Who gets to decide what ‘responsive’ means?
I’ll admit that isn’t how I ask the question in training classes BUT I would like you to start to think about this: Do I EVER ask my prospects or customers the WHEN behind their request?
Don’t get me wrong, one of the key buying points in telesales many times = responsiveness!
- requests for information
- order processing
- product delivery
I’m all about delivering value the prospect and customer needs; where I think telesalespeople miss the mark is NOT asking what level of responsiveness is needed every single time!
Here is my story of WHY that’s true:
Long long ago, in a sales land far far away…. a young salesperson (let’s call her Lynn) got a request from a prospect and because she didn’t have many customers yet, DROPPED everything and took care of their request immediately!
Then a horrible event occurred – Lynn won the deal AND got the order 2 days later.
Why is that a horrible event? Well it solidified in Lynn’s belief system that dropping everything is what made her successful. Because it was true… that one time.
As we move through time, Lynn kept earning business by dropping everything. Her customer’s praised her efforts on their behalf and she became VERY successful.
The problem became, now she had many customers and the timing began to slip. Some people were still very happy with her… others expressed dissatisfaction.. and some even expressed it by NOT being her customers anymore.
One day that customer from the beginning of the story called, of course Lynn dropped everything. GASP – 2 days later she didn’t have an order, a week went by and the customer wasn’t even returning her messages. Finally 4 weeks later she was able to talk with them – devastated because she believed she had lost their business even though she had dropped everything. Let’s listen in…
- Lynn: Hi, I guess you decided to go with another vendor on this one…..
- Customer: What are you talking about?
- Lynn: We’ll I hadn’t heard from you, so I figure you decided that someone else was a better fit on this project…..
- Customer: Um, no…
- Lynn: Then what’s up?
- Customer: The board meets the 1st Tuesday of the month, so I can’t do anything until after they vote on it. I called you right after the last meeting to work on their latest request. Today is the day after their next meeting and I’m calling to tell you they approved it.
What is needed in 5 minutes today (for a meeting or to satisfy a boss’s curiosity) – might be able to wait until tomorrow or another day. In the case of our story, the request could have waited WEEKS until the customer needed it for the next board meeting.
Understanding a prospect or customer’s responsiveness need is going to help you better manage your priorities – time – efforts. Plus you can make sure you exceed their expectations IF you know what they are.
ask… THEN make sure you deliver!