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The Clock Starts Ticking - How Not To Clock Out With Waitng Customers

Aug 17, 2007
I will make this quick. I know you are busy.
We are a very impatient nation. It's a nation that gets antsy after 20 seconds on hold on the telephone and 3 minutes max in a line. A nation that wants everything so fast we purchase our meals at drive through restaurants. Do our banking and buy our prescription drugs out of the car window. We don't even get out of the car to have our oil changed or wash the car.

If you ask your customers, "Do you feel more time-poor or money-poor," the answer almost always is time-poor.

Your customers walk in the door, call you on the telephone or answer your call with the clock ticking.
And if they perceive you are not efficient, thinking it will take more time than they mentally allowed the clock ticks even faster.

What you say is what they expect to happen:
I was patiently waiting my turn to talk to a salesperson in a local Sun Com store, shopping for a new cell phone provider, when another customer came in. One of the salespeople did the right thing, immediately acknowledging the presence of the new customer by excusing herself from her customers and quickly saying, "Welcome to Sun Com. There will be someone with you in a few minutes." The customers immediately responded, "How long is a few minutes?" "Five," replied the sales woman. The customer glanced at his watch and the clock started ticking.
I positioned myself next to the waiting, impatient customer, and at exactly five minutes from the sales woman's statement, he looked at me and said, "Her five minutes are up." And then he walked out of the store.

Two customers to service at once. What do you do?
First: You do not promise, and what ever you say is a promise, what you cannot deliver.

Second: Give them something to do
In our stores when we had two customers at once we always give the customer we could not give our direct attention to something of interest to do. Something relating to the product they wanted to exchange their money for. It could be:
a. Information about the product to read
b. A video of the product to watch
c. A list of discounts we were offering
d. Information about a new product we were selling

We also always had refreshments at hand for the waiting customers. Many a time a soft drink kept the customer in the store while I closed another sale.

The Telephone rings while you are selling a customer:
How to use your voice mail to gain customers: Not chase them to the competition.
You see it happen all the time. It happens to you. You are standing at the counter making a purchase and the business telephone rings. Immediately you are forgotten in the salespersons mad dash to answer the phone.
Or, you are talking on the phone with a salesperson and they put you on hold to answer another line.

Some businesses make it the policy to leave you standing and answer the telephone. Their thinking is, we got you as a customer, we do not want to lose the one calling.

Our policy: The customer in front of you, the one you are talking with deserves all of your attention. Always have someone else available to answer the telephone. If that is not possible, have a strong 100% Customer-Centered voice mail message that gains the caller's interest and compels them to leave you a message and wait for your return call.

A strong 100% Customer-Centered voice mail message is one that gives the customer an overwhelming reason to wait for your call back. One loaded with the Benefits they will receive from you. One loaded with proof that they are not wasting their time waiting for your call back.

It is estimated that 50% of the callers who receive a voice mail message, do not leave their name. They hang up and call your competition.

Most voice mail messages sound like this, "I am sorry I cannot take your call. I am either on another line or away from my desk." That message will chase the customer to your competition. They will hang up and call the next supplier of your products and services.

7 Steps to a 100% Customer-Centered Message

1.Proper greeting (tells the caller they have the correct telephone number)
Always give your name and business.
Hello, this is Bob Janet, Sales Growth Now

2.Inform the caller that you are not able to answer the phone. "I am sorry I am unable to take your call."

3.Give them a 100% Customer-Centered reason why you cannot take their call. Make the reason about the customer, not about you.
"As I am helping a client increase sales and profits, the same way I will help you increase sales and profits."

4.Ask them to give their contract information and a message. Asking for a message gives them the feeling you care about their problem.
"if you will please leave your name, number and a message"

5.Assure them you will call them back. "I will return your call."

6.Give them the time increment in which you will return their call (if possible).... "Within the hour"

7.Thank them. "Thank you."

Example: "Hello, this is Bob Janet, Sales Growth Now. I am sorry I cannot answer your call as I am assisting a client to increase their sales and profits. The same assistance I will give you if you will please leave your name, number and a message I will return your call within an hour. Thank you."

When recording your message, remember to "Smile" while you are talking. Remember, when greeting prospects face-to-face your voice accounts for only 33% of your effectiveness. In a telephone greeting your voice accounts for 84% of your effectiveness. By simply smiling, your vocal quality, pitch, tone, and inflections are more pleasant and convey the feeling of care and concern to the prospect.

When the Clock Starts Ticking, make sure it is not a ticking bomb that will clock out your sale.
About the Author
Bob Janet uses 40 plus years of face-to-face selling and marketing experiences, combined with his unique fun-entertaining presentation audience involved style to help sellers gain and retain their most profitable customers for a lifetime of selling.
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