No doubt you’ve heard the expression “nice guys finish last”. I don’t know who actually said it but I’m pretty sure they weren’t talking about sales because in sales “nice guys finish first.”
Last weekend I ordered a sandwich at a small store near my house. After I ordered at the “Order Here” window I went to the cash register, paid for it and stepped back to wait. A few minutes later a lady came in, ordered a sandwich, paid and joined me in the “sandwich waiting area.”
After about 5 minutes, they called her name, she went to the register, retrieved her sandwich and left. Since I had ordered first, I went to the register to check on my sandwich. The lady behind the counter pointed at the “order here” window and said “you’re supposed to go over there to find out when it will be ready.” She let out a heavy sigh, turned around and asked about my sandwich. The girl behind her said “It’s almost done.”
The experience didn’t make me feel good and I probably won’t go back.
You Need Customers More than They Need You
Why would you talk to a customer like that? I assume she was frustrated I wasn’t following store protocol for a “sandwich status check.” Apparently, she felt the best thing to do was scold me so next time I would follow the rules. What she failed to realize is there may not be a next time. I have choices. I can easily get a sandwich at a dozen other stores where I don’t get scolded and they are happy to have my business.
Remember, you need your customers more than they need you. The experience your customer has with you and your company will often dictate whether they buy from you or not. If you’ve ever gone to a store to purchase an item and left to buy it somewhere else because the sales person was…
- didn’t seem to know what they were doing or
- all of the above…
…you know what I mean.
Be The Customer
Why should treating customers well be such a challenge? After-all, you’ve been a customer before. True, but sometimes you forget what it’s like once you’re on the other side of the counter. It can be frustrating when things don’t go they way they’re supposed to, you’re asked the same questions and customers misunderstand things. However, you still need to treat your customers with patience and respect. They are vital to your survival. They are the entire reason your company exists, and without them, you’re out of work!
When you feel yourself getting frustrated or losing your customer focus try this simple exercise. Go to a store, call the number on an infomercial or take a walk through a used car lot and pretend to be a customer. Since you’re just pretending, focus your attention on the salesperson and what they do:
- What do they do that makes you feel good or bad?
- What do they do that makes you feel smart (or not so smart)?
- What do they do that makes you feel like buying?
Afterward, review your interaction and think about what it felt like to be the customer. Whether it was a positive interaction or not, it will be a valuable experience you can use to be a better salesperson. Now, incorporate the good things you experienced into your customer interactions and remove or avoid anything that didn’t support a positive experience.
In Sales, Nice Guys Finish First
Fortunately for you, the world is filled with mediocre salespeople so it’s easy to standout and rise above the competition. Treat your customer with respect, be nice, be friendly, have patience and adopt a sincere desire to help them. Customers will take notice, and as a result, sales will follow. In sales “the nice guy (or gal) does finish first!”