Guest post by Janet Stucchi -- One of the first business books I ever read was Raving Fans by Ken Blanchard. Published in 1993, my employer at the time considered it required reading for anyone in a Customer Service, Sales or Account Management.
I had a recent experience that inspired me to dust off the book and give it another read.
A quick story
Like many other attendees to the AA-ISP Leadership Summit, I visited the mall that is attached to the hotel (whoever chose that venue, you rock!). In the mall, I shopped at one of my favorite retailers and had a nice chat with the sales clerk while he was ringing up my purchase.
Imagine my surprise (and delight) when I received a handwritten Thank You note in the mail the next week. It read:
I hope you had a great time in Dallas. You have to tell me if you found anything at Pink's Western Wear. I know your family was eager to see authentic Texas items!! Hopefully, your daughter loves her new bag. If you're ever in the area please come back & see us.
Coach Dallas Galleria
Why did I find this simple gesture so impressive?
Not only did Jonathan demonstrate that he was listening; he also confirmed what he took away from the conversation. No matter the industry, reps need to take advantage of every opportunity to show how they (not just your company or your products) differentiate from the competition.
At the end of the day, sales is a service and whoever provides the best service has the highest likelihood of winning the deal.
Disagree? Take a look at this research from CEB's Sales Executive Council.
If you're a Sales Manager
Are your reps sending 'acknowledgement emails' after a discovery call with a prospect? If not, they're missing an opportunity to acknowledge the prospect's business issues and reaffirm how they're in a position to solve them.
They are also wasting an opportunity to differentiate themselves from the pack of "just-touching-base-checking-in-following-up"ers. A well-crafted acknowledgement email demonstrates that we as sellers have "listened, learned, and internalized."
Do you think I told everyone I know about Jonathan's note?
Absolutely! Will I pop into the Coach store at Dallas Galleria next time I'm in town? You bet!
Today, news of your company and service, both good and bad; travels at lightning speed. With LinkedIn, Twitter and other social sites, it is imperative that we as sellers turn our customers into raving fans.
Thanks for listening.
How is your team turning customers into raving fans and getting them to spread the good word?