As a process, selling has not changed very much despite modern technology and advertising changing enormously in the past few years. Customers don’t like being sold to. Do you ever enjoy it when a brand forces their advertising or product pitch on you in a way that you feel is using up your time or delaying you in some way? I don’t think so.
But sales professionals still need to sell. This means leading the customer to a solution that works for them. If you believe in what you are selling then you can lead the customer along a journey to getting what they want just by pointing the customer in the right direction – let them find the solution. This clearly works better than thrusting your product upon them surrounded by neon lights and an expectant smile.
But it is important to remember that customer service, as a process, can be an excellent opportunity to sell without overtly flagging up the interaction as a part of the sales process. Leading the customer to exactly what they really want.
Take the example of this company featured in a recent edition of Computer Weekly. They use their customer service calls as a way of talking to customers, finding out what they think, harvesting suggestions, and doing everything they can to interact directly with customers without directly selling the product.
The product sales come naturally from the interactions and satisfaction in the high level of customer service received – even just for enquiries.
It is possible to blend your customer support and service process with the sales team. All those customer interactions are about far more than just answering questions or complaints. Those calls are the frontline of your business and where an impression is formed on your brand.
The customer service function is really the frontline of the sales process.
Photo by Gerard Stolk licensed under Creative Commons