VOC for Sales: 11 Principles to Drive the Sales Process

VOC for Sales

Can Voice of the Customer methods be helpful for Sales? Consider the purpose of VOC – to understand customer needs for innovation.  Could it be possible that these innovation methods could help sales as well?  Let’s look at 11 VOC principles that will improve sales effectiveness.

1. Talk first; listen later.

In today’s fast-paced world, where everyone is eager to express their opinions and be heard, the art of listening often takes a backseat. However, it is essential to recognize the profound significance of listening first before talking. Listening is more than just hearing; it is an active and intentional process that fosters understanding, empathy, and effective communication.

When we listen attentively to others, we gain valuable insights into their perspectives, experiences, and emotions. It allows us to put ourselves in their shoes, comprehend their needs and concerns, and respond appropriately. By truly hearing what others have to say, we validate their existence and make them feel valued, which builds trust and strengthens relationships.


Listening first also promotes learning and personal growth. We encounter diverse ideas, opinions, and information when we open ourselves up to listening. It broadens our horizons, challenges our assumptions, and expands our knowledge. Through active listening, we gain new perspectives and have the opportunity to refine our own thoughts and beliefs.

When we take the time to listen to all parties involved, we gather a comprehensive understanding of the situation, identify underlying issues, and find mutually beneficial solutions. By valuing different viewpoints, we create an inclusive environment that encourages collaboration and innovation. It opens our prospect’s mind to be more receptive to what we might say later.

2. Talk about what your customer cares about

A key concept of VOC for innovation is that customers don’t care about our product but only about the “job” they hire a product for.  Therefore, we must adopt this perspective during a sales interaction.

When a salesperson takes the time to listen and empathize with a customer, they can gain valuable insights into what motivates them. By speaking directly to these concerns, the salesperson demonstrates that they genuinely understand the customer’s perspective and are invested in finding the right solution for them.


Speaking to what a customer cares about builds trust. It shows that the salesperson is focused on meeting the customer’s specific needs rather than simply pushing a product or service. This personalized approach fosters a sense of confidence in the customer, making them more likely to engage and commit to the purchase.

Moreover, addressing what a customer cares about allows the salesperson to highlight the benefits and value their product or service brings to the customer’s life. By aligning their pitch with the customer’s priorities, the salesperson can effectively communicate how their offering can meet those needs and provide a solution.

3. Learn from your competition with VOC for sales

Make the sales call a safe place for your prospect to say good things about your competitive products and to say bad things about yours. When done right, a program featuring VOC for sales builds trust.

While it may be tempting to focus solely on your own products or services, understanding what your competitors are doing can provide valuable insights and give you a competitive edge.

Firstly, studying your competition allows you to identify their strengths and weaknesses. By analyzing their sales strategies, messaging, pricing, and customer engagement techniques, you can gain a deeper understanding of what works and what doesn’t in your industry. This knowledge empowers you to refine your own approach and differentiate yourself in the marketplace.


Furthermore, learning from your competition lets you stay updated on industry trends and developments. By monitoring their product innovations, marketing campaigns, and customer feedback, you can identify emerging patterns and adapt your own offerings accordingly. This proactive approach keeps you relevant and helps you anticipate customer needs and preferences.

Studying your competition fosters a spirit of continuous improvement. It encourages you to think critically about your own sales strategies, challenge assumptions, and seek innovative solutions. By constantly learning and evolving, you can position yourself as a leader in the industry and maintain a competitive advantage. When you and your prospect can speak freely, you learn more, they open up more, and good things will happen.

4. Build rapport first, do business second

With VOC interviews, we build rapport before asking our “real” questions to get the respondent comfortable and chatty. This principle applies to VOC for sales interactions as well.

Building rapport is a crucial element of the sales process that can significantly impact your success as a salesperson. Rapport refers to the establishment of a positive and trusting relationship with your potential customers, and it plays a pivotal role in influencing their buying decisions.


First and foremost, building rapport creates a sense of connection and likeability. When customers feel comfortable and at ease with a salesperson, they are more likely to engage in open and honest communication. This allows you to understand their needs, concerns, and preferences on a deeper level, enabling you to tailor your pitch and offer a solution that truly resonates with them.

