I could have called this post "Customer Service" but I don't like the way it feels. It doesn't convey what it should look like. It should look like we are caring about our customers, and it should look like we actually remember what they purchased from us last time.
I recently heard the difference between calling customers Customer vs. Client. "Customer" conotes a short term transaction whereas "Client" conotes an ongoing relationship. That's the way I feel about those that attend my classes and buy from me … that we are in a long term relationship. It's NOT complicated!
Have a room full of people bustling for your attention? It's hard to be patient with those that you are currently talking with, but it will cost you in the long run if you aren't patient with people one by one. I used to use Office Max to bind my planners and the woman who was working and managing that department was very good with the job, but made lots of people just walk out of the store because while she was working, she completely ignored the two others who stepped up to the counter. Even after five full minutes, she never acknowledged them. Not a glance, a smile, a wave, or a word of recognition that she would be with them in just a minute. Or even just to find out that they had a 2 second question. Not surprisingly, that store is one of the ones Office Depot is closing in their combining of name brands. And all those employees who depended on their jobs are searching elsewhere.
Patience with everyone clammoring for your attention will make everyone feel like a client instead of a customer, and will pay off through word of mouth advertising you can't afford to pay for!
Pretty much covered in the paragraph above, your attentiveness in a Social Selling Event is only the tip of the iceburg. Knowing what a client has purchased isn't hard to remember if you keep customer sheets (just a spiral bound notebook is plenty). The other half of that successful equation is having a selling plan of your own!
That's right! Not just whatever your company tells you to be selling, create your own selling plan! It's YOUR business! Charlene buys a product that is one of your personal favorites, from your Top Ten list of favorites, and your plan is to walk her through the buying process of complimentary products. Your company calls that Upselling. I call it Customer Caring.
Attentiveness doesn't require you to have a plan for every single product in the catalog, but if you pick out your favorite products (truly favorite not just the most expensive) and create a plan of your own, that first Customer Care call after delivery is made so easy. You already have something to talk to her about!
Have you ever had a client drop off your radar? They stop calling you for an order. When you call for them to Host they don't return your calls? Customer Care is all about really caring about them, and I want to relate a story of my own:
After we moved here in 2012 I started getting very sick. We found out three years later that it was because our HVAC system had been installed without duct tape and the moisture fans in the baths and laundry were piped into the air handler. A recipe for disaster, and declining health. I was no longer able to hold classes, and didn't keep in touch with my clients "back home." That February I was preparing to close my business down and sent the Spring catalogs out with handmade cards to everyone and a letter saying that I would be calling them on the 21st just to catch up. And I did! I got on the phone just to catch up and see who had a new grandbaby, whose son had graduated high school, and more. Shockingly, they all answered their phones and couldn't wait to talk! Many times I was just about to say goodbye and they asked if I had time for a question about a product or card fold they had seen on Pinterest. Sales that month were over $500 and I didn't drop.
Rule of thumb, your clients need to talk with you every 90 days. I have set up our Customer Care Calls tracker in the back of the planner for you to track those calls when you just get on the phone for a two minute followup. It requires that you know a little something about your clients other than their buying habits, but even for an introvert like me, I can make those calls once they know in advance I'm calling. I've even sent them a text message letting them know I want to talk, and would call in about an hour.
Communication is a skill that every relationship flourishes under. Why not with your clients, too?
Knowledge of your products
In this category, there are two areas that you need to know: How much it costs, and how much do they have to buy before host benefits kick in.
Spend some time studying your catalog. You might not have to know how much everything costs, but it will help if you know what section of the catalog to find it. Knowing how something works is essential! Knowing that something has retired is optimal.
I'm about to have a Downline meeting for the first time in years, and I started thinking about a mason jar full of slips of paper with a question on it to be passed around the table and answered. While you are thinking about this, what questions spring up in your own mind that you wouldn't be able to answer? That's where I am, too, and as a Silver Elite, that's not good! It's been a long time since I've been able to spout an item number!
We've all been there. You get an order for something that is either retired or on backorder. How are you going to put a positive spin on this?
Instead of getting flustered, be ready to offer a produst that is very close to what they are looking for with a guarantee of their satisfaction. Let them know that they can always return it right away if it turns out to not work at all.
Instead of getting frustrated about the backorder situation, tell your client that it is on backorder and will be back in stock soon. Offer to place an order now to have it deliver as soon as it's back. Offer to let them know when it is back on the shelf if they choose not to order it right then.
In both cases, you have given them the heads up that what they want is very popular, you understand how they might feel about the situation, and you are the expert with the ideas about how to solve the problem! It will take practice if this is new to you, and it will make you and the client feel better after the encounter than if the negative language had been used.