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The Definitive Guide To Sales Part 4: How To Serve Your Clients

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Whether you’re a salesman or a business owner the way you service your clients is what will make or break you. In sales I was always amazed at how many guys would kill themselves to bring on new clients only to give them mediocre service.

It takes ten times more work to get a client then to keep one so it only makes sense to give great service. Since starting RLD I’ve been shocked at the atrocious customer service of most guys who have online businesses. I’m not trying to call anyone out because I realize most guys haven’t been through a decade of sales training so what might be obvious to me isn’t obvious to them. I just want to make sure you guys have all the tools to succeed.

In business, your client is your boss, you serve them, not the other way around. Customer service is just that, servicing clients, putting their needs above yours, in exchange you get what you want. Pride has no place in being effective.

Being succesful in business is not about being an aloof alpha male it’s about adding value and serving your customers better than everyone else. The good news is, as a business owner, you always have the option to fire your clients. When you’re an employee you can’t fire your boss or your clients. Another reason to start your own thing boys.

To understand the level of service expected of you, you first need to understand the difference between a customer and a client. A product-based business revolves around a customer who makes small, low investment purchases of your products with less of focus on a personal relationship.

Servicing your customers properly is important but the level of service is not the same as with a client-based business. A good example of a customer-based business is a blog. I sell my book at a low price point and rarely have interactions with my customers unless they have questions on the material.

In a service-based business, the client relationship is the focal part of the business. The client makes a larger, higher priced investment in you and the service you provide. In a service-based business you get paid to service your clients and your level of service is extremely important in customer retentions.

Being a freelance writer, graphic designer or programmer are examples of service-based businesses. For those of you guys with your own businesses or who are looking to start your own businesses your level of service is extremely crucial. Your service is the cornerstone of your business. The focus of this article is on service-based businesses. Here are the 8 key rules for servicing your clients:

How To Serve Your Clients

1) Never Break Rapport

As we covered in part 3, breaking rapport is the biggest sin in sales. A client can tell me the sky is black and my response is:

John, I understand what you’re saying and that’s definitely valid, with that said I think you’re a great fit for this product.

As long as their words don’t affect my revenue it doesn’t matter what they say. Your job is to serve and part of that service is to make them feel good, when they feel good they are happy with your service. This extends not just to your clients but to all your business communications. Arguing with guys on forums, in comments or anywhere else is horrible for your reputation.

Winners don’t have time to argue on the internet, with clients or with anyone in general, winners are too busy winning to get caught up in that shit. When you do need to contradict with someone there is a way to do that artfully, see rule number 2 below.

2) Know How To Give A Shit Sandwich

When a client says something you disagree with, most of the time you need to let that go and stick to the golden rule of not breaking rapport. However when their ideas threaten your revenue you need to know how to constructively reframe the situation, also known as a shit sandwich. This really should be done as sparingly as possible, everyone hates being contradicted and you want to piss off the people who sign your cheques as little as possible.

A shit sandwich, done properly is framed as good/bad/good with the shit or bad stuff in the middle.

“Great idea I love it, I just had an idea though, here’s another possibility ____ I think that could an awesome way to get your message across, what do you think?”

3) Be Competent

When you call your phone company and hear a voice on the end of the line stumbling over a simple greeting in English you know that call is going to be an ordeal. You’re already upset, if you had a choice you’d hang up the phone immediately and call a competitor.

Unfortunately you don’t and your phone company knows it. Your only choice is another provider with the same shitty service and a high friction, painful transition. Your phone company knows you’re not going to leave so they shit all over you by outsourcing their customer service to India. As a business owner you don’t have this luxury, chances are there are thousands of people doing what you’re doing.

Compare that to the rare occasion you accidentally get through to a fluent English speaker in your native country who is friendly and competent and it feels as if the gates of heaven open and shine their beautiful rays upon you. This is the effect you want to give every customer in your business. You want to surprise them with how effective and competent you are at handling their problems. The words “will do” and “absolutely” should be burned into your sales vocabulary, it shows your clients they have a serious, effective agent who is working quickly to solve their problem.

Let’s say you’re a contractor for example. Your client is expecting a painful experience and bad service. Your client is going to be worried about three things, one that your project won’t be finished on time, two that you’ll overcharge them and three that the work won’t be done properly.

