In sales today, there is a great deal of focus on price, both from the customer and the salesperson. Often when you visit a store or a showroom, the first words out of a salespersons mouth is “I can do you a deal today” or “I can give you a good price”. They offer a discount before finding anything about the customer and what’s motivating them to purchase. Contrary to the belief of many salespeople, price is not always the biggest factor considered by a customer when making a purchase.
Price is almost impossible for businesses to compete with these days, with the amount of heavy discounting that occurs. Alternatively, salespeople’s focus should be on what they do have control over, which is the value they build in the product and the experience they offer the customer, to help differentiate themselves from their competition.
What is the difference between price and value? Price is the amount of money to be paid to purchase something or the amount the customer is asked to pay. Value on the other hand, is what it is worth to the customer. It’s their desirability or, how much they want it.
A buying decision is generally made when the customers’ perceived value is higher than the price. If a customer does not see enough value in the product, they may deem it’s too expensive and raise a price concern. Therefore it is vital the salesperson builds personal value for the customer.
Value is a very personal matter. What is of value or importance to one person is not necessarily the same for someone else. A salesperson must discover what that particular customer values, by asking good research questions and listening for clues as to how they want to benefit from the purchase. Rather than focusing on the features of a product, the salesperson must focus on how the customer will personally benefit from those features. For example; how will their life be improved by the purchase?
Price becomes less of a factor when the salesperson has created a personal need and desire in the customer based on this uncovered information.
If a customer is presented with a ridiculous price, the salesperson might close the transaction today but the ultimate goal is to create customer loyalty. Selling on price generally won’t win a customer’s loyalty, but showing customers why a product is of value to them personally and providing an amazing customer experience is much more likely to.
Dealing with customer complaints is a part of sales and customer service. Complaints can occur for many reasons; a faulty product, expectations not met, poor service, lengthy wait time, a mistake and the list goes on.
Regardless of the issue, a complaint must be handled with sensitivity and professionalism. How the situation is handled, may very well determine the overall outcome and whether the customer will choose to do business with that company again.
Body language, facial expression and tone of voice of the person assisting the customer with their complaint, all have an impact on how the customer perceives the situation as well as the outcome. For example, the person should aim to keep their voice low key and slower paced. This tone is calming and makes it difficult for the customer to get wound up or angry. On the other hand, if the person speeds up and raises their voice, the customer is much more likely to match the tone.
It is also important to have a system or process for staff to follow when handling customer complaints, as this can see them resolved quickly and effectively. For example;
Step 1: Listen and don’t interrupt.
It can be tempting to jump in to reply or dispute what a customer is saying however, resist the urge and don’t interrupt. Give the customer full attention and let them finish before responding.
Step 2: Thank the customer and apologise.
Once the customer has finished explaining the problem, thank them for bringing it to the attention of the company and sincerely apologise. Many customers don’t take the time to make a complaint. They dwell on their frustration, tell other people about the bad experience and never do business with that company again. A company would much rather know of a problem and have the opportunity to rectify it and prevent it from happening in the future.
Step 3: Show empathy.
A customer needs to feel that the person assisting them is on their side and that they genuinely care. Show empathy by understanding the situation from the customers’ perspective.
Step 4: Offer a prompt solution.
No one wanting to take responsibility to find a solution and passing the customer from one person to another, will only frustrate the customer more. One person should be responsible for handling the complaint and follow it through to the end, finding a solution promptly.
Through having a clear process for staff to follow and providing them with training in how to deal with these sometimes difficult situations, it is possible to manage complaints effectively. It may even see an unhappy customer become a satisfied loyal customer, simply by the manner in which their complaint was received and handled.