7 ways to make customers love you! Hmmm… is it really this simple?

The greatest compliment anyone can receive in the business world is “I just love working with you.” That’s especially true when that compliment comes from customers, because it means that you’ll be getting their business time and time again, they’ll spend more money with you and tell everyone they know how great you are.

Happy customers keep coming back!

Geoffrey James – writer of the Sales Source column on Inc.com – says that if we follow seven simple rules, we’ll have customers buying from us again and again and again. Sounds easy doesn’t it? Which begs the question: if it’s really that simple, then why aren’t all businesses following these rules? And, can any business afford not to?

Here are the seven rules for getting customers to love you, along with my take on each. Let me know what you think. Are there any others? Enjoy!

1. Make building the relationship more important than making the sale

Relationships are the fuel that feeds the success of a business. And business relationships are just like any other relationship. They require some effort to maintain and they must be mutually beneficial. As in any relationship, you must be willing to give, share and support, not just take or receive. We’ve all had a friend who only came to see us when they needed to borrow money or help moving. In time, you cut them off!

2. Create opportunities for the customer to buy, rather than opportunities for you to sell

If you are passionate and enthusiastic about your business, people will feel it and will want to know more, opening up opportunities for them to buy. Forming close relationships with your customers allows you to understand and anticipate their needs as a vital first step in creating new opportunities for them and in helping them to predict and sidestep unwelcome surprises.

3. Have meaningful conversations and never give a sales pitch

The normal reaction to anything that sounds remotely salesy is to back away – which is part of the reason why salespeople struggle at networking events!  So, how well do you know your customers? Do you really know what your customers’ pain points, wants or needs are… or are you guessing? Do you really know why your customers like to do business with you… or are you assuming? As management consultant, Peter Drucker, once said, “There is only one person who really knows – the customer.” New customers will be attracted to your business for the same reasons your current customers were. It’s that simple.

4. Be curious about the customer as a person and let the friendship evolve from that

By developing friendships with your customers, you will greatly increase their loyalty and benefit from more honest communication. Friends communicate, stick by each other and share experiences and common stories. By finding out what impacts your customers – whether it be helping to save the world, joining an elite club, or bettering their lives – you can make your customers feel like they are part of something – a bigger story – when they buy from you.

5. Don’t try to be a hero who swoops in to solve the customer’s problem

Whether you are providing a product or service it is important to determine, right from the beginning, exactly what is to be accomplished in order to satisfy your customer’s expectations. Once this clear, you can figure out how to achieve it. Any issues/problems that are not directly related to the customer’s goal are merely distractions. This beyond-the-scope phenomenon can be an issue for all types of product/service offerings.  Allowing superfluous concerns – like the customer’s other problems – to obscure the ultimate goal may cause you to fail to achieve it.

Don’t try to be a hero, give your customers what they want!

So, don’t try to be a hero, focus on one thing – the ultimate goal – and achieve that. A happy customer is far more likely to buy from you again.

6. Believe in your heart that you and your firm are the best at what you do

A lot of success is in the mind. You must believe you and your firm are the best and then make sure that you are!

If you don’t believe in what you sell, whether you admit it to yourself or not, deep down inside you think you’re nothing more than a con artist. You may fool some of the people some of the time, but you won’t fool yourself for long. As time passes, your true feelings will rise to the surface. They will boil up into your conscious mind. When that happens, your customers will sense your true feelings and decline to purchase from you.

So to be successful, you have to truly believe in these three things:

  • Your product or service

Believe that your product or service delivers on the promises that you make in order to sell it – that it’s better, quicker, or cheaper than any other solution your customer could find. Ultimately, believe that it’s the best solution for their problem. If you don’t believe in the product/service you sell, find one you do believe in and sell that!

  • Your company

Believe that your company offers your customers something unique relative to its competitors. Believe in the values of the company. Believe that it stands behind its products and services. Ultimately, believe that your company operates ethically and always considers the people it serves in all decisions. If you don’t believe in your company, find one you do believe in and work for them!

  • Yourself

You have to believe in yourself and the value you provide individually. You do what you say you will do. You have unique knowledge that benefits your customers. You serve as a liaison between your company and your customers, with the judgment to know what to do when something goes awry.

