You’ve taken a customer from “Just looking” to “I can’t believe I bought a *insert product or service here*!” After a warm welcome, a thorough investigation of customer buying needs and motivations, a mind-numbing presentation and demonstration of the marvelous solution you have to offer, and working out the numbers to make it fit their budget, you’ve got a signature on the famous line that is dotted and they’ve got *insert product or service here*. Fantastic.
This is where good salesmen stop. If you’re great, up until now you’ve thoroughly prospected them for referrals and are halfway done preparing your follow up letter by the time they’re driving away to go enjoy *insert product or service here*.
The fact of the matter is that what goes on the second your customer leaves your presence is more important than anything else.
Unless you’re in business to scrape by and live off of chance encounters and freshly gained prospects, establishing solid repeat and referral business is paramount to your success. You’ve not only closed a deal, but you’ve got to fully open a relationship. Engaging them long after they’ve left the building. Great salespeople do know this, but the vast majority of great salespeople are operating with an outdated modus operandi. Why? Because of the accelerating rate of technological change.
Technology has always expanded our reach, to be able to affect more people and influence each other on a continually wider scale. With this expansion of “reach” comes a transparency that is taking away our ability to easily control the meticulous perception of our company and ultimately our brands. Whether you’re the CEO of a huge conglomerate or a car salesman, customers are able to tune in more to your individual brand. You’re being listened in on. Twenty four hours a day, seven days a week. Which is absolutely wonderful if taken advantage of, but just like any effect of technology, can have seriously negative repercussions if taken with a grain of salt.
1. Inconsistent Communication of Ideals
A company’s ideals are as important as the product itself. Ideals convey belief. Strong beliefs create a killer ethos, which is what has brought an electronics company like Apple to stand head and shoulders above all other brands in the world. If a customer left an Apple store, had a premium and personalized experience, then went out into the world and found other Apple stores providing lackluster service in a nonchalant fashion – a seed would be planted. The message of apathy would be conveyed in that one moment and would undermine the entire brand in that customer’s mind, which would be devastating. Apple doesn’t allow this.
Unfortunately, in the technologically saturated world, brimming with multiple streams of social media and mobile connection, customers are now tuning in when you think you’re off the clock. By now, you’ve undoubtedly heard about the Red Cross employee who accidentally tweeted through the company account while getting “slizzard”. Fortunately, Red Cross took it in stride and didn’t fire the girl. It’s becoming increasingly more common, with situations like a Chrysler representative dropping the F-bomb on the company Twitter account. Whether it’s a mistaken Tweet, a badly written Facebook post, or accidentally sharing an inappropriate page to the thousands of people following your company account – everything is either chipping away or building your brand image.
More than ever before it is possible to truly delve into a company’s values, beliefs and purpose. Don’t give your customers reason to doubt you. Stay consistent across the entire spectrum and by all means, give your employees separate business phones if they’re in charge of your social media department.
2. Lacking Responsiveness
With every line of communication you open that connects your business to the people, you’ve got to amp up the effort. If you’ve got a business phone and you advertise that line, you answer it. If you’ve got a Facebook page, you respond. A Twitter account, you tweet back. An email, you type back. A mailing address, you write back. Everyone knows this but you’d be surprised how many people lack the attention to responsiveness that these lines of communication demand.
When it comes to the good old telephone, I’m a firm believer in answering on the first ring. It’s providing a level of responsiveness that conveys immediacy. Yes, I’m ready to solve your problems. Yes, I’m absolutely available to assist you. Let’s rock and roll!
What does letting it ring more than three times convey? Apathy. An unprofessional lack of commitment to servitude. In the same token, any time a customer tweets you and you don’t respond, you’re disengaging them. If you’ve got a Twitter account they expect to be able to converse with you – because that’s what Twitter is. A conversation. Other methods of communication have different time frames you can operate within, so dig in and determine the most efficient ways to engage on each platform. If you’re not ready to engage with customers the way Twitter or Youtube call for, get off that platform. You’re better off not being on Twitter at all than building an impression of absenteeism through an unresponsive account.
3. Losing Your Core Focus
In the process of trying to dominate on every arena that technology has created, without the proper tools and approach, it’s easy to lose your focus. Whenever you lose your focus, your customers lose their focus on you. Maybe your brand doesn’t call for a YouTube channel. If it doesn’t, don’t be afraid of staying the hell away from that site. Don’t drown your big “why”. Your product or service doesn’t necessarily require the assistance of a Tumblr to market its messages. We have an abundance of tools to choose from, but at the end of the day, when you need to nail a board together you still go for the hammer.