Most contractors have a bad reputation and will underestimate the amount of time and cost of materials to get the sale. If you wanted to separate yourself you would incorporate a margin of safety into your project to make sure you finish everything on time and on budget. You would be polite, well dressed, knowledgeable and speak the language fluently.

If things are taking longer then planned then you work overtime to get things finished. From the minute you meet a potential client you show them your detailed knowledge of the product. You should be able to explain everything in perfect English as well as why your service best handles their problem. Now its gone from a potentially painful experience for the client to something their going to be excited about. In return, if you execute as promised not only will you get satisfied clients but you’ll also get referrals.

4) Manage Expectations

To be ethical and have clients refer you to their friends, you not only need to be competent but you need to manage their expectations. On my sales page I specifically tell some guys not to buy my book, guys that are unnnatractive, significantly overweight or older then 45 will not get laid on Tinder, it’s a harsh truth but a necessary one to tell guys.

In business your reputation means everything so make sure your clients always know exactly what they’re getting from you.

5) Respond Quickly

When I was in sales I would make sure to respond to every client email within an hour, many times within minutes or seconds. I can’t emphasize enough how important this is if you want to keep your clients happy. Since starting this site I’ve dealt with a number of guys who are self employed and have been shocked at the response times with some guys taking days or weeks to respond. 24 hours is the maximum time frame to respond to a client or a potential business partner/relationship.

6) Never Leave Your Client Hanging

Not only do you need to respond quickly but you need to respond to every communication your clients or potential clients send whether that’s just a simple “excellent” or “will do”. Never leave a client’s communication hanging. That means the last word should always be yours acknowledging whatever agreement you’ve made or conveying your enthusiasm for that agreement. For example you could have just agreed to a meeting with a client and they respond with: “see you at 6”, you should respond with something like: “excellent, looking forward to it.” Never leave your client hanging.

7) Give More Value Than Expected

Your client should not only be surprised with the level of service you provide but also with the level of value you give. In ad sales I was always trying to get my clients free ads, access to editorials, profiles for their company directors and anything that would add value to their overall experience.

Sometimes even a small gesture without asking for anything in return is enough to keep a client. With my ebook I’ve offered unlimited consultations on any of the topics in the book for buyers because I want every customer to be a lifetime customer. I answer every email sent to me quickly and thoroughly because I want that reader to be a lifetime reader.

8) Build A Relationship

If you want to keep a client, it really helps when they like you. Many times their boss might want to switch providers but when you have a relationship they will still stay with you. All business is relationship based. Most industries offer similar companies with similar products so every edge you have to differentiate yourself helps. I can’t emphasize how important relationship building is. My entire site is based around myself and my relationship with my audience.

Conclusions

There you have it boys, everything I know about selling in 4 parts and 20,000 words. If you’ve made it this far, congratulations. All life is sales, whether you like it or not so you might as well be great at it. So go forth, add value, solve problems, be ethical, build relationships, make money and remember the golden rule:

ALWAYS BE SELLING


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14 Comments

  1. LeRoy
    June 17, 2015 at 2:15 am

    This is money, great work. “know how to give a shit sandwhich” haha

  2. June 17, 2015 at 11:42 pm

    Thanks LeRoy

  3. June 25, 2015 at 9:35 am

    Great post here, Will. There’s a lot of tips here that people can integrate immediately. I like what you said about giving more than expected. People love to feel like their getting their money’s worth. If you can provide MORE value than expected, it’s a surefire way to get and keep new customers/clients. I’m glad that you’re on the same path as me which is to educate and motivate as many people as possible. I’ll be returning to check out your future post.

    -Alex
    http://www.inertiawillhurtya.com

  4. June 25, 2015 at 9:55 am

    Thanks Alex, great to hear

  5. Stan
    July 13, 2015 at 8:57 am

    Why is that article in “body” section?

  6. July 13, 2015 at 2:06 pm

    Thanks, its the default category, have fixed it.

  7. Anonymous
    July 23, 2015 at 4:13 pm

    Read the whole series. you’ve got a good attitude, really hope things work out for you.

  8. July 24, 2015 at 6:57 am

    Thank you

  9. Max B
    May 8, 2016 at 8:42 pm

    Will, I have a question.

    I’m working in a call centre currently and I’m quite good at it. I’d like to move into higher end sales when I finish my B.A. this year. However I also want to do it ethically.

