Customers are the lifeblood of our company. Without our customers, we wouldn’t have anyone to buy our products; therefore, it is extremely important to keep our customers happy so they will come back month after month to get what they need from us (Alison’s Pantry).
A very important part of keeping customers happy is the way we communicate with them. Below I want to share 5 communication techniques to help you increase your sales through positive communications with your customers (and potential customers)!
#1 – Start with a positive comment.
Whether you are talking to a customer on the phone or in person, you want to start your conversation with them with a positive comment and a smile. (Example: “Hello, how are you today?!” “Hey, you look great! What are you doing?” “Thanks for coming to get your order so quickly! I really appreciate it!” Just doing this simple thing will get your conversation off on the right foot.
#2 – Don’t speak negatively about a competitor.
In the course of your conversation with your customer, they may have a complaint or negative comment about another food retailer or sales rep in your area. It may be easy to agree or even engage in “bashing” whoever they are talking about, but please refrain. Listen to what your customer has to say, but then turn the conversation positive by pointing out something that you can do to fix whatever they may be complaining about. (Example: Customer – “I used to buy from _____ (another food service company) but I hated that they stood on my door waiting for me to look through their book to order something.” Your reply could be: “I’m sorry to hear that. Isn’t it great that you get your catalog in the mail and have over a week to decide what you need to get before placing your order each month?!” OR Customer – “I used to buy from _____(rep) but she took forever to call me back and/or never told me that she had placed my order or what my total was until it was here ready for me to pickup and pay for it.” Your reply could be: “I’m sorry to hear that and want to assure you that I will always respond back that I have received your order and make sure you know your total and what week I expect the order to be here.”
#3 – Give your customers genuine, positive labels.
We all love to hear compliments! However, compliments should be based on positive truths, not ones that are fake or manipulative . We wouldn’t tell someone they look really nice today when they really look like they just climbed out of bed and put on the first thing they found. Genuine, positive comments (labels) to give your customers could be, “You are one of my best customers!” OR “It is such a pleasure to do business with you!” Positive labels lift people up and then they want to live up to that label.
#4 – 60% of your communication with others is non-verbal.
When physically speaking with someone, their very first impression of you is non-verbal – how you are dressed, the expression on your face, the way you are standing/sitting. Your body language speaks volumes! When customers come to get their orders, are you dressed like you have somewhere to go or do you look like you’ve been laying around in bed all day? Do you have a smile on your face and a straight posture that invites the person in or is there a scowl on your face and you are hunched over like you wish everyone would leave you alone?! Another way to look at this is to put yourself in the other person’s shoes – how would you like to be greeted by someone you are bringing business to or seeking to help you with a need?
#5 – Always end on a good note.
Before you get off the phone with your customer or before a customer leaves your house with their order or someone leaves your fair booth, end your conversation on a good note. Pay them a compliment, thank them for their time, wish them a good day, offer them a free sample, etc. Ending your contact with them on a good note makes them remember the entire experience with you in a good way.
People want to deal with people they know and like. Positive communications with customers will strengthen your relationship with them, they will tell others about you and the great products you sell, and your sales will increase.
Good Luck and Happy Selling!!
Adapted from Vanessa Van Edwards’ training – “5 Killer Science Based Sales Techniques”. You can watch her training at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=blmqKqJ0BM
Becky Price, RSM