Good customer service and sales have a lot in common. Over the holidays, I had the opportunity to watch the original “Miracle on 34th Street” in the movie theater. It was a special treat in the hustle and bustle of the holidays and 4th quarter to slow down for two hours and watch a classic movie (yes, the black and white version).
I walked out of the theater with a new perspective and a clear vision. Though I enjoyed the holiday movie, my takeaway this year was how my sales approach is much like Kris Kringle’s. In fact, I believe everyone in sales should have the Kris Kringle mentality: “Oh, Christmas isn’t just a day. It’s a frame of mind.”
As you may recall, Kris Kringle created quite a stir when he sent a mother to a competitor of Macy’s, because Macy’s did not have the toy fire engine she was seeking. This “department store Santa Claus” fulfilled a need and created a loyal customer because he put the needs of this customer ahead of Macy’s need for a sale. In turn, it became the Macy’s motto to help every customer find the item that they were looking for, and at the best possible price.
My job title is Business Consultant…not Sales Representative, or even Business Development Executive. I am dedicated to fulfilling a need…if not today, maybe tomorrow, or at some point in the future. Ever since I adopted “Kris Kringle’s philosophy,” I have seen a dramatic increase in callbacks for opportunities that didn’t close the first time.
The reason for these callbacks is because I left an impression…I put the customer’s needs ahead of my own goals. I realize this can be a difficult task, especially when you have a deadline or quota to meet. I used to think I was “customer focused;” however, realized until I took the “I” out of my thinking, I really hadn’t mastered this. I had to change my entire way of selling, including how I interact with my prospective clients, our internal team, and the way I set expectations.
In the beginning of my career, I received A LOT of resistance from my managers when I informed them that I did not close an opportunity because it was not a good fit. My manager would suggest different ways to spin it to try and close the sale. I held steadfast to my commitment, and began to evolve and develop much stronger relationships, referral sources and callback opportunities.
If you’re willing to find and embrace the right mindset, you’ll become a true consultant, invested in your customers and clients’ success. It makes every day much more rewarding, and every closed piece of business a true win.
Contact the author directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Image: Andrey Kiselev