A customer once told me that his decision to give me a 300k project was based on the fact that I personally responded to his enquiry via my website over the weekend within 15 minutes (note – not an auto-bot response, I typed a proper reply).
No “ten-trillion” customer relationship management system or company-wide 6 month sales training programme provides that advantage.
In today’s hectic world, the mere acts of following-up, returning phone calls quickly, replying to emails, sharing information of value and just being polite goes a long, long way to securing business. It’s that simple.
I often wonder if companies are so focused on implementing complex processes and procedures, creating innovative presentations and rolling out state-of-the-art CRM or lead-gen systems, that they allow us as salespeople to forget the importance of the absolute basic principles of sales professionalism – responding quickly, showing respect, doing what we say we are going to do, being courteous and keeping the customer well-informed as to what is going on with his or her order/enquiry/complaint before they have to reach out for the answer. Basics that should come naturally but unfortunately don’t.
No crafty content-based marketing system that is triggered to send a series of emails to prospects because of what pages they visited or downloads they requested on your website will help strengthen the personal relationship if that’s what the buyer is looking for. I download loads of stuff but it means absolutely nothing in terms of whether or not I’m going to buy anything or not from that vendor. It just makes me aware of what they offer. It’s only when I connect with a salesperson that I make the decision.
Heck, we all know that most of these “Dear …” so-called “personal” emails are generated automatically by the thousand and were probably not authored by the person whose name is in the signature line. We all know that most call centre folk are reading off a screen (i.e. click here if the customer says this … ) and have very little ability or interest in deviating from their prompted script.
Use sales and marketing tools in the interests of increased productivity and service but keep it real. And above all, get the basics right. The role of the salesperson in influencing the sale is far great that you might think.