Consistent sales success is a must for any business. Making the statement is easy – putting that plan into action is the hard part. That’s where TRACKFARE comes into play. Over the coming weeks we’ll discuss how optimising and improving your business with our fine-tuned method gives you the foundations you need to give you profit, productive sales techniques and above all, prospects.
TRACKFARE cuts through all the waffle-y words and marketing fluff, and gets straight the point of what your business needs. An easy to implement, clear method to build up your business to be a long-term success. The first step in a three-part model system designed to enhance your business practices, TRACKFARE explores 9 core foundations that you need to utilise to improve your business; bringing in more prospects, converting them to fantastic leads and ultimately increasing existing customer satisfaction.
After last week’s overview of the first letter in TRACKFARE, Trustworthy (which you can read [link]here[/link]), We’ll be taking a closer look at letter number two – R for Reliability. We talked a lot last time about how important trust is to make your business a consistent success, but without the stats and practices to back that trust up it’s all a bit hollow. A reputation as an unreliable company can be a hard perception to replace, and can badly affect your sales and the likelihood of converting new prospects. Don’t forget, we live in a connected world; and with savvy prospects fully able of digging into your company history, past actions and treatment of existing customers it’s incredibly important to start on the right footing.
But fear not, we’re here to help! So, let’s take a look at some of the ways you can improve your company reliability, and how this can improve your prospects, delight your returning customers and make you more profit!
How often have you made promises, whether in your personal or business life, that you can’t keep? For most of us it’s definitely more than once, whether it’s a little white lie about a timescale or overpromising on what you can deliver to a prospect or customer. At the time, especially if you’re up against it and need a result, bending the truth a little can feel like the right decision. And while sometimes you might be able to get away with failing to keep your promises, it’s really not worth the risk of ending up with dissatisfied prospects, unhappy customers or even angry suppliers!
A survey by Accenture on customer promises found that 55% of customers have had promises to them broken on timescales of delivery, and 51% on hidden costs and services. Imagine that was just in one company – could you imagine breaking promises to over half of your prospective customers? If so, then consider the fact that according to the survey, 38% of those people would then go elsewhere for those services; which is likely to be your competition.
The remedy to promise breaking is easy; do what you say you’re going to do, when you said you’d do it. If you’re unsure if you’ll be able to deliver, don’t promise – and if there’s a change in circumstance, give your prospect or customer a proper reason, don’t just leave them in the dark.
In keeping your promises, you have something to talk about that sets you apart from other companies. A customer promises page on your website with a list of what you guarantee to deliver is a fantastic way to get that reliability out there, especially if you can get some testimonials to validate it.
Consistency is Key
So now you’ve started keeping your promises to your prospects, your next step is to get your company and brand associated with a consistent product or service. Consistency can mean a lot of things; from the quality of the product you offer through to the level of care from your customer service post-sale.
To give you an example of consistency, imagine walking into a fast food restaurant like McDonalds and ordering a Big Mac. You can do this anywhere in the country and you’ll still receive the exact same product every time, from Penzance to Aberdeen. If you were to buy two Big Macs from two separate restaurants, and one was completely different from the other, you’d be pretty disappointed, as of course you’d expect them to be the same!
This is how consistency works. Your prospects will expect to have the same treatment and same service every time. If you’re an omni-channel business, operating both online and offline, consistency is especially important. A survey by Kampyle found that 87% of customers were frustrated with inconsistency across platforms; whether that’s requesting information multiple times or having to repeat a query they have to multiple different people.
Strategise your business plans with consistency in mind – cross over your services wherever you can and keep everything centralised on a CRM system like InTouch, so everyone is always in the loop and has the latest information. Keep a note app in your phone so you can record conversations, little details you need to remember and contact information. If you’re old school, a proper paper-and-pen method also works; ensure you keep your notebook with you always and you’ll never forget anything ever again.
