According to sales evangelist Josiane Feigon, only 13% of customers believe that a salesperson can truly understand their needs. In a consumer world dominated by millennials that expect services to be tailored to them (it’s just what they’re used to), this is a real problem.
But it gets worse. Research by American Express reveals that 78% of consumers have bailed on a transaction or not made an intended purchase because of poor service. This suggests your sales team’s bad phone etiquette and uniformed cold calls are actually costing you sales.
Perceptions are crucial: for your business to be optimally successful you will have to restore the faith of your customers. But this is easier said than done. So how should you go about it?
Target these four areas to put your company at the top of customer satisfaction logs.
1. Invest in your customers
Prospective customers (especially millennials) will only take the time to listen to a sales pitch if they know the salesperson has taken the time to learn about them first. Millennials want personalisation, and with the vast amount of information available about them online (think Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn), why shouldn’t they? Getting information about prospective customers has literally never been this easy.
However, research by ContactPoint has shown that customer service/sales employees only ask for a customer’s name 21% of the time.
This is shocking in a world driven by personalisation. Especially since selling effectively in 2016 takes a lot more than simply knowing the name of the person you are calling. Your sales team should invest time in learning as much as possible about a potential customer, before they even think about picking up the phone.
2. Stop guessing
The lack of faith in the sales process is hardly surprising when we consider how often customers are exposed to misplaced and misinformed sales pitches, whether through ‘junk calls’ or unsolicited emails.
In fact, a Forrester survey found that only 20% of salespeople bring value to their buyers.
Too many salespeople make calls on a whim. Phoning simply because the salesperson thinks a customer “might be in the market for some new products” is hardly ever successful. So stop doing it. Stop guessing. It is a waste of time.
A better approach would be to make fewer, but well-informed and targeted outreaches to customers. However, this is only possible if you know your customer first.
3. Be smart about it
Your business already has most of the information it needs to sell more effectively. Yes, that’s right. You are already halfway there. All you have to do is be smart about how you use this data.
Your business can use the customer information you already have to gain insight into a) individual customer preference b) consumer buying patterns c) cross-selling and upselling opportunities.
To do this, historic customer relationship data must be managed efficiently, and be made readily available in the fast-moving sales environment. Thankfully, modern salespeople have many intelligent tools at their disposal to make this process easier – they just have to use them properly.
Yet our recent report reveals that half (49.5%) of salespeople still struggle to understand which customers are falling in sales and how to identify new opportunities, compounded by the fact that more than a third (33.6%) also have issues with getting a hold of timely information while selling.
This is completely unnecessary and can be prevented through investing time in smart preparation.
4. Make a long-term commitment
Simply put, your sales team has to build a relationship with your prospects. Only then will they be able to provide the service your customers truly deserve.
According to Marketing Wizdom, 63% of people requesting information on your company’s offering today will not purchase for at least three months – and 20% will take more than 12 months to buy. They’re in it for the long run and don’t take their decision lightly. Neither should you.
The relationship shouldn’t be left to stagnate once they decide to buy your product. Keep up the communication, because the probability of selling more products to an existing customer is much greater than selling to a new customer!
Your sales team should use customer relationship data to adjust and tailor their approach over time according to individual preferences and needs. By staying ahead of the curve, your business will be able to better ward off competitor threats.
You can change the perception that salespeople don’t really care about their customers. An intense personal focus will attract millennials to your business, and your great customer service will make them stay.
You already have the information you need to make this happen. Don’t let it go to waste.