As a result of the influx of calls and emails that I received this past week regarding last week’s posting, I believe that I should share some of the items that your fellow readers have brought to my attention. I know that we have discussed some of these previously, but it would seem that a refresher posting may be in order.
We have discussed multiple times the importance of making it easy for someone to do business with you. Starting with your website or your initial contact with anyone and continuing throughout the process, make dealing with you a pleasure for everyone. If your customer actually buys from you but believes that the process was similar to a death march, they probably will not return for a second painful experience. Neither will they advise anyone else to do business with you. You want great referrals that bring people to you, not warnings that you are toxic.
When you follow-up with anyone after their initial purchase, or even a first meeting, keep it about them. Don’t try to immediately upgrade a first order customer to the next level, and don’t mix general greetings (happy birthday or anniversary wishes) with an offer to sell them anything. Since my birthday is next week, I have received a deluge of offers this weekend to purchase items at a savings. This type of offer is not my type of birthday wish.
We have touched often on the importance of contacting a lost customer and discovering what went wrong. Don’t try to woo them back; just find out why they walked away. Did you not do what you promised; did they misunderstand what they were purchasing; did someone in your staff fail to perform; did the customer not really want what you offered? You must discover what the reason was and take any steps necessary to correct any problems on your part. Remember knowledge is power even when it tells us we make a mistake.
Remember to listen to your prospects and discover what they need. If they don’t need whatever you offer, that’s fine. Try to help them to discover a source of their objectives, or help them understand what they really require if you believe that they are searching for the incorrect items. Networking partners must give advice as well as help us locate referrals for our businesses.
If you make a mistake, admit it, apologize, and move on. It is not the business that never makes mistakes that I want to buy from, but the one that handles mistakes well and makes the customer as “whole” as possible. If your customers never tell you that you made an error, but just go away, you do not have a great relationship with them.
Gratitude Marketing means that we treat others well, perhaps better that we might want to be treated. The only way to discover how you are treating others is to ask them. A good relationship would mean that they will tell you before you ask, but sometimes people are shy, or just don’t want to face conflict. Make them understand that you want and need their opinions. After all it might be better for you to hear how your partners feel before other prospects do.