Do you know why your customer just placed that order with you? Do you know why that client just hired you? Think about it. What really made the difference?
Was it your great use of technology? Perhaps. You’ve always been a good salesperson. You use the latest mobile apps to keep track of your activities and forecast your sales. That’s all good. In fact it’s what expected of a business owner or salesperson nowadays. And it helped you make the sale. But it didn't seal the deal.
Was it your responsiveness? Maybe. You’re always checking your email and voicemails and getting back to your customer and prospects quickly. You’re never late to an appointment. You even have some automated alerts on your calendar to remind you to make an important call or follow up on a question. No one can accuse you of not caring or blowing them off. You are responsive. And that contributed to landing the client, to an extent.
Maybe it was your great marketing. You’ve got a nice website. You send out email newsletters every month or so advertising your products and services and giving useful advice. You have a customer representative making calls to your database. You have a Facebook page and pay a part timer to monitor it. Maybe you shell out big bucks for online, mobile or print ads in your community. You try to attend a couple of trade shows a year where you hand out samples and brochures. Yeah, your marketing’s not so shabby. It could be better, of course, but that’s no different than anyone else. It probably helped get the attention of that new customer. But it wasn’t the reason why he bought from you.
So it wasn’t just your technology, responsiveness or marketing. What was it? What was the reason why your customer really bought your product or engaged in your services?
It’s because you got in your car and drove an hour and 15 minutes or got on a plane to his location. You spent time with him, face to face. You heard about his problems. You made some recommendations. You referred him to someone in your network because he needed help. You showed you care. You shook hands and promised to be back. And you will keep that promise.
And the next email or call that you made to him after you got back to the office wasn’t coming from some stranger. It was coming from you: A real human being with a face, name, personality, kids and a vacation to Disney that you’re still paying off.
Technology, marketing, social media, alerts and alarms help. In the years to come there will be 3D printing, drones, driverless vehicles and invisible sensors on clothing and smartphones to help us sell more products.
But don’t let anyone tell you that this stuff replaces a good old fashioned get together or a sandwich sales call. You will sell more products and engage more clients when you make the effort to meet face to face. You are the most powerful tool you have, and that will never change.
The author is an Entrepreneur contributor. The opinions expressed are those of the writer.
Gene Marks is president of The Marks Group, a ten-person Philadelphia-based consulting firm specializing in sales and marketing technologies. Gene is the author of six books, most recently, The Manufacturer's Book Of List (CreateSpace - October, 2013).