A guest post by Walt Gerano, Sales Development Expert, Anthony Cole Training Group
Today's question is this: “What are you doing to keep your clients coming back... and telling their friends?”
Can you think of a place where you go, wait in a long line, spend a lot of money and yet can’t wait to tell others how great it was and go back again? Well, that could describe a number of places, but the frame of reference I want to use today is the Disney experience.
No one would argue with the success that Disney has in exceeding expectations and creating advocates. When you go there your first time, it is more beautiful than you ever imagined. You have such a magical time that you forget about how much things cost or how long the lines are for almost everything. In his book, Inside the Magic Kingdom, author Tom Connellan shows us (in story form) the seven keys to Disney’s success and how they work to create a dazzling experience for all of their guests. As you read the book, you can only imagine what would go into building and sustaining that kind of relationship with your customers.
In order to achieve “dazzling”, you must have a process that is consistent and predictable. People need to know what they can depend on when they trust you with their business. In other words, it’s not a once-in-a-while thing; it is just the way you do things.
Keep in mind that it does not have to be the same thing for all of your clients. The way you support your top 20% needs to be different from how you support your bottom 20%. But, at the heart of it all, everyone gets the basics.
So, how DO you create advocates?
- You have to find out what they want.How do you do this? Ask! Give them a list of things to choose from with the option to add things that might not be on the list.
- Next, prioritize critical areas. The key here is to find out what they won’t tell you. How many times have you left a restaurant after you told your server everything was fine when they asked… then you get back to your car and vow to never go back? Some of your clients may do the same thing.
- Identify performance levelsand find out where they are setting the bar; don’t assume you know.
- Negotiate expectations. Now is the time to deal with anything you are not willing to agree to. Sometimes we say “yes” because we think it’s a deal breaker; just ask and then decide. If it is outside your process, then you are better served to move on because, unfortunately, it will always be a struggle and they will never become an advocate anyway.
The only way to exceed your customer’s expectations is to know what they actually are, not what you think they are. Start by having that conversation first and soon you will have them coming back for more and telling their friends.