“The way in which a customer is handled has much to do with results obtained.”
How true that is! It goes on to discuss how a customer cannot be “up-sold” unless that customer is thoroughly understood.
“The worst evil in selling is the action of the man who merely gives the customer what he asks for. The man who does this is not a salesman, he is just a clerk.”
This article, by the way, is from the New York Times and was printed June 18, 1922! It still rings true today.
We need to understand not just who our customers are and what they say they want, but we also need to understand how they are currently using our products and services. Yesterday, I spoke with Nancy Arter and Suzanne Obermire at RRW Consulting (their blog here) about the marketing basic of “right selling” customers. We agreed that the most-satisfied customers tend to be those who are using the products and services which are a best fit for their needs.
For example, when I was at HP, I worked in the division where we marketed service subscriptions for HP’s mainframe computers to businesses. Part of the service subscription included software updates and the ability to contact the call center (this was before eSupport was prevalent!). At the end of the year, a customer could decide whether to renew their subscription. If they never called in with a problem, they might have felt that they didn’t get value from their investment. The most successful subscription services salespeople (say that three times fast!) were those that helped a business find the right level of service for the next year, rather than trying to renew them on the same (under-utilized) level of service.
Some of you may be thinking, hey, they left money on the table! You should just try and get the most from the customer. This, readers, is short-term thinking – trying to maximize the amount of revenues this quarter or year. This type of thinking backfires when a customer realizes they have been over-paying for services they don’t use, and they then get upset that they weren’t told they could have switched to a subscription which was a better fit. (Does this sound familiar – cell phone plans come to mind…)
The long-term viewpoint says we want our customers to have the right level of service. That may mean that they reduce the level of service they have with us. However, if it is the right level of service, the customer will ultimately be more satisfied. Customer satisfaction equates to long-term loyalty, which equates to increased positive word of mouth.
And that is what right-selling is all about!
(Flickr photo credit: TimParkinson)