In many businesses, customers often become more than customers. They become friends…not necessarily the kind you would invite to non-business gatherings, but people you truly care about and who care about you.
You may think you are in the business of selling, providing customer service, the legal profession, the restaurant business or whatever, but you are not. Even if your products are sold or purchased only to other businesses, the business doesn’t make the buying decision. A person does. Whatever business you’re in you’re also in the people business. Learning to make people feel important and cared about will help you make both the initial sale and long-term sales over the course of time.
No matter what your business, every customer should receive your best care during the sales process and after. During the initial sale, get them talking and take good notes. Enter the information into your customer database.
A Minneapolis business legend, Harvey Mackay, has a long list of details he requires his salespeople to gather about customers over a certain time period. This includes not just information required to do business, but a few personal details such as birthdays, whether or not they’re married, children’s names, and whether or not they have pets. That information is used to make contacts and to start conversations with customers after the initial sale.
People like to do business with people who are like them, who demonstrate that they care about them beyond making the sale and who keep them in mind when something new that might be of interest to them arises. That type of treatment shows them that you know they are important. They come to rely on businesses and salespeople they know they can trust to have their needs and interests at heart.
Here is the real trick to building real, long lasting relationships – there is no trick. You must truly have the other person’s interests at heart. If you do not, he or she will eventually figure that out and you will quickly become just another product peddler or company that they will try to avoid.
Only when you truly care about people will those people truly care about doing business with you.