Listening and Responding to Complaints
I’d like to share a story from a mentor of mine, the late Milton Growler. He built an empire of jewelry magazines and then sold it for millions of dollars to a firm in the U.K. I once interviewed him, and I asked him “what is one thing behind your success as a publisher?” and he floored me with his answer. He answered that he took every single complaint call from his customers.
And I said “but why? You’ve got a lot of people.” He went “yeah, but when can you guarantee that you’re ever going to have 100% of your customer’s attention? It’s when they have a complaint.”
Sales is striving and dying to get 100% of the customer. The best time to grow a business is when you’re helping someone solve their complaints. And if you act fast enough and help them solve their complaints, they’ll become loyal and help you build your business.
Related: Strategies to Build Customer Loyalty
Be Proactive With Your Customers
Do you know the number one reason why purchasing agents – your customers – get fired? Is it because they paid too much money for your product? No, the number one reason why they got fired is because there was an interruption in the supply chain. You didn’t deliver on time, or something happened with the quality of your products and they got nailed.
Your customers need you to be proactive with them and call them up when something’s about to go wrong. Say “hey, I can’t deliver this on time. I can’t give you the quality. I know it’s going to hurt you, but let’s manage the outcome so we can help you.” That’s what they want. They want to be able to prepare.
When you help your customers in advance is not always about price. it’s about outcomes and how well you treat them.
How Do I Boost Sales?
Number one, call your existing clients or call your past clients. We often forget about them. They used us three years ago, you think that we’re at the top of their conscious mind? The answer is “no.” Call them up, say “hey, it’s been a while that we’ve talked. Here’s something new that I’m doing. Can we have a conversation about that?”
You see, when you’re trying to build sales, you’ve got two parts. One, you’ve got to develop the relationship, which costs a lot of time in the initial sale. And number two, you’ve got to make the sale.
When you sell to past or present clients, your margins increase because you don’t have to build a relationship from scratch. If you really need to boost sales really quickly, go to the people you already have relationships with. Keep your relationship relevant, find out what’s missing for them, and then see if they’re willing to work with you again.
Who Really Needs Your Product or Service?
What I always urge my clients to do is segment their markets. Go back in time to see what types of customers had a sweet spot for your value proposition. When there’s a sweet spot for your value proposition, those people tend to buy faster than other people.
So if you can really identify who really needs your products, who values it the most and who’s going to buy it faster, go after those people first.
The third thing you want to do is call up people that know your value. That might be fellow salespeople in the same market. Not competitors, but you know, somebody selling complementary products and services or somebody that has used you in the past. See if these people could become advocates and if you can get referrals.
Referrals are one of the best ways to gain business fast because, again, You don’t have to cold call. Your prospects are ready to listen to you.
Stop Selling and Focus On Your Customers’ Needs
And finally, I guess it comes back to sales skill. We all forget, and sometimes never learn, but if you really want to sell something fast to somebody, stop selling. Because when people sell, they tend to talk too much. They talk about things they think the customer wants to hear, and the customer loses interest.
Ask about what they’re trying to solve. What’s keeping them up at night? What kind of pain or pleasure are they trying to gain? When you get them emotionally involved, then you can address their concerns and needs. And when you do that, they’re going to buy your products more often and faster.
How Do I Get the Word Out?
You know traditionally, companies of all sizes will spend between three and seven percent of total revenues on marketing. So let’s say if you’re a $10,000,000 company, 3 percent is $300,000 and 7 percent is $700,000.
But guess what? You can cut that in half today by using social media because it’s free. The number one thing you want to do is build your tribe. Create a community of past and present customers and then stay in contact with them on a regular basis.
Also, make sure your website has a blog page. Regularly write blogs and then share your articles with your community.
Consistency Is Important
It is crucial to be consistent. I remember Coca-Cola many years ago was advertising monthly on TV and then they had to cut some budgets. So they decided to cut the advertising instead and only advertise every other month. They were afraid they would lose market share, but they didn’t. Why? Because no one realized they weren’t advertising that month because they were consistent. So I don’t care if you write and share a blog once a week or once a month, but keep doing it consistently.
One thing you’ve got to remember about sales and branding is that people don’t buy when you want them to buy, they buy when they’re ready to buy. The challenge is to reach out to your prospects and make them think about your products when they’re ready to buy.
Videos Are Incredible
Videos are the most incredible thing you can use on social media. Create your own YouTube channel. You know, this thing is the best thing that’s ever been invented. I go to clients and they say something great about me, and I say “would you mind taking a video of you and putting it on YouTube?” and they say “sure.”
If you’re really trying to be in touch with your customers, your videos should be no more than two minutes of a really clear point. There should be a point, a story, because people learn by stories, and application (what does it mean to them?).
I just read a study the other day that said that by 2017, 74 percent of the traffic on the internet is going to be video-based. That really shows you the power of video.
Create Your Own LinkedIn Group
The next thing you want to start looking into is LinkedIn.
LinkedIn is the best prospecting tool you can find. Get the professional version. Splurge on it. Spend the $24.99 or whatever it is a month. You can do searches for types of positions you want to penetrate and types of accounts. You can read about them, you can do assessments of them.
How about creating your own LinkedIn group? Start a dialogue where people can help each other. When they have an active dialogue in the group, you get the credit for it because it’s your group.
About Ron Karr
Ron Karr is an internationally known sales coach and consultant. He has worked with industry leaders from companies such as YPO, Hertz, UPS, Agfa, United Natural Foods, and Marriott Hotels; has been published in more than 250 national magazines and has done numerous radio and television interviews. He is author of the best-selling book, Lead, Sell or Get out of the Way.
His innovative Karr IMPACT! System™ has become the go-to method to staying five steps ahead of the competition, creating value and potential in unexplored situations, and driving IMPACTFUL change. Karr has managed to generate three-quarter of a billion dollars in incremental revenues for his clients, reach 200K+ people worldwide and tap into 36+ years of sales and leadership experience. He has spoken on six continents in 20 countries.