My very first sales position was with an insurance industry and I now can look back fondly at that experience knowing that some of the early sales skills that I learnt from my time selling life polices and critical illness cover have remained valuable and relevant to the other products that I later sold and sales roles that I worked.
One of my first memories of that time was a sales guy in the insurance company who at the time was bringing in vast amounts of business. I was keen to know what he was doing differently from the rest of us and finally my chance came and I got to go out with this big hitter as part of my induction period. While there is no doubt that he was a very skilled and determined sales professional, my lasting memory of him was not of how effective a closer he was, nor how great he was at handling objections. In fact, what I remember was how he behaved after the sale was made.
He did three things better than anyone else
He spent time consolidating the sale making sure the customer understood terms, conditions and costs.
He then politely asked the customer for a referral.
He initiated the start of the conversation about a new product and sales opportunity.
So rather then walk out their door with just a sale, he more often had made a sale, gotten a referral and had started a conversation about another sales opportunity sometimes haven even agreed a time and date for the next meeting with that very same customer.
I also remember that as we drove around that day, he dropped off two bottles of wine and a box of chocolates to customers that he had sold the previous week. These little “thank you/s" were greeted with appreciation and I could tell the customers were surprised that he had taken the effort.
As sellers we often forget that we have a duty to our customers and sometimes it is the little things that will help us stand out from the crowd and ensure repeat business. My friend, the insurance salesman realised this, he knew that by building strong memorable relationships with his customers, they would return time and time again to purchase from him. He also realised that it was very important to take time to consolidate the sale so that the customer understood the exact details of the purchase and finally he asked every single one of his customers to provide him with referrals and recommendations.
Going the extra mile with your customers can reap rewards and make selling much easier in the longer term. Happy customers can be a fantastic promoter of your business and their referrals can be a significant source of sales leads.
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Niall Devitt is a training consultant, business mentor and facilitator. With over a decade of experience working as senior sales manager and trainer for some of Ireland's top companies his expertise lies in creating and implementing performance driven sales programmes. Niall is regularly asked to contribute business articles and his advice has been published through the National Press and broadcast on Radio.