I find it difficult to understand what my customer is thinking about
Everyone has a different personality and style of working. Different nationalities also have different characteristics and different ways of making decisions. Getting to understand how our customers think and behave is a critical skill for a sales person and must be done early in the engagement process.
As we build trust with our customer, they will reveal more and more about themselves to us. At first, they are likely to be transactional and limit conversation to the matter in hand. Try opening up the conversation to non-work related matters at the start and end of meetings so that you can find out more about the person. Its important to try to understand their personality and how they behave as that will need to influence your own behaviour. Once you have an idea about their personality, you can start to conduct meetings in ways that are most beneficial to them.
When you are meeting with the customer and asking questions, make sure that you are actively listening. This means listening to all of their words and the way that they are behaving. You must make a conscious effort to hear not only the words that another person is saying but, more importantly, try to understand the complete message being sent. "Listen" to the body language of the customer and respond with your own body language. If there is anything that you are not understanding, ask clarifying questions; try to summarise what you have heard to confirm that you have heard them correctly.
Two of our training modules may help: