In sales and service training, I start many seminars by saying that we are going to focus more on “how” they accomplish “what” they do than on “what” they do.  The tongue twister always raises eyebrows…but it is true.  If you need to sell more and strengthen your customer loyalty, how you accomplish what you do

A true story to illustrate what I mean.  As we changed the company name from Corporate Resource Development, Inc. to Sales Pro Insider, Inc. this year, we had a LOT of tactical/logistical items to adjust.  One of these adjustments was to update all the stationary associated with the business.  We used Dana Kader-Robb, of Barefoot Marketing, for our layout and coordination of the printing.  Dana delivered high quality and within the expected time frames as she always does.

The printer we selected (after several quotes) did not.  Our note cards had “jumps” in the typeface for the company name -meaning they weren’t lined up correctly on about 25% of the cards.  Dana coordinated a reprint.  And we moved on.

Know how long it took us to get the reprinted cards?  Over a month!  Not a big deal since we had cards to use but still not a demonstration of caring much about quality and customer satisfaction.  Yet it was two actions on the printer’s part during this reprint that will make us NEVER do business them again:

  1. She sent the new cards Media mail.  Meaning we had to wait longer to receive.
  2. The response when Dana questioned the delay was that she knew we had some cards to carry us over, so she waited until they could work the reprinting in with a job using the same colors.  None of this was communicated during those weeks.

Now when I consider the value received, the “what” (stationary products) do meet our needs.  But the “how” of the delivery and follow-up means we will find another provider next time.

In your business some things to think about:

  1. How do you communicate with your customers?  After the sale is done, do you give the same level of attention as you did before they said “yes”?
  2. When something goes wrong, do you get it resolved quickly and communicate along the way?
  3. Do you take a “media mail” approach when responding?  Or a speedy delivery of email or IM?
  4. If you are responsible for a process of client communication – are all touch-points as sharp as they can be?
  5. Does every interaction focus on the customer or other things?

“How” we provide “what” we provide – whether it be a product or service – will make the difference in future business from that party, referral possibilities and our long term success.

Let’s open the discussion – what examples do you have on the “how” difference?