Build trust and loyalty with this slight perspective shift that can change your view of sales and also your customer's view of you!
Despite the fact that businesses need sales reps of some kind in order to function, there still is a negative stereotype of the sales force. You can see it in your head right now, can’t you? The loud, obnoxious, overly excited person pushing way more information at you than you asked for. Rather than listening to your needs, they try to convince you to purchase things you don’t actually need. Maybe you walk out with your wallet significantly lighter than you had planned, but still not with what you actually needed.
We live in a world where good customer service and sales are viewed as two different, if not polar opposite, things. We see the sales rep as being the greedy bad guy in a suit and tie, while the good customer service rep is the calm, kind person who saves the day and fixes all the problems we ran into with the sales guy. Do these two roles really need to be so opposed?
"If the customer becomes the focus, then the sale becomes about problem solving and finding what is best for that customer, not just what is best for the business."
We would argue that a good sales representative is also the best customer service representative because he/she is service oriented. If the customer becomes the focus, then the sale becomes about problem solving and finding what is best for that customer, not just what is best for the business. Ultimately, however, a potential customer who feels cared for and put first can become a loyal customer for years to come.
Especially for small and independent companies, sales and customer service often blend together as a unit. Getting to know your customer and finding out their needs and desires can make all the difference in whether they come back and refer their friends, or run for the hills.
How this looks in practice will vary based on your business, but there are some good overall things to keep in mind:
Your customer is looking for something specific. Even if they can’t put it into words, they have an ideal in their mind and are hoping to find it. If you can help them pull out that ideal and make it tangible, you have won their trust. If you convince them to settle, they will associate that “meh” feeling with you and your business.
Your main goal is getting the customer what they are looking for, and, if you can't, be honest. Don't try to convince them what you have is better if it's not. Sometimes that customer's hopes and dreams of product and price are not possible, but they'll respect you more if you give honest pros and cons instead of trying to pull the wool over their eyes.
Take a long-term perspective. You may not get the biggest sale you could get right now, but if that customer knows you are looking out for them and putting their needs first, you have now established loyalty that goes both ways.
Remember that your customer is a person not an objective. Sales objectives are important, but making a customer feel cared for is more so.
Not every sale is going to be the same, and that's OK. Some people will have a clear idea of what they want, others only a vague impression. Some need it now, others will stall forever. Some people will always want the upgrade, others will always want the discount.
If your end goal is a customer who feels served, then you work backward to every encounter and let that guide your interactions.