Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Recession Selling

My podcast guest this week, Randy Illig, strikes a JFK-esque theme: Instead of asking what your customers can buy from you, ask what you can do for your customers.

People always appreciate support and encouragement, but in tough times a friendly telephone call can cement your brand loyalty. Don't try to sell anything, just check in with your clients. Thank them for their business and ask how they're doing. If they're struggling, ask how you can help and then follow through.

If you're not sincere, people will smell a cheap ploy a mile away. But expressing true concern and gratitude can enhance your customer relationships for years to come.

Reaching out is a good feeling whether you're on the giving end or the receiving end. Brianna Sylver, president of Sylver Consulting, recently sent me kudos for my Smart Answers columns. No reason - she just wanted to say she appreciates my work.

Thank you, Brianna! All of us get criticized, reviewed or maybe even ignored day in and day out. An unexpected "attagirl" can really make someone's day.


  1. I heard a knock at my front door yesterday afternoon and expected a door-to-door sales person. Instead, it was a representative from AT&T. She said that some neighbors had complained of poor transmission quality and dropped calls and wanted to find out if I was having problems with my service.

    I kept waiting for a sales pitch, but it never came.

    Randy's right. I now feel a lot better about AT&T and its future in the world of communications.

  2. That's great to hear, Susan.

    I know that when I get particularly good customer service, it really stands out. I make a point of sincerely thanking the representative.

    I often think about sending a separate message to the company commending their service commitment. I don't always get around to it, but I'm going to make a better effort from now on.