Thursday, January 06, 2011

Business Day Thursday: How Do You Treat The Customer That Got Away?”

Good Morning Everybody,

World HeadquartersWe’ve got a fairly busy day today.  We are heading over to Kelby World Headquarters later this morning to catch up with Scott, Matt, and Dave about some upcoming plans for some new Kelby Training videos and a few other projects in the works too. I LOVE this group and what they bring to the photographic community.
It’s an honor to be involved in such a small part.

After that meeting were planning to catch up with a friend of mine, Russ McLaughlin, a great family portrait photographer who is touring around Florida photographing families at country clubs throughout the state. We plan to catch up with Russ for an early dinner around Sarasota and also hope we get a chance to stop in and visit our friends at Lexjet while we’re there.

Sounds like really putting a lot of miles on the car today but, LaDawn and I like driving so will make the best of it and enjoy the sites along the way.

Since we've got to get moving pretty soon, why don’t we just get right on with today's post.

How Do You Treat the Customer That Got Away?

I don't know if I've mentioned it here at DigitalProTalk in the last couple of days but one of the reasons that we’re down in Orlando is because of the fact that we had to burn through a few timeshare points or lose them forever to the Hilton Corporation. We get a chance to catch up with my kids too so its all a good thing.

The Best Trained Sales People On The Planet

One thing the Hilton Company does is always invite its owners to a special presentation featuring their new properties and receive input from the owners as to what they can do better.  I find these presentations very fascinating. As a student of sales, I think these are great sales lessons and I enjoy all the time I spend hearing the latest, greatest pitches.  Most people may think I'm crazy for saying that, but these are some of the best trained sales people in the world, they know their job, they have a thorough understanding of their product, and it is just a joy to watch them work.

Hit the “Read Me…” link below for the rest of the story.

Appointment Time

It was Monday at 11:15 AM when we had our prearranged appointment. We met with Rick who was a nice enough guy and certainly made a thorough presentation to us. He also took our suggestions as to what we thought Hilton could do to improve their customers’ experience. As expected. I found him attentive and knowledgeable about his product.

Of course, during the process Rick had to tell us about the latest, greatest deals that Hilton was offering. I have to say, I've never missed one of these sales meetings, and every one of the offers that they made to us over the years is indeed a compelling offer. Much to my financial advisor’s discomfort, sometimes even a not-to-be-missed, steal-of-a-deal”.

I always like to watch the style of the presenter. They are always very personable, always wanting to talk about your needs and your interests, and always very patient, always taking however much time it takes to hopefully reach a sale.

Was That A Temperature Change In The Room I Just Felt?

ChillyWhat was interesting to me is how Rick reacted when we mentioned that we weren’t interested in adding to our portfolio at this time in spite of the the great deal he was offering. It seems that at the moment we said “no” the temperature in the room went from warm and cozy to quite chilly. LaDawn and I both noticed it.

That's why I raise the question as to how you treat your customers when they say “no” to you. It seems to me in my many experiences of sitting through the timeshare spiel, that most of the presenters just don't get the big picture. And that big picture is how you treat the customer that doesn't buy from you. When the customer says “no” the message he is sending is that he is just not buying from you right now but, could still be a good customer down the road.

I remember one of our past timeshare experiences we were so impressed with the presenter that we ended up calling her back a year later to make an additional purchase without any presentation of all. That's because she left us such a good impression the first time we met her and how professionally she worked with us.

Rick did give me his card and said just to call anytime but, I felt that he was not the person I would be calling in the future. Why, because of the chilly change in the wind when we said no.

Always Keep Your Sales Door Open Wide!

When your customer says “no” to you don’t take it as a negative result.  I feel that we need to leave that door open as wide as we can all the time. There's always a possibility that the customer will come back to you because of how they were treated the first time around whether they bought something or not.

I remember years ago when I had a client come by and interview me to photograph her daughter's wedding. She wanted a second appointment so that her out of town daughter could see the images too. The interesting fact from that experience was that the bride never booked me to photograph her wedding.  Nevertheless, we parted company on very good terms with me leaving the “sales door” wide open for any future business opportunities.

Curiously enough, it was about three months later when I received a call from the bride’s mother who said to me that they wanted some additional portraits of the bride and her husband. I gladly obliged, we set an appointment, photographed the couple in the middle of the week. The final sale amounted to over $3000!

That's why it's important that you never get upset if a client says “no” the first time around. That is not to say that we shouldn't pursue our best sales strategies and be diligent to closing the sale. But if we have done our best in our sales presentation – and, the client still says “no”, just keep smiling and let them know that your door is always open anytime that they want to give you a call back in the future.

It’s About Accentuating The Positive

I still think of my Hilton experiences, which for the most part are always very positive, but unfortunately, I know that I will never be re-contacting Rick for any additional portfolio purchases.

The bottom line is this:

1. Make your best and most enthusiastic presentation to your potential client.

2. Handle all the client objections honestly and to the best of your ability.

3. Be a constant student of sales so that you can continue to enhance the sales experience with your clients.

4.  Never, I repeat never, leave your potential client with any kind of negative feelings if they should decide not the book with you.

5.  Always follow up your appointment with your clients with a short handwritten note thanking them for taking the time out of their schedule to come and visit you. And, let them know that your door is always open should they ever feel they need your services in the future.

How many people would return if you took that approach every time you DIDN’T book the sale?  Regardless of what that percentage is, it still much greater than would ever be had you left the client with a chilly impression.
Hey gang, that's it for me today. We’ve got about a 90 minute drive ahead of us over to Oldsmar, Florida to meet with the big guy at Kelby Media. How about I plan to see everybody again at digital pro-talk real soon.

Adios, David


  1. David,

    Great Business Thursday!
    While you're in that area, sometime try to see John's Pass if you haven't already.

    Dave R.

  2. Time share sales people are pretty tough. My experience when I said "no" to one of them was that he was downright angry. As soon as he realized I wasn't going to change my mind, he just walked away. No chance I would ever go back to him for anything.

  3. David,

    I found it interesting that soon after reading your post I went home and asked my wife how her day was. She stated that she went shopping for a home entertainment sound system and did not have a good experience. She got the cold shoulder from a sales person when she informed him that she wasn't interested in the most expensive system they had but something more reasonably priced. She was ready to bring home a sound system that day, but instead walked out frustrated at the sales person.