The part three call to action: Become genuinely interested in other people and Be a good listener; encourage others to talk about themselves.
Latin Biz Today advisory board member Chuck Garcia, kicks off a six-part video series for business owners to secure and retain more customers.
Parts one and two can be found here: part one: How Dale Carnegie Techniques Can Enhance Customer Acquisition and Retention [Video] Part two:Dale Carnegie Principles & Tactics to Acquire and Retain Customers, Part 2 [Video]
To sell into this crowded landscape, put away the phone and gadgets. Instead, connect to your customers in the most human way possible: have a conversation to help them save time, money, or solve a nagging problem.
On a cold January night in 1935, in the middle of the Great Depression, 2,500 men and women entered the grand ballroom of the Hotel Pennsylvania in New York City. Every available seat was filled by 7:30 pm. At show time, even people in the spacious balcony were shocked to see the ballroom full. Hundreds of people, tired after navigating a day at work, even stood for an hour and a half that night to witness…what?
This was not the premiere of The Wizard of Oz nor a promise to eradicate world hunger. The crowd was lured by a newspaper ad in the New York Sun which stated in bold type, “Learn to Speak Effectively, Prepare for Leadership.” The course sponsor and event host was the Dale Carnegie Institute, the company behind the blockbuster self-help book How to Win Friends and Influence People.
Ads like this run all the time in 2021. Because we live in a virtual world, millions of people take online courses on the effective use of communication to build and maintain their business. However, the art and science of persuasion and influence have not changed much since the 1930s. People change, but human nature does not.
Having read Dale Carnegie’s How to Win Friends and Influence People many times since my sales career started in the 1980s, I feel that the book title should be How to Acquire and Retain Customers. The purpose of effective public speaking is no different than what you do each day in a sales or customer support call. Speaking with purpose and listening with intent are in fashion no matter the decade.
What we knew then, and what we know now is the same. When you learn to communicate effectively, notice how it correlates to increased business. As you consider the tools needed for sales success, winning that sale rarely comes down to your product’s features and functions The process relies as much on inspiration and influence. In other words, great salespeople provoke change in the minds of their prospects to ignite a buying decision.
In this third installment on “How to Acquire and Retain Customers,” I highlight key tactics from my career bible on how to win new business no matter your product or industry. To sell into this crowded landscape, put away the phone and gadgets. Instead, connect to your customers in the most human way possible: have a conversation to help them save time, money, or solve a nagging problem. Whether in person, via zoom, or on the phone, the tactics are the same.
How then to use Carnegie’s techniques to win business and keep it? Since there are 30 principles articulated in the book, do not try to learn them all at once. Instead, focus on a few at a time. Before you deploy any of these tools, start with a reminder that every situation, sales call, or interaction can rely on any one of Carnegie’s time-tested principles.
Part 2 recommendations:
- Don’t criticize, condemn, or complain.
- The big secret to giving people what they want? Make them feel important.
For today’s call to action, internalize, practice, and refine two more of the book’s principles to help with client acquisition and retention:
- Become genuinely interested in other people.
When a sales opportunity arises, many professionals get so caught up with excitement, they start to babble incessantly. What does the prospect do then? Typically, they shut down and walk away, and are not coming back. In this case, you are telling, not selling. What now? Flip that model, and consider the second tactic:
- Be a good listener; encourage others to talk about themselves.
Ask anyone their favorite subject, the answer is often the same: MYSELF. Even to a stranger, sometimes a prospect just wants someone to talk to. T. When you sense a prospect has time to spare, use that as opportunity to establish rapport before you dive into the product introduction. Keep in mind that before someone buys a product, they buy you!
Following are a few additional techniques to become a more engaged communicator to help acquire and maintain your business:
Pause for Effect
The pause brings immense power to maintaining the rhythm of your sales conversation. At any point when you are listening and ready to respond, wait! Take a pause for three seconds. It accomplishes three goals: First, you avoid running the risk of interrupting if the other person is not quite finished. Second, you show patience by carefully considering their words before jumping in with your comments. Third, pausing allows the speaker and listener time to absorb the meaning of each other’s words. Before your respond so quickly, allow two to three seconds of space to avoid a knee jerk reaction. Your prospect will think of you as considerate and thoughtful, underscoring your capacity to be a good listener.
If you need clarification, simply ask, “What do you mean, exactly?” This is a powerful question for controlling a conversation. When you pose that question, the other person is bound to provide further context. You can then follow up with other questions and keep the conversation moving.
Paraphrase the Speaker’s Words
The third way to become an effective communicator is to paraphrase the speaker’s words in your own. After you’ve nodded and smiled, create a feedback loop, and say, “Let me see if I understand correctly. What you’re saying is….”
These are simple yet powerful tactics to help you in your quest to acquire and maintain your customer base. Next week we will examine a few more tactics as you build the skills necessary to win friends, business, and influence people.