    You already listed all the areas of sales in your first post on this topic however you didn’t make any particular comment on which was ethical/unethical aside from financial services.

    I’m assuming that high end tech sales would involve the most ethics and positive client relations? (the wallstreetplayboy blog argues that higher end sales correlates with more ethics between salesman and client)

    I don’t mind hunting out new leads but I don’t want to lie to my clients once I’m selling to them. What’s the best area in this case?

  10. May 9, 2016 at 12:17 am

    Hey Max,

    Great question, and great attitude. The truth is the only way you can 100% guarantee that you’re being ethical is when you own your own business and there control the product and all the sales material. Whenever you work for someone you’re forced to accept their sales methodology. There was no company I worked for where I felt 100% ethically comfortable, with that said some we’re much worse than others.

    For example commercial currency brokering was incredibly unethical, I didn’t stay there long. Ad sales was better but I was still forced to inflate our subscription and traffic numbers by 30% on every call, and if I didn’t I would get in to the back office for an attitude correction. And this is not just my experience, I met a ton of guys in sales and it’s common across the board. I would go as far as saying 90% of companies are not completely ethical, if not more.

    As to your point on high end, complex sales, I would say you probably have a better chance of finding ethics there as they rely less on pressure and more on relationship building, client service and in depth knowledge of the product. But even then, have a look at how Apple and Microsoft built their companies. In the movie pirates of Silicon valley you can watch as Bill Gates sells IBM on an operating system he doesn’t even have yet (they bought DOS from a small business owner after they sold the idea to IBM). And microsoft and many other software companies are know for selling what their tech guys called vaporware. Salesforce is another example, its a high end complex CRM, best product in its industry, guys make a fortune selling it but its an absolutlely brutal, high pressure sales culture.

    What its going to come down to is doing your research and interviewing the guys who are interviewing you. Meaning you want to get a feel for whether your sales manager seems like an ethical guy in the interview. There were tons of jobs I passed on as I knew the guy I was dealing with was no good.

    What you want to look for specificially are larger companies that are adverstising for someone with good relationship building skills and clients service. I would just outwork everyone in the office to make up for deals like that where I wasn’t going for the jugular.

    If the company defines themselves as a “sales organization” they will 100% be unethical. Any company positioning themselves as young and aggressive and looking for “hunters” is a guaranteed walking ethical violation.

    Also you’ll have to monitor yourself on the job. That might mean quietly killing deals on guys who aren’t a good fit outside of the view of your manager. I did this a lot in ad sales with small business owners, guys I knew wouldn’t get much benefit and when we’re spending their own money as opposed to a large corporation where its a small piece of a vague marketing budget.

    Overall, I would aim for high end, boring companies in outdoor sales. Companies like Canon, or Pitney Bowes. Where you’re selling capital equipment, 70% of your job is servicing existing company client and once every 3, 4 years or so you go in and get them to upgrade their machines. A nice big, boring company with a long track record, that doesn’t emphasize high pressure sales. The benefits at these types of companies are way better, outside sales has way more leeway than inside sales, pressure is less then a young hungry company, and if you hustle you can do six figures no problem.

  11. Max B
    May 9, 2016 at 4:36 am

    Great, thanks for the comment

    Anyway, I’ll definitely look follow that advice and look at more reputable organizations that foster strong client relations
    Hopefully older and reliable tech, hardware style organizations. I’d like to have an earning potential of 300+. I’ll also research headhunting but I’ve heard that it often involves misleading people into a crappy job transfer.

    It seems like the best combination is finding a company with a reputation that it needs to uphold with smart and savy clients

    Cheers

  12. June 20, 2016 at 7:18 am

    Excellent series, Will. I just read it. I’ve had an interest in sales lately myself.

  13. June 20, 2016 at 10:34 pm

    Thanks Mitchel, you can also expect my full book on how to sell by end of June.

  14. Vegas
    January 10, 2017 at 7:53 pm

    You mention on your Tinder eBook that you have to treat girls like if they are your client. I’m really interested to learn me these attitudes and adapt that behavior that sales men have so I can also use it when I meet girls. I have learn some basic stuff as sales man but I want to be better at it. Do you have any good book you recommend that tells and learn how to treat new client and what behavior and what attitude to have in more deeper explanation?

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