by Dennis R. Kyle
After you have been around the block a few times, you’ve heard the traditional slogans for loyalty:
My word is good
I pride myself on staying in touch
I promise I will deliver it by tomorrow
I will call you tomorrow
Trust me, I will make sure the delivery happens
You’ll hear from me by the end of the day
You can count on me
I guarantee I’ll make it happen
Today more than ever, people are more connected to communication tools. I personally have a laptop computer, desktop computer, handheld computer, cell phone, unified messaging, fax machine, e-mail, and voice over IP technology at my disposal. And all of this technology is awesome; however, where is value if we sales professionals don’t use it to our advantage.
I recently had a client give me their word; they would have an agreement back to me in a couple of days, yet it took over three weeks to received it. Once the agreement was signed and three weeks more weeks had passed, the company reneged on their word. A sales professional selling me a copier says “You have my word that. I will have pricing to you before the end of the week.” Not only did I not receive pricing, but also I did not hear from the guy for two weeks. I am also involved as a partner in a telecommunications business and had a vendor promise to contact me with pricing and they keep promising me calls that never get delivered.
The difficulty for sales professionals in today’s marketplace is communication tool overload. The old school thought of “just stay in touch” is falling by the wayside. There are times when sales professionals send emails when a telephone call is needed and times when lengthy telephone calls are made and a simple five-line e-mail would suffice. Modern technology is awesome – its power just needs to be harnessed properly.
Remember in this day and age of high-tech computer and telecommunications chaos, the old rule still applies – stay in touch. A sales professional asked me during a seminar what the best method for staying in touch with your clients. I strongly recommend you leave that answer entirely up to the client. Your communication with the client is paramount. You need to be asking your clients and prospect what method is best for communicating with them. I do have some rules of thumb when it comes to communication.
If you make a promise to deliver something, utilize the promised method of delivery
If you are delivering a difficult message which you know may require some answers, then make a phone call
Make a monthly telephone call to your clients (time frame may vary based on industry)
E-mail facts and appointment confirmations
Do not send jokes via email unless you know the person’s humor – Things you may think are funny may be not very comical to someone else. In fact, it may be down right offensive
Don’t try to convey messages which require emotional appeal in written format
Diversify methods of saying thank you (i.e., cards, notes, e-mails, e-cards, fax, etc.)
Pivotal buying information should be conveyed over the phone or in person (i.e., price negotiations, terms, methods of payment, etc.)
Use e-mail and fax as follow-up methods to appointments and previous communications
Try to resolve conflicts in person if possible or utilize the telephone
My grandfather shared a virtue with me years ago, which has always stuck around. He said, “Remember a person’s word is all that they’ve got.” And how true that statement is in life. People can hide behind contracts, lies, deceit, and other misleading business practices; however, the fact still remains. The truth lies within you.
The commitments you make to your clients and prospects need to be taken seriously. It is not acceptable to sacrifice personal accountability at any cost. Your long-term success is a product of the little things you do day-to-day. I find it amazing when promises are broken and people assume it is acceptable. If you don’t believe you can do something – don’t promise it. If you promise something, even as little as a telephone call at 2:30 p.m., make good on your promise!
So I ask you to think about your chosen profession. Sales. A profession built on communication and dirtied by professionals whose words are not good. Ask yourself the simple question: Is my word good? If your answer is ‘yes’ then make a commitment to yourself and those around you to keep your word good by following through on all tasks big or small.
© 2001 by Dennis Kyle. All rights reserved. Reprinted with permission.
Dennis R. Kyle is a professional speaker, business & sales consultant and CEO of Positive Results. Kyle is the author of the Mastering Sales Skills series and The Art of Reading Buyer Behavior. He consults, writes for a variety of publications, and speaks on reading personality, telephone skills, sales, sales management and motivation topics for companies and associations.
You can contact Dennis at:
32818 Walker Road, Suite 103
Avon Lake, OH 44012
Phone: 1 (800) 926-5953
Fax: 1 (208) 723.5295