The never-ending cycle is supposed to work like this: Customers lead to an endless stream of purchases and referrals, which lead to another endless stream of even more purchases and referrals from their referrals.
Be careful that you don’t overlook something very important. It will end abruptly if you leave one ingredient out of your sales process: follow up. Yes, that after-the-sale stuff that shallow and short-sighted salespeople resist.
Customer satisfaction is the ultimate goal. Without it, how do you propose to gain any assurances they’d ever use you or refer you again? You must know the way customers feel about you even if it hurts. There’s a quote I happen to like a lot about this very message:
“Customers will never care how much you know until they know how much you care.”
There are several ways of going about this. You can set up contacts via customer newsletters, questionnaires, postcards, phone calls, emails or personal visits. It’s all part of a simple customer-retention program.
The key is to let your customers know that you care about them. Let your customers know:
- You want to do business with them.
- You understand them.
- You have empathy for their needs.
Got it? Good. You’re well on your way to seeing something not 1 in 20 so-called salespeople will ever go to the trouble to know.
Sales are the actual purchases achieved from a salesperson’s work and presentation. Sales leads are the result of good marketing, which is the foundation upon which a business exists.
Each sale becomes the reward and eventually your paycheck for your hard work. To an “order taker” — not a salesperson — the rewards often seem inadequate.
Yet as a student of the sales process, you’re unlocking success through time-tested principles put into action plans by highly trained, experienced contributors. Once you apply these practices, your rewards should be more than sufficient — and earned in much less time.
You cannot shortcut on fueling your sales machine. By this, I mean investment. You’ve invested in this program and the time it takes to absorb it, but if you attempt to run a high-performance sales force without spending what it takes to fuel sales, you’re no better than the guy who won’t patch the hole in his boat because “it’s too expensive.” One day, it just sinks.
Sales are not an expense; they’re an investment because they’re part of marketing. And the last time I looked, company owners don’t pay the commission on sales; customers do. Marketing encompasses so much that the department has no choice but to appear expensive.
Because sales are the foundation of a business, they cannot be looked upon as just sales. One must view sales from a managerial perspective. If your mission statement fails to include a phrase allowing you a profit, you may have mistaken your business license for a charity certificate.
Invest wisely in the sales and marketing process. It will pay you handsome dividends. Support your sales force. Set good goals and provide the tools of achievement. Don’t set unreasonable goals. Irrational goals only dishearten your employees.
Practice good marketing techniques. Great selling does not exist without great marketing.
Support your customers. Give your employees plenty of liberty and tools to solve customer quandaries, but also give your customers the tools to help them help themselves. Make sure it’s easy for your customers to find you online, and once they’ve found you, it had better be easy for them to learn about your products, services and pricing.
Viewing your business from a customer’s perspective puts your business on a perfect track.
Adams Hudson is president of Hudson, Ink, a national marketing firm for contractors. Snips readers can get a free report, “Top 10 Closes of All Time,” by emailing freeSNIPSstuff@hudsonink.com. You can also call Hudson, Ink at (800) 489-9099 for help or visit www.hudsonink.com for other free marketing articles and reports.