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Business relationships are a funny thing.  They make or break the sale and make or break the prospects buying decision and yet so few companies in the 21st century have so far grasped just how incredibly important the process of building a relationship with the customer is.  You hear about sales and marketing training all the time but if you can’t get your customer relationships right, then your ploughing good money after bad, over and over again.

In the current tough socio-economic times, those businesses that understand the paramount importance of creating ongoing successful relationships with prospects and clients will ultimately stand the test of time, the test of tough economies and the test of review sites.

I actually do a four hour workshop that looks at this from a number of angles but I’ll cover a little bit of it right now.

Firstly, businesses don’t necessarily need to pay more for marketing than they currently are; they simply need to create trustworthy, helpful, genuine, respectful relationships with every potential customer and their existing client base.  Seriously, sales will come your way if you start thinking about how you consistently create trustworthy, helpful, genuine, respectful relationships on an ongoing basis with everyone, whether they are a customer or not.

Remember:

  • They may not be your customer now but they may well be one day.
  • They may not be your customer now but they may well send others to you one day.
  • They may not be your customer but if they have a bad experience, they will tell at least some people about it and if they get vocal on their private Facebook page, the number of people who hear how bad your company is could be in the hundreds after a few clicks on their keyboard.

When you think of all the bad sales calls that you receive, or the bad sales or service staff that you come into contact with face-to-face, what are some of the main things that spring to mind?

  • The fake phone voice?
  • The lies they told you?
  • The fact that they were not paying full attention to you?
  • The fact that they were pretending to be interested in what you had to say but clearly were not?
  • The fact that they seemed to avoid answering certain questions?

Do you or your staff produce the same experience in others and as a result keep spending money on marketing and on sales and marketing training and yet never seem to improve your closing ratios or significantly increase your client base?

The Fake Phone Voice

You can instantly tell when someone is calling you with their fake phone voice.  It tends to sound higher than it’s meant to and you can notice this without knowing how they normally speak.  The fake phone voice usually comes from a lack of confidence, a lack of knowledge, a lack of purpose within their overall job role, a lack of sincere enthusiasm for what they are speaking to you about or a combination or all of the above.  Another reason can be that employees learn this method from others in the business and believe it is the right way or think that they have to speak like a robotic company representative rather than the idiosyncratic individual that they are.  Start teaching your staff how to speak with a genuine tone from the start of each client interaction and you’ll be off to a good start.  You prospects and likes will be able to begin to trust your company.  This is just the start.

The Lies They Told You

“This is not a sales call.  I am just ringing to see…”  When it eventually transpires that it is indeed a sales call, you’ve lost all respect, trust and credibility.  Now you’ve killed that sales opportunity.

The Fact That They Were Not Paying Full Attention To You

Rob is busy chatting to his colleagues amidst his client conversation.  Now your employee has just told the prospect or customer that his chat with his colleague is more important than the client.  Full stop!  You have the whole day to chat with your colleagues and a few seconds to make or break that stage of your relationship with your prospect/client.  I am happy to watch employees having a banter with their colleagues but when it demonstrates my insignificance as a client or prospect, I’m not going to be bowled over by the experience, am I?  Most would feel the same.

The Fact That They Were Pretending To Be Interested In What You Had To Say But Clearly Were Not

When sales or service staff make comments that are supposed to be empathic or are meant to show that they are interested in you, but the tone is not, the customer notes the discrepancy, whether they consciously realise it at the time or not.  Research shows our brains note contradictions between verbal and non-verbal communication so you can’t verbally say one thing and non-verbally “say” another and not expect they person to note the deception.  Employing fake empathy is worse than employing none whatsoever because it screams untrustworthy which is even worse than uninterested.

The Fact That They Seemed To Avoid Answering Certain Questions

If your staff do not answer difficult questions openly and honestly then the prospect or client will wonder what else you may be hiding that hasn’t been questioned.  It goes without saying that this type of behaviour will hinder your customer relationship by destroying trust and respect for you and your company.

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