Successful selling is when you view the process as serving the customer rather than selling to the customer by Gary Shotton #000267
Serving, Not Selling
By Gary Shotton
Today, we’re going to talk about serving, not selling. You may know that IBBTalks has groups we call and talk to in developing nations. One of the questions is how to make a happy customer. So are here some things to do and things to avoid doing, on that subject.
It starts with the idea of your serving your customer, not selling to them. If you serve them well, you will make the sale, so the object is not just to sell, but to serve. It’s a process of changing your mindset and how you approach the customer. Here are some do’s and don’ts that I’ve seen work in other nations, even in the United States.
Let’s say that you’re at a shop where you’re selling goods and services to someone who comes in off the street. Assume they have many options of where to buy. Of course, you want them to purchase from you, so your first impression is going to be very, very critical. What do I mean by first impression? When someone comes through the doors, a lot of stores have a little buzzer or beep or some way to alert you when a new person comes to your business. The quicker you can acknowledge their presence, the better. You can say certain things, for example: “It’s good to have you today”, or “I’ll be with you in a minute.” Some of the companies in the United States have their own slogans, and when you first walk up to the counter, they welcome you and may say, “How can I serve you?”
Eye contact is very important, and sometimes, if appropriate, a handshake or acknowledgement that’s customary to your area. Nobody wants to walk in, wanting to find somebody to help, and the storekeeper does not even know you’re there. I have often seen the person behind the counter texting somebody or on a personal phone call. That is not good. In an emergency, okay, but if they’re trimming their fingernails, or they’re doing a menial task like sorting, stop what you’re doing. You want to show respect for the customer.
Try to think of various phrases that would say, “I am listening to you.” You should be analyzing right away whether they’re in a hurry or can spend lots of time. Let’s say it’s a dress shop, and the customer says, “I’m just looking around.” Actually, they did not just come in to look around. They probably are interested in buying something. So just point out generally, for example, that our slacks are over here or sweaters are over there.
Just be helpful, but ask what they came for and respect their time. If you notice they’re in a real hurry, then stay close to be the most help to them. You want them to know you want to be available immediately, right there helping them through the process as quickly as possible. You can usually tell their intent by their approach to things. If they seem relaxed, you might want to back off. But don’t leave them alone too long. Come back every so often. “Are you finding what you need?” “If there is any way I could help you, just let me know.”
Try to help them any way you can, even if it means losing the sale. Keep the big picture in view. That may even involve telling them where they can find a product in a competitor’s store. They will appreciate the help so much that they will probably come to your store first, the next time they go shopping. Make sure you’re satisfying the needs of the customer well. Ask yourself when that customer leaves your business, “Did they had a pleasant experience?” Don’t just sell the product; sell the service!
If they come back with a problem, you must deal with it. You need to do everything within your power to take care of every problem you can. Be more generous than expected. Even if you’re not sure it was damaged when they bought it, you might want to take it back and give them a replacement.
For example, I recently had a minor operation at the hospital. When I went home, I got a follow up call. Can you guess who called me? It was not the nurse, not the technician, but the doctor himself. He said, “Gary, I just want to check with you. Is everything fine?” I was amazed! By the way, I had chosen that particular doctor because a friend was very, very happy with the service.
Give some thought to these concepts and talk with others in your peer group. Decide on some ways how to help each other with professional service ideas.
Repeat business comes from a happy customer, and a happy customer becomes a referral customer.
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