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Sales people often have no idea about customers

By Rashid Kotwal

Director www.revealedresources.com

WHAT do you really know about your customers? What makes them tick? What makes them feel special? Why do they buy from you over everyone else?

Over time I’ve realised the vast majority of salespeople have absolutely no idea about most of the above.

Salespeople think things are going swimmingly, everyone’s happy, then they are extremely surprised when they suddenly find they’ve lost the business. Then they madly scramble to regain the business, but generally it’s far too late.

The biggest trap a salesperson can fall into is thinking a sale is a “transaction” when it’s actually based on a relationship built on trust. Trust is built over time. It’s earned. And can be lost in a heartbeat.

So here are some ways you can slowly, but surely build up trust

Make them feel special. Show appreciation for their custom. Show them you care about them.Which is quite easy to do if you follow a few simple steps.

Start with developing a genuine interest in your clients. What makes them tick? What are they personally interested in? How you can you help them achieve their goals?

And remember, in large organisations the buyer’s personal goals might be quite different to (and at odds with) the organisation’s goals. i.e. What’s good for the buyer personally might not be in the best interest of the organisation.

Find out important dates in their calendar – birthdays, anniversaries and other special occasions. Could be anything from a child’s Bar Mitzvah to Chinese New Year or Orthodox Easter/Christmas.

Every one of these occasions is an “excuse” to get in contact. Not that you should need one!

Send a card, or better yet, pick up the phone and call them. Believe me, they will appreciate the gesture. Especially if you take the trouble to make a live call.

Get to know their personal interests. Golf, fishing, reading or geology. How? By asking them!

Then look out for articles or even artefacts that would be of interest to them. When you find something, depending on what it is, email it, cut it out, put it in an envelope and send it.

Once again, they’ll really appreciate your thinking of them and taking the trouble to send the material.

Yes, it will take some effort on your part. But believe me it’s well worth it.

Years ago I coached a client, Deborah who was having real trouble getting a particular pharmacy owner to switch to her company’s products.

Nothing she did worked and she continually got short shrift. Until I asked her to find out what the owner was personally interested in.

Next time Deborah visited she noticed the owner liked a particular music genre given some of the CDs behind the counter. Deborah bought him a couple of new CDs and gave them to him without saying a word.

The response was instant and dramatic. As she was walking out, he called her back and placed a big order – something he’d never done before.
Remember one golden rule

“I don’t care how much you know, until I know how much you care…”

People, not companies buy things. You’re dealing with a person who makes decisions regarding your product or service.

It is your personal relationship which makes all the difference. With a healthy relationship where you make them feel special, your buyer will fight to keep you as a supplier even though the company he works for may be better off with a competitor.

Did you know the biggest reason a customer will stop buying from you is not price but perceived indifference on your part? Studies have shown 73% of your customers will leave due to your lack of showing you care.

A customer who feels they’re just a number to you will exhibit no loyalty. They’ll switch to a competitor who shows some interest in them quicker than you can say “Jack Robinson”.

And all that effort and money you spent to acquire them will go down the drain.

Remember, it’s 7 to 10 times more expensive (marketing and sales effort) to acquire a new client than keep selling to an existing one. So it makes absolute economic sense to do whatever you can to keep them in the fold.

So the obvious next question is how do you keep track of all this?

A good Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system is a must. Our CRM system allows you to keep track of orders, special occasions (birthdays, anniversaries), and even a person’s interests through tags.

It will alert you to upcoming birthdays, giving you the ability to automatically send out cards or trigger phone calls to wish people.

And when you find an interesting article on a topic, you can instantly select every person who’s expressed interest and send them the article.

In our busy lives it’s easy to forget things like birthdays and other special occasions. Having a CRM which takes this load off you is a critical component of your business.

Realise also that a CRM does far more than just this. We use ours to track visitor engagement (where they go on our websites), manage information, tasks, and of course constantly keep in touch with prospects and clients.

And finally, the quiet times are great times to sit down and figure out what you know about your customers. Go through your records, past and present. Make a list and write down everything you know about them. Then go and fill in blanks.

Use Facebook and LinkedIn or just Google their name. You’d be surprised at how much you can find out. It doesn’t have to be perfect. Just start somewhere.


Michael Walls
0407 783 413

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