Aristotle said, "We are what we repeatedly do, excellence then is not an act, but a habit."
Part of this habit needs to include an ongoing positive attitude toward our customers. They assume you'll give them a great big "thank you" after they buy your product or service.
However, is that "attitude of gratitude" found throughout the selling process, in good times and in bad, in sickness and in health? As we work with our sales teams and ourselves, we need to keep a sense of loyalty to our customers, a loyalty that comes from relationship marketing. It gives you and your staff a positive attitude that can get you through most situations.
How do we convey to our teams how important attitude is and convince them that nurturing relationships will help their sales?
We need to show them future benefits.
Here are two to consider:
*Customers will become your best advocates. When they're happy and feel cared for they will spread the word about you and your product or service. Salespeople can always use referrals. What they need to visualize is that once you have a base of loyal clients who you have a good relationship with, referrals will come more frequently.
*Salespeople will enjoy their jobs more. Too often salespeople are not sure of how secure they are with a clients. It's like dating; "Does he love me or does he love me not?" When salespeople know exactly where they stand with a client, there's less anxiety. This security comes from a working relationship that has been based on mutual respect and trust. The net result is greater peace of mind and the desire to achieve more. The goal now is to give your people specific tactics that will allow them to develop a consistent positive attitude toward their work and a desire to build customer relationships. Here are some tips that will help you work with your team:
*Go beyond "surface" information. People like talking to people they know beyond the required information. During calls or meetings encourage your people to find out customers' hobbies, names of family members, likes and dislikes, and birthdays. This information can be used to turn customers into friends that your company truly cares about. When it's a special day for them, make sure it's your company that remembers.
*Feel comfortable with casual calls. Have your staff think of reasons to call customers with new information and ideas, unrelated to selling or marketing, just to stay in contact. Good friends always enjoy hearing from each other, even if it's just to say "hello." An attitude of informal interactions is a major building block in customer relationships.
You'll know it's working well when customers start calling your people and sharing the joy of a new baby, an engagement, or a promotion. Next week- we will look at Part 2 of "It's All in the Attitude… of Networking"
Andrea Nierenberg President of Nierenberg Consulting Group
I— Truly become Interested in others. Do this with sincerity and Integrity otherwise people see right through it. One tool that I use a lot are Google alerts which I set up for people that I want to be able to touch base with often with ideas and interests that pertain to them. You will have opportunities to be ‘in the know’ and can drop them a note or call with information and news. N- Nurture and know what you can about the people in your life. I have a list of many topics that I get to know about my relationships ‘over time’. All types of topics that I learn over time and observation and listening. Email me for my Information Bank of Topics at email@example.com C- Connect and communicate—and not when we need something— much more important when we are there to provide news, insight and a way to help their business or be a supportive ear. Continually create value for your relationships. Be clear and connect with them in the way they prefer. I always ask my relationships—‘what is your preferred method of communication? You have also shown that you are really listening to them—sometimes a forgotten art.
E Execute what you say you will do. Often after all is said and done—much more is said than done. Be sure to underpromoise and over deliver. Take the time to follow up on everything that you say you will do and surprise and delight people by doing so. I make a list consistently to be sure that no matter what—I follow up with who and whatever I said I would—again something that often is not always done N–Network! To me the word ‘network’ is huge and means many things. I say that ‘networking’ is part of the S Factor—‘sometimes it is strategic and structured for the events you attend—so be prepared. Most of life though is ‘serendipitous ‘networking’’—be aware of every opportunity to meet, connect, reconnect and help someone else. Everywhere in life and every day we may learn something from someone who can give us information that one of our contacts or trusted advisors or advocates would be interested in. So keep your ears open and tuned up and also be sure to continually Nurture your relationships. I can’t say this enough. T—Trust is the key to any relationship in good times and otherwise. Work hard to continually build trust with your relationships—and this takes Time. Talk less and listen more –we learn more that way also! Tell them when you do talk—something that will help them or their business or offer a suggestion, a piece of advice. Do your homework and research consistently. I—Take the Initiative to reach out and be connected. If we wait for someone to call or email or meet with us, we might wait a long time. Of course as we build and develop these relationships—it goes without saying that true Integrity is key for any relationship. My Wonderful Dad always said “With integrity nothing else matter and without integrity—nothing else matters. I live by this—and it is so true. My Dad also said: "Give without remembering and receive without forgetting." He was brilliant! V—-Continually create Value with those in your life. What are you delivering to them that makes you stand out. Also value every relationship in what they have given and continue to provide to you. Make sure to let them know how important they are to you. Be Visible and let them know how to easily find you. You are there when they need you. Consistently have your contact information available to them so they don’t have to look for it. E—Energy and Enthusiasm are key to continually building relationships that last. Take care of yourself and make sure you plan and prepare each day with goals and ways of measuring. One way I do this is to set a specific goal each day for different clients or relationships. Something as simple as—calling 3 extra people with a message of goodwill or a piece of information, 3 extra emails with the same type of message and I’m a big believer of pulling out pen and paper and not just during the holidays to write a short note of thanks, or a greeting of hello and thinking of you.
Andrea Nierenberg President of Nierenberg Consulting Group