Personal Selling StrategyThis is probably the most powerful marketing tool you have. People will usually buy from those they trust. Without that rapport, then sales can drop significantly. There have been hundreds of books written on this subject, and there are many resources to help you maximize this marketing strategy. Your business plan will merely show how you intend on using it in combination with the other marketing strategies.

You will always be selling whenever you deal with a customer. Whether it is during the initial information-search that they are conducting, during the sale process, or the after-sales support – every single interaction with your customer is a reflection on your success in business.

Poor service WILL equal poor sales.

But how can you improve this part of your business, and how can you incorporate it into a business or marketing plan? Here are two powerful strategies that you should include in your plan.

  1. Survey your current customers
  2. Survey your potential customers.

Previously in this guide we have talked about surveying your customers and perfect strangers, to gauge how they approach the buying decision for your product or service.

However, you should always work on improving your service and approach with your customers. This means that you must ask them on a periodic basis for some feedback. In other words, a Customer Satisfaction Survey.

Conducting A Customer Satisfaction Survey

This strategy can uncover some gems of information that you could never hope to get if you were conducting this survey in a written form.

This means it has to be done over the phone or face-to-face. You can adapt to the customer’s responses much more easily, and will be able to hear the tone of voice as well as the actual words. This will give you even more information you can use in your business improvements.

To make this process easier for you, we have gone ahead and put together a sample survey that you can use and adapt to your business or industry. Simply fill in the details in a word processor like Microsoft Word, print up, and you are on your way. Download your Customer Satisfaction Survey here. You will need Microsoft Word (or similar) to use the file.

Once you have gathered the data from the surveys, you will need to analyze the results. This means that you should look for the comments that were repeated 2 or more times. These areas will need to be focused on or reinforced, depending on the nature of the comment.

If you have a number of responses that indicate your customer service could be sharper and more punctual, then you will need to work on this. If you have a number of responses that highlight how effective your product knowledge was, then congratulate yourself and be sure to keep yourself informed of all new emerging products.

Not only will this information help you adapt and improve your customer service and sales process, but the answers you will get will help you to fine tune your marketing strategies. It is a good idea to conduct these surveys once a year. You will have a natural attrition of customers throughout the 12 months, and each year you will be able to get some new idea or nugget of information that will help you improve your business.

Also, your customers will appreciate the fact that you are concerned with their needs, and will enjoy giving you’re their feedback, good or bad.

Conducting A Potential Customer Survey

Although a potential customer survey will gather some of the information that you have already, what this survey will do will is highlight the areas that are important to all customers, and what your new customers expect from you.

As well as giving you some insight into how your target market thinks and what they expect from you, this tool can also be used for lead generation. Regardless of whether you sell a product or service, the questions in the survey will indicate what the potential customer would be interested in hearing about in more detail – your service, product specifications, and so on.

Wherever possible, conduct these surveys in person. It will give you a much more detailed response, and the more information you have the better prepared you are to succeed.

You can prepare the survey from scratch, or you can use our survey template that we have put together for you. Just as with the other templates, simply change the questions or add questions to suit your needs, and begin! Download your Potential Customer Survey here. You will need Microsoft Word (or similar) to use the file.

The Power Of Word-Of-Mouth

It usually takes more effort to have one of your customers make a positive comment to a friend or family member about your product or service, but it is worth it. Most people will follow the advice and recommendations of those they trust over any advertisement or form of marketing.

Here is an example of what good customer service and personal selling can do for a business (courtesy of Top Shelf Groceries):

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Steve has a customer called Mrs. Jones and she has a neighbor called Ms Clary. Mrs. Jones tells her neighbor about Top Shelf Groceries, and about how good a product range Steve has and the service she receives. Ms Clary decides to try Top Shelf Groceries out and needs to find the address. She goes to the phone book and finds his listing, called to find out the opening hours, and then went to the store to make a purchase.

She was impressed with some of the Deli items, and Steve had some tasters out for customers to try. After sampling the product, she purchased some cheeses and meats for her dinner party the next night. The diner party was a roaring success, with many guests commenting on the quality of food and its taste. Ms Clary now shops at Top Shelf for all of her specialty items, and often for her basic items as well.

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It was important for Steve to have his details readily available for Ms Clary, so she could call and enquire further about his products and service. However, he never would have had the chance if it wasn’t for his high quality products and his level of personal selling and service he provides his customers.

You can see how personal selling can work in so many ways. Not only in building the initial awareness of the business, but in encouraging your customer to make a trial purchase, and then building a good foundation for future purchases. The main points to remember when dealing with people are:

  1. You must be sincere. People can tell if you are insincere. They will lose faith in you and you will lose their custom if you are not genuinely concerned about solving their problems and meeting their needs.
  2. You must be honest. If you think that your product or service cannot satisfy them, tell them so. People will respect you for it, and will invariably buy from you in the future.
  3. You must be professional. Some sales people can become too slack, or improper, in front of customers. Always remain professional and courteous, regardless of a customer’s appearance and attitude. The customer you are dealing with may or may not notice it, but others will.

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