Customer Experience News & Trends

How to ‘overdeliver’ to your customers

Some salespeople tend to overpromise during the selling phase, figuring it’ll help them get the business. Most of the time, this comes back to bite them for one of two reasons:

•    they forget some of the promises they make, or
•    they fail to pass the details along to the people who are supposed to carry them out.

Sometimes the unrealistic expectations that salespeople set are about things the customer didn’t bring up and doesn’t even care about. But once customers have been led to expect a particular outcome, they’ll usually hold the salesperson accountable. The unmet expectations
may result in no repeat business.

The goal is to acquire a reputation for overdelivering by underpromising and still delivering an attractive offer during the proposal stage.

Here are 5 tips that’ll help your salespeople:
1. Think before you speak. Try not to get nervous about making the sale and let rhetoric override reason. Starting with your very first sentence, think about what you’re going to say and how your prospect might hear it. If you’re not sure, repeat your promise so that both parties understand.
2. Cut yourself some slack. Look for issues of primary and secondary importance to the prospect, making sure you’re crystal clear on how they
view success in these areas. Your prospect’s priorities should become apparent to you as you listen to his or her response to your proposal. These are the items you should try to underpromise and overdeliver.
3. Define success. Try to determine what the prospect will consider fulfillment of the contract. Whatever the measure, try to understand clearly what information will be used to gauge satisfaction with your product or service.
Make note of all questions and concerns that arise during your discussions. Use your intuition, too, because sometimes the real concerns are never spoken.
4. Communicate promises. Once you know which items matter most to your prospect, work hands-on to ensure that the people in your company who are responsible for delivering on them do everything possible to overdeliver.
Follow through on every aspect of product or service specification and delivery. Try to pay close attention to how the customer is receiving and evaluating information about the results.
5. Make sure the customer knows that you have surpassed what you promised to do. If receiving your product or service on time is a critical issue, at intervals send the customer a status sheet listing date ordered and delivery date.

Adapted from Bag The Elephant (Bard Press, Austin, TX) by Steve Kaplan. Mr. Kaplan is a sales trainer and consultant.

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