Your word is your reputation
We’ve already touched on this concept a little, but let reiterate just how important your word is to your customer. Only commit to what you can achieve, as over promising and under delivering is seen in a far worse light then giving the bad news in the first place! If you’ve accidentally committed to something you can’t see through, let your prospect know so you can get back on the right track. It takes the bigger person to apologise but your prospects are more likely to appreciate an apology and resolution than radio silence.
When you commit yourself to a prospect requirement, whether that’s a discount, a delivery date or just a call back, ensure it’s something you can follow through. If you’re unsure on what you can provide at that time, or cannot provide what your prospect requires, you can always work with your prospect to reach a desirable but realistic conclusion. Honesty is the best policy, and if you have to say a flat ‘no’ to what if being asked of you there are ways to do so.
There’s nothing worse than waiting in all day for a parcel that was never going to turn up, or a phone call that’s never going to happen. You might not win any favours by telling your prospect that their service or product will take longer to deliver than their initial expectations, but making excuses will certainly not win you any business either! Stick to the basics, make your explanations honest and your prospect’s expectations will become more realistic, rather than making them feel like their being ‘dealt with’ in a less than honest way.
No-one is 100% honest; it’s just not possible. But with the things that matter to your customer, it’s important to be as truthful as you can. A survey by Fast Company found that one of the most important things customers want is ‘a brand that honestly divulges its practices, both positive and negative.’ – this goes to show that, no matter what, a negative truth is better than a positive lie!
Stay in Touch
Communicate, communicate, communicate! Let your prospects know what’s going on, and you’ll be rewarded. If you’re able to meet, and even exceed, your prospect’s expectations on the purchasing process you’re much more likely to end up with a profitable order and a happy customer at the other end.
Communication forms every other part of the Reliability strategy; after all, there’s no point being reliable by yourself. Talking to prospects, keeping them updated and confirming deliveries, appointments or even just following up a phone call makes you accessible and keeps you in their mind. Communication is a two-way street, so making it easy for prospects to get back in contact with you is also instrumental, especially if you’re specifically looking after them. A mobile number, email address and name is all they need, but ensure they have it to hand.
Think of parcel companies. A few years ago, you’d get a vague idea of the date your parcel would be delivered on, and unless you’d paid a disproportionate amount of money for the service you wouldn’t have any form of tracking; your parcel just went into the ether and you crossed your fingers it would appear on the other side. These days with many courier companies you get an update every step of the way, whether that’s via email, a text or even just a site you can access with all the details of your parcel’s travels.
With systems like this in place in many industries, prospects will have higher expectations when it comes to the product or service you deliver. If you’re able to beat those expectations, you’re very likely to receive a positive response and a reputation for reliability. A survey by Zendesk found that 62% of B2B customers purchased more after a good customer service experience – and those open communications are a major part of that service.
Tell me more!
From reading this post we hope you’ve seen exactly how important reliability is to bring in new prospects and maintain current customers. It’s key to keep your prospects happy and informed through every step of the process; and it’s incredibly important to keep all the promises you make. Honesty is the best policy, which we’re sure you’ve figured out by now! Don’t forget that your customers are some of the best assets to bring in new prospects from word of mouth through to glowing testimonials – so customers who find your business reliable are worth their weight in gold.
We’ve got seven more letters coming up, so prepare for next week’s look at why exactly Approachability is so important for your business. We’ll have lots of helpful facts, useful ways to use your methodology and of course lots of stats to back it up if you’re not quite sure yet. Set your clocks for next week to find out more.
Can’t wait a whole week for more? If you want to give TRACKFARE a go, we’ve launched a video series covering all eight steps of the model; including invaluable strategies and innovative methods to further develop your prospects and bring you even more profit. There are over 3 hours of content included, stuffed full of tips and tricks to get your business on ‘TRACK’ (get it?). As we always like to remind you, TRACKFARE is what you need to increase your prospects – we’ll help you make sure you’re giving the right message, give you the correct mind set and give your profits a boost in the long term.
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