Be a helper, not a seller
I know I seem to spend all my time telling you about what is wrong in the world of sales and service. Yet I would like to leave you with a tale of Christmas hope – someone who bends over backwards for her customers and genuinely puts them at the centre of her business.
This is my printing supplier, who I met this morning to brief her on some leaflets for a client of mine. We met in a local café, had a coffee and chatted a while about business and the year ahead. As usual, I did most of the listening and I just let her tell me all about her plans for 2012. She told me about her plans to invest in a new venture, and how excited she was about it. As this new venture was away from her core activity of being a print supplier, I asked what she would do if this new opportunity really took off.
To this question, she looked at me very intently, and said: “I would never give up print, because I just love selling.”
I can honestly say this is the first time in 2011 I’ve heard someone say that to me, and it has taken to the dying days of the year to hear it. And you know what? I truly believed her. However, it’s not selling she loves.
Because every time I have met her she has always been bubbling with enthusiasm about her service, and been genuinely interested in hearing about what I do for my clients. In addition, she is always looking at other ways she can help, with no financial gain to herself.
In short, she is always looking at how she can help.
I pointed this out to her, and she agreed. “Yes, you’re right. I never feel like I’m selling, because I see it as I’m helping my customers.”
Perfect. Absolutely perfect. And that is exactly how – as a customer – I feel when I deal with her. That she is genuinely more concerned in helping me get what I want, and never just viewing me as another sale.
I asked her what she was doing over Christmas, and she told me she would probably still be delivering to customers right up until Christmas Eve tea-time, so she hadn’t even thought about Christmas yet. I wasn’t surprised. With that, I watched her disappear down the street to another appointment.
So this post is for you helpers (not sellers) out there who deliver a great service for their customers – you deserve a great Christmas and a very successful New Year.