Friday, 27 January 2012



As we enter into the 21st century, here is a message for sellers: the fast sell is out.  There is no longer any place for this kind of message: "Here are your goods.  Thanks and goodbye.  Next!"  To succeed in selling today, you have to develop relationship with your customers.  It does not matter if they come in knowing exactly what they want and are out again in 10 minutes - as a seller, you should be interested in the total picture.  If you expect to succeed in today's highly competitive environment, you'd better be interested.

What you should be asking is: "Are my customer satisfied once they get the product home?  Is it doing what they'd hoped are?  Are they having any problems?"

If you are sitting there saying: "But I don't really have to worry about all that stuff.  My job is just to sell the thing.  It's the manufacturer's job to make sure it does what it's supposed to do,"  you're right, to a certain degree.  You can't be held responsible for every little thing that goes wrong.  But you can do a lot to make things easier for your customers, and that's the way you'll get people coming back.

Relationship selling says: "I'm concerned about your needs.  I'm also concerned about the product you've bought.  Even more importantly, I want to follow up to see you're happy with it."  Do this and customers will keep coming back.  They will realise you're not into this for the quick sell.  They will understand that you and your company feel some responsibility for their well-being, and they will appreciate it.

There are three distinct stages to relationship selling.

1. Listen more. When the customer first approaches you, take the time to really listen.  Ask questions.  Try to read between the lines.  Ascertain the amount of experience they have with the product or similar products, and try to sell them something that's just right for them, rather than whatever happens to be on sale or whatever you want to get rid of.

2.  The Sale. When the customer is ready to make a decision, tell him as much as possible about the product its uses.  Make sure your own product knowledge is second to none, so you know short-cuts and helpful advice.  Give that little bit extra that will make the customer glad he's come to you.  And finally, make him feel good about buying this particular product.  Confirm that he has made a good choice.

3.  After Sales Service .  This should be more than just providing a service for listening to complaints or sending the product back for repairs.  Let's take the common video recorder as an example.  Countless customers dread taking it out of the box, because they know they are in for a frustrating couple of hours programming the thing.  In this case, what could you do to help your customer?  Depending on your circumstances, you could (a) offer to set it up; (b) offer to set it up on site; (c) offer phone-in help when they get home if they have problem; (d) phone them a week, two weeks or a month after the purchase to see if they have any problem.

Adopt the three-part strategy to selling, and your customer base will slowly but surely increase as the word gets around.

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