Keep Treating Your Customers Like Prospects

I recently read a story about a man who died, and when he went to the Pearly Gates he was not met by St Peter but by a man who said “we have changed things around here, I am going to give you a tour of heaven and my counterpart is going to give you a tour of…well, of the other place, and you are going to get to decide where it is you want to go for eternity.” 

So, off they went on a tour of heaven. It all looked very nice with beautiful landscapes, and filled with flowers, gardens and wonderful homes. Filled with people dressed in white, participating in book clubs and choirs and other pleasant and heavenly activities. It was all very sunny and pleasant.  The man thought it was all pretty nice and would be a nice place to spend his eternity.

 Then, they went back to the Pearly Gates and the other man met them, he was a handsome character, with the looks of a movie star,  wearing a beautiful midnight blue Armani suit, with manicured nails, and the scent of Sandalwood aftershave. And he took the man on a tour of the other place. That place was very cool looking all granite and class with people who looked like models and celebrities dancing in night clubs and discos and restaurants and having a great old time. 

So, when the man came back to the Pearly gates to make his decision. He thought about heaven and all the nice things he has seen there, but now it seemed a bit boring to him. But when  he thought about the other place, that seemed much more to his liking with all the fun and excitement. So, in the end, he decided to choose the other place.

The minute he made that decision, he was immediately frisked away to a very dark and intensely warm rocky cave of a place and put into shackles and tied to iron rings in the walls.

 When he saw the man in the Armani suit who had conducted the tour, he hollered to him, “Hey man what happened? This isn’t the place you showed me before I made my decision?”

And the man just gave him a wicked smile and said. “Then you were a prospect, now you’re a customer.”

Funny story isn’t it? I read it in a neat new book titled Be Amazing or go Home: seven customer service habits that create confidence with everyone! By Shep Hyken. Which I would advise anyone who is serious about customer service to read. But the point is to ask yourself this question, how do you treat your customers, once they become customers?   Do you give them the same attention that you did when they were prospects that you were trying to win over? Do you consider them as important as the prospect you are trying to convert right now?

It’s a great question and one that we should be constantly asking ourselves. Think of all the promises we make when we are trying to sell a prospect on our services and products. Think of the rosy picture we paint of what it will be like once they decide to give us their business? Are we keeping those promises? Do you think that you have delivered on your promises?

This is why a great salesperson never stops selling. I remember years ago when every financial institution was after us to refinance our houses. I lived in New Hampshire then and the value of houses was rising so rapidly, that I had neighbors who were refinancing their house and spending the equity on Porches, and motorboats, and cottages on Lake Winnipesaukee, moves they would all come to regret. The interesting thing was that they would get a call from a salesperson telling them how much their house was worth and telling them that they were pre-approved and all they had to do was sign up that day and the refinancing would be done in a flash, and that large equity check would be in their hot little hands, before the ink was dry. 

Once they signed though, they never saw or heard from that salesperson again. Then the fun really started. They met the real team behind that smooth talking salesperson. The mortgage rates were terrible, there was always one more document they had to produce, and one more clause they had to agree to. And of course, those mortgages turned out to be adjustable with balloon payments looming in their future.  In the end, as it is with everything that is too good to be true, it was too good to be true. They had, in fact, made that terrible transition from prospect to customer. And they paid dearly for it.

A truly great salesperson will stick with you. She will make sure that her company delivers on all the promises that were made when she was wooing the customer. He will make sure that the relationship stays on track, and the customer remains a happy customer for as long as the relationship lasts. Actually, if the salesperson tends to his customer the right way, and make sure that all the promises he made are kept they will have that customer for life.

The formula is very simple. Write down everything you promised when you were selling the prospect, and keep this list of promises always, because it’s actually the blueprint for keeping that customer so happy they will be a customer for life. It’s only common sense.

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