Are you Delighting Your Customer? by Sal Celly
Hi, good morning everyone. This is Sal Celly hope you all are doing great. Today I want to speak about a very important topic- are you delighting your customers and making them raving fans? Let’s dig into this important topic, specially in today’s competitive hyperconnected world, where clients and customers and prospects are expecting more quickly, efficiently and easily.
Effective sales strategy and timely execution can be the difference between winning and losing, between living and thriving, and between sustainable happiness and a momentary blip of euphoria that is fast, fleeting, and over before you know it. A lot of salespeople focus on themselves, their product, their service, their company, how big and great they are, etc. They tout the features and benefits of the offerings, and talk more and listen less.
Professional and effective salespeople, on the other hand, do the exact opposite. They focus on the customer, the prospect, and their client. They try to identify the client’s business focus, and what the client needs. They listen more and talk less. In any conversation, you should be speaking 20% and the prospect should be speaking 80%. If you’re at a lunch business meeting, you should finish your lunch first-because that means that you have been listening more, and the other person has been talking more which is why they’re still eating their food while you have finished your food.
An effective salesperson asks targeted and specific questions to uncover, qualify and quantify the pain that their client is facing. They understand that it’s not about them or their product. It’s about the customer. They attentively listen and ask questions and let the client speak. A great way of doing that is by asking the customer or the prospect open ended questions which elicit a response. When the prospect starts talking, their walls and barriers start breaking down. If there’s no pain, there’s no sale.
Your toughest competition is when you look in the mirror-you’re competing with yourself. The goal is to get better every day and to improve, compared to the person you were yesterday. It’s five times more expensive to acquire a net new customer, than it is to cross sell and upsell to an existing client. Despite that, most amateur salespeople sell their product and service to a customer and move on. They do not build a relationship with that particular client. They do not stay in touch; they do not offer demonstrable value to the client. They do not understand the concept of lifetime customer value or LCV. This is so critical. When you do this correctly, great things happen.
As an example, when you walk into a Mercedes dealership, they are not looking at just selling you a car today, and then forgetting about you- their goal is to sell you multiple cars over your lifetime and to sell your children multiple Mercedes over their lifetime and so on and so forth. The Net Present Value NPV over 40 to 50 years of revenue generated from your ecosystem and your family tree for Mercedes is huge. They similar to professional sales people, understand that, and they get it. And they live it and they breathe it, and they eat it every single day. Do you?
United Airlines gets it. On a recent trip to Denver, Colorado for business, I had to make some changes in my travel itinerary. As I was staying at the Westin Hotel, which was an amazing new property at the Denver International Airport, I walked out of my room and went down to the United Airlines ticketing terminal at Denver International Airport. I explained my situation to Julie the customer agent, that due to a last-minute change, I needed to modify my travel out from Denver and get routed to Chicago, instead of flying back directly to Austin. The ticketing agent at the counter, patiently listened to my pain and needs. And after having clearly understood my situation, Julie started working her magic on the computer to provide me with various time and day flight change options, along with the financial impact to me, to make those changes, given that I had to arrive in Chicago at a specific date and time to make a customer meaning. I had to be particular about the arrival time into Chicago, and the choice of the landing airport, Midway or O’hare, as I needed to get to my customer meeting in time.
Instead of being rude, pushy, aggressive, or just outright portraying that she was so busy (perception not reality), something you would typically encounter at a different airline, Julie at United Airlines was totally different. She was concerned, polite and focused on my needs, and not on the airlines agenda. After having spent about 45 minutes, we zeroed in on a flight combination that would get me to into Chicago on time for my meeting, and would then route me to Austin, and get me back at home at a reasonable hour as well. Once Julie found the right flight for me, she called United Airlines customer service and explained everything to Ms. Peggy in the call center so that I would not have to repeat myself.
Peggy was absolutely amazing and efficient. The warm handoff of the call from Julie to Peggy was the paragon of how internal communication exchanges to facilitate customer transition should occur. In a few minutes on the phone with Peggy, after she had she had been briefed by Julie, I was all set. I was given a new boarding pass, they waived the typical change fee that would have been charged, and in the process, they had made me a raving loyal fan.
There is a reason I stayed with United and SPG and now Marriott Bonvoy- why? There is something to be said about customer focus and taking massive action to do the right thing for the client. I am glad someone gets it. Thank you, Julie, Peggy and United Airlines for your actions and focus on the customer. You have created a significant space between you being at the top and your next closest competitor.
Customer service and sales are no longer two different independent disciplines. When they are inherent in every single customer touch point, magic can happen. It’s not a question of IF or which one- it’s a question of both together.
The important point is -how can you know what the other person is going through, If you have never walked in their shoes? Be empathetic and don’t judge your customer and your prospect-they have their reasons and you have yours. This is an important and relevant quote by Peter Drucker- “Culture eats strategy for breakfast”. Edmund Lee said “Surround yourself with the dreamers and the doers, the believers and the thinkers, but most of all, surround yourself with those who see greatness within you. Even when you don’t see it yourself.” Seth Godin said- “You can’t have everything you want. But if you care enough, and trade enough and work hard enough, you might be able to be get some things that matter. The real question might not be, what do you want? It might be-What do you care enough to compromise for? “
Folks, remember, your prospects and your clients have a lot of options today. They can go anywhere else. Why should they come to you? Are you delighting your customer? And are you creating raving fans of them? This is Sal Celly. Hopefully you found this article helpful. Thank you for reading. If you have any questions or feedback, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org