If you expect to have repeat customers or people wanting to continue a relationship with you (personal or professional), then you had better be considerate of them and show an interest in how they see things. Forget about your point of view. Concentrate on theirs. If you don’t, you’ll fail miserably.
Although I was very successful at what I did, I don’t want you to get the idea that everyone I ever sold anything to was a piece of cake. That kind of luck didn’t exist in the business I was in. You had to work at it. You had to understand, respect and anticipate the kinds of concerns customers would have about what you were selling. For example, I can remember that quality was always a big issue. Even though, for the most part the products were pretty good and reliable, there were occasional problems. Other times it might be more of a mechanical issue. Whatever it was, you had to be prepared to deal with and overcome the legitimate concerns customers would have about the product and service they were getting. If you were prepared and looked at things from their point of view, you were able to anticipate how they would react to anything you told them. Because of that, I was almost always able to control the outcome before it happened. That’s how I kept them coming back for more. They trusted me, and they knew I would deliver because I always did.
If they had a service issue, I saw it as the first opportunity to get them back on my Ferris wheel for the next sale. I know this may sound odd to some of you, but I actually relished the opportunity to make things right with a customer. While most of the salespeople would look for a rock or another person to hide behind when a disappointed customer approached them, I saw it as the first step toward securing the next sale. I loved it!
Don’t do what so many people in retail sales do. They assume they just have to “meet and greet” and look happy to get the business. They do nothing to prepare for a potential customer or sale. They don’t know anything about the customer and, worse yet, they don’t know their products or services the way a customer has the right to expect they should. They’re so ill-prepared, it’s no wonder nobody ever comes back to them for a second look.
To me, keeping a customer and keeping them happy and satisfied was like clutching the string attached to a beautiful balloon. If I let go, it would just fly away and eventually burst—opportunity lost. There was no way to get it back. My customers were like family to me. I was in it to win and to make winners out of my customers. I kept them coming back for more and more. And I made sure they enjoyed the experience over and over, again and again. Customers always want to be reassured that you really do care about them. Nurture those relationships and do it often. Constant reinforcement is the key. Let them know how important they are and that you are thinking about them. Take nothing for granted. They are the source of what you need to provide everything else in your life.
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