You can make your selling easier. One of the ways you can do it is by getting your customers to help you sell. Here are some strategies that you can implement while you sell so you get some more help from your customers.
Explain your sales process.
How would you respond to a customer who had a problem and didn’t come to you so that you could address it? I’ll bet you would be upset or angry. Customers who trust the salespeople that they work with come to the salesperson first when they have a problem.
I inherited a sales territory from a very lazy salesperson. Customers would make simple requests of him. For example, they might ask for a product data sheet. His response to his customers was, “That’s not my job. Get it on the web.” Needless to say he trained his customers to go over his head when they needed to get something done. He had one customer in particular who was a very large customer. This customer felt comfortable calling the vice president at headquarters whenever he needed an issue addressed. That’s the customer I inherited.
I asked my customer at our first meeting how he wanted to work with me. Once he told me his requirements I then replied, “I have a request, too. If you ever have a problem, I expect you to come to me first. If I don’t solve it to your satisfaction, please feel free to go over my head.” He never had to.
Be sure they consider you when they buy.
Now imagine you have an existing customer who is buying many products from you. Your job is to ask questions about other product requirements he might have. You might think you are supplying him with everything you possibly could be selling to him because you periodically ask about other requirements.
One day you suddenly learn that he went to another supplier to buy a new product that you could sell. I’ll bet that would make you very upset and angry. You should be having another conversation with all of your customers to discuss your expectations when there are new product requirements. It’s reasonable to assume that when new product requirements arise that they would come to you first. I always told my customers that I expected them to extend a courtesy and ask me first about new requirements. That way if I had a product that met their needs, they would be buying from me.
Establish a few ground rules.
Working seven days a week and being on call 24 hours a day is a recipe for a speedy burn out. Often sales people who serve their customers well will say things like, “Call me whenever you need me.” Some customers will actually do that. I don’t think it’s a good idea to make a statement to a customer that they have access to your time 24/7. What I do think is acceptable is to say, “Here’s how you can contact me if there’s an emergency.” If you do want to be available to your customers outside the typical 8 to 5 workday, you could add, “Here’s my cell phone. I would appreciate it if you could limit the calls to no earlier than 8 o’clock at night or not after 9pm.”
Customers often don’t mean to make it harder for you to sell to them. They just don’t think about your sales process because they’re very busy people. That’s why it’s so important to set up these ground rules with expectations for you to meet and for them to meet. And when buyer and seller both know what is expected of them I predict you’ll find that sellers sell more and buyers buy more.