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Face to Face: Keep Customers Satisfied
The impact of the personal relationship you nurture with customers will – over time – command loyalty even when competing online products and services are only a key tap away. To this end, use specific connection-building techniques when engineering a sale.
The five basic stages of direct selling, listed here, have been widely implemented since their emergence in the 1950s. Take note: they pretty much ride on paying clear attention to customer feedback.
- Attention: Grab your prospect’s attention. Typically, this starts with advertising.
- Interest: Build the prospect’s interest with an emotional appeal. For example, selling a desk chair is more about how the chair will make them feel when they are using it as opposed to the chair’s actual properties. "Selling" an investment strategy is more about the comforts of financial security rather than the particulars of a Roth IRA.
- Desire: Build the prospect’s desire for said desk chair. Do this, for example, by showcasing the desk chair's features, which may include adjustable lumbar support or a tilting mechanism. Or, in the case of the investment plan, it may be features such as dividend payments and tax benefits.
- Conviction: Support the prospect's desire for your desk chair or investment program by providing statistics or offering data proving its value. Describe how the product or service is better than its competitors' version. Or refer to testimonials from satisfied customers as third-party, non-biased opinions.
- Action: As a salesperson, you must close the deal by asking the prospect to act, addressing objections as they occur.
Every potential sale will go through some form of the above stages. Nevertheless, experts argue that what is important is the way in which the salesperson leads the prospect to action, not just that the salesperson is able to close the deal.
Build Better Relationships
Since attracting a new customer is more costly than keeping an existing one, maintaining a good customer relationship can save both money and time. Here are some pointers:
- Build solid relationships based on trust to ensure repeat buyers. Remember that happy customers make excellent company spokespersons, advertising your goods and services by word of mouth.
- Stick to the strongest traditional sales approaches. In fact, current CRM techniques incorporate the tried and true strategies listed here:
- Qualifying is a process that identifies target customers well before the company begins to nurture the relationship. Tactics include creating an “ideal customer” profile and criteria, as well as a system to help narrow leads. By identifying the perfect customers before they walk through the door, you are more likely to make them happy when you do meet.
- Bundling refers to a sales technique that works in unison with relationship selling (see below). When you bundle products or services, you offer prospects and customers a discount upon purchase of two or more items or services at the same time. Keep in mind the needs of your customer as you make your offer, and the trust you’ve earned will never be sacrificed.
- Cross selling is the offer of similar or complementary products in addition to those a customer may be considering. If they are looking for dinner plates, for example, you might mention that soup bowls are on sale. If they are looking for simple tax preparation, for example, you might mention investment programs that shelter their income.
- Up selling is the attempt to persuade potential customers to buy costlier items than those they’re considering. In this situation, best practices suggest that a long-term relationship trumps a single sale. However, once you have earned a customer’s trust, he or she will likely buy from you again.
- Relationship selling defines the sales technique that rides on buyer-seller interaction rather than price or product details. Here, a successful sale usually comes as a result of good customer relationships over an extended period.