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How to Put the Customer First and Sell Your Way to Success

Dec 6, 2007
Salesmanship is much more than quotas and concentrating on the bottom line. To become the best at sales and marketing, put the customer's wants and needs first, and you will sell your way to success. The best way to explain this concept is to relate the following true story:

"Jane" is in an automobile accident. As a result she is in the market for different and affordable transportation-fast. Because "Jane" is in a wheelchair, her father-in-law helps her purchase a minivan, so it can be made wheelchair accessible.

Unfortunately, what "Jane" and her father-in-law did not know is the prerequisites to making a vehicle handicapped accessible. Because of the mileage and the age of the vehicle, grants to make the necessary changes are not available. So, less than 4 days later, "Jane" asks the dealership to trade the van in on another vehicle on the lot of comparable value.

You probably know what happens next, but I will finish the story anyway:

When the dealership refuses to trade the vehicle, even though it sat in the driveway for 4 days, "Jane" is essentially stuck with an automobile she will never be able to drive. Now what?

"Jane" takes the vehicle to a competitor. Up on the ramp, the van is determined to have front end damage and it is only worth half what her father-in-law paid for the van. But, the competition is willing to take it in trade, as is, to help "Jane" get affordable transportation.

Based on the recommendations of a professional mechanic specializing in handicapped accessible transportation, it is determined that "Jane" needs a two door with room to put the wheelchair behind the front seat. So, the second dealership searches the lot for the perfect car. Unfortunately, nothing on the lot is within her price-range. Total disappointment!

But, wait, the salesperson is checking with his supervisor! Soon, a serious of phone calls are made, deals are struck, and a two-door car within an affordable price range is on its way from another dealer hundreds of miles away. The car will be on the lot by tomorrow afternoon.

Good customer relations? Yes! Good salesmanship and Marketing? Most definitely! Why? The answer is simple: The needs of the customer are put before the bottom line, and the salesman establishes an atmosphere of trust and respect.

Admittedly, the salesman expresses his need to make a profit in order to feed his family. Yet, he never tries to sell an automobile that will be a financial burden to the customer. In addition, he makes certain the new car will meet "Jane's" needs before it ever leaves the lot. Can she get into the car? Can she put the wheelchair behind the front seat?

Why is this valuable lesson in sales and marketing? To answer a question with a question: who will "Jane" revisit when she needs another car? Who will she recommend to friends and family? Naturally, it is the dealership that bases their policy on honesty and integrity. Making the sale did not require sacrificing values or profit. Customers do not want gimmicks or false promises. In fact, most consumers will be willing to pay at little more, if they have established a professional relationship of trust.

Thus, when you are considering your sales and marketing campaign, do not forget the consumer. After all, they are your bottom line. Be honest! Sell yourself; sell your product or service; make a decent profit. You can put your customer first and still sell you way to success.
About the Author
Paul Sutherland is an Accelerated Business Growth Coach. His company - Daniel Thomas International - www.dti.eu.com helps corporate and SMEs to grow their businesses with tried tested and proven techniques and strategies, increasing their bottom line profits in 90 days or less?

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