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Sales teams usually look at sales reports once a week or once a month. Aside from enjoying nice sales peaks that come from special occasions, high seasons, new product launches or any extraordinarily large sales that occur, what can be better than seeing your sales reports registering a steady increase?
Well, performance progression essentially means a good investment that pays back over time, much like investing in a good property in a fantastic location; or, as Warren Buffet would say, buying shares of a good company at a good price and letting them grow and prosper.
What investment, would make you increase sales, consistently, over time?
It’s the investment you make in your reputation.
Great sales people, including entrepreneurs and managers, know that only a mini and increasingly strong reputation can help them grow their businesses day after day, after day.
If it’s true that everyone can win a client from time to time, it’s also true that only a few know how to keep that client coming back, and even fewer succeed in getting the client to refer family, friends and acquaintances to their businesses.
Clients don’t buy from you repeatedly and provide you with referrals just because they’re satisfied with your product; they do it when they are happy with the interaction they’ve had with your company while buying from you!
Have you ever experienced poor or rude service? Would you go back again only because the product is good, or would you immediately start looking around for alternatives?
If you understand that your clients’ loyalty is based on their perception of YOU, you will realize how important it is to take control of your reputation and to build on it.
What is your reputation based on?
1) Your knowledge of your products and your market; your ability to educate your clients with insights they won’t easily find on Wikipedia. Your goal is to be perceived as an expert rather than as a salesperson.
2) Your listening skills. No matter how good your product is and how knowledgeable you are, if clients don’t feel that you understand them, they won’t deal with you for very long.
3) Your delivery. Don’t overpromise and don’t talk too much but always do what you said you would and deliver on time, no matter what.
4) Consistency. Remember, we are talking about reputation, not first impressions. Reputations are built over time. If you impressed your client during the first encounter, this is just the beginning. You have to keep over-delivering and impressing them time after time, after time.
5) Honesty and trustworthiness. Having a good reputation means that people can trust you. Who would trust a dishonest person?
6) Ability to solve problems. Many sales people try to avoid getting involved in issues that are not related to sales, forgetting that solving problems can uncover hidden opportunities. Trying to solve a client’s problem is a good way to show that you are eager to help, empathetic, careful, professional and understand the client’s needs.
7) Friendliness. Ok, it might not be completely necessary to be friendly in order to build a great reputation but, let’s face the truth, if you want clients to keep dealing with you for many years it’s not a bad idea to show them a little bit of kindness.
Building a solid, reliable and long-lasting reputation is the best investment one can make in business and while it takes years to build a good reputation, it takes only seconds to destroy it.