People can be mean. They can be rude, disrespectful, just plain awful at times. That doesn’t mean you have to be the same. I speak with a lot of people every day and some of them are just so irrational it’s hard to talk to them. However, when I don’t take the bait and react to them the same way, it’s amazing how much they tone it down. So when I am speaking with somebody about how awful their customers are, or employees or even bosses, I always ask them if they were to return the behavior by being nice instead of mean, what’s the worst thing that could happen?
Everyday life can get to you. I know it gets to me sometimes. And we start to forget that other people not only don’t know when we are stressed out, but they really don’t care either. They have their own problems to deal with. I used to tell my employees when they came to work to check their baggage at the door. Our customers have their own baggage and they are not coming to our place of business to hear or see our problems. So what are you going to do to make sure your customers don’t see or notice when you’re having a bad day? Not only that, no matter how bad their day is, your job is to make it better for them.
As sales people it is our job to take the negative and turn it into a positive. Once the customer buys into you, you are home free. I doubt anybody reading this blog has too much trouble bringing down the defenses of a customer on initial contact. Once that part is done, it makes everything go easier. So here’s what separates the one-and-done sales person from the sales person of the year. Customer service. Most sales people are great at knocking down the walls of the customer and getting the sale. What most sales people I meet fail to do is follow-up afterwards and make sure to keep themselves in front of their customer. In my article How Do I Keep My Sales Up In A Declining Market I keep talking about follow-up. I’m not going to stop saying it. There is nothing more important when you are trying to gain a customers business and especially after you have gained their business. Question, what’s easier to sell, a repeat customer or a new customer? So why do we keep ignoring our current customers and go after new ones? Oh, because we are doing what we shouldn’t. We are practicing the definition of insanity.
I was chatting with a sales person at a dealership and I asked him how many vehicles he had sold for the month. He told me he had 11 units out. I asked him if he remembered all 11 of his customer’s names? He told me he couldn’t remember. I thought that was strange, but I then asked, how are you going to follow-up with them if you don’t know their names? He told me it was ok, because the CRM system would do that for him. Hmmmm…… Technology is great, but only when we use it correctly. I can tell you what I do with emails and snail mail that are just computer printouts.
Since I have already spoken about the two times a year you should always get in touch with your customers, I won’t harp on it again. However, I wonder how many readers took that advice and are doing it? So let me give you another great way to make sure you stay in front of your customer. Have them call or text you directly to schedule service. With all of the technology to schedule online, you could probably schedule your customer’s appointment from your desk. Why would you want your customer to have more than one point of contact? Why would you ever shuffle them off to somebody else? You are the only person who can keep the experience incredible. You really think it’s a good idea to let that experience get watered down? People need service, no matter if it’s an automobile, cell phone, furniture, or hundreds of other things. As sales people, we are too quick to focus on what’s in front of us, but not what’s ahead of us. So if you give your customer your cell phone number and tell them to call or text you anytime they need service, what’s the worst thing that could happen? They could call you in a time of need and you could be there to make sure everything gets handled. I wonder if that customer might do something that is very rare? I wonder if they might be loyal to you?
My entire life, I have NEVER had a sales person tell me to contact them if I needed service. Until this weekend. I was at a cell phone store and met the most wonderful young lady. She set up my phone for me and then told me that, as she does with all of her customers, she was giving me her cell phone number so if I had any problems or needed anything I could reach out to her directly. I instantly went from apprehensive about switching cell phone companies to knowing that she had just made a customer for life. That is what customer service is all about. Going the extra mile.
So we know that as sales people we have to knock down those walls on initial contact with the customer. And we know that we should check our baggage at the door. That part isn’t always easy, but it is necessary. The biggest issue we have as sales people is looking towards the future. We all know where we want to go, but most times we don’t really do anything to get there. Customer service will always prevail. And follow-up is part of customer service. Just remember to smile when you’re doing it. If your customer calls you on a weekend with a flat tire and you’re not at work, tell them how delighted you are to hear from them and that you are on it. Then jump on the problem. If you do things like this, what’s the worst thing that could happen?
What are your thoughts? As always, I would love to hear from the readers. I appreciate you all and never forget; people buy people, they don’t buy products. Thank you.