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5 Reasons for YOU to Call Your Customers

Feb 25, 2008
It's not uncommon to hear direct sales consultants express frustration after they've left a couple of messages and the potential prospect or hostess doesn't call back. When that happens, it's easy to start thinking that the prospect isn't interested, and often times the consultant gives up. My objective is to help you understand the reasons why your customers don't call you back so that you won't give up.

One of the best ways I can think of to explain this is to give you an example of me as a customer. In the example I give, I mention a particular direct sales company. I want to stress that my story has nothing to do with the company and every thing to do with direct sales consultants, no matter what company they're in. In fact, if you can manage to put yourself in the customer's shoes (and in this example, mine), you should be able to see why customers are not naturally loyal to you as a consultant with a particular company. It's up to you to make them want to be loyal.

A good number of years ago when I lived in Oregon, I was invited to a Longaberger Basket party. Once the demonstration began, I just feel in love with the baskets.

Indeed, when I arrived home, my husband asked me how much I spent, and I responded by saying, "We're not going to discuss it." Then he smiled and said, "Oh, that much! So how much, a hundred dollars?" I replied, "We're not discussing it." He then said, "More than $100. What $200?" I stuck to my story, "Seriously Jim, we're not going to discuss it." But being the pushover that I am, when it comes to my 190lb money guy, I finally confessed that I'd spent nearly $350.

Now my hubby never did understand how that's possible, but let's forget him for a minute and think about the consultant at that show. Imagine being at a hostesses home and meeting a guest who's never seen your product line before. By the end of your demonstration, the guest has purchased $350 of your product line. What would you do?

I'll tell you what that consultant did. At the end of that season she sent me a flyer in the mail telling me about a special going on for hostesses. It was a really nice flyer and she included a little brochure. I knew she had put time and money into sending it to me, but guess what? I didn't call her.

A few months later I received the new catalog from her in the mail along with another letter about being a hostess. Nice catalog... pricey to mail... Did I call her? No.

I remained on her customer list for at least a year and a half. I always received the newest catalogs, but I never bought another thing from her.

About the time that she stopped sending me catalogs, another friend of mine decide to host a Longaberger show. I was so excited to attend and purchased around $400 that time. The consultant at that show talked about how great her business was, and even asked me if I'd consider hosting a show. I said, "I'd think about it."

Guess what happened? She sent me a couple of catalogs but never called.

Then one day I delivered something to one of my customers. When she invited me in her home I saw Longaberger baskets everywhere. Of course I inquired if she sold them. She said she did. I pointed to the one on her stairs and said how I'd love to order that one. She told me, "Oh, that's actually a hostess only basket." I replied, "Wouldn't you know it." She laughed and said, "Why don't I send you home with the newest catalog and then you can think about being a hostess?" That sounded like the routine I knew quite well.

Now you have to picture Gomer Pyle suddenly interrupting this article and saying, "SURPRISE, SURPRISE" because a few days later, THAT consultant picked up her phone and called me to see if I wanted to host a show and get the stair basket at my home show. I agreed. And might I add, that was the beginning of a beautiful relationship between me and one of the best direct sales consultants I've ever met.

Unfortunately, a few years later, our family moved to Arizona, and I needed to find a new consultant. Fortunately a neighborhood friend let me know one day that she was doing a catalog show, so I ordered about $200.

By now, you should know the drill. Once that consultant had my information, she started sending me catalogs, and like the first two consultants I met, she never called me.

By that time I had become hooked on the Longaberger pottery. One day when we had guests coming over, I realized that I really needed to order some more dinner and salad plates. As it turned out, I continued thinking that for NINE MONTHS. Whenever we'd have guests over, it was embarrassing to me that I only had a 6 place setting (I'm weird about things matching, okay?)

I had the phone number of the consultant and I really wanted those plates, but week after week went by without me picking up the phone and ordering them. Does that sound illogical? I'll show you in a moment why it wasn't, and it all has to do with the fact that I was the customer.

You see if the consultant had called me, I would have been happy to finally order the plates I wanted. But here's the reason I didn't call her -- it wasn't my job. I didn't feel like doing her work for her and then paying her and letting her keep the commissions!

And that is the number 1 reason for YOU to call your customers. It's your job to stay in touch with your current customers and it's your job to connect with potential customers. If you remember that, you won't fall into the trap of feeling rejected quite so easily.

The second reason for YOU to call your customers is that you are in control when you do. If a customer calls you to place an order, it probably won't sound very genuine for you to say, "I've been thinking about you and how good you'd be in this business." If you'd been thinking about her, why didn't YOU call her? When you're in control of the call, you can have several objectives, as opposed to just one, and your success will undoubtedly be higher.

The third reason for YOU to call customers is that you appear more successful when you do. Just reflect on the story I shared with you. If you HAD to place a bet right now regarding the success of all the consultants I described, who would you bet on as being the most successful? You'd probably bet on the consultant that called me. When you call your customers, they see you as someone who's doing her job well and obviously has it together. If they ever become a consultant on your team, they'll feel confident that their recruiter is a leader!

The fourth reason for YOU to call your customers is that you increase your customers' desire to work with you and buy from you, when you do. Every time you connect with your customers, you build your relationship with them, and that's what turns a customer into a loyal customer.

Haven't you ever gone to the store just to buy a gallon of milk and then come home with $30 of food or more? When something is placed before us, we tend to gain a fuller sense of our desire or need for it, and thus it's more challenging to resist. Your customers gain a fuller sense of their desire or need for your products, when you place it before them.

The fifth reason for YOU to call your customers is to build a strong sales team. Let me explain what I mean. Let's pretend that you have a customer who's always calling you and ordering more of your product. Finally one day you ask her if she'd like to hear about the business opportunity and she agrees. As it turns out, she joins you in the business.

It's probable that your new recruit is going to think that all her customers are going to be just like her -- calling and placing orders. And when you tell her how SHE needs to make phone calls to THEM, you won't be able to say, "Remember, how I used to follow up with you all the time? That's what you need to do with your customers."

Set the example for your customers/future recruits. When you stay in touch with them, you make them feel appreciated. When they join you in the business, they'll remember how good you made them feel and they'll want to make their customers feel the same way by staying in touch with them.

Stop expecting your prospects and customers to call you and place those expectations only on yourself. Expect yourself to stay in touch and follow through and keep trying until you connect.
About the Author
Tammy Stanley directs The Sales Refinery, a sales training firm that assists direct sales entrepreneurs generate more business through powerful marketing, selling, and leadership strategies.

Get her FREE report, "3 Simple Secrets to Building an Empire in Direct Sales" at http://www.tammystanley.com
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