Furthermore, rapport-building fosters trust and credibility. Customers are more inclined to do business with individuals they trust and perceive as genuine. By demonstrating empathy, active listening, and genuine interest in their success, you establish yourself as a trustworthy advisor rather than a pushy salesperson. This trust forms the foundation for long-term relationships and repeat business.

Lastly, building rapport sets you apart from the competition. In today’s highly competitive market, where customers have numerous options, a strong rapport can be a deciding factor. When customers genuinely like and trust you, they are more likely to choose your product or service over others, even if the offerings are similar.

5. Learn from every interaction

With VOC for interaction, LEARNING is our primary goal. But it should be as part of VOC for sales as well.

Learning from every interaction is a vital aspect of the sales process that can significantly enhance your skills and effectiveness as a salesperson. Each customer interaction presents a valuable opportunity for growth and improvement, regardless of the outcome.

Learning from every interaction allows you to gain insights into customer preferences, objections, and buying behaviors. By analyzing the outcomes of your conversations, you can identify patterns, understand what resonates with customers, and adjust your approach accordingly. This knowledge empowers you to refine your sales techniques and tailor your pitches to better meet the needs of your target audience.

Working,On,Laptop,,Close,Up,Of,Hands,Of,Business,Man. VOC for Sales

Additionally, learning from each interaction helps you develop stronger communication and relationship-building skills. Every conversation provides a chance to enhance your active listening abilities, empathy, and understanding of customer perspectives. By actively reflecting on your interactions, you can identify areas for improvement, such as clarifying your messaging, addressing objections more effectively, or adapting your tone to build rapport.

Moreover, learning from every interaction fosters a growth mindset. It encourages you to view setbacks or rejections as learning opportunities rather than failures. By embracing a mindset of continuous learning and improvement, you can leverage each interaction as a stepping stone towards refining your sales techniques and achieving greater success with your VOC for sales program.

6. Build the relationship in every interaction

Building relationships in every sales interaction is a critical component of successful selling. Beyond simply closing deals, sales professionals understand the long-term value of fostering meaningful connections with customers.

First and foremost, building relationships establishes trust and credibility. When customers perceive you as a trusted advisor rather than a pushy salesperson, they are more likely to engage in open and honest dialogue. By genuinely listening to their needs and concerns, demonstrating empathy, and providing valuable insights, you establish yourself as a reliable partner. This trust forms the foundation for long-term relationships, repeat business, and referrals.

Two,Happy,Diverse,Professional,Business,Men,Executive,Leaders,Shaking,Hands VOC for Sales

Furthermore, building relationships enables you to understand customers on a deeper level. By investing time in getting to know them personally, their goals, and their pain points, you can tailor your approach and offerings to their specific needs. This level of personalization demonstrates your commitment to their success and sets you apart from competitors.

Moreover, strong relationships facilitate effective communication. When customers feel comfortable and valued, they are more likely to share honest feedback, allowing you to better understand their evolving requirements. This feedback loop enables you to adapt your strategies, address concerns, and continuously improve your offerings.

Building relationships establishes trust, fosters understanding, and enables effective communication. By prioritizing relationship-building, sales professionals can cultivate loyal customers, drive sustainable growth, and become trusted advisors in their respective industries. This should be a natural result of using VOC for sales.

7. Debrief every conversation

After a VOC interview, it’s critical to debrief immediately afterward. This is because we quickly forget what we’ve heard. The same principle is at play when applying VOC for sales.

Debriefing after a sales call is an essential practice that can significantly enhance a salesperson’s effectiveness and improve future performance. Taking the time to reflect on the call and analyze its outcomes provides valuable insights and opportunities for growth.

It allows for the identification of strengths and areas for improvement. By reviewing the call, a salesperson can assess what went well and what could have been handled differently. This self-reflection helps identify effective strategies and tactics that can be replicated in future interactions, while also highlighting areas that need further development.

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Furthermore, debriefing enables the identification of missed opportunities or overlooked customer needs. Analyzing the call in hindsight may reveal insights or cues that were missed during the conversation. By recognizing these gaps, sales professionals can enhance their active listening skills, ask more targeted questions, and ensure a more comprehensive understanding of the customer’s requirements.

Additionally, debriefing as part of the VOC for sale initiative provides an opportunity to refine and adjust sales strategies. By examining the call’s outcome and the customer’s response, salespersons can identify areas where their approach can be modified to better align with the customer’s preferences or address objections more effectively.

