Salespeople have questions Gitomer provides answers

June 28, 2009
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I get a ton of e-mails asking to solve sales dilemmas. Here are a few that may relate to your job, your life, and most importantly, your sales thought process right now:

Jeffrey, I don’t have a problem finding new customers. It’s keeping my current customers that I struggle with. What’s the best way to make customers feel appreciated so they come back again and again? — Steven

Steven, Think about the companies that you buy from more than once. They have accessibility both online and on the phone. They have reliability to get you what you want, when you want it. They have perceived value in both their products and their services. And as a bonus, they have friendly people to serve you.

These are the elements that make me want to spend my money, and I feel confident would have the same effect on you, as well. Best regards, Jeffrey

Jeffrey, About 10 years ago, you published the book “Customer Satisfaction is Worthless, Customer Loyalty is Priceless.” Have the dynamics of generating loyalty changed with the deepened role of the Internet in sales and communication? — Nick

Nick, The only thing that’s happened to loyalty over the past decade is that the importance of it has finally come to the forefront. I love companies that brag that they have a 98 percent satisfaction rate among customers, yet for one reason or another, they lose 15 percent of their customer base annually.

Interestingly, since the Internet is always available and getting easier to use by the day, it has generated increased loyalty among shoppers and more viral word of mouth because Web communities, bloggers and Google have created a new awareness. Best regards, Jeffrey

Jeffrey, How do you recommend that I sell to a company that’s “weathering the tough economy?” I’m a young company and I’m trying to close that crucial first sale. My product is an advertising/marketing solution, especially advertising for credit card companies. As you know, advertising is one of the first places that companies scale back (even though tough times are the best time to ramp up advertising) their spending.

My selling proposition is NOT for companies to increase advertising spending. In fact, my proposition is that my product will decrease advertising spending and augment the effectiveness of their other advertising efforts. —Jeremy

Jeremy, Stop using the word advertising. Nobody wants to advertise, but everybody wants what advertising does. Focus on words like “increased sales,” “increased traffic,” “increased exposure” and “increased profit.”

The key to your sale lies in the customer's ability to see what is in it for them and act accordingly. Best regards, Jeffrey

Jeffrey, what would cause you to "fire" a customer? — Dan

Dan, My first disclaimer is: I’ve never done it. I have, however, fired internal customers. I would fire a customer for failure to keep their promises, failure to act in an ethical manner, not telling me the truth, creating unreasonable demands, or not allowing us to make a profit.

But I wouldn’t just fire them — I would sit down with the highest-ranking officer in the company and talk to him or her “face to face,” openly and honestly, about what our challenges are. I would tell him or her that I can’t continue to do business under these circumstances.

If there were no ability or desire to change the situation, then I would try to find another source for them — the competitor I hate the most. Best regards, Jeffrey

Jeffrey, If I sell office equipment, what examples would I provide in my speech to pose an interest while preventing them from running away? — Colleen

Colleen, When you give a speech to a civic group, never speak about what YOU do. Speak about what THEY do as it relates to you.

If you sell office equipment, then your job is to talk about office morale and office productivity — something audience members will relate to and will cause them to think of you as an expert, want to see you again and want to buy from you. Best regards, Jeffrey

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