As a sales person you are on the front lines when it comes to servicing the client. What you say, what you do, how you act, and how you present yourself and your company can mean the difference between success and failure. The actions of the sales person not only determine whether or not the prospective client becomes a customer, but they can also be the difference between an unhappy customer, a satisfied customer, or a customer advocate for you and your company.
Oh sure, success in sales can be attributed to a variety of factors. Identifying the “ideal” client, understanding their challenges, their problems, and of course, you also need to have great solutions that solve their problems. You also need to understand the clients buying criteria, the decision process, and have good relationships with the key individuals in the account. These and a multitude of other variables can determine success or failure in any given sales scenario but ultimately, success comes down to YOU as the sales person and the customer’s buying experience.
Yea, I said it, the CUSTOMER’s BUYING EXPERIENCE.
This past week, Nancy Nardin, of Smart Selling Tools, shared (via Twitter), a very interesting article titled; Customer Experience: Why Mediocre is the new bad. The article was written by Millennial CEO Daniel Newman, and in it he states that,
“ Customer Experience doesn’t have an industry. It is ubiquitous to consumption in every aspect of our life. And unfortunately, the only thing less memorable than a bad customer experience is an average one.”
We have all heard or read the numbers that say that buyers today acquire 60 – 70% of the information the need to make a decision BEFORE they even contact a sales person. So if and when you are engaged, are you providing an less than memorable experience? Do you WOW or WHOA your customers?
Whether you know it or not, there are things that you do every day that either directly or indirectly cause a customer to say WHOA. Some are within your control and some are not. Personal hygiene and appearance are in your control. There’s nothing worse than not being dressing appropriately or having bad breath (my personal pet peeve) to make a customer stop in their tracks and say WHOA; but I digress.
Things like not doing your homework, asking poor questions, or utilizing a canned sales pitch or value proposition can WHOA a customer. Not listening, not promptly returning phone calls or emails, or dare I say, doing the dreaded “just checking in” will certainly cause a WHOA. Add to the list scripted messaging, canned presentations that don’t align with the customers business needs, and on and on. These are all signs of a bad customer experience leaving your customers saying WHOA.
WOW starts with being a great sales professional and doing all the things that go along with being great. Being prepared by doing your homework, understanding the customer’s key issues, initiatives, and requirements. It also means having well thought out questions, doing customized presentations, and by actually focusing on the customer and the challenges that they are attempting to solve.
But to truly WOW customers, you have to go above and beyond just being a great sales professional. You need to be a resource, a confidant, and a partner. Wowing customers is all about exceeding their expectations.
There is no one-size-fits all approach to wowing customers but the good news is, doesn’t take a lot of effort. Providing them with new ideas, valuable insight, and pertinent information can be easy. If you read an article that might be of interest to them, tear it out of the publication (or print it if its on-line), attach a quick note and stick it in the mail. Yes, I said the mail, as in snail mail. It differentiates you and helps you stand out from the rest.
Take a real interest in them as a person, show them that you care and mean it. It can be as simple as a hand written thank you note, or sending a small, personal gift on their birthday. Better yet remember their spouses or children’s birthdays, graduations, and wedding anniversaries. Be personable and memorable.
Surprise their staff with a catered lunch a few times a year. The staff and customer will be grateful. Besides you never know where your clients’ staff will end up working and they can refer business to you in the future. Leverage your network and make an introduction or make a recommendation for someone else for some other business problem they are struggling with that. A key part to wowing customers is to do whatever it takes and to do unexpected things. It doesn’t matter what that may be. As my friend and the JediMaster of Sales Training, Paul Castain says, “It’s a courtship NOT a one night stand.”
All too often we get caught up in the pursuit for short-term results. We get so focused on hitting our numbers, keeping the boss off our backs, and paying the mortgage that we become mechanical in our actions. When we settle for merely satisfied customers, we end up with WHOA performance. Go above and beyond what your customers are expecting. Don’t settle for satisfied customers; knock their socks, and give them the WOW experience.
Do you WOW or WHOA your customers?
What are you doing to make your customers say WOW?
Please share your thoughts and perspectives.