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Customer Retention: Stop Losing Sales (Part One)

Posted by Mark Gordon | August 21, 2015

We start with the story of a seasoned rep with a plethora of sales and experience named Tom. And like any experienced rep, Tom set weekly goals Monday before setting out to conquer the sales world, and conquer he did.

Tom sold 30 accounts to become the top rep for the week, and even earned a nice bonus check. Ah, victory! Tom finally hit his sales stride and things were looking up for the rep.

But unfortunately for Tom, something is about to blindside and derail him into a state of limbo – cancellations!

Tom made the detrimental mistake of not taking enough time to build a relationship of trust with his customers. His once mighty confidence has evaporated like a snow cone in the Sahara Desert. He started questioning his ability to connect with customers, his sales pitch and the product he sells. And now the once dominating Tom is now non-existent and wants to go home.

Now let us be clear, not all reps go to this extreme after a cancellation, but cancellations do negatively affect reps in some degree.

Be a problem solver: Closing a sale with the fancy gizmos and tricks of your product is nice but don’t be shocked if/when said customer cancels after the pitch excitement is gone. Make it a goal to incorporate the fancy gizmos into the self-interests of your customer.

Here is our good friend Ted the vacuum salesman. He is not detailing the 20 attachments, the 2500 watt suction power, and the lightweight vacuum to close the sale. Ted knows that quick, pitch smells of a cancelled sale.

So what did Ted do? He informed the nice gal how the 2500 watt suction power vacuums her husband’s Fritos that flew across the family room after a blown call against his team.

He also explained how the light-weight vacuum will ease her husband’s back pain when he carries the product upstairs to vacuum the kids rooms.

And he sold the 20 attachments by demonstrating how they reach places like under the stove and the sides of the fridge.

Ted identified their specific problems and then used the fancy gizmos and gadgets to discuss those problems to close the sale. Do you want to see fewer cancellations and build more trust? Then everything in your pitch should identify why they need your product.

You have two ears and one mouth for a reason: Ever been on a date with someone who won’t stop talking about themselves and all the wonderful things they have accomplished in their life? We all have, and it sucks! So unless their story includes tigers, climbing Mount Everest, fire-breathing Komodo dragons and a wing eating contest, it leaves you feeling unimportant and ignored.

And the same principle applies during a sales pitch.  The customer wants to feel important and cared for, they want to be part of the conversation. And that won’t happen unless you give them an opportunity to communicate their needs, concerns, and questions. Don’t leave a customer feeling unimportant and not validated! Close your mouth for a moment and let them speak so they experience both feelings.

Now for a fun stat to hammer the point home!

70% of buying experiences are based on how the customer feels they are being treated -McKinsey

We know too many reps who focus on the sale without focusing on how they treat their customers. Create a personal connection and build trust with the customer by opening your ears and closing your mouth!

Final thoughts

It’s equally important to remember that a new customer always has the last say to cancel. So don’t beat yourself up too much over cancels, because if you followed these suggestions, you exceeded expectations of building trust with the customer. Pick yourself up and keep knocking!

We know these tips will help you keep more customers so your checks don’t shrink! And if you struggle in some, or all the areas discussed, set a goal for yourself to begin today. Take two extra minutes during each sale to build better trust and a true sense of customer service.

Did you find this useful? Anything you would add? Leave a comment and let us know.

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