Customer Relationships First – Ego Last
Many salespeople mistakenly think that if they already have a broad clientsâ€™ list, the leads will automatically happen as well. But, it is not true. The seeds wonâ€™t come to harvest in untended soil. Indeed, building strong relationships with potential customers is a tough work which requires every-day efforts and patience.
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As a salesperson, you should always remember that prospective customers have their own problems and donâ€™t care about your timetables or the fact that your boss wants you to close the deal ASAP.
That is why, when starting negotiation with the customer ask yourself â€śWhat can I do for this person?â€ť instead of â€śHow can I close the deal?â€ť This is a customer-oriented approach. The salespersonâ€™s aim is to find the right customer and the right product and put them together to make the customer satisfied.
To understand how to do sales in a right way, letâ€™s see some interesting stats:
- In most companies 20% of sales force creates 80% of revenue. It means that hiring talented salespeople is a random event and another 80% of people are doing wrong.
- Being a successful salesperson is a talent. The best sales trainings could only improve performance on maximum 20%. So, for instance, a 5 % could become a 6%, but an 80% can become a 96 %.
- Â It is essential to understand that you are doing â€śyourâ€ť job. 64 % of salespeople who fail do their job right because they are in the wrong job, not because they cannot sell.
- Satisfying and maintaining current customers is 10 times less costly than finding new clients.
- An average company loses between 10 and 30 % of its customers each year.
- 92 % of all customer interactions happen via the phone.
- 85% of customers are dissatisfied with their phone experiences.
Thus, the statistics clearly shows that finding and retaining a customer is a difficult task. Moreover, not everyone is able to cope with the job like this. So, in order to achieve success in sales you should treat each client as if he/she were your last.
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Always remember that you are in sales: you sale your service, your experience, your knowledge. And it is a known fact that people intend to buy from people they trust and like. Often it doesnâ€™t even matter how many years you have been in business or how many awards you have. It is more important to spend time establishing relationships and paying attention to peopleâ€™s needs.
Talk to your clients, listen to their needs, respect them – these are the key components of success. If you treat people politely, with open, friendly attitude, they will answer you in the same. Convey your potential clients that you are trying to help them, not making money on them. This helpful and understanding attitude goes a long way.
Building Trust Is Essential
Building trust enables to win over even the most hardened customers. Despite orientation on the immediate sale, try to serve people.
Over the last 17 years Iâ€™ve been a wonderful salesperson, but always had a motto:
Iâ€™m a terrible sales-person, but a wonderful service-person,â€ťsays Jody Maley, a sales expert.
Thus, if you want your business to be successful in a long-term perspective, the client’s interest should be in priority. When the potential customer knows that you really want to help and not just make a sale it means thatÂ
- you have established a strong trustworthy relationships;
- this customer will more likely become your repeat customer;
- this will help you to create the effect of â€śword of mouth:â€ť satisfied customers will recommend you to their friends and families.
Telling the truth is another part of success. If the home price is $18,000, then say so. Donâ€™t try to earn easy money on your clients by up-charging them. To move a sale forward you have to gain the buyerâ€™s trust. Deception or open lie will kill your reputation and can result in no sale at all.
Understanding the principle of how mutual trust is created is particularly important for salespeople. Trust is the foundation for building solid relationships, whether professional or personal. In fact, without the trust your conversation with new potential customers may never begin.
Where the Trust Begins
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If you are a cold caller and call the customer, saying â€śit is exactly what you need,â€ťthere is a little probability that this will work. How can you offer the ideal solution of problems if you even do not know this person? Establishing relationships means to spend your precious time listening to the clientâ€™s needs. Picking up the phone, face-to-face meetings, maintaining a constant communication is a key to successful conversation with a client.
Itâ€™s important to realize that today business culture has become extremely cautious towards salespeople. Once being disappointed by some vendor, the customer loses the faith, making it more difficult for the next salesperson to establish a strong business relationship. So, you should gain as much credibility as possible on the first stages of sales conversations. Earning trust and credibility gives you an opportunity to ultimately gain advantage in the competition.
According to Andy Wood, professor of marketing in West Virginia, there are four main foundations of buyersâ€™ trust:
- Expertise (Is a salesperson competent and qualified enough?)
- Credibility (Is the salesperson honest and responsible? Can you rely on his/her promises?)
- Compatibility (Is the salesperson likeable, reputable and does he/she share the same values?)
- Congruence of interests (Does the salesperson share the common goals? Can you be sure that the salesperson act in your interests?)
If the majority of answers are â€śyes,â€ť it means that the customer trusts you. But, if not, you should find out what is wrong and try to make the situation work on you.
Over-Promising Is the Most Common Mistake Sales People Make
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It often happens when a salesperson says to his/her client â€śWe can do that tomorrow,â€ť when actually it is not going to happen in a week. The reason for this behavior is obvious: salesperson wants to get the order and will figure it out later. But, according to Andy Wood, professor of marketing at West Virginia University, this is a wrong policy:
You won the battle but lost the war. You forced the buyers into a corner on this order but theyâ€™re never going to buy from us again.
In fact, once the exaggeration is revealed, it kills credibility. It really damages the buyerâ€™s belief in the salespersonâ€™s honesty and reliability. Over-promising can also make the buyer doubt in the salespersonâ€™s expertise. The buyer may think that the salesperson is lying because of the Â competence and professionalism lackÂ .
So, try to keep your word. If you tell the client, â€śI’ll have it done by Friday,â€ť even if it takes some extra efforts, do everything that depends on you to keep your word. Or donâ€™t give your word at all if you are not sure that you can keep it.
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Experienced salespeople know that when they close the sale, it is only a start of their business relationships with this customer. It is crucial for a salesperson to keep these contacts and be available for any questions and concerns. So, doing these simple things is a minimal contribution for solid friendly relationships with your present and future customers:
- Pick up the phone when people call
- Call people back
- Respond to their mails in a permanent manner
- Arrange face-to-face meetings
- Tell customers the truth
- Listen closely to your customers needs
Indeed, listen to your clientsâ€™ wishes is very important. If you have a customer who wants to buy a small apartment in the city, but your agenda is to sell more expensive penthouse, you are not doing any favors. You are fulfilling your need and looking forward to your commissions. Donâ€™t do it, provide the customers with what they want.Â Doing so guarantees not only satisfied customers, but future referrals. Personal recommendations are the highest esteem and the best compliment for the salesperson.
Ego and Empathy â€“ Two Sides of the Same Coin
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Being diametrically opposite concepts, ego and empathy are both important for the salesperson. But, the tricky thing is to maintain the equilibrium between these feelings. Most of salespeople have too much ego and seem to be arrogant and self-centered. This disables them to understand that selling is all about their customers, not them.
Salespeople who don’t have enough empathy are not able to help clients feel comfortable sharing their frustrations and fears. On the other hand, people with a lack of ego and over empathy are considered to be uncertain or with low expertise.