Some of your customers are business owners too or work for other businesses. All your customers, by original design have one head, two eyes, and two legs, can shake their heads and blink their eyes, have all the features of a human being. In other words they are all humans like you, with emotions and can reason. So in all your interactions with them, please and please remember that, and treat them as such, and not just as un-thinking robots that can’t take self-decisions. Your customers apart from the product(s) and/or service(s) they buy or are buying from you needs something more important from you than those two, they need you to:
Pay attention to what they are saying and their interest (don’t just listen or pay attention for its sake, act accordingly)
See them as unique individuals and treat them as such. Not as a number or just ‘’one of them’’
There was a time I needed some legal services very urgently and a friend recommended someone to me. The following day I decided to go there and guess what, when I entered the lawyer’s office. She was writing something. I greeted her and after about 5 seconds she mumbled back a reply to my greeting without even raising her head to see who entered her office or is greeting her. I stayed there for about another 5 seconds with her still in that same position. I quietly walked away without saying another word. I needed her services like ”yesterday”, but I rather not have it than get it from her or go back to that office again. She lost a customer and lost that customer for life. She didn’t pay attention to me and I guess, she is not in touch with respect. First impression still matter even up till this day.
No matter how small or insignificant you think a customer is, (you never can tell the source of that ”one” transaction that will break your bank account) we all including the guy that is trying to sell something crave for respect and attention. The guy selling something is some other guys’ customer too.
Let me reveal to you a secret that have been hidden for ages from some businesses and business owners, (hope I get paid for it) that secret is – when you give your customers the three things mentioned above – they will love you, they will respect you back and these will translate into a long lasting relationship and you definitely know what that means – repeat business and assured revenue from them.
When you have a prospective customer, the end game is to make him a new customer, then a new client and so on, but there are three things you MUST not do.
Don’t try ‘’selling’’ to the customer (don’t make selling your primary objective)
Don’t pressure, push or manipulate the customer to buy (we all are customers and am very sure we are all not dumb, so am sure we know when we are being manipulated to buy something. I normally don’t like it, am sure you don’t too
Don’t focus on or put your own interest on the front burner (am sure you will ask who does that? Hey I tell you something, a lot of people do. I will tell you another secret, that is if you don’t know it already – your interest does not matter here, the only interest that matters here is that of the dude that you are scheming on how to make his money yours)
The first thing you do is stop ‘’selling’’. Selling is about the seller, it focuses on you and what you need. ”When you forget about the ‘’sale’’ and concentrate on the customer’s interests and ways to satisfy his needs, the sale will be the natural result. With this practice you are also building trust”.
Business is relationship building. Which, will you prefer; build a relationship that will generate revenue for your business for life or manipulate or pressure a prospect to buy and after that he does not come back again?
Remember, what brought that prospect to your office or shop is not to come and see how fanciful the place is, well some do. But for the majority, what brought them to you is that they need your product/service or something like it. All they need now is perhaps some form of logical confirmation or emotional support (one day I write on how humans make purchase decisions) that will make them comfortable with the decision they have already made. They will know when you are trying to pressure or manipulate them, and that will only achieve negative results.
For those in Nigeria, have you gone to a motor park or garage say Maza-Maza or Jibowu in Lagos or Milverton in Aba (am very familiar with these ones) or such other places to enter a bus to travel? Do you remember how the loaders hustle for you and the kind of things they tell you, at times they tell you that there is no other bus going to your destination except theirs or that every other bus has gotten filled up except theirs or that the other transport companies don’t have good services except them and all such stupid things. Am sure you feel felt funny about it and saw them as clowns. And you know what; some businesses do these same things that touts in motor parks do.
If you are a small business or start-up, give yourself an advantage, design a process for converting your prospects into life customers. It should look something like this.
- Engage with your prospective customer:
This step is not just a mere formality, it is where your customers begin to build their expectations of getting what they want or not. To engage them means to show or create interest. You are setting the tone for the rest of the relationship in this step.
- Let them know who you are and what you stand for:
This does not mean telling them about yourself and your values. Your customers came to you with a provisional decision to buy your product/service because, it promised to meet their emotional needs. What did you promise? How can you remind them that they have come to the right place? That might be as simple as restating your unique selling proposition.
- Determine the customers need
The more you know about exactly what a given customer wants and needs, the better you will be able to meet those needs. The easiest and most straightforward way to determine their needs is by asking them a series of questions.
- Provide a solution
This step looks like traditional ‘’sales’’. Ordinarily this is the step where you convince the customer to buy. But if you remember ‘’don’t sell … satisfy’’, this is not where to convince the customer, this is where the customer convince himself. Here you present the customer with a solution or solution options and let him know the differences between them and the benefits of each. Your main goal here is to EDUCATE your customer on how your product or service will satisfy his exact needs.
- Offer the product
This is the final step; your customers should now have their questions answered and be comfortable to make the purchase. But don’t push for a positive response. If you focus on this ‘’sale’’ rather than creating a relationship of mutual trust with this customer, you may be giving up all the sales to this prospect in the future.
All these exchanges doesn’t have to take all day, they can happen in a matter of few minutes. What is important is for you to design what will work for your own unique business (at least you get the general idea) and make it part of the way you do business.
Did you find this article helpful? Then kindly drop me a comment and also spread the love by sharing, so that others can benefit too.