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What’s the most important thing to remember when I’m interacting with a customer?

The one surprisingly simple success tactic that works every time.

Marc Pillay

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What’s the most important thing to remember when I’m interacting with a customer?

Customers want to be taken seriously. Someone who invests money does not only want to receive a product or service. It’s also important to make the customer feel appreciated and on an equal playing field with the sales person.

To do this is surprisingly simple: Address him by his name. By doing this throughout the sales conversation, not only when you greet him, your communication with him becomes much more personal and ‘warmer’.

Nothing is more unpleasant than talking to a person face to face not knowing his name – this has certainly happened to all of us at some point. But how can we possibly remember the names of all our customers?

Here are a number of tips that will help you:

  • Be truly interested in the customer and do not only pretend to pay attention
  • Carefully memorise his name during the first meeting, and write it down if necessary – it is no problem if the customer notices you doing this
  • Repeat the name from time to time during the conversation
  • Memorise the person behind the name – face, figure, voice, distinctive characteristics
  • Try to link the customer’s name to an image. Convert his name into a picture, and link objects or situations to it. The saying also applies in this case: “A picture is worth a thousand words.”

You’ll see that after just a short while, the names of your customers will stick in your memory much more easily, and your customer interaction will become more promising.

Marc Pillay is the managing director of DEVELOP South Africa, a division of the Bidvest Group Limited. Pillay has been responsible for evolving the DEVELOP brand since its launch in the South African market in 2009. He brings 21 years of experience in the print industry and 18 years in sales and sales training to the role. He has proven track record in growing new business and developing new brands. He also sits on the Bidvest Office division board.

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Sales

How do I make a positive first impression with my clients?

You never get a second chance to make a first impression, so be sure you don’t screw it up.

Marc Pillay

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How do I make a positive first impression with my clients?

Everyone makes mistakes. Fortunately, however, they can be rectified in many cases. If the wrong amount of money is transferred, it can be reversed; if the wrong information is given, it can be corrected with a polite apology.

In business matters too, there is a ‘second chance’ that allows for an error to be straightened out and which sometimes can even be turned into an advantage. But there is one time when this is not the case: The first impression.

Making a good first impression is an opportunity that must be maximised. The old saying holds true: You never get a second chance to make a first impression.

Research has shown that first impressions are of critical importance for three out of four buyers – that is a whopping 75%. Some aspects of your external appearance play a role here, but mostly it is what you say, how you say it and also what is conveyed non-verbally.

It’s all about tone of voice, gestures, facial expressions and body language, and it’s about capturing the mood in which the customer finds them self at that moment.

The following points can help you make a positive first impression on the customer:

  • Approach the customer attentively and with a friendly smile
  • Observe the customer – how do they respond? Are they reserved or receptive, cautious or forthcoming?
  • Take the emotionality of the customer seriously
  • Try to adjust yourself to the mood of the customer
  • Give the customer the feeling that you accept and understand them. Create common ground this way, which will leave the customer with good memories and which will shape their future relationship with you.

Do you already take all of those factors into consideration? If not, try to pay attention to them, and you will quickly see that you will have greater success with them.

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Sales

How can I make more sales?

Taking a good look at your existing sales strategy may reveal some areas for improvement.

Tim Berry

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My sales are ticking over nicely but I’d like to increase them now, as I feel that we have the capacity to meet increased demand. Can you give me any advice on how to go about growing sales?

The first thing you need to do is reassess your sales strategy and its impact on sales. Look at what’s working and what isn’t. Once you’ve done that, you can consider introducing some new sales strategies, such as finding new ways to sell more to existing customers, or even how you can find brand new customers. Perhaps you’re charging too little. And your marketing strategy could probably do with an overhaul to ensure it’s relevant in today’s marketplace.

Read the full article here.

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Sales

How do I keep my customers and my suppliers from doing business directly?

Keeping customers and suppliers from doing business directly.

Lorna Powe

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Currently I am turning some customers away, not being able to assist them, as I do not custom make certain products myself. I have found someone who can manufacture these items but want to make sure that my customers come through me to purchase them instead of going directly to the manufacturer. 

In a case like this I would keep the customer for myself and ask the supplier to supply to me, then I would supply the customer. That way you will never be excluded from future deals. You don’t mention what the products are so here are general answers.

In order to do this you will probably need a new process. The following need to be considered:

  • Financing – negotiate a deal where you pay 30 days after delivery from the supplier, and then ensure that your customer pays you on order or cash on delivery.
  • The design of the item needs to be done with yourself and a document completed between you and your customer so that they agree to the design, this is then passed to the manufacturer. This provides you with a comeback if the customer says that is not what they wanted (they will have paid you anyway).
  • Negotiate the lowest possible price from the supplier and then take into account your time with the customer before you determine the selling price. The supplier does not have to know what you are selling at. That is between you and your customer.
  • The supplier should not know who your customers are.
  • Find a backup supplier and on a regular basis get a quote from them too to check that your prices are still good from the initial supplier.
  • Delivery – needs to be done by the supplier to you. Then the customer can collect from you or pay for delivery to themselves.

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