Customers have higher expectations, and more buying power than ever. They have more options as well. Therefore, companies striving to be the best have made customer satisfaction and retention the cornerstone of their business strategy. To achieve business success, the best companies add to this cornerstone product innovation and quality, and a productive and responsive group of employees who are encouraged to focus on customer service in a vibrant corporate culture.
With radical, comprehensive and pervasive changes in technologies and markets have come changes in the way sales people achieve customer satisfaction. The days of “hit-and-run selling” are over. Sales people must now act as account managers who are responsible for the ongoing quality of the company’s relationships with customers.
The message is clear: to be successful today, sales people must get closer to customers, not just during the sales process, but after it, too. By applying the last role, that of a Farmer, you can solidify your customer relationships for years to come.
The number one killer of customer satisfaction is complacency on the part of the seller. The day you take your customer for granted is the day your competitor takes that customer away from you.
Just because you do not hear complaints does not mean your customer is satisfied. According to a recent consumer affairs study, 96 percent of unhappy customers never complain.
To avoid becoming complacent with your customers, stop thinking “account maintenance” and start thinking “account development.” Don’t just hold your ground, move forward. The best way to keep the business is to grow your business.
The requirements for a long-lasting and profitable relationship are mutual trust, understanding and value achieved. If you put extra effort into achieving customer satisfaction by becoming proactive with your customer after making a sale, you will be generously rewarded.
Your role as Farmer entails nourishing the relationship with the customer, sowing new applications for your product, cultivating the account, reaping the fruits of your labor, and planning your next season.
You accomplish these tasks by keeping in mind: your customer wants to realize the results expected, that the product is performing as promised. The customer also expects to be treated in a way that makes them feel as important after the sale as before. And the customer wants to be reassured that he paid a fair price.
Achieving this quality relationship with your customer allows you to grow the account, and it allows you to ask for referrals! To truly understand selling you must understand buying, and that’s why you must get into your customer’s head!
You can increase your sales and enjoy greater customer satisfaction by changing your approach to match your customers’ changing perspective throughout the sale. At TopLine Leadership, we teach eight specific roles that match customers’ needs at each of the eight buy-learning steps.