What is the one thing you believe you can do more for your customers this week? I'm not sure how many ask that question. It was question a man named Mr Fortelli shared with me about 4 months ago (I should really get his first name). Mr Fortelli is a proud Italian man with a family business who runs the most impressive service focused dry cleaners I've ever come across. Puts a lot of big businesses I've worked with to shame.
The question he asked me that day got me thinking. I have to admit I haven't asked the question to myself every week, but when I do I can always feel a shift in deeper thinking around my customer and potential customer interactions.
After working with a small business this week I noticed one thing I could do better and one I don't see many companies do. That is. Praise your customers!
A lot of the praise we give is typically around the achievements for our customers. Rightly so. We should be proud of the results we deliver for our customers but in doing that alone we miss the opportunity to raise the value and status of our customers. They want to be appreciated and acknowledged just as much as you do.
How do we make our customers more of the hero in our stories?
3 ways you can praise your customers this week
Praise in collaboration - On a weekly basis whether re actively or proactively we're in a continual phase of collaboration with our customers. Who you perceive your customers to be is up to you. I'd encourage you to widen it beyond the revenue generating ones. Praise in collaboration is about the work your customer does in partnership with you. This could be a key request you asked of your client to invite you into a meeting with a C-Level person. You may not know what they may have had to do help you out. Every action a client takes in support of you is a step of trust. One way we mark those steps is through praise and appreciation. Simply saying thank you, recognising the steps they took, sharing your appreciation, and reaffirming the results you'll get together because of it. All adds up to you working better with your clients. If they feel valued and appreciated in the process its likely they'll be more willing to help you with other things later. Action: Look for a moment of praise in collaboration this week. Be sure simply to say thank you.
Praise in achievement - Do you pay attention to the accomplishments achieved by your customers? if not now's the time to pay attention. Check their website press releases, social media updates. Re-tweet, comment, promote where appropriate and the next time you're in conversation with your customer mention what you saw. It goes a long way. Just imagine the feeling of someone taking out the time to look for, read and acknowledge your achievements then congratulate you on it. How would you see that person? what do you believe that would do to your relationship? both answers are positive. Look for those moments this week.
Praise in their values - Sometimes we're pressed with hard decisions with and for our customers. Just 2 months ago working with a client in the Netherlands one of the key account managers I was working with had this dilemma. A client of theirs was under pressure to stop production under new health and safety requirements that we're due to be in place very soon. This new legislation would hugely impact the cost of production and the commitments to orders they had with my client. The key account manager was expecting to lose a lot of business and prepared for the bad news. Instead he received a call from the client with potential options for them to work together asking for my clients assistance on meeting the health and safety standards for their customers. When you have a customer who makes those efforts you want to keep them around. On the call with the key account manager, we acknowledged their decision and commended them on the hard choice. We did everything we could to ensure the products we're delivered on time and finding ways to save them money in the process.
Take a step back and consider your customers this week. If not praise this week. What is the one thing you believe you can do more for your customers this week? At the least definitely decide to say Thank You.
If you're a key account manager, consultant or sales leader who recognises the continued importance to master yourself, your sales and customer relationships, get connected with me at www.jermaineedwards.com
Founder of the Key Account Hack System - New Key Account thinking that transforms customer relationships and creates predictable sales growth.