Where did the week go?

March 31, 2007 on 3:34 pm | In Customer Service | Comments Off

Sometimes the best plans go astray. Hard to believe an entire week has passed since the last posting! Typical month-end stuff; pretty usual for the small business person, however.

What I want to talk about today is the importance of developing the relationship with your customers. There is lot in the business literature today about this topic, but it still seems to skim over the head of so many entrepreneurs. Perhaps it’s because of the influence of bad multi-level marketing (NOTE: Not all of them are bad, but too many of them are!) where they were taught it was all a numbers game. I have to generate 100 leads so I can qualify 20 prospects, so I can schedule 3 presentations, so I can close one sale. What an incredible waste of time!! Look, survey after survey after survey has shown time and again – people buy from people they like! So one of the biggest keys to success in ANY business (andĀ Seinfeld’s soup Nazi notwithstanding!) is to be likeable!

Sure, you want to let anyone and everyone know what you are doing, and you do need to develop a great elevator speech, but more importantly you need to understand that your customer is a 24 hour person and you interaction with them might be only 5 to 20 minutes out of that 24 hours. You have about that much time to impress them, interact with them, and get them to like you – in a word, become memorable. If you are struggling with this, go read Dale Carnegie’s How to Win Friends and Influence People. And if you HAVE read it, go back and read it again.

Become genuinely interested in people. Learn to ask outstanding questions. Keep a log of what you learn about people – it helps you remember things when you see them again. When you develop the relationship FIRST, the sale comes naturally, and when a problem arises, you have an excellent basis on which to talk through a solution. This is truly a win-win arrangement. And besides – most people are pretty interesting once you get to know them!

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