Have you ever encountered a hard-nosed, driven salesman who just wouldn’t quit? Perhaps a door-to-door canvasser who was way too pushy, or a car salesman who wouldn’t take no for an answer? Pushy, manipulative sales tactics can be fairly commonplace in certain industries, but the truth is that bullying your customers is not a good strategy for having a long-lasting relationship.
A customer might overlook some pushy sales tactics for a short time if your prices or services are appealing, but they may jump ship if they find a comparable offering with better customer service. Instead, utilize sales tactics that keep the goal of long-term customer relationships in mind. Here are a few guidelines you should focus on.
Be a human
Salesmen often come off as pushy when they seem to be working from a script or not really listening to what the potential customer is saying. Instead, have a real conversation with potential clients. Find out their real wants and needs, and listen as closely and openly as possible. People respond to those who are genuine, even if it means their presentation of the product or service is a little less “rehearsed”. Don't be afraid to be yourself, share things about yourself, and maybe even crack a joke once in a while.
Address complaints quickly and decisively
In any business, problems are bound to happen. Shipments will get delayed, products arrive damaged, or orders get misplaced. Customers have a tendency to remember negative experiences the most, even if they have had 500 positive experiences before that. Your task is to turn the negative experience into a positive as quickly as possible. Over-deliver when addressing a bad customer experience, and instead of a negative memory, they will remember how quickly and decisively you handled the issue.
Stay in touch
In a world of overwhelming spam, staying in touch with your customers means walking a fine line. But it’s an important way to gauge their sentiment toward your business. Most customers won’t complain when they are unhappy, they will just leave for a competitor. Ask for feedback, call customers on the phone periodically, and do what you have to do to stay in touch. Just remember to walk that fine line or you may be bugging them a little too much.
Trust is time + reliability
Think of the person you trust most in the world. You trust them because they have shown again and again that they are reliable and have your best interests at heart. This sort of trust takes time, even in the business world. Commit to being honest, reliable, trustworthy, and steady with your customers, then consistently deliver on that commitment. Over time, your customers will not only stick around, but you will gain a reputation as a trusted business partner.
Approaching your sales tactics with long-term relationships in mind requires a bit of discipline. It can be tempting to go for the “hard sell”, but those who remember that it’s easier to retain a customer than to attract a new one will be rewarded. Treat your customers with respect, slowly gain their trust, and watch your business grow.