On today’s episode, I share why sellers must stay focused on their customers, and why AT&T customer service caused me to switch providers.
My phone was disconnected. I couldn’t receive calls from my clients or from my family.
This episode goes beyond sales and is more than just another episode.
Salespeople sometimes forget that people matter, so let my experience with a disconnected phone serve as a direct reminder about the need for quality customer service.
Too often, large companies don’t seem to care about small individuals.
As such, I feel a moral obligation to use my platform to share this incident so that others may benefit from my experience.
I remember back in 6th grade when my mom got me a pager from BellSouth. I felt like the coolest kid on campus. My friends could reach out to me and I could send messages to them; it was all very exciting.
I got my first prepaid cell phone in 7th grade, also from BellSouth. I became an AT&T customer when they acquired BellSouth and I had no complaints.
Eventually, I moved to the Nokia phone with text messages and minutes – and, of course, I chose AT&T. When I moved away to college, I tried to take AT&T with me but there weren’t a lot of cell towers back then so it couldn’t happen. They released me from my contract and I signed on with Verizon.
Verizon was fine but I was excited when AT&T expanded its coverage and I could use them once again with my new iPhone.
My family and I used AT&T for everything. It was a sad day when we moved and had to switch to Comcast but it was exciting when we were eventually able to switch back once again.
We understand that companies grow, things happen, and changes are made. We didn’t like all of AT&T’s new ideas but we rolled with the punches and kept moving.
A lot of plans have changed in the industry. There is a different structure to leasing phones now, for example. They also offer a prepaid plan where, if you pay off your phone, you have unlimited use for just $45 a month through an automatic bank withdrawal. Sounded good to me!
Text notifications let you know when the amount will be withdrawn from your account so you can prepare.
It was all running smoothly until we noticed some fraudulent activity on our bank card during the holiday season. We decided to cancel the card and apply for a replacement.
You can see where I’m going with this …
About two weeks later, AT&T disconnected my phone, so I called them right away.
I certainly accept responsibility for my share of the problem but let me tell you what happened. Because my plan had ‘expired,’ they had cancelled my services – without notifying me.
Additionally, the prepaid plan that I had enrolled in was offered only as a limited promotion. To obtain the same plan again would cost me $65 a month.
The money was not the issue. The principle certainly was.
The customer service representative told me that because the plan had expired, I could not renew it despite that I had never canceled it. My years of loyalty as an AT&T customer were meaningless.
What was my incentive to stay with a company that did not return the same level of loyalty, or care, toward me?
I didn’t have time to argue. Since I needed my phone for work, I agreed to the higher plan, but only while I courted new companies, namely T-Mobile.
I raised the question on social media and found not only that people seem to love T-Mobile but, at the same time, there have been an increasing number of dropped calls with AT&T service. It is definitely time for a change.
The lesson behind this story: remember that your customers and your clients are people.
Cultures change and some companies get stuck in archaic ways of thinking.
They will move to businesses that give them attention; ones that are more nimble and flexible.
Don’t let your business model be stuck in the past, unwilling to deviate from the old standard.
Are you flexible? Do you bend to help your customers or do you expect them to bend toward you?
This month, as we focus on client success and customer service, I urge you to evaluate the way you treat your clients.
Are you putting the people who pay you first?
This episode is brought to you by the TSE Certified Sales Training Program. If you put in a lot of hard work in 2018 but weren’t able to close many of your deals, we can help you fix that. We have a new semester beginning in April and it would be an honor to have you join. Visit thesalesevangelist.com/CST.
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The buying process has changed, and by the time your prospect gets to you, he has already done a substantial amount of online research. A recent study showed that 68 percent of people in the B2B space believe online information is far more helpful to them than the information they get from salespeople.
On today’s episode of The Sales Evangelist, we talk to Matt Suggs, executive vice president of Mediafly, about developing better presentations to create loyalty.
Mediafly creates mobile selling tools for large companies to use to their customers.
Loyal customers will see you as a partner in their business. If your customer sees you as a vendor, you don’t have loyalty.
The challenge for salespeople today is that buyers have access to vast information on the Internet. Some of that information is true and some of it isn’t.
Think of the things a salesperson would least like to hear from his clients. The worst thing would be hearing that your customer purchased a different solution from another vendor because they didn’t know you provided that capability. If they didn’t know you offered it, you missed an opportunity to help them solve that problem.
Perhaps your customer doesn’t have a full understanding of all that you do. Think back to your customers over time and evaluate whether they call you about a problem even if you’re ultimately going to point them to someone else.
Make sure you’re their first stop.
The most important consideration is how much value you bring to the customer. Do an honest assessment of your capabilities and build a relationship with your customer based on your strengths.
Responsiveness is a big component. Your customer will likely call the provider that is the most responsive to his communication because he wants an answer quickly.
Knowledge is important as well. If you present the same information to every single buyer without tailoring the conversation to each prospect and making the presentation relevant, the buyer will be less likely to see you as a partner.
Capitalize on your own capabilities. Use your strengths to solve problems for your partners so they learn that you’ll help them solve their problems.
Make every conversation valuable to the client rather than simply pushing product.
Many salespeople excel at discovery. They’re good at finding what the customer needs. Most are able to use it to run their sales process.
When you engage with the client, use discovery to tailor the solutions and conversations to the client. Tie those solutions and conversations to the information that you found during discovery.
Realize, though, that your engagement after the sale is just as critical because your customer can go find another provider.
When you compare the cost of acquiring a new client to the cost of maintaining an existing one, it’s obvious that implementing solutions for your existing clients is important than ever.
The ability to go back to past clients is critical to long-term success, and you’ll need those clients to develop new ones.
Those clients, for example, will provide referrals for prospective buyers, and your relationship with each customer is part of that positive reference.
The hit-and-run sales approach will eventually catch up to you in the long run. You’ll eventually wear out your welcome. You’ll build a reputation for that kind of activity.
Ensure that every interaction you have with your customer provides value to that customer. Loyalty is about maintaining those clients.
Making sure that you prepare adequately for each interaction is vital. Don’t take your customers for granted.
Create scorecards or health checks that help you keep the finger on the pulse of that client.
Every company has a couple of metrics they use to measure customer satisfaction, but the customer may measure it differently. Talk with the client about what’s important to him.
Get your sales and customer success teams working together. Treat your client the same on the last day of the relationship as you did when you were selling them initially.
Ensure that they never feel a dropoff in your concern or care about that account.
Connect with Matt at Mediafly, and check out the available webinars about the tools they have to offer.
This episode is brought to you in part by prospect.io, a powerful sales automation platform that allows you to build highly personalized, cold email campaigns. To learn more, go to prospect.io/tse. It will help you with your outbound to expand your outreach and it allows you to set it and forget it. Your prospecting will never ever be the same.
This episode is also brought to you in part by Maximizer CRM, personalized CRM that gives you the confidence to improve your business and increase profits. To get a demonstration of maximizer, go to the sales evangelists.com/maximizer.
Click on the link to get a free demo of what Maximizer CRM can do for you. It integrates your marketing campaign as well as your CRM, and it works whether you’re a small organization or a large one.
The upcoming semester of TSE Hustler’s League will focus on prospecting. We’ll give you insights and tools that will help you gain new customers. We’ll provide training and strategies that you can implement today to ensure constant flow in your pipeline.
Check out TSE Hustler’s League and apply to see if it’s a good fit.
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