A great experience steers sales your way

Identify the destination

Tell the customer where you will take them. Define your core competencies in your customer’s language vs. your internal terms to ensure all sales interactions are in ‘you-view’-directed toward their needs. Example: If one of your goals is excellent service quality, internally you may train staff to deliver, “97% of all service calls are answered by the 3rd ring 24 hours a day, and assure 92% accuracy in arrival time for all scheduled appointments to customer’s home.” But to the customer, you can translate this to, “Your time is important to us, too. We are on-time, and always here when you need us.”

Showcase the representative routes

Identify all ways a potential customer may encounter an impression or interaction with your organization (yes, I said all this is a strategy process-not a 10-minute pep talk). For each, consider: do you let non-sales impressions run on ‘autopilot’ to just happen, or are you are thoughtfully controlling the path? Controlling details in small things gives a clearer perception of the care a customer can receive in bigger matters. At every available demonstration of how your company does business, show them why you are reliably the best to buy from.

Example: Are signed company vehicles the image you want of your company? Do your drivers drive in a manner that reflects your organization’s values? A clean, well-kept vehicle with an attentive, polite driver looks more like someone your customer might want at their location than a dirty, banged-up vehicle with the distracted driver (texting/smoking/eating).

Are your non-sales personnel as top-notch as your quality products? Just because they may be the lower skilled and lower paid employee group, don’t fill those roles carelessly. They leave a profoundly specific message about your company.

Poor Example: A hand-picked florist known for premium-priced, superb arrangements and service quality used a (temporary?) delivery employee to take my order to a friend’s home. The representative reeked of an undesirable smell, lost the message card between their auto and my friend’s door, was coarse in their greeting, and was blatantly expectant of a tip before leaving.

Good Example: Furniture delivery staff brought my item into my home, placed it where I asked, patiently waited for me to verify it was ‘just right’, then removed the packaging taking it with them to dispose of, leaving me with only a smile and my furniture-hassle free, fun to receive, and ready to use.

Assure the journey is successful

Make it easy for customers to tell you there is a problem. Clear instructions offered in several mediums get the alert to you fast. Whether it is on the invoice, a receipt, a text, a separate package insert, or in person, all instructions should be easy to read, clear in expectations, and consistent.

Be a good defensive driver

Keep your eye on the road and be ready to respond, adjust and adapt-or repeat what you did well.

Getting people to affirm you did things well and tell you how (what was most relevant to them) is important-details matter. Feedback is sometimes difficult to obtain if customers are happy. Telling them upfront you will contact them to assure their satisfaction sets their expectations.

And make it worth their time. Lottery-like drawings and surveys that require the customer to do something in exchange for nothing of value to them fall far short of creating a positive customer experience. If you want an opinion either be willing to do the legwork so the customer does not have to, or be willing to pay for it in value coupons or reward points that don’t expire too quickly; customers see that for what it is, self-serving for you.

Drive with purpose

Finding out how customers perceive, feel, and experience your organization can help you identify how to sell better. And it keeps their eyes on the road to your business.

Cheryl Kane, MBA, PHR, GPHR, SHRM-SCP, is a strategic business consultant, sales trainer, & professional speaker specializing in strategic planning and service quality. If you seek assistance in growing your business, need a business speaker, or have a topic you would like to see in this column, Cheryl welcomes your communication at (704) 595-7188 or email: [email protected]


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