Debriefing helps identify strengths, uncover missed opportunities, and refine sales strategies. By embracing a culture of debriefing, sales professionals can enhance their skills, increase their success rate, and deliver exceptional value to their customers.

8. Create a discrete list of customer challenges

When executing VOC for innovation, the output of our session will be a list of customer challenges. We should do this when executing VOC for sales as well.

Creating a discrete list of customer challenges during the sales process is an incredibly useful practice that can greatly benefit sales professionals. Such a list serves as a valuable tool for understanding and addressing the specific pain points and needs of each customer.


To begin with, a list of customer challenges allows salespeople to gain a clear understanding of the obstacles and issues faced by their customers. By actively listening and engaging in open dialogue, sales professionals can identify and document these challenges. This knowledge provides valuable insights into the customer’s pain points, enabling the salesperson to tailor their pitch and offerings to directly address those concerns.

Next, by referencing specific challenges faced by the customer, the salesperson shows that they comprehend the customer’s unique situation. This builds rapport and trust, as the customer feels that their needs are being heard and acknowledged.

Additionally, a list of customer challenges enables sales professionals to highlight the benefits and solutions their product or service offers. By explicitly connecting their offerings to the challenges faced by the customer, the salesperson can clearly illustrate how their solution can alleviate those pain points and deliver value.

Creating a discrete list of customer challenges enhances their understanding of customer needs, allows for personalized solutions, and helps build trust. By utilizing this list, salespeople can effectively tailor their approach, address customer concerns, and drive successful outcomes.

9. Seek to understand the context for each challenge in VOC for sales

Understanding context enables sales professionals to effectively navigate and adapt to various situations and customer needs. Context refers to the specific circumstances, environment, and background influencing a customer’s decision-making process.

As a starter, understanding the context allows salespeople to tailor their approach and messaging accordingly. By considering factors such as industry trends, market conditions, and the customer’s specific challenges, sales professionals can position their product or service as a relevant solution. This level of customization demonstrates that the salesperson understands the customer’s unique context and is invested in providing value.

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Moreover, understanding context helps salespeople anticipate and address objections or concerns that may arise during the sales process. This deep understanding of the customer’s needs can help proactively address roadblocks and offer compelling solutions.

Also, understanding context as part of the VOC for sales method fosters effective communication and relationship-building. When salespeople demonstrate a genuine understanding of the customer’s context, they build trust and credibility. This allows for more meaningful conversations, where the salesperson can ask targeted questions, actively listen, and provide relevant insights, ultimately strengthening the customer’s confidence in their expertise.

Understanding context enables customization, anticipates objections, and fosters effective communication. By investing time and effort in understanding the customer’s context, salespeople can forge stronger relationships, drive sales, and deliver exceptional value.

10. Seek to understand the root cause for each customer challenge in VOC for sales

Understanding the root causes of problems is a critical aspect of the sales process that allows sales professionals to provide effective solutions and drive customer satisfaction. Rather than simply addressing surface-level issues, understanding the underlying causes enables salespeople to tackle challenges at their core.

By delving deep into the root causes, sales professionals gain a comprehensive understanding of the customer’s pain points and challenges. This knowledge as part of the VOC for sales method empowers them to tailor their offerings and present solutions that directly address the underlying issues rather than offering temporary fixes.


Understanding root causes also positions sales professionals as trusted advisors. This approach builds trust, credibility, and fosters lasting relationships with customers.

By identifying and resolving the underlying issues, sales professionals help customers achieve meaningful improvements and overcome challenges, increasing customer satisfaction and loyalty.

11. Generate solutions together with VOC for sales

When executing VOC for innovation, this is obviously the ultimate goal. However, this works in a similar way when executing VOC for sales.  And hopefully, the solution will include your product or service!

VOC for Sales: Using innovation principles for more effective selling

Consider the principles of VOC for sales: building rapport, listening, focusing on the other person, taking good notes, and debriefing. All these VOC principles for innovation are crafted for great conversations, learning, and relationship building.

Want to become a better salesperson? Take a minute to learn the techniques of product managers, marketers, and market researchers.

At AIM, we’ve actually developed a short course just for this purpose! Check out our VOC for sales course that we’ve titled “Everyday VOC.”