What is the relationship between service and sales?
Recently, I was working with a client who I would describe as very, very well-to-do. This gentleman was a corporate executive, with extremely high standards – and an incredible amount to spend to match. Banks and other professionals concerned with his transaction were falling over themselves to assist him and provide things unheard of to the likes of mere mortals like you and I.
At the end of our deal, he said to me something that made me feel just wonderful: “You made everything so easy – it was night and day from our previous experiences. I never knew working with an agent could be like this!” Of course, I asked for a review.
My Sales background initially stemmed from the luxury hotel industry, where I was a gold-level concierge, working alongside legendary clef-d’ors to provide the best in service to worldly (and rich) guests. Eventually I transcended to the sales team, and beyond to eventually build my own business. But this service-first focus always gave me an edge over other salespeople, who lacked the polish and tools for making clients feel at ease and taken-care of.
If you provide outstanding, polished service to your clients and customers, they will keep coming back. They will sing your praises online, to their friends & family, and you will begin to see your business multiply while your competition loses steam.
Remember: as the salesperson, you are courting them. Ensure they feel courted by paying them a simple courtesy (that goes miles towards making a deal work).
Have you ever sent someone a well-written email or text message, asking an important question, and received no response? Sent an important document, to just hear crickets in return? Have you ever placed an online order, and received no confirmation, no shipping notice, no anything? This is unacceptable!
All that any client, prospect, or person inquiring for information wants is to be acknowledged in interactions. Even if its just something as simple as saying “Got it, thanks!” or “My pleasure” – acknowledge their questions, concerns, or notes to you. Remember: as the salesperson, you are courting them. Ensure they feel courted by paying them a simple courtesy (that goes miles towards making a deal work). Your word should always be the last.
A key part of manners that people often forget is name usage (which I will go into in more detail below). The important part (besides using their name) is that you are showing them respect. Never begin an email, text message or phone call without using the persons preferred name (first or last). Think of it like an honorific. People love deference.
Perhaps even more importantly – make sure you tell them your name, and the names of anyone pertinent to the discussion being introduced (especially when calling or at first introductions). The worst situation for everyone is when an introduction isn’t made by the principal connecting party (you) between others in the interaction. At the top of a call, always state who you are and who represent.
Imagine you are the host at your own party. Make sure everyone is comfortable and feels looked after! And this should go without saying, but: always use please and thank you. No matter how negative the interaction. You’ll never regret saying it; but you might come to regret not saying it.
Besides the above note on respect, name usage is a subconscious way to build rapport with your client or prospect! And no – I don’t mean hammering them over the head with it. What you need to do is casually call them by their name from time to time throughout your call, email or meeting. Use it to punctuate a sentence, bring them in on a little secret, or to celebrate a close. When you say their name, it is music to their ears!
Unsure how to pronounce a name that is new to you, in terms of spelling or origin? ASK! Chances are, you wouldn’t be the first to ask how such a name is pronounced. This shows your friendliness, true curiosity to know them, and again – respect – for them and their time. Don’t be afraid to correct your prospect on the pronunciation or spelling of your name; even if you’re trying hard to sell them – it’s important that they know you’re a human and respect your name, too.
The way that you dress and conduct yourself speaks volumes about who you are and how you do business. Be honest – when your meal is served by a sloppy looking waiter (in a dingy restaurant) – what does that do to your confidence in the food?
You don’t have to wear a Rolex, an Armani suit, or a Chanel bag to be taken seriously. In fact – understatement is the true hallmark of sophistication (in my opinion), and it’s all in the details. Are you clean-shaven, or has your beard at least been neatly trimmed? Is your hair clean, tidy and well maintained? Avoid touching your face, fidgeting, and shows of nervousness. If you have tattoos or a propensity for funky jewellery – thats OK. But a sales call might not be the right time to show them off.
Any photography of you as it relates to your business, online profiles, or professional resume should be of the highest quality, current, and show you at your best. Most importantly – be yourself, and wear your Sunday Best every day.
Don’t make promises you can’t keep. Never tell a client or prospect you will send them something, even something small, if you can’t follow through on it. You need to demonstrate to them that your word is as good as gold, and if you say something will be done, they can bank on it.
Following up is so, so, so crucial in Sales. How is it important in the Service aspect of things though? Easy – when you follow up, you ensure the message you sent or information you provided landed where it needed to go. Think of this like acknowledgement, but you making the acknowledgement for the client. This helps them feel handled and truly taken care of; it will also keep a deal alive.
You need to demonstrate to them that your word is as good as gold, and if you say something will be done, they can bank on it.
Afraid to ask your client or prospect how it’s going, because you’re not sure you’ll like the answer? This is typical in sales and business in general (at least, it used to be). Once the sale is made, or is in progress, stone-wall the client and move on.
When I worked in the hotel industry, a hallmark of our high-end brand was always asking guests how their stay was going while they were still there. And I mean truly ask with an intention to get feedback. If you receive no feedback while you have them in your grasp, you relinquish the opportunity you have to correct your mistakes! What does this mean for your business? No repeat clients, no bigger sales opportunities. Just a negative review after the fact.
Take the time to follow up with old clients and past prospects from time to time. They’ll appreciate the touch – and will keep you top of mind for that next referral or purchase of their own.
Regardless of your line of business, service is your opportunity to compete. In some industries (ie. fine dining), this can come at a hard cost. But for you as a sales person? You could implement the above tips and it wouldn’t cost you a dime!
I’m sure many salespeople are familiar with the terminology of more for more or more for same. More for same means you give the client additional features for nothing; more for more means they have to pay. Giving people more, or the perception of more for the same or similar to what your competition makes you stand out. Outstanding service is that “more.”
Whether its industrial parts, real estate, cellphone plans or even competing against other members of your own sales team – you can stand out by being exceptional when it comes to providing service. When your clients call, they should be unwilling to talk to anyone but YOU!
When your clients call, they should be unwilling to talk to anyone but YOU!
Always strive to be the best you can be when it comes to dealing with clients and prospects. If it helps – think of yourself as a master hotelier and they are your guests. They are coming to you for information, assistance, and if all goes well – a purchase contract. Make them feel most welcome.
Cheers & Happy Selling.