Be sympathetic to your customer’s ideas and desires and appeal to the nobler motives.
Latin Biz Today advisory board member Chuck Garcia’s six-part video series for business owners to secure and retain more customers. The Part 4 call to action requires that you be sympathetic to your customer’s ideas and desires and appeal to the nobler motives.
Parts one, two and three can be found here: Part 1: How Dale Carnegie Techniques Can Enhance Customer Acquisition and Retention [Video] Part 2: Dale Carnegie Principles & Tactics to Acquire and Retain Customers, Part 2 [Video], Part 3: Customer Acquisition & Retention: Be Interested & Listen Part 3 [Video]
Politics and war, science and sports, memoir and biography — there are many books on these subjects just waiting to be read. Time, in its quest to further educate its readers, showcases the 100 most influential books written in English since the magazine began in 1923. Most of these books touch on weighty topics and provide insight and prescriptions to cure cancer, solve world peace, and predict what the world will look like when we are ready to live on Mars.
View that list, and you can’t help but notice some famous authors: Gertrude Stein, Maya Angelou and Barack Obama, to name a few. My favorite book on the list, and one I have relied on since college, became my career bible and is called How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie. It is 19th on the list, and I’m thrilled to see it so prominently featured.
Why does a blockbuster self-help book keep company with titles that shape the history of the world? Because Dale Carnegie’s classic speaks to the most basic human tools needed to succeed no matter your profession. Even though it was published in 1936, the principles are timeless and of immense value to business owners.
Is your mission to acquire new customers and sell more to your existing base, put your product features and functions aside for now. Despite your infatuation with the latest app, the newest video, or the world’s most sophisticated gadget, there are other ways to impress, influence, and win business. It starts with an open mind, a drive to improve your interpersonal skills, and the need to practice and preach what Dale Carnegie taught me years ago.
My partners and I live by these principles and strive to lead by example. In my business of coaching executives on public speaking and Emotional Intelligence, I use all 30 tactics like a tool kit. While the book describes 30 principles to connect with clients and prospects, this part of our series on Customer Acquisition and Retention is focused on two tactics to build your credibility, earn their trust, and keep them buying what you continually offer.
While these techniques may seem self-evident, I learned over the years to never assume the obvious when dealing with salespeople. This profession in many ways is no different than law, medicine, or engineering. All require discipline, resilience, and the need to continually refine how you practice your craft.
Unfortunately, in a profession that requires constant human interaction, bad habits are often developed. Often, unintentionally, your style may be interpreted as rude, ill-mannered, or disrespectful. With your goal of acquiring more business, it’s typically not your technical competence that inhibits sales effectiveness, but how you communicate with others. I encourage every salesperson I work with to be keenly aware that they are assessed by prospects on their words, body language, and how they engage others.
Consequently, for this part of the series on Customer Acquisition and Retention, I recommend you review the following tactics, internalize, and practice them as you strive to win friends, influence people, and earn more business.
- Be Sympathetic to Your Customer’s Ideas and Desires:
In this world of fractured politics and pandemics, sometimes people just need a little sympathy. They want to feel like they have been seen and heard. When they come to you seeking advice after some unsuccessful attempts to solve their own problem, resist the impulse to jump into your features, functions, and solutions. Listen to their approach, what worked, what didn’t, and why they seek your help. Often, I see salespeople respond with knee jerk reactions, failing to take the time necessary to feel their customer’s pain. Seek first to understand a customer’s issues, then to be understood by them. It’s likely your prospect is seeking a personal connection first. The best outcome is that they immediately relate to you and say to themselves, “He/she/they get me.” Hear them out, notice their body language, and treat the rest of the interaction with care and consideration. At some point in the conversation, you will find the right opening to propose how you will help them…and win a customer for life.
2. Appeal to the Nobler Motives:
Everyone likes to be glorious in their own eyes. They want to make the world greener, the streets cleaner, and go to sleep knowing they have made an impact in the world. When engaging with your customer, guide the conversation with the notion that helping solve their problem also aids the greater good. Help the customer feel that buying your product is not just good for them, it is good for the environment, it helps children in need, or contributes to world peace. Who knows what people are thinking? One thing is for certain, appealing to a cause greater than themselves forms an impression in the prospect’s mind that buying your solution has implications far greater than solving their own specific problem.
Next week we will build on these foundations and recommend additional tactics to acquire and retain the business you work so hard to earn.