PERSONAL: I order the same drink every time I go to a restaurant — club soda with lime. (I know, it sounds boring, but boring to you is tasty to me). My partner orders club soda with lemon and lime. I think this is pretty clear, but my lime gets messed up almost all the time. Now I’m the type of girl who will make lemonade out of lemons, but not if you give me a lemon and I have asked for a lime.
It’s particularly annoying because it shows that the server taking my order wasn’t listening or paying attention. Don’t you hate when a server looks like they’re paying attention, but then they deliver the completely wrong order?
It’s the same in sales.
What are you delivering?
What are you doing that may be pissing off your customers?
The small detail of lime in my club soda (and no lemon) is not just important to me, it sets the tone for what’s about to come, and my faith in the server to get it right. And while it may not be important to the server, it’s the difference between a 15% tip and 25% tip.
Now that we’ve established listening to the details is important in a restaurant, here’s how you can listen for the details in your job – and how those details may be affecting your sales.
- ASK questions to clarify and confirm your customer’s message. Then shut up and don’t interrupt – let them answer completely. Sometimes you literally have to bite your tongue so as NOT to respond before they’re done.
- “Question-silence” is golden. After you ask a question, be silent and listen for their answer. Silence can be tough, and sometimes may feel awkward. Your job is to give your prospect time to think, react and then respond. Your job is not to overcome the silence with more talk. Give your prospect a chance to talk.
- Write the details down the second the customer finishes talking. If my server would have written “lime” on a piece of paper, the outcome would have been much different and much better for all of us. Don’t trust your memory. Take notes so that you don’t have to remember. Plus, this shows you are paying attention and gives your customer confidence.
- Focus on your customer by looking them in the eye. Your mind is much less likely to wander when you’re looking directly at the person speaking. Multi-tasking guarantees forgetfulness and screwing up the details. And, it’s just plain rude! Give your customer the respect and full attention they deserve.
- Put your phone away. You can always respond to that text message or find the Pokemon Go later. The smartphone is not just a distraction; it creates a loss of focus. Not to mention appearing rude. What’s more important than the customer who is in front of you?
- Watch their actions, gestures and other non-verbal cues. Silent listening, and paying attention, will help you understand the emotion behind the spoken words. Your power of focus may lead you to the sale.
- Your future is dependent upon your present and your presence. It’s dependent upon where you are right now and your ability to be there.
After you listen to your customer’s needs, serve them better than they expect.
Ever eat sushi? The food presentation is often a work of art – or better stated – a work of “wow!” You ordered a roll or two, but you got taste candy and eye candy.
Surprise me. When you deliver it, make your customers say, “Wow!”
Think about your top ten customers and the detail by which they expect to be served.
Now think about where you may be missing the mark. Is it an incorrect invoice? A late delivery? A back order? A wrong item? Bad service? Unreturned phone call?
Something seemingly unimportant to you may be extremely important to the other guy and might cost you the sale.
What can you add to your (service) delivery that would cause your customer to say, "Wow, thank you," and tell someone else about it?
The power to succeed is within you.
The subtle, but powerful difference is in your personal pride.
- Job pride leads to performance at a top level. Not just striving for accuracy. When you have pride in your work, accuracy is a given. Pride, personal pride, leads to WOW. WOW leads to repeat business, loyalty, repeat business, relationship and referral.
- Job complacency leads to errors and vulnerability of losing an order or even a customer.
You’ve all heard the expression, "the devil is in the details." It must be true. Because if you don’t pay attention to them, it’s pretty much hell.
Jennifer Gluckow blogs regularly at Sales In A New York Minute.
©2017 Jennifer Gluckow and Sales in a New York Minute.