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It's Only Common Sense
By Dan Beaulieu
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It’s Only Common Sense: Going Deep With Your Customers
The key to successful salespeople is they go deep. They go beyond the transactional, normal steps. Great salespeople have that certain “je ne sais quoi.” Customers love them for it. They can’t wait for them to visit. They hope they’ll be asked to have lunch with them. Customers can’t wait to introduce them to the rest of their team. In short, customers are proud to call them their friends.
That sounds fantastic, doesn’t it? Are you scratching your head, wondering if it’s even believable?
Actually, it is. It’s completely believable and, even more, it’s possible. I’m sure if you think about it, you can come up with someone who will remind you of the kind of salesperson I’m talking about.
The interesting thing about this kind of salesperson is that this is who they are—all the time. It’s how they are with their friends, the organizations they belong to, and with their family. They are people that other people like being around.
The poet Maya Angelou wisely said, “People will not remember what you said, but they will remember how you made them feel.” I love that. Think about your own situation and you’ll come to the same conclusion. The better someone makes you feel, the more you will like them. That we should all be so lucky.
You can be this type of person with a little bit of effort and dedication. You can become one of those salespeople that customers can’t wait to spend time with—and prefer to do business with.
Here are some characteristics of great (sales)people:
- Genuine care. That’s right, they honestly care about your customers. Look out for them, and make sure you’re there for them when they need you. Show a genuine understanding and empathy toward the customer’s situations and emotions.
- Show respect: Always treat your customers with courtesy and respect. Always be infinitely polite. Show the manners of a courtier; make them feel special. Remember what Maya said, “They’ll remember how you made them feel.”
- An active listener. Be interested in what others have to say. Never interrupt them. Act as if they are the most interesting person in the room. (Which they are, right?) Lean into what they are saying. Actively follow the conversation rather than already thinking of what you’ll say when they finish. Let them know and feel how important their words are to you.
- Personalize it. Tailor your interactions to each customer’s preferences and history. Sales is not a one-size-fits-all, one-pitch-works with all customers. You must personalize how you work with each customer.
- Conduct research. Know everything about the customer and their company. Know their position in their marketplace, what they need to be a true leader in that market, and how you can contribute to helping them do just that. The more you know about a customer, the better you can service them.
- Be transparent. Always be open and honest. I wish I didn’t need to say this, but don’t ever lie. Always tell the truth, especially when it hurts—like when your own company messed up. In fact, when that happens, it’s a perfect opportunity for you to ingratiate yourself with your customer. The way you act, the honesty you show, and the way you solve the problem immediately is exactly the foundation upon which a great long-time customer relationship can be established—but only if done correctly. If you don’t handle a problem well, you can ruin the relationship forever.
- Show appreciation. Let your customer know how much you appreciate their business. Let them know how important your relationship with their company is to you. Too often salespeople take a customer for granted, assuming that based on history and longevity, they will buy from them forever—only to find out too late that they have been usurped by a better competitor with a better salesperson. It happens every day.
- Be consistent. Customers love this, especially when it comes to quality and performance. They love being worry-free. They love frictionless transactions. They want and desire things to be as easy as possible for them. As great salespeople, we must make sure it happens, and that we always deliver the same outstanding performance.
Finally, be authentic. This is the best quality a salesperson can have. There is nothing more valuable than being a true and sincere person in all of life’s transactions, both personally and professionally.
It’s only common sense.
Dan Beaulieu is president of D.B. Marketing Group.
More Columns from It's Only Common SenseIt’s Only Common Sense: A Step-by-Step Guide to Problem-solving
It’s Only Common Sense: Going Well Beyond the Norm
It’s Only Common Sense: The Face of Your Company—Customer Service
It’s Only Common Sense: 24 Mistakes Salespeople Make
It’s Only Common Sense: 9 Proven Reasons Customers Buy From You
It’s Only Common Sense: What Makes a Great Leader?
It’s Only Common Sense: Groundbreaking Marketing Stories From the Past
It’s Only Common Sense: Don’t Fall in Love With Your Marketing