This past week I had a lot of opportunities to be a customer. I was on the phone frequently, gathering information on a wide variety of products and services.
Each company had a slightly different approach to receiving my call. Everyone was polite and provided me with information. But there was one big distinction between the conversations that made me want to become a customer and those where I ended the calls feeling both skeptical and unappreciated.
What is this distinction? How can you make sure it’s included in all your interactions with potential customers?
Put very simply, the companies, organizations and people that inspired me to become their customer were interested in me. They asked a lot of questions and wanted to hear my story. Yes, they were interested in making a sale but they made sure they created an experience where I felt important and valued.
Several of the companies moved into their sales processes immediately. Perhaps my call arrived when the person who answered was short on time. Or maybe the company follows a process first and then gets more personal in a second or third conversation.
Now, I do appreciate a good sales process. After all, it’s what I help my clients create but when there is no personal interaction, no genuine interest in the potential customer, the process fails.
Part of any successful process has to be showing each potential customer that they are valued and taking the time to learn as much about them as possible.
Every potential customer, on some level, believes their situation is unique. When they call us, they need to hear and experience, not only our desire to help them but how our solution or service is the right fit for their specific circumstance.
Asking questions – and listening carefully to the answers – is the best way to engage a potential customer. Learn what they view as unique in their situation, what is frustrating them or exciting them. Then, following your sales process, you can introduce your product or service and show exactly how it fits with their needs.
When David and I were planning our wedding, his desire was to get married outside near the ocean. I phoned one of the most popular local resorts for such an event and spoke to the owner. She couldn’t have been more bored. She did not ask anything about us, our relationship or our plans. While I understood that she regularly received hundreds of calls about weddings and other events, I was contacting her about my wedding and I was excited. Her lack of enthusiasm meant … I moved on.
Asking a few personal questions is not time-consuming. It doesn’t add hours or days to your sales process. What it does do, in the space of 5 to 15 minutes, is increase your sales. Be genuinely interested in your potential customers and they will be genuinely interested in hiring you.