Here’s a true story: A friend of mine went into a business with a firm idea of what he wanted in the configuration he desired. The salesman made no offer to find the exact product. #1
On the contrary, he tried to talk my friend into something else. #2
So, my friend left the business. He went to another dealership that sells the same thing. They didn’t have the exact product on hand but the salesman searched and found it. They scheduled an appointment to sign the paperwork. That meeting was set for 5pm the following day. My friend arrived on time for the meeting but was kept waiting until 6:30. #3
Yes, that’s right – an hour and ½ later. They finally got the deal done but my friend was less than thrilled. He now knows he will never do business there again.
As I said, this is a true story. Unfortunately, it is NOT unfamiliar. I’m sure you’ve heard or experienced something similar. While I run the risk of stating the obvious, these are not the ways to build customer relationships.
#1 Failure to find the exact product
When you sell something that comes in multiple configurations or with several options it is unrealistic to expect you to have every combination on hand at all times. However, you either can or can’t provide exactly what the prospect wants. The way to build relationships is to get them what they want when you can.
When you can’t, tell them and point them toward someone who can.
#2 Don’t try to talk them into something else
The message you send is that you don’t appreciate the client. It’s disrespectful. You aren’t validating them. People want to be respected, listened to, and validated.
You also invalidate your product. You are, in essence, saying that one item is just as good as another. If that were true, why offer more than one option?
#3 Don’t keep the client waiting.
Speaking of disrespect! Your client’s time is valuable. Frankly, your client is valuable. When you have an appointment with someone, keep it. If you are running late, call them and let them know that. Reschedule it if you have to.
The main theme here is respect. The way to build good client relationships is to first, last and always respect your client. Respect their taste, their needs and wants, their time, and their value to your business. Remember, without them, you have no business!
In the end these are really simple things that anyone, and everyone, can implement immediately. The payoff is tremendous. Think about how you can take good care of your prospects so they turn into good customers. Learn the lessons from the mistakes of others – the ways they DIDN’T take good care of their prospects.