Satisfied customers are a perpetual lip-to-lip advertisement. “Help your customer to buy. Don’t merely sale to him.” They’ll pay for everything you will ever own.
It is the service we are not obliged to give that people value most. Everybody knows that the salesman is supposed, at least, to treat a customer decently; but the over-plus of service, the extra courtesy and kindness, the spirit of accommodation, the desire to be obliging, the patience and helpfulness in trying to render the greatest possible service—these are the things customers appreciate most highly, and these are just the things that tie customers to certain brands
Whether you are a traveling salesman or selling things behind a counter, or over the internet nothing will add more to your success than the practice of that helpful courtesy which is dictated by the heart rather than the head, or by mere convention. Doing a customer a good turn has proved the turning point in many a career. Nothing will make such a good impression upon an employer as the courtesy of an employee who has so ingratiated himself into the hearts of his customers, and so endeared himself to them, that they will always seek him out and wait to buy from him even at great inconvenience to themselves. Every employer knows that a clerk who attracts customers is worth ten times as much as one who drives them away.
You probably know of business owners who have built up a big business largely because he is always trying to accommodate his customers, to save them expense, or to assist them in buying things which he does not carry. Today our large business companies make a great point of pleasing customers, of obliging them and catering to their com fort in every possible way. Waiting-rooms, reading-rooms, with stationery, attendants, and even music and other forms of entertainment, are furnished by many of them. There is a premium everywhere upon courtesy and good manners. They are taken into consideration in hiring employees just as much as general ability.
Great business owners find it is impossible to carry on extensive business without the practice of courtesy, and they via with one another in securing the most affable, and most obliging employees possible in all departments. They look upon their employees as ambassadors representing them in their business. They know that they cannot afford to have their interests jeopardized by objectionable, indifferent clerks. They know that it will not pay to build attractive stores, to advertise and display their goods, to do everything possible to bring customers to them, and then have them turned away by disagreeable, repellent clerks.
Many young men going into business seem to think that price and quality are the only elements that enter into competition. There may be a score of other reasons why customers flock to one store and pass by a dozen half-empty stores on their way.
Many people never learn to depend upon themselves in their buying. They do not trust their own judgment, but depend upon the clerk who waits on them. A clerk who knows his business can assist a customer wonderfully in a very delicate way, by suggestion, by his knowledge of goods, of qualities, of fabrics, of durability. The courtesy and affability of clerks in one store can pull thousands of customers right past the doors of rival establishments where the clerks are not so agreeable or accommodating. Everybody appreciates courtesy and an obliging disposition, and a personal interest goes a long way in attracting and holding customers. Most of us are willing to put ourselves to some trouble to patronize those who show a disposition to help us, to render us real service.
What is true in regard to the man or woman who sells in a store applies with equal or even greater force to the man who goes on the road to sell. However those days have long since past, that of the traveling salesman.
The old motto of a well-known traveling salesman was, “Help your customer to buy, don’t merely sell to him,” is one that would pay every salesman to adopt. Put yourself in your customer’s place, help him with your knowledge of what he really needs; mix sympathy, kindliness, helpfulness with your sales; you can give him a lot of valuable points. You are traveling all the time and constantly coming in contact with new ideas; give him suggestions from other merchants in his line.
A wide-awake, progressive salesman, without violating confidences, can help his customers wonderfully by keeping them posted on what his competitors are doing, on the latest ideas in his line, the new and original methods. You may know of some novel and striking methods of reaching the public, of displaying merchandise and arranging store windows, or of reaching customers through unique local advertising.
Give your customer every suggestion you can. You may see that he is a good business man in many respects, but seriously lacks something which you could help him to supply. If he finds you are always trying to help him, that every time you come round you give him some good suggestions, it will be pretty hard for your competitor to get his order. He will prize a man who gives him helpful suggestions.