Football coaches devoted to the running game have a saying: When a quarterback throws a pass, three things can happen – and two of them are bad.” When customers aren’t happy, three things can happen, and two of them are bad, says William T. Brooks, author and sales consultant:
- The customer suffers in silence. Not good. The next time the customer is asked to purchase the product or service, he or she will have a negative attitude from the start.
- The customer switches in silence. Not good either. The salesperson knows only that the customer switched and has no idea why or what can be done to get the account back.
- The customer talks to the salesperson and explains the reason for the unhappiness. This is the best possible outcome for the customer and the salesperson. It gives the salesperson the chance to resolve the problem and keep the customer.
The best salespeople encourage customer communication and are sensitive to any problems immediately. Rather than waiting for dissatisfied customers to get in touch, they actively seek them out. They pinpoint the reasons for the unhappiness and fix the problems so they don’t recur.
Building bridges provides the salesperson with measurable objectives, such as:
- Encouraging customers to voice any complaints at any time.
- Responding to complaints immediately and taking appropriate action to resolve them.
- Determining the causes of the recurring complaints and recognizing customer needs that aren’t being addressed.