Thursday, July 13, 2006

What Would it Take for Your Clients to Sing Your Praise?

One of the most effective ways to build your business is when others willingly promote you and your company. A recommendation from a trusted colleague, friend or family member can do wonders to increase revenues while keeping advertising, promotions and overall marketing costs down.

Regardless of your industry, service or product, your job is to create an experience that the client feels good about. People feel good when they are treated according to their own standards rather than someone else’s. When people feel good they tend to tell others.

When someone decides to do business with you, there are often many assumptions they make in regards to the level of service, communication, follow up and response time you offer. Your job is to find out what the client wants and what will make them happy. Many deals have gone sour due to misunderstandings that could have easily been avoided by knowing their client’s expectations.

Two great examples come from my recent decision to relocate. Although I dealt with several vendors throughout the process, these two in particular are worth sharing about.

My decision to hire my realtor, Darlene Dipo of Distinctive Properties, was based on a number of factors: her reputation, respect of others, how she treats her staff and her level of expertise and skill. I have never doubted my decision for a minute.

Not only did she meet my expectations, she exceeded them. She addressed common concerns a home seller has as well as addressing some I didn’t even think about. She kept me fully informed throughout the process of listing my home, finding a buyer, signing the papers, and closing the deal. It was the smoothest home selling experience I could imagine.

Once my home was sold (which took only 3 days), it was time to arrange for movers. I wanted a vendor who would take a personal interest in my move. Within days of my home being listed, I received postcards from several moving companies. I called three.

The first moving company sales rep arrived late for his appointment. Not a good start. Regardless, we had a very nice chat, his prices met my expectation, and he seemed to think he could handle the job. He never called back after the initial visit so he lost my business.

The second company took my information over the phone then sent me a bid via email. Not once did they visit me to see what I was moving. I did not receive a follow up call. Their pricing was similar to the first company and yet, with so little personal contact, my decision was not to use their services either.

The third company surpassed my expectations from the start. Doug Shell of Sugarhouse Bekins was punctual; he didn’t rush through reviewing the details of the move; he addressed my concerns in a very sincere fashion and left me a full information package with a checklist of how to make my move easier. He called the following day to thank me for my time and answer any other questions.

A few days later he called to find out how things were going and let me know he would really like to do business with me. His question was, “What would I need to do to earn your business?”

I set another appointment with him to make sure I was making the correct choice and this meeting was as positive as the first. With his personal attention, his true desire to work with me, and his attention to detail, I chose to give him the business.

What made the difference in selecting both Darlene and Doug to do business with is their willingness to find out what my expectations were, answer all my questions, provide me with information requested, return calls and show up when they said they would and their follow up. If someone asked me for a referral to a great realtor or moving company, you can be sure they will be on the top of my list.

When I asked both Doug and Darlene how business is, both told me they are doing extremely well. It doesn’t surprise me. After all, I wonder how many of their overly satisfied clients are telling others that they are the ones to do business with.

What are your clients saying about you?

Kathleen Gage is an author, keynote speaker and trainer who works with organizations who want to increase their market position, sales and level of achievement by going beyond the obvious. Visit