Sales has always been about more than just getting your product into as many hands as possible. Listening to your customers, creating long-lasting connections, and turning clients into advocates has always been part of the game plan. In today’s increasingly social sales landscape, these practices are more important than ever.
Simply by listening to your clients and providing them with a product that best suits their needs, your sales team can lay the groundwork for a long, successful future. One of the best examples of what good customer relationships can do to bolster your bottom line happened just a few years ago, on a stage as public as they get.
Enter Taylor Swift and Kanye West:
It’s 2009. MTV is airing its flashy, glamourous ode to the gods of music, the Video Music Awards (VMAs). Miss Swift is giving her acceptance speech for Best Female Video when she is interrupted by a brash and “edgy” Mr. West. Believe it or not, this pop culture debacle is a prime example of what makes a good sales person (as well as some of what might not).
Before the 2009 VMAs, both West and Swift had their thumbs on the pulses of their respective client (fan) bases. Both were responsible for sales in the millions. Sales people who have the right data on hand, who listen to their clients, and who routinely deliver the right solution are well on their way to greatness. Both artists are showing what a team with a good customer relations management (CRM) strategy can accomplish.
Simply by listening to your clients and providing them with a product that best suits their needs, your sales team can lay the groundwork for a long, successful future.
Then, at the precise moment of their confrontation, the behavior of West and Swift begins to diverge drastically. Swift, then a decidedly country musician, is marveling at her introduction to a new market, that of pop music. West, on the other hand, believes the award should have gone to Beyoncé Knowles. Instead of listening to customer input, he’s relying on his own prescriptive solution.
Obviously, this tactic didn’t go so well for West.
Having the right CRM solution in place is good, but using it to its fullest potential is great. On Twitter, for example, Swift’s following demolishes West’s by a 4-to-1 margin. By engaging with her clients, even when she’s on the go, Swift is keeping up a steady discourse. West, on the other hand, posts only rarely and seemingly never speaks to a client’s questions directly.
Another trap West falls into is that of high spending expectations from his clients. By selling them on affluence itself, he runs the risk of alienating those of his clients who simply want to listen to his music but cannot afford his clothing line. The same can be true about your own clients. If they’re just starting to grow their business, a simple, cost-effective solution just might be the one that is best tailored to their needs.
Swift’s down-to-earth approach, combined with allowing her clients to set their own pace and level of investment, has paid some serious dividends. While West’s last album saw sales plummet to a record-low 678,000 units, early sales numbers for Swift’s new (entirely pop music) album 1989 put it on track to sell nearly 1 million units in its debut week alone.
At the end of the day, what separates the great from the good is the ability to convert clients to advocates and friends. Good listening, and letting clients set their own pace while keeping them in the loop, goes a long way toward not only making sales, but strengthening the connections you already have. We can’t all be Taylor Swift, but with the right CRM solution run by great sales people, we can accomplish everything we set our sights on.