Welcome to the fifty-seventh edition of “In-Touch”. As always, I would love to continue the conversation so let me know what you think in the comments below.
Story of the Week: "Keep the Customer Satisfied"
I decided to buy a new laptop – the MacBook Air M2 – and was wondering where to get it from, so I made a few calls.
First Call: 9:45am.
When the salesperson answered his mobile phone, he already knew who was calling as I was on his contact list as a previous customer and so he addressed me by name. This is always an excellent way to build rapport. I asked if he had a MacBook Air M2 in stock and he told me that it was expected to arrive in three weeks’ time. He made no effort to find out if I had the luxury of waiting that long or to try and seal the deal by mentioning the choice of colours and, perhaps, by discussing the merits of the options available for this new model. I’m not sure if he took it for granted that I could wait almost a month or if he was in a hurry to end the call.
Second Call: 9:55am.
This time I called the previous company’s main competitor, one that advertises heavily on social media. Not a single soul at the Limassol branch picked up the phone (landline), which went dead after a dozen rings. The Nicosia branch did answer but the person I spoke to made no attempt to build any kind of rapport (not even mentioning his name) or elevate the conversation and thus improve his chances of landing the sale. He told me that there was only one MacBook Air M2 left (a positive development) and that I should call the Paphos branch and reserve it (negative – why could he not make the call himself and arrange to have it sent to Limassol?). Like the salesperson in the first scenario, he appeared to think that there was no alternative to waiting patiently for his company to import a few more devices to Cyprus.
Third (and Last) Call: 10:15am.
I finally called my friend Fanos Kozakos, who is someone whose opinion I value and trust but who has nothing to do with importing or selling MacBooks. Fanos, in turn, suggested that I contact Petros Papouis, a friend of his, who not only managed to identify my specific needs but was able to obtain the product, which was delivered to me last Monday. As the old saying goes, ‘where there’s a will, there’s a way’ but my experience of trying to obtain a relatively new, popular, in-demand item demonstrated that major dealers are losing sales and customers, either because they are unwilling to make the extra effort required in a competitive environment or because they are out of touch with reality.
In closing, I would like to offer one simple suggestion to all team-leaders, leaders and managers, which will benefit them enormously if they choose to implement it:
- Pick up the phone and mystery shop all your outlets, at least once every quarter. Identify for yourself how your salespeople come across and how much they try to keep your potential customers satisfied. If you are not happy with the outcome of this ‘investigation’, make sure that you train your (sales)people to learn how to elevate the conversation with the customer.
After all, keeping the customer satisfied should be your major goal!
Words of Wisdom
Sales = Attitude
“Sales are contingent upon the attitude of the salesman - not the attitude of the prospect.”
W. Clement Stone
A Question to Ponder, dear friend.
“If you were the salesperson - in any of the above three cases - what would you have done differently?”