Sales Success: How to Create a Solid Customer Base
What is the purpose of a business? Every time I ask this question during a business seminar, the immediate answer that I get back is, “To make a profit.” But this answer is wrong. The purpose of a business is to create and keep a customer base through excellent customer service.
If a business successfully creates and keeps customers in a cost-effective way, it will make a profit while continuing to survive and thrive. If, for any reason, a business fails to attract or sustain a sufficient number of customers, it will experience losses. Too many losses will lead to the demise of the enterprise.
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According to Dun and Bradstreet, the single, most important reason for the failure of businesses in America is lack of sales. And, of course, this refers to resales as well as initial sales.
Create and Keep a Customer Base
So your company’s job is to create and keep a customer base, and your job is exactly the same. Remember, no matter what you official title is, you are a salesperson for yourself and your company. And the best way to increase your value as a salesperson is to build your customer base.
The two most important words to keep in mind for developing a successful customer base are Positioning and Differentiation.
Positioning refers to the way your customers think and talk about you and your company when you are not there. The position that you hold in the customer’s mind determines all of his reactions and interactions with you. Your position determines whether or not your customer buys, whether he buys again and whether he refers others to you. Everything that you do with regard to your customer service affects the way your customer thinks about you.
Differentiation refers to your ability to separate yourself and your product or service from that of your competitors. And it is the key to building a maintaining a competitive advantage. This is the advantage that you and your company have over your competitors in the same marketplace¾the unique and special benefits that no one else can give your customer base.
Customer Service and How it Sets You Apart
Most successful salespeople are invariably referred to as friends, advisers, and counselor by a satisfied customer. The final description, and perhaps the best description a satisfied customer uses for top salespeople, is contained in the words, “He (or she) really understands my situation.”
When customers are asked why they decided to buy from a particular salesperson or company, they invariably give these reasons: the reputation of the company, the level of customer service and support that the company offers, the reliability of the company and the salesperson, the responsiveness of the organization to complaints and requests, and the quality of the individual salesperson with whom they have been dealing. Price ranks at number seven or eight, if it comes up at all in the surveys. This is important for you to know because it is amazing how many salespeople get sidetracked into negotiating on the basis of price and then they can’t understand why they failed to get the sale.
A Satisfied Customer Is Essential For Sales Success
84 percent of all sales in America originate from the recommendations of a satisfied customer. A referral to a new customer is worth ten times more than a cold call. And it is 16 times easier to sell a satisfied customer something new than it is to sell something to a brand new prospect. In the final analysis, dedicating yourself to excellent customer service is one of the smartest and most profitable things that you can ever do.
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