4 easy ways to deliver a sales experience your customers love
According to Econsultancy and Adobe’s annual digital report, most B2B companies think customer experience is the single most exciting opportunity for 2020.
Perhaps it’s because 86% of buyers are willing to pay more for a great customer experience and companies with superior customer experience bring in 5.7 times more revenue than competitors.
Today, with 67% of buyers saying their standard for a good experience is higher than it’s ever been, providing excellent customer experience is more competitive than ever.
If you think that it’s only the job of your company’s customer support team to provide a superior customer experience, think again.
Excellent customer experience is a must for sales
For salespeople, providing an excellent experience for clients and fostering strong relationships with them will lead directly to increased revenue.
As you are probably aware, word-of-mouth is incredibly important, and it can work for or against you. Long term, clients who enjoy working with you are likely to refer you to their colleagues, but at the same time, 62% of buyers will tell other people when they have a bad experience.
Plus, the world of sales is surprisingly small.
Buyers change jobs frequently, and you will probably find yourself talking to some of the same prospects for decades. So, you want to maintain a good relationship and reputation.
Data also shows that a happy repeat customer is more valuable over time than a one-time customer who leaves with a bad taste in their mouth.
In fact, the success rate of selling to an existing customer is 60-70% – that’s anywhere from 40-65% higher than the success rate of selling to a new customer.
Thus, being the kind of rep that a client is happy to jump on the phone with, is a way of working smarter – rather than harder.
When you put the customer’s needs first, you are rewarded with loyalty, respect, and industry credibility. When you go above and beyond, you can turn a satisfied customer into a cheerleader who wants to run and tell all their friends about their excellent experience.
So, how do you deliver a customer experience that prospects will love? Here are four easy things you can start doing this year to improve customer experience, and by extension, revenue:
1. Set expectations
When pitching your client on your business solution, it’s important to provide a realistic overview of how they see success.
Be upfront about how long a solution needs to be implemented before the customer will benefit and how much the customer has to add internally to make the solution work. By discussing implementation, you will show the client that you care about the outcome.
Then, set benchmarks for success.
Figure out which KPIs (key performance indicators), ratios, and other metrics that your prospect should track.
Offer to set meetings to discuss the prospect’s progress and challenges after they sign up. This way, you can keep the conversation going and show that you’re not merely a vendor, but an expert consultant.
When you take the time to give a prospect a clear roadmap of how to track the benefits of your business solution and demonstrate that you’re invested in their long term success, you create a positive customer experience and make it more likely that they’ll want to sign on or renew.
2. Invest in empathetic listening
Empathetic listening is when you pay close attention to someone when speaking and respond with compassion.
It’s the principle behind “Seek to understand before being understood.” It’s not always easy, and can require practice."
To improve your empathetic listening skills, practice active listening. Give the client room to speak freely. Ask about their needs and concerns. Then validate what they’re saying and feeling.
By repeating back what you heard, you can make sure that you’re on the same page.
When responding to clients, particularly when they express frustration, it’s important to consider your tone.
In sales, as in life, it’s not what you say, it’s how you say it.
Consider the difference between curtly saying “Sir, I’m trying to help you.” and “I’m so sorry this is happening. Let me help.”
The latter indicates that you understand the client’s frustration and want to solve their problems, rather than simply getting off the phone to talk to a new client.
Proving that you’re really listening to the client’s specific needs and concerns makes for an excellent customer experience.
When the customer trusts that they can speak candidly, feel seen, and receive feedback tailored to their experience, they will want to work with you now and in the future.
3. Ask for feedback
As customer expectations increase, you need to go above and beyond in order to stand out. Don’t assume that your prospects or clients necessarily share your feelings on how your interactions have gone. Instead, ask them for feedback.
Open a social forum where people can communicate their feedback and ideas for improvement, or encourage customers to write reviews that you can share.
Ask your existing clients to submit feedback directly. How likely are they to work with you again? What went wrong? What went right?
Soliciting feedback is a win-win. Sales professionals benefit from positive online reviews and can improve your process by receiving constructive criticism and customers appreciate having their voice heard.
By opening the door for critique, you show prospects and clients that you value their opinion and want to be the best possible resource for them. This goes a long way toward providing a great customer experience.
4. Be honest about right fit
When a prospect trusts a salesperson, they will open up and reveal their pain points, their budgetary concerns, and what’s really going on in their head.
Only when you achieve this level of open communication can you really start to make your pitch about why your product or solution is the right fit.
How do you build trust? In the most basic sense, it’s important to act ethically.
If you see that your solution isn’t a good fit for the buyer, don’t sell them on it. In fact, explain why it’s not a good fit.
By giving something away early on in the conversation, such as why a competitor might actually have a better service or product for this particular client, you will demonstrate that you have the client’s best interests in mind.
By showing the client that they can trust you, you’re laying the groundwork for an excellent customer experience.
When you employ these tactics, you might lose the sale — for now — however, you will plant the seeds for a relationship that’s built on trust and mutual understanding.
By putting the customer's experience above potential ROI, you will establish professional integrity and authority, which clients will not only respect but may come to rely on in the future.
Give your customers the kind of experience they want to tell people about
Positive customer experiences are more important than ever.
It’s vital to position yourself as an honest, trustworthy consultant who will listen to your clients, validate their feelings, and provide a solution tailored to their specific needs.
By setting measurable benchmarks to track implementation, you will demonstrate that you care about the client’s long term growth.
When you solicit feedback, you prove to your clients that you respect their opinions and want to give them the best possible experience.
For more tips on how to effectively use your pipeline to reach your sales goals, check out my podcast, Food for Thought - Lunch Break with Steve Bookbinder, where I provide actionable advice about how to make more sales easier.
Wondering where to begin?