Continuing our series, Be Your Best in the New Year, this week we address those habits that are most annoying to customers, and therefore are most detrimental to your sales efforts and overall professional success:
1. Lack of Follow Through – Nothing erodes a customer’s trust and confidence more quickly than a sales professional who over-promises and under-delivers. The rule here is simple: do what you say you’re going to do, when you say you are going to do it. Certainly, we have all experienced situations in which something unexpected happened that prevented us from delivering to a customer as planned. But typically, individuals who operate in “over-promising” mode, do so on a regular basis, and customers and team members alike recognize this trait pretty quickly.
2. Not Listening – The importance of listening is addressed extensively in Carew’s DPS sales training, because listening allows us to better understand the customer’s needs and develop a superior solution. On a more basic level, a failure to listen reflects a lack of interest in, and respect for, the customer’s perspective, experience and insight; and that is extremely off-putting to the customer.
3. Tardiness – Keeping a customer (or anyone) waiting is the most blatant display of disrespect for his or her time. The dynamic of the customer-sales professional relationship makes tardiness on the part of the sales person all the more offensive. Yes, things happen – traffic, weather, delayed flights. Build in extra time, and build a reputation for being the sales pro who arrives early.
4. Bait-and-Switch Customer Care – Customers find it infuriating when a sales professional’s availability, attention and responsiveness take a dramatic dive once the contract is signed. The sales professional may not be manufacturing or delivering goods/services, but he or she can still return customers’ calls, answer their questions and address their concerns. Sales professionals who turn their backs on customers as soon as the deal is done will never cultivate productive, long-term customer relationships.
The common denominator in all of these bad habits? They all reflect a lack of respect for customers—their time, their perspective or their level of importance. In contrast, a hallmark of the most successful sales professionals is their ability to make their customers feel extremely important, cared for and valued; in other words, the absence of the above behaviors.