A lot of salespeople focus on themselves- their product/ service, their company, how big and great they are etc. They tout the features & benefits of their offerings and talk more and listen less.
Professional and effective salespeople on the other hand, do the opposite- they focus on the customer- they try to identify the client’s business pain and what the client needs. They LISTEN more and talk less. They ask targeted and specific questions, to uncover and quantify the pain the client is facing. They understand that it’s not about them or their product- it’s about their customer. It’s the 80/20 rule- in any sales meeting, the client should be doing 80% of the talking and not the salesperson. They attentively listen, ask questions and let the client speak. No Pain- no Sale.
It is five times more expensive to acquire a net new customer than it is to cross-sell and upsell to an existing client. Yet, most amateur salespeople sell their product/ service to a customer and move on- they DO NOT build the 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 (LCV).
When you walk into a Mercedes dealership, they are not looking at selling you a car today and then forget about you- their goal is to sell you multiple cars over your lifetime and to sell your children multiple cars over their lifetime-The Net Present Value (NPV) over 40-50 years of revenue generated from your Eco-system for Mercedes is HUGE. They like professional sales people get it. Do you ?
United Airlines gets it. On a recent trip to Denver, CO for business, I had to make some changes in my travel itinerary. As I was staying at The Westin which was an amazing new property at the Denver International Airport (DIA), I walked out of my room and went down to the United ticketing terminal at the DIA- I explained my situation to Juile, the customer agent, that due to a last minute change, I had needed to modify my travel out from Denver and get routed to Chicago instead of flying directly to Austin. The ticketing agent at the counter, patiently listened to my “pain and needs” and after having clearly understood my situation, 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 meeting, I had to be particular about the arrival time into Chicago and the choice of the landing airport- MDW or O’Hare. Instead of being rude, pushy, aggressive or just outright portraying that she was so busy (perception not reality), something you would typically encounter at American Airliars, Julie@United was totally different- she was concerned, polite and focused on my needs the client, and not on the airline’s agenda.
After having spent about 45 mins, we zeroed in on a flight combination that would get me to Chicago on time for my meeting and would then route me to Austin, and get me back home at a reasonable hour as well. Once Juile found the right flight for me, she called United 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 pargaon of how internal communication exchanges to facilitate a customer exchange or transaction should occur. In a few minutes on the phone with Peggy, after 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, had made a raving, loyal fan of me. There is a reason, I stay with United and SPG- 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. Through 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 and independent disciplines- when they are inherent in every single customer touchpoint, magic can happen. Exciting times….Onward & Upward.