We have become a society lacking in basic customer service and customer connection skills. Don’t believe me? Just go to a handful of retail stores with intent to purchase something.
I’ll never forget shopping last year with a stylist. I don’t normally shop with a stylist – this time I was working on outfits for some speaking engagements. I usually shop at Nordstrom but this time she encouraged me to go to Macy’s with her. We were looking for accessories to go with some outfits and could not find any help anywhere in the jewelry department.
Kim, the stylist, had a “no worries” look on her face. She said, “I’ll get a manager.”
Now, no managers are around. We finally found an overworked clerk who told her, “There isn’t a manager to help you.”
I had to wonder – does any retailer think I’m going back to shop in person when I can get just as much help (or more) online?
As someone who grew up in retail America, it has been exciting to see technology grow and improve but sad to see the slow-as-a-sloth response by major retailers to modernize.
Think Toys R Us.
Today I’m encouraging sellers to take the knowledge of the BEST retailers and realtors – those who sell B2C and incorporate that into your sales role.
Think of yourself as a consumer.
I want sellers to come to me with new ideas. I want them to understand who my audience is and bring me new ways to help them. Personalize the message. Instead of saying, “I read your blog – it is really great and I share it with others” – that is a generic message. Which post stood out to you? What did I say that mattered to you? What am I off base about that I should be talking about more to my audience?
That is what consultative sellers do – they bring new ideas and challenge existing ones.
For Sellers: (SDRs, BDRs, ADRs, AEs)
Stop reading scripts.
Learn who your buyers are and what their biggest issues are.
Personalize your messaging.
Add value in every interaction – as if they are already a client.
Don’t do “follow up” calls – call with purpose. Say, “The reason for my call is….”
Look a future buyer up on LinkedIn and make some educated guesses to hone in on what’s important.
Mix up your messaging – don’t forward old emails in case I “missed them”
Use a multi-faceted approach (voice mail, email, social, snail mail)
For Sales Leaders
Coach your sales reps on how to be innovative and add value.
Stop focusing on connection metrics and instead look toward tracking valuable conversation metrics.
Lead by example. Be on time to meetings and don’t cancel on your reps last minute.
Make coaching a regular activity – every day or at the very least, once a week always.
Keep teaching reps about who their buyers are and what’s important to them – everything else will come together.
Watch what your customer success team does (assuming you have one)
It’s the innovative, amazing customer experiences that people still leave their home for. Last week I hosted an event at a retailer called Seabags – they make all of their bags and containers out of sails. They have an amazing, visually pleasing brand for their stores, which are up and down the East Coast. People LOVED being in their store.
Who LOVES talking with you on the phone? If you can get future buyers – prospects – to engage with you by email, by what you’re sharing on LinkedIn, and by your upbeat, helpful voice mails – you will always have a prospect willing to give you a chance and be of help to them.
If you can’t help, or don’t know how, then sales may not be the career for you.
If you are curious, and creative – just like Seabags, you will have an unlimited number of customers to connect with.
Lori Richardson helps mid-sized companies grow revenues by solving key issues in their sales department - like recruiting, retention, diversity hiring, process, pipeline and leadership. She speaks at CEO groups on topics of sales growth. Clients include companies in the technology, telecom, manufacturing, distribution, and professional services industries. Subscribe to the award-winning blog, follow her on Twitter
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