My husband and I have been looking at our expenses lately with a fine tooth comb. I'm so tired of paying such a high amount each month for our cell phones and other things such as cable and internet services. We were happy US Cellular customers for about twelve years. Our bill was affordable, the service was great and the customer service was even better. That is, until we were forced to switch because they left the Chicago market. We went with our current provider because their service was the most reliable, despite their price being higher. As a year has passed, though, I've noticed changes in some of their competitors and figured it was worth looking into a switch.
I've heard great testimonials from my husband's sister and my brother about the company we are looking to switch to. Their commercials tell me that they will pay my early termination fees and that their monthly bill would be about $40 less....even with having to pay monthly for all the new phones.
Wondering if this was all too good to be true, I stopped into a local store. Normally when you go into a cell phone store, you are instantly doted over by people trying to make a sale. To my dismay, that was not the case and I was not even greeted when I walked in the door. Since there wasn't a single sole in the store beside the three associates, I was extremely irritated right at the start. Finally one of them said, "What brings you here today?". My response, "Well I'm looking to possibly switch from another carrier based on all the commercials I've been seeing but it doesn't seem like any of you want to help with that." (Yes, providing poor service is not a good place to start a transaction with me. Needless to say, my husband loves being with me when this happens.)
As the conversation proceeded, I managed to verify that everything I had found online was correct and my assumptions regarding how everything would take place were correct too. Armed with proper information, I left the store knowing that if I did switch it wouldn't be at their location. I then proceeded to my a storefront for my current provider and was instantly greeted when I walked in. As I asked them if they had anything that would be financially better they shared that they didn't. They then continued to problem solve asking me who I worked for and looking for