Are you in sales and struggling with closing a deal? In this series Jim Cathcart will teach you the sales moves necessary to improve customer relationships, how to respond to resistance from your customers, and helpful tips to close a deal.Sign Up to Watch
-Oh, whoa. Please.
-Aha. You thought you were going to be the one to speak, didn't you?
-Look at this guy, trying to jump right in here.
-Well, there's 15 ways to stay close to your customers.
-One like this.
-That's too close.
-There's one like intruding. Like I just did. There are lots of ways. We'll go over them in more detail.
-You're not recommending that move, though. Right?
-No, no. What I recommend is that you have a number of ways to cause the customer to feel like you're staying in touch and connected with them, and readily available to help them. That's the main thing.
-So you're telling us you're going to actually give us 15 things we can actually do with our customers today. Right now to stay close to them.
-I love it. I'm going to go ahead and turn it on over to you. Take it away, Jim.
-Fair enough. Thank you. All right. Take a look at this. We've got to show them that you think about them. People don't care what you know until they know that you care. Or as Zig Ziglar used to say, people don't care how much you know until they know how much you care.
The main thing is showing them that you care. How do I know that you care? You stay in touch. You drop by. You send me a note. You recommend things. You introduce people to me. You ask me for advice. You consider me an important person. Show them that you care. Drop by to show them what's new, even if there's absolutely no profit in it for you immediately.
You make sure that if there's a product enhancement-- there's some software improvement, there's whatever, a new way of looking at whatever they've got from you-- make sure you drop by to show them what's new. Why? Because if you don't drop by, you don't get face time.
Years ago, I had been a customer of Dave Scott, State Farm insurance, for 13 years. And so I saw him often through those 13 years. But it went about three years, almost three years, without me seeing him face-to-face. Heard from him on the phone. Got his newsletter and occasional things in the mail. But I hadn't seen him face-to-face.
So I saw an ad on the TV, and I thought, we ought to buy that. So I said to my wife, we ought to get that insurance. Looks like we'd save money. She said, well, let's call Dave. And I said, well, this is better and newer. She said, yeah, but we owe him that courtesy. Let's show it to-- well, we didn't owe him a courtesy. But it made sense to me. And I said, yeah, OK. Let's call Dave. So we called Dave.
Dave comes by the house, and the instant he walked in the front door, I remembered how much I like the guy. Notice, I'd been in touch on the phone, I'd gotten his mailings, he had nurtured the account, my insurance was fine. But I'd forgotten how much I like the guy because I hadn't seen him face-to-face for a while.
We sat down at the kitchen table. He reviewed our account, discontinued some of our coverage, added some new coverage, and we ended up spending more. But when he left, I was happy about the new expenditures because I thought there were a wise choice. So make sure you get face time.
Follow up your sale with some kind of a perk. A free gift, something to add a little touch, so they feel like they got something extra. And it doesn't have to cost much. That could be something as simple as a reminder sticker that tells them what the pass code is for using the machine. I don't know, but something that gives you a reason to stop by.
When a customer's really good to you, look for ways to give them some kind of a bonus, a discount, a special privilege, a VIP access, whatever. Make it personal, make it valuable. Show them that, hey, you're not an ordinary customer. Come with me, we're going to the secret room. You know, whatever.
All right. Let the customers know that they should contact you when they hire employees. Why's that? Because you consider their business part of your business family. And if they hire someone, you want to know about it. Not so you can make a sale to them, but so you can welcome them aboard. So you can offer some reassurance that they just chose a great company. You can-- and you should be the biggest cheerleader and fan for your customer anywhere.
Like a woman I was talking with the other day, a speaker. She said, I'm an encourager. And I said, really. She said, yep. I want to be the president of your fan club until you're ready to take over. What a cool thought. Right?
So be their supporter, their encourager. And let people know, hey, you chose the right place. This is a good outfit. Welcome aboard. If you ever need what I do, give me a holler.