When you truly believe in these three things, you’ll be on the road to success. And when your belief turns into outright excitement, you’ll find big success!

7. Deliver exactly what you promised to deliver, no matter what

It’s simple: deliver on what you promise. Do what you say you’re going to do, when you say you’re going to do it, and in the manner you say you’re going to do it. Do that, and people will truly start to believe that your word is your bond…

There is often an intense pressure to say “yes” to anything the customer asks for, just to close the sale. Closing sales is great; closing sales that you can’t deliver on is stupid. Give customers realistic expectations about what you can deliver. Not what you could do if everything goes great – because it won’t – what you can realistically get done. And be willing to walk away from deals that you can’t deliver on. Saying “no” now is much better than saying “yes” and completely dropping the ball.

Think about the cliched situations where businesses over-promise: The cable guy who gives you a four hour window where you have to wait around and still shows up an hour late. The contractor who costs twice as much and takes three times longer than estimated. The mechanic who says the part will be in “tomorrow” but a week later you’re still without a car. We hate these guys. Don’t be that guy. Don’t. Be. That. Guy.

Here are some general tips on how not to be ‘that guy’:

  • Don’t promise unless you can deliver and be careful what you promise
  • Leave some wiggle room
  • Agree on the ‘promise’
  • Manage scope change. New scope = new promise
  • Always ask your team … “How can we …?”
  • Never give up. Always find a way.

Finally, delivering on your promises consistently builds confidence in you and shows that you have integrity. Customers respect integrity and will reward – love – you for it by by buying from you again and again and again.

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8 Comments

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8 responses to “7 ways to make customers love you! Hmmm… is it really this simple?

  1. Thank you it is mostly very important ways to help in developing a successful sales person

  2. sallyanderson151

    Great stuff guyshope you have your blogs going to all the online conduits globally

    From: The Tipping Point Reply-To: The Tipping Point Date: Friday, 19 October 2012 3:27 PM To: Sally Anderson Subject: [New post] 7 ways to make customers love you! Hmmm is it really this simple?

    WordPress.com Vanessa Tipping posted: “The greatest compliment anyone can receive in the business world is “I just love working with you.” That’s especially true when that compliment comes from customers, because it means that you’ll be getting their business time and time again, they’ll spend”

  3. Pingback: 7 ways to make customers love you! Hmmm… is it really this simple? « INTEGRAL MANAGEMENT , PROFESSIONAL PHILOSOPHY

  4. Hi Vanessa, Great article! Every consultant would do well to follow this advice. I would like to share my thoughts regarding “Rule #5 – Don’t try to be a hero who swoops in to solve the customer’s problem.” Generally speaking this statement is indeed true and any business professional should follow this advice and not deviate from his/her main objective. However, there’s a fine line between “losing focus” and “losing future opportunities.” I believe it’s just as important not to develop tunnel vision and become oblivious to the out-of-scope issues surrounding the customer’s business. I say, take note of anything affecting the customer’s business success. Later on, these problems can be re-visited and treated as “new opportunities.” Remember, its important to differentiate yourself. You don’t want to be like every other sales consultant. You worked hard to develop a special business relationship and are viewed as a unique partner in the customer’s overall success. Even though you are currently there to deal with contracted scope items, always keep your eyes and ears open. Your company may already have a solution (or may easily be able to develop one) for the customer’s “other” concerns. Handled properly, these “distractions” can be turned into future opportunities. Your customer will be pleasantly surprised to know that while you remained focused and disciplined in delivering your contracted solutions; you were also cognizant of all the other issues related to his/her business. And, being the consummate professional, you waited for the right time to address such issues and propose some real solutions. Sharing this with your customer after your initial job has successfully closed will only further strengthen your business relationship and endear you all the more in the heart and mind of your customer. Just my personal thoughts. Thanks again, Alicia

    • Hi Alicia. I completely agree with your comments! Any engagement is an opportunity to let your customer know about other products/services/solutions you offer. By identifying future opportunities and sharing them with your customer, having delivered in-scope items successfully, you develop integrity and make it easy for them to buy from you again and again and again. Thanks for sharing. Vanessa

  5. Pingback: The Greatest Compliment we can Receive from Customers

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