Everyone one of us who works in sales or customer service has the responsibility of initiating communications with our customers. The purpose of the communications can range from announcing a new product or service to replying to their request for information. And whether our communication has been requested by the customer or not, most of the time there is the lack of response to our genuine efforts.
Why is it that we can have the customer’s best interests at heart, yet not get through to tell them about it? Why is it that we leave messages, but get no responses? We know we have something – a product, a service or information – that could be of value to them – if we could only get through to them! There are three strong reasons why our customers don’t return our calls.
- They’re busy. Our customers are working – working on their projects, managing their businesses. They’re bombarded by calls and requests from vendors, prospects, job candidates, employees, the executives they report to, all the time. With so many requests for their time, they have to prioritize and use their resources to screen the requests for their time. Our job is to present them with a compelling reason to want to talk to us, a statement that is so meaningful to them, our request for their time gets moved up in the priority sequence.
- They don’t talk to vendors. One of the ways our customers can determine whose requests for their time they will acknowledge is to categorize the source of those requests. Requests from upper management, peers, and subordinates – no matter how mundane – will be more welcome and, therefore, get a reply, than requests from someone who represents a vendor. After all, vendors want to sell them something – a product or service they don’t need, something they’ve been pretty successful without having all this time. The last person they want to talk with is a vendor. Of course, if we position ourselves as potential business partners or valued business consultants, we’re no longer vendors. We’re no longer in sales and customer service. Now we’ve become valued partners or consultants who provide services, products, and knowledge that’s key to their success.
- They have no idea why we’re calling. Oh, I know we leave messages saying who we are and what company we represent. We may even give them a tag line (no doubt part of that dreadful elevator pitch!) that references the generic thing our company does, but all we’re really saying is that we’re a vendor, and remember – most of our customers just don’t talk to vendors. To get through to our customers and let them know we have valued information for them, our goal is to be perceived as a person who adds value to their day, a person whose conversation and knowledge are welcomed, not avoided. When we take the time to research our customers and prepare a way of describing what we do in a way that will resonate with them, we’re well on our way to creating a consultative role for ourselves, becoming the person they want to talk with.
Growth Development Associates, Inc. is a sales and business consulting firm that specializes in sales coaching and training. If you’re interested in learning how to graduate from being perceived as a vendor with your customers, click below to sign up for a free overview course on consultative selling: 1001 Introduction to Consultative Selling.