Last week I wrote about how sales starts with the sales professional. The sales professional is the one who has to be in their “happy place” when the conversation starts with a customer.
And when that conversation starts with a customer, it is now all about them. Actually, it is all about the customer as soon as they can potentially hear or see you. As you pull into their parking lot. If you are on the phone, it starts as you pick it up. That brief second can send negative messages through the phone such as a person giving a sigh, coughing and background noise that tells a customer they are not the most important person in your room.
If you have done your preparation and have put yourself in your happy place, you have freed up your mind to focus on the customer. What they are saying, how they are saying it, how the office looks and feels today. The customer should never ever believe that they are not the focus of your attention. Have you ever tried selling to someone distracted? It is not fun and usually does not produce results that you are looking for.
So why treat your customer any different?
Over the phone, customers are more sensitive to background noise and the tone and reflection of your voice. The 100th customer you speak with that day should receive the same upbeat enthusiasm to help them as the first. If there is background noise, try your best to minimize it. Management, this is probably a job for you.
Working an internet chat line, don’t keep the customer waiting. Make sure that you are responding within seconds of the customer’s comment. Even if you have to think about or research an answer. In this case: tell them. Set their expectations because they are sitting on the other end just waiting and wondering where you have gone and what is more important than they are. This is important when you are face-to-face in their office as well. Showing up does not mean that you are there for the customer. I will not even get into the cell phone going off and that message that is so important you have to read it in front of your customer. This is basic manners. What many sales professionals, and people in general, do not realize is that they bring their baggage with them. Their problems, their overly excited story of something good that happened, their distractions from the customer.
Take a few seconds, focus your inner thoughts and then make it all about the customer.
By Chris Houghtaling