So I was pondering how I feel at the moment – which is incredibly buoyed up and positive.
This got me thinking about the experiences in my career that make me an upbeat person, and one who, as a good people coach and sales negotiator, has helped many others achieve their true potential.
From there it was sadly only a short hop to me wondering why is it that so many sales people consider that the customer service departments exist purely to mop up their messes?
Intelligent and experienced sales people and their employers should be aware that the easiest way to make further sales is to keep your existing clients happy, happy, happy. Then they become a repeat customer and also will refer others once they see the benefits of the product they have purchased.
Word of mouth advertising is the greatest. However, it can also be the worst advertising when you are working with salespeople who are less than honest – in fact are actually con-men and scam artists.
OK – if you are a con-man or scam artist then I can understand you are out there to get as much money as you can, as quickly as you can with your little product and then you will disappear off to who knows where. Then the customers have no recourse or comeback as you are not there any longer! However, you con-men really don’t care coz you are long gone, having achieved what you wanted, and we are hardly likely to see you again in those cases!
But for a company to be labelled “cheaters” or “con-men” by their clients is really rather shocking and needs to be looked at.
This is where customer service comes into the fray – acting as a policing for the sort of employees and salespeople who will damage the reputation of a reputable company and employer.
Often they discover salespeople who actually use tactics to strike FEAR into the hearts of their existing customers so that they feel that they are “trapped” and they HAVE to spend more with you. This is totally wrong and needs to be dealt with promptly and effectively!
The client should WANT to spend more, when he is given valid and justified reasons for doing so, when he is happy with his original purchase and understands how to use it to maximize his return. This is how to achieve long term business. What FEAR does is only create a long term and often bigger problem.
Of course, when a viable business sells an expensive and/or luxury product there will be those that get cold feet after the initial commitment and suddenly decide they want their money back. When this is not possible or they are simply offered a credit in place of this, a customer will often then complain that they felt “pressurized” to buy, that the salesman wouldn’t let them go until they had signed a purchase order or contract, etc!
Seriously though, can anyone really be MADE to buy something that they don’t want? Obviously, we do sometimes go ahead and buy things on a whim or an impulse of course, but these are normally “safe” purchases and affordable. Normally for a large amount of money people will consider the options first.
OK so there are temptations and carrots dangled in most sales deals to encourage the buyer to buy now and create sales faster. But that is to be expected anywhere you go – that is why “sale” signs attract, “discount today” ” 2 for 1″ or “buy 2 get the 3rd free” etc. All these are engaged to attract an early choice by the client. They are not scams or cons – they are just good marketing. The buyer saves money in this case as he is saving the company longer term overheads by purchasing at these times.
It makes sense to add incentives for people to make a choice now – many people hate to make decisions when faced with choices so to tip them one way or another we market products in certain ways. No sweat!
No, what upsets me is when I see the unscrupulous people who “sell” products without any real idea of how professional salespeople work. In many cases they are downright liars!
They have never read Dale Carnegie (How to win friends…..), Zig Zigler (recently died -Nov 2012) , Lee Iacocca (Chrysler), or a myriad of other authors who advocate listening to your customers, establishing their needs and then selling the benefits that go with the facts to increase sales, etc.
Nor have they ever been trained in the art of professional selling or customer service. In fact, most of them would ridicule the work of a customer service department considering them there simply to cover their backsides and mop up their mess!
And in most cases the effective, thorough and willing customer service department will do just that, mopping up the mess, nurturing the client and saving the day. Then they hand them back to the sales department to enable them to capitalize further on the hard work that customer services have done.
Do the customer service department get appreciated or rewarded for all their efforts in these cases? Well that all depends on the company and the way they train, structure and reward their workforce.
In my humble opinion, if businesses wish to remain buoyant in their market they will always positively reward the real achievers, whether their job title be sales or customer service!