By Shirleen Von Hoffmann Sales Coach and President of Sales Team Coaches Copyright 2012
I love seeing the sales experience through the clients’ eyes. In my work, we do quite a bit of secret shopping for Builders, Lenders and Luxury Facilities. Though the Manager gets to see the film we provide, many times I get to experience the shop first hand. It’s quite a different experience to “role play” the customer and sit in the client seat. I find myself doing that where ever I go and whatever I do. I have become a customer service fanatic I guess.
In my private coaching sessions with Real Estate Professionals I often find that they forget to survey the client to see how they did and use it as an opportunity to ask for referrals.
Now by survey I don’t just mean the written survey your company sends to check up on you. I am talking about the more important verbal survey, the conversation you have with your clients at the end to ask, “How did my company and I do for you?” It’s an often missed but very important sales step. I think it is missed because if the news is not so good, no one wants to hear it, they just want to move on. But I am here to say, if the news is not so good, you WANT to hear it, so you can make the necessary fixes to your system. It is critical.
Currently I am working on a huge remodel project, I am the contractor on the job and this is my first experience as a “Home Builder”. We have taken this home down to nothing and rebuilt it and it has been a huge transformation. During the remodel I have had to hire many, different contractors and have experienced a different level of “seeing through the customers eyes”, than my normal secret shopping.
The hardwood floor contractor was highly recommended but I had nothing but issues with his work and his employees who arrived on site who bringing one mistake after another and never completed the job right.
Once I got the owner on site, I told him the entire story of his customer service and showed him the results of the poor flooring job his crew did, which was still not complete…he was embarrassed. He had no idea this lead guy came across the way he did to his clients. He had no idea the poor job his crew did on my job until I called to have him come out. I wouldn’t call it complaining, I was giving him feedback. Feedback that is critical to his continued success. Some people would just never use him again rather than give him constructive feedback. So I actually did him a favor.
When a customer takes the time to give you feedback or a complaint of any kind, take it as a favor. The customer is doing you a favor so you can “fix” the flaw in your system and move on. You can learn from every bit of feedback a customer gives you. It’s why customer surveys, verbal and written, are so very important. It’s a very important sales step that is often missed. Because once you have the feedback and it is good feedback, it can open doors to referrals…that are many times missed.
We work very hard so that people will buy from us, not just once but over and over again. Make sure you know what kind of job you did for the client, not only from a form you send but by listening to them in person about the job you did. Once you hear the great things you did, it’s a perfect time to ask for a referral from family and friends!