What to Do When Customers Are Few
It’s easy to survive when business is good. The “cream” rises to the top when the business environment is tough. The fact is that there is always a business cycle. There will always be good times and there will always be bad. The slow times can be used to correct the sloppy habits created by boom times, i.e., failure to follow up with customers, slow response time to complaints, slow customer service, etc.
The measure of a salesperson is whether they flourish in bad economic times not in good. Peak performing salespeople are always producing. “They do what the average salespeople are unwilling to do.” Average salespeople blame the economy, or the boss for not advertising enough or the pricing for the lack of sales. Are you a typical salesperson, feet up on the desk, eating lunch, reading a book or a newspaper, or chit chatting with the salesperson next to you?
Peak performers know that since they have fewer customers through the door, that have to do a better job and close more, with the ones that do come in. If the customer doesn’t buy or make some kind of commitment on the first visit, they have to figure a way to get the customer to return. They know closing rates skyrocket if the customer will return to the store a second time. They give every potential customer they meet second, third, fourth and fifth opportunities to buy from them. “Many men fail because they quit too soon. They lose faith when the signs are against them. They do not have the courage to hold on, to keep fighting in spite of that which seems insurmountable,” says Dr C.E. Welch, of Welch’s Grape Juice.
They send thank you notes to people who came in the previous day, whether they purchased or not. (Of course, that presupposes that the previous day they were not afraid to risk rejection by asking for the name and address of each of customer that came in). In the note, they may say, “Thanks for coming in, I so enjoyed waiting on you. I wish you well as you search to find that perfect gift. After you left, I thought of another product I should have showed you. If you haven’t purchased yet, I’d love to show it to you.” They may even send them a free gift, i.e., free video rental. “Thanks for coming, I so enjoyed it, please take your family out to the movies on me.”
Peak performers keep a running list of potential and closed sales. They are constantly trying to figure out creative ways of maintaining contact with a customer. “Mrs. Smith, I was thinking of you today. I know you’re planning to purchase soon, and I just wanted to make sure you had all your questions answered or if there was anything I could help you with.”
They make contact with customers on their list, they maintain their database, and they are unafraid to call satisfied customers and ask for referrals. “Do you have any friends I can help like I helped you?” I know several peak performers who take no floor time. They set appointments and meet only with old and referred customers.
Do you know whom I bought my last car from? Yes, the only salesperson who called and invited me back. “Mr. Allman, I was thinking of you today. A car came in that is just like what you wanted. If you haven’t purchase yet, I’d love to show it to you.” I went down and made the purchase that day.
Peak performers take action; average sales people make excuses. Their success is at the mercy of their customers. They wait and hope for that customer to return. Peak performers rack their brains for creative ways to maintain contact. Then, they go for it, they take action. “It’s not the will to win that counts, but the will to take action that counts.”