In my work as a professional facilitator here at The Brooks Group, I teach salespeople that the purpose of a professional salesperson is not to make individual sales, but rather to build long-term relationships that will result in repeat business and delighted customers who will cheerfully refer you to people just like themselves who could use your services or products. Recently, I had an experience with a saleswoman who lives and breathes that philosophy. My wife (Jean) and I just returned from a trip to Hawaii to celebrate our 25th wedding anniversary. It was a spectacular trip, made possible with the assistance of a remarkable travel agent named Kay Ryan, from Maui Vacation Consultants. “Maui Kay,” as she is affectionately known by her clients, is an Air Force veteran who has lived on the island of Maui for more than 20 years. Like many other people traveling today, I checked the Internet ahead of time, looking on my own for ‘great deals’ and information about the types of activities we might enjoy. We had been to Maui on our honeymoon in 1985, loved it, and wanted to go back. Back then – before the Internet – we employed the services of a travel agency and never regretted it. Consequently, we decided to seek the services of another travel professional, and we came across Kay Ryan’s website. Kay understands her products and services inside and out and can explain them to her customers in simple, meaningful terms – a great lesson for any sales professional.
She is also customer-focused. Kay digs deep into what’s important to you, not what’s easy or good for her. Months in advance of the trip she was asking probing questions about the types of recreational activities we preferred, our budget range, meal preferences, air and ground travel choices and more. After listening to us, Kay made her recommendations to us. Kay even suggested that we take our inter-island flight from Honolulu into a small airport near our hotel, thus saving us a long drive from a larger airport on the other side of the island. That small detail is indicative of her overall detailed approach to planning your unforgettable vacation and something that we, as the customers, noticed and appreciated. Remember, as a sales professional, you don’t have to be 20 to 25 percent better than your competition; you just have to be 2 to 3 percent better for your customers to appreciate and respect the work you do. During our stay, Kay personally delivered some of our events tickets. She could have simply dropped them off at the front desk, but she didn’t. Instead, she used the opportunity to gather feedback on how well we were enjoying our vacation and see if there were any problems that needed addressing or opportunities to be of further service. How often do you check with your customers to see if they are satisfied? Or do you just assume that if you don’t hear anything, then everything must be okay? Perhaps you’re missing a great opportunity to solve a problem or upsell your customer on a new product or service. As a sales professional you have the opportunity to make your relationships with your clients go above and beyond that of a supplier and a customer. Years of research here at The Brooks Group have shown that when you promise a lot and deliver even more you set yourself apart from other salespeople. You become the person your clients will remember and will want to do business with again and again.