-Compensate your customers whenever they lose time or money. If something happens related your product or service and they incur a loss, step up immediately and offer some form of compensation. Go the extra mile. Even if it takes money out of your pocket, that's money well spent. Think of that not as refunds or discounts or problem solving, think of it is an advertising investment, because I guarantee if you step up right away, they're going to say, hey, I like that. I trust this person.
Be personal. That just means that every relationship is a personal relationship. You can say, well, is my business their business? No. It's you and them in the context of business. So every relationship's a personal relationship, but business relationships have different protocols and different rules than social relationships. Behave professionally.
Always be honest. Why? It's the only thing that works, period. The truth is always the best news, even when it's bad news, because then you can do something to deal with it. Always be honest.
Accept customers returns without conditions. If a customer's not satisfied, you're forcing them by quoting the contract to remain a customer is only going to make them a resentful customer who will then advertise negatively for you. They'll go spread the word how much they dislike you and how exploited they feel, so when a customer returns something or wants a refund or whatever, just do it. Just do it, and be so happy to do it that they almost feel guilty for asking.
Honor your customer's privacy. A lot of times customers share with us information that's confidential and sensitive, and if we're talking openly with others about it, we betrayed a trust, and they start thinking, well, if I can't trust him on this, what else can't I trust him or her about, and there goes the relationship.
Keep your promises. Well, yeah, because that's the whole essence of trust. Do what you say you will do. Do it when you said you would do it, and do it without excuses.
Twelve. Give feedback whenever you get referrals. If I refer someone to you, I want to know from you how did it go. I don't want to have to call my friend and say, hey, did the salesperson treat you well? I want to hear from you. I want you to show me you appreciate the referral and that you're going to let me know how it went. And also honor that referral. They have just trusted their friend, either business or personal to you, and you need to honor that hand off.
Treat them with respect. Make your customers famous. It's like being the president of their fan club. If you can celebrate your customer, if you can get their name in front of the people they want in front of, if you can give them some publicity, if you can somehow put a spotlight on what they do well, tell the rest of the world about it appropriately-- and with permission, I might add-- they're going to love you for it.
Arrange periodic performance reviews. So once in awhile, you want to drop by, just say, I just want to check and see how I'm doing.
Cavett Robert, the founder of the National Speakers Association told about a little boy one time who was-- I've forgotten what he was doing. He was mowing lawns or something like that, and he went into a store and he asked if he could use the telephone. The store owner said sure.
So he called and he said, Ms. Johnson, hi this is Billy. Yeah, yeah, that mowed your lawn. Yeah. How did it go? OK, yeah. Yeah, and-- all right, yeah, and would you like me to trim the hedges and do some other things next time? I'll be happy to do-- OK, yeah. All right, fine. Thank you, and he hung up.
And the store manager said something like, did you get another job? He said no. He said, well, why did you call the woman if you're not going to make a sale, why did you call her? He said, because I need to know how I'm doing, and if I don't call and ask how I'm doing, then before long somebody else is mowing their lawn.
I'm mis-quoting the story, but I'm paraphrasing it well enough, you get the point. We need to know how we're doing, so arrange with our customers to check and say, how's the product working for you? And, by the way, you get great ideas from this. You find ways to up-serve your customer and add value, do all kinds of things beyond what you had initially done. So make sure that you sit down with them from time to time and just go through step by step every aspect of it.
Keep the lines of communication between you and your customers so open that they feel like on a moment's notice they could call you, no problem at all. So no one ever asks you, would it be OK if I called you if we have a problem? Are you kidding me? You want them to just assume it is so totally OK, you'd prefer that they call you.
I have customers calling me sometimes, and they say, Jim, I'm not bothering you am I? I say, are you kidding? You just enhanced my day. Oh, oh, OK. So enhance people's days by finding any of these 15 ways to stay close to your customer that works especially well for you, and get more than one. Use all 15 if you can. Find any way you can to stay in contact, let them know you care, and make this world a better place one customer at a time.
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