Customers are the most likely future customers

Customers are the most likely future customers. There are many studies that show this to be true. They are cheaper to acquire than new customers, and this is partly because they are easier to influence. After all they are already in the habit of buying from you.

We came across an article by Karl Bryan the American trainer who covers this area. This is some of what he says on the subject ;

“….. many businesses focus solely on attracting new customers, but you NEED to spend a good chunk of your time retaining current and former customers.  These are people you already know to be a good sales potential. They’ve already bought from you!”

So it is important to take the time to market and sell new products to your existing and lapsed customers. Spend less time trying to sell old products to new customers, and you will see improvements in sales, customer quality and brand position. Karl Bryan offers this useful list with some added notes from us to make sure you retain your current customers ;

1. Stay in contact: This means by phone, email, e-newsletter, and in person. Keep them posted on what you are doing : new products and services etc.

2. Post-Purchase Relationship Building: This means you need to follow up with customers. Your customers need to feel  you have a genuine interest in them and their experiences with your product or service.  How many times do sales people lose interest the minute they get the order. Something as simple as a Thank
You note with your contact or customer service information can go along way in retaining a great customer.

3. Deals & Guarantees: Always offer your current customers the best deals and guarantees you have. Show them you appreciate their business and help them to get the best deals and advice. You can also do this with a preferred pricing option if their spend warrants it. It’s about making them feel special, valued. It all helps.

4. Integrity: Using good business practices and simply upholding integrity, dignity and honesty go along way with customers. Let’s face it, there’s a lot of half-hearted rubbish sales people. So the more they can trust you to do waht you say when you say you’ll do it, the more the relationship will build, and the more they will trust you.

There are three cornerstone ideas to a successful business:
. Quality product/service
. Offering useful products/services that solve a problem for or enhance the life of a customer
. Offer subjects your customers find interesting

Use this approach of educating your customers and offer them real information and insight and you will be rewarded with loyalty and success. Don’t waste all your time on new prospects while your current customers become someone else’s new accounts.

As the well known motivational speaker Jay Abraham says, “Your best prospects are your existing customers. If you’ve been putting all your marketing efforts into acquiring new customers, stop and divert some of your resources into reselling, upselling, cross-selling to those same customers.”

Good words Jay.

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Good selling is about 50% listening !

How many times do people try and sell to you either on the phone or face to face by dominating the conversation and trying to do all the talking ? It seems to me that sales people are often trained to simply benefit sell. And yes of course benefit statements ARE very useful.

But actually if you’re selling to a human (and of course you always are) it works much better to engage them in a 2 way conversation. If you get them involved, they will open up more readily and you will find out more.

So as a rule of thumb I think good selling is about 50% talking, 50% listening. Stray too far from this ratio at your peril ! Listening is an underrated part of the communication process. It is part of all the 2 day customer service training and telesales and telemarketing training that To Market carries out. There will be an audio CD available soon on the important topic of LISTENING SKILLS, follow this link to see the present range on communication skills topics http://www.associatedlearningsystems.co.uk/product_list.asp?Section=TELEPHONE%20COMMUNICATION%20SKILLS

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Know when to shut up when selling !

This story was given to me by Alan Agar who attended a recent telephone skills course with me in Manchester. The way he describes the key lesson is “knowing when to keep your mouth shut whilst in the process of making a sale.”   It is tempting to think that good telesales and effective sales techniques are all about talking – benefit selling. However good selling is as much about passive skills such as listening and keeping quiet. It was Mark Twain who famously said “better to be thought a fool than to open your mouth and remove all doubt.”   Alan’s story is as follows ; “I enquired about the purchase of a new peugeot 206 glx. I was  advised of the colour and the extras I wanted such as spoiler, alloy wheels etc, etc. Then the sales guy quoted a price which sounded reasonable, however just as I was about to commit to the sale he said “We won’t be beaten on price, you can try another peugeot dealer if you like.” I took his kind advice and went to a different dealer who swiftly undercut him by £300, this in turn started a “price war” between the two dealers ! The end result was that the initial salesman talked himself out of a 12k sale, and saved me some £450 in the process !” Thanks to Alan Agar for that salutary tale.   All the key parts of effective selling and professional telephone sales behaviour are covered in our 3 pack CD set http://www.associatedlearningsystems.co.uk/product_detail.asp?ProdID=16 These 3 CDs cover identifying needs, how to open a sales call and dealing with different customer attitudes.

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