Lloyd Chang is the editor for LinkedIn Business.