I recently read a story about a man who died, and when he went to the pearly gates, he was not met by St. Peter but by a man who said, “We have changed things around here. I am going to give you a tour of heaven, and my counterpart is going to give you a tour of, well, the other place, and you are going to get to decide where it is you want to go for eternity.”
On their tour of heaven, everything looked great, with beautiful landscapes, flower gardens, wonderful homes, and people participating in book clubs, choirs, and other pleasant activities. The man thought that it would be a good place to spend eternity.
Then, they went back to the pearly gates and met the other man, who was a handsome character. Together, they toured the other place, which was sophisticated and stylish with people enjoying restaurants and night clubs.
When the man came back to the pearly gates, he had to decide. He thought about heaven and all the nice things he had seen there, but that all seemed boring to him now. When he thought about the other place, it seemed much more fun and exciting. In the end, he chose the other place.
The minute the man made that decision, he was whisked away to a dark and warm place and put into shackles. Then, the man asked the tour guide, “What happened? This isn’t the place you showed me before I made my decision.” The man just gave him a wicked smile and said, “You were a prospect; now, you’re a customer.”
Funny story, isn’t it? I read it in Be Amazing or Go Home: Seven Customer Service Habits That Create Confidence With Everyone, a great book by Shep Hyken. I would advise anyone who is serious about customer service to read this book and ask how you treat your customers once they’re no longer prospects. Do you give them the same attention that you did when they were prospects that you were trying to win over? Do you consider your customers as important as your prospects?
Think of all the promises we make when we are trying to sell a prospect on our services and products. We paint a rosy picture of what it will be like once they decide to give us their business. Are we keeping those promises? Do you think that you have delivered on your promises?
This is why a great salesperson never stops selling. Years ago, when every financial institution was after us to refinance our house, I lived in New Hampshire. The value of real estate was rising so rapidly that neighbors were refinancing their houses and spending the equity on Porsches, motorboats, and cottages on Lake Winnipesaukee, which they all later regretted. They all received a call from a salesperson, telling them how much their house was worth and that they were pre-approved; all they had to do was sign up that day to finish the refinancing in a flash, and that large equity check would be in their hands before the ink was dry.
Once they signed, though, they never saw or heard from that salesperson again; that’s when the fun started. They met the real team behind that smooth-talking salesperson. The mortgage rates were terrible, and there was always one more document they had to produce or one more clause they had to agree on. And, of course, those mortgages turned out to be adjustable with balloon payments looming in their future; it was too good to be true. They had made that terrible transition from prospect to customer, and they paid dearly for it.
A truly great salesperson will stick with you. They will make sure that their company delivers on all the promises that were made when they were “wooing” the customer. They will make sure that the relationship stays on track and the customer remains happy for as long as the relationship lasts. If the salesperson tends to their customer the right way and makes sure that all the promises they made are kept, they will have that customer for life.
The formula is simple. Write down everything you promised when you were selling the prospect, and always keep this list of promises because it’s the blueprint for keeping that customer happy.
It’s only common sense.
Dan Beaulieu is president of D.B. Management Group.