The customer is always king. Once you understand this, you will figure out everything!
This is an age-old saying but it is always relevant in every business. If the customer is treated right and trusts you, your business will see a lot of deal acceleration and thrive. Lose their trust and fail to perform to their standards and they will leave you.
Building a customer-centric culture during your sales prospecting is the best way to make your team focus on the things that matter. If they follow a fixed pattern while interacting and pitching to the client, it will bring consistent growth and you will notice things falling into place.
Brands such as Netflix and Apple always put their customers first and make them feel heard. They put the customer at the center of whatever they initiate and succeed in retaining clients for far longer. Read on to know how you can make your customer trust you and bring the best benefits for your team.
Crucial points to consider
Can you believe that customer-centric cultures can bring a 7% increase in your customer retention on average? Always put the customer first and keep these points in mind while getting on a call with them. This will go a long way and help you nurture bonds of trust and loyalty for customer success.
- Have a value mindset
- Build trust and loyalty
- Avoid communication gaps
- Watch your choice of words
- Make a bond, not just a sale
- Avoid setting false expectations
Let’s study these in detail to understand what constitutes a customer-centric mindset. Make sure that the whole team understands this concept and uses it in everything they do. It doesn’t matter if they interact with the clients or not. What matters is the purpose they are working for and the goal they are working towards.
1. Train your team to have a value mindset
During cold calls, have a notion to create value. Begin calls by asking the client what issues they are going through and what solutions they have tried so far. This will help you project yourself as a a source of permanent solution and show them how you are different from the rest of the crowd. If you don’t take this additional step to ask them what they have already tried, you might end up offering the same service.
This will only irritate the client as the same tried and failed solution is being offered to them. They will conclude you are just another salesman with nothing new to sell. Hence, this step might sound redundant but it is crucial if you wish to create value.
2. Incentivize employees that build trust and loyalty
Your executive team needs to be aligned with the customer’s experience and satisfaction before anything else. Focus purely on embedding the concept of customer-centric goals within your team. Incentivize people who follow it diligently to enable other employees to follow suit during their sales prospecting.
“This might sound silly but my management put up some posters throughout our office recently. All of them said, “Customer is King”. We saw it at our desks, in the meeting rooms, and even in the cafeteria. While it sounded annoying at first, this mantra got embedded in our minds and changed our mindsets. We would look at the posters before any client call and keep it in mind during the call for deal acceleration,” said a young sales professional from an agency in Bangalore.
3. Avoid communication gaps
Just like how every individual is accountable for their mindset, they are responsible for their communication as well. People need to communicate clearly after reviewing their goals and outcomes. Are your employees choosing the right words that convey your trust and bond with the client?
Speak clearly and avoid communication gaps to avoid misunderstanding of the client. If there are two ways in which a message can be conveyed, dumb it down to make it blatantly obvious. If there is ambiguity, your customers might get disappointed when false expectations are set.
Here is an intriguing story to enforce this point:
“I was recently talking to the Chief Revenue Officer of a Fintech organization for sales engagement. During the discussion, I found an opportunity for us to engage with this customer for multiple sales training programs spread across one year. It would fetch them the desired results, but this customer had not dealt with us earlier.
He was hesitating to give us a year-long engagement. He then suggested that we run a pilot project for half a day for a specific set of sellers. If they are happy with this pilot they can extend the other programs also for a year. We also agreed and spent a lot of time designing this pilot project.
Finally, we shared our approach with investment details but the client returned saying the pilot project should be done with no commercial investment. We were completely shocked, as we thought the pilot meant a mini project before the bigger one. Since the pilot also needs a lot of effort, we thought the customer needs to bear the cost.
Here the terminology PILOT has two different interpretations. The lesson learned here is we should not assume anything. It is better to clarify everything explicitly to gain more clarity which will help both seller and buyer to be on the same page,” said a sales rep from a reputed organization in Singapore.
4. Watch your choice of words
This is synonymous with the previous point as it is linked to communication. You need to organize sessions with your team to know how they are speaking to their clients. Have a role-playing session and act as the client. Check how they are speaking and what words they are using while speaking to you.
For example, your goals might deviate if you use words such as “payment”, “charge”, and “service charge”. If you are putting the customer first, you need to indicate that the money is one of your last concerns. Your communication must include “investment”, “journey”, and “bond”.
Assess the strength of your customer-centric goals using good sales management coaching. Include surveys to check how your employees are behaving. Track your customer progress over a while to check how your employees are contributing to the customer experience. Are their decisions taken with the client as well as the company’s benefit in mind?
5. Make a bond, not a sale
A good way to create bonds is by inviting customers to company events. Your employees can interact with them and show them the faces behind the project. It will help your customers connect with your brand better rather than speaking to a faceless brand. Yes, video calls and frequent contact are great. But having them in person is a whole new level of trust and bonding for customer success.
Teach your team to make a bond with the client and not just pitch for sale. Two repeat customers who trust you are better than ten one-time customers. The more loyalty and trust your customers have in you, the more they will endorse you as a free brand ambassador. It will help you generate more contacts and maintain a strong sales pipeline.
Developing these strategies is the best way you can create a customer-centric culture at work. Your employees must first understand why they are putting the client first and what they wish to gain from it. Without this sense of purpose in each individual, it is pointless to drive your team.
Having a mature customer-centric culture can escalate your brand to world-class standards consistently. As a leader, you must recognize the power of this strategy to hone your sales reps’ skills.
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