I went to MAC today to get a lipstick. I told the lady the colour I was looking for. She looked at me blankly and said that the colour is sold out, and then walked away. I stood there in shock. To me, it seems automatic to either tell me where I can get the lipstick I am looking for or sell me something else because I am a sure thing. It is obvious that I came in there to buy.
I hate hate hate shopping in stores. I will literally buy everything I need online, because I cannot stand bad customer service. I refuse to let some undeserving store clerk get my hard earned money. I would rather order everything I need from the comfort of my own home, so I do not have to deal with the frustrations of bad customer service. Don’t get me wrong, if you offer me exceptional customer service, I remember and I am willing to buy everything you throw at me; As a marketer, I can truly appreciate good selling. I will even take the time to fill out a survey or write a review because it is so rare, especially in Vancouver, where every server, store clerk and customer service representative expects a hand out for adding little to no value to the customer experience.
I did have a very positive customer experience this same day. I bought a sweater from Nordstrom, being the indecisive consumer that I am, I had buyers remorse and decided I should probably go with another colour. I called Nordstrom, the lovely gentlemen on the phone introduced himself and asked how he could help me. I sheepishly told him that I am a terrible person and instead of having this sweater in burgundy I would like to stick to my monochromatic roots and get it in grey. Nothing but kindness came from the other end of the phone. He instructed me that it is not in stock, but they do have one at another store. He mentioned that there is a new service that will ship it to me at free of charge and it will arrive at my doorstep in a few days. I asked him a million questions because I am the worst at making decisions. He managed all my objectives, and instructed me that I can hold on to both sweaters and see which I like best. He told me it is completely up to me, I can return one, or return both or keep them all, it is up to me. He dismissed all my comments about being a nuisance and said simply that he just wants me to be a happy customer. It is obvious, this guy truly believes in his product. This automatically put a smile on my face and I thought to myself, I need to visit this gentleman in store and buy many more things since he put all this effort into my measly sweater purchase.
Selling is not about being cheesy or pushy, it is about being a guide. You are the representative for the product or service you are selling. It is your job to help guide it into the hands of people who need or want it. The formula is quite self explanatory, there are certain steps that need to be ticked off, which will lead to a successful sale.
Know Your Customer
Make it Personal
Know Your Product or Service & Your Industry
Be Helpful Even if it Limits the Sale
The Follow Up
The follow up is the most important part of the sale. If I bought a sweater, I probably don’t need you to give me a call the next day and ask me how I liked it, but for larger purchases, this is essential. I have been with companies who have bought an expensive program or service, after they sale, they received literally no support or follow up. The sales person is long gone, unreachable by phone and we are left feeling completely dissatisfied with our service. We are now speaking with a technical individual who instructs as that the sale associate had no idea what the programs capabilities are, because they are just in sales, so we cannot actually use it for the purpose we had intended. Of course, I won’t go out of my way to trash the companies, but when asked about them, I can’t lie and say good things. I definitely wont be handing out referrals. When you offer exceptional customer service, your job is that much easier, because guaranteed the customer noticed and they want to send more people your way.
Selling is all about listening to the customer and deciding what it best for them. Most of the time the customer as no idea what they want. It is like a puzzle, when you know your product and get to know your customer, it is easy to make the right match. All you sales people, please take notes.