Selling products and services

You’ve probably heard the saying “people buy from people they like.” It’s not entirely true, at least not at first. People buy from people they trust. How do you come to trust someone, whether as an individual or a representative of an organisation? As with all relationships, trust is built on familiarity and mutual understanding.

People return to people they like (they could be customers, clients, business partners, associates, resellers, agents). Their loyalty is based on a feeling of security, resulting from the mutual trust and respect that has been established. So to develop and sustain a business relationship, guaranteeing long-term success, requires constant attention and nurturing. “CRM” is not an abstract science; it is all about “happy people making other people happy”.

This process takes time, but there are techniques for embedding and reinforcing the relationship. The most natural and effective way is to bring people together, face to face and sharing experiences. Knowledge transfer is not simply about learning, it is also about seeing ideas in action, hearing from others about how they deal with situations and appreciating that another person may view the same subject differently.

Live events are often a catalyst for actions, decided and agreed by two sides brought together in a spirit of curiosity and mutual interest. The future success of the ventures in which they are both participants, in business or in other enterprises, relies upon their cooperation and commitment. Once they know each other better and feel good about working together, success will follow.

This is equally relevant to internal team working, to connections between people in different companies, or people in different departments of the same company. A well-planned event, designed to achieve specific objectives, will help to achieve improved performance and greater job satisfaction for all concerned.

Staying with your preferred supplier

Brand loyalty is a recognised and desirable aim in consumer marketing, but the concept applies equally in the business to business sector. If you work with a lawyer or accountant who has given you beneficial advice, you won’t be tempted to be disloyal to them just because another professional says they can provide a cheaper service. Or will you?

How fickle do you think your business customers are? What stops them from deserting you for another supplier? How well do you know them and how much do they value the relationship?

Regular contact is known to be important in reminding customers that you appreciate their support, that you want to please them and are willing to adapt and tailor your product or service to their needs and expectations. If they don’t hear from you for a while they will forget you and be flattered by the attentions of competing suitors!

So clearly, frequent interaction is going to reduce the risk of losing your customer, but adding value to their working lives is also necessary. The best way to learn is to listen. Live events can create the ideal environment and atmosphere for honest discussion, shared opinions and ideas and agreement to new initiatives. Improved understanding leads to better cooperation and successful outcomes.

What makes people happy?

That’s a very big question! We could spend all our waking moments reading books and articles about the hierarchy of needs, motivation and reward, psychology and philosophy. It would still not be enough to produce the final, definitive explanation of the vagaries of human behaviour.

So we are taking on a real challenge, in asking what makes people happy. Leading an enterprise involves inspiring others to follow, to support and sustain the mission, vision and values of the organisation. That may sound far removed from the everyday reality of work, but sharing the dream is essential in gaining the traction and momentum needed to hit targets and achieve strategic objectives. In other words, if you don’t keep people happy they won’t deliver the results you need.

Happy workers are confident, proud and passionate about the product or service which they are helping to provide. In order for them to remain happy, they need regular training and retraining, frequent recognition and approval, variety and fresh interests, care and attention to their wellbeing, support and understanding and above all, the chance to see the results of their efforts. How better than to bring the people providing the product or service together with those on the receiving end?

Obviously this is an idealistic scenario and an impractical idea in many cases. The production line workforce of a car manufacturer will not meet the owners who eventually collect the vehicles from the showrooms, nor will the skilled electronics assembly workers building computers meet the people like me who subsequently sit at the keyboard or manipulate the mouse to operate the systems they have created. There is often a lot to be gained, however, from giving employees a real insight into the life and work of the people they serve.
Live events can represent or recreate that customer experience. Hearing from “the front line” – of dealers, resellers or representatives – can bring home to the production or service personnel the value of their contribution. Building bridges results in better understanding and improved communication between people. If they are well informed and see the impact of their actions, working people will be happier because they will know what a positive influence they are having on the lives of others. It is always a pleasure to be served by a well-trained happy person who clearly enjoys life.

It may not be easy, but it is always worth striving to reiterate the fact, that “Happy people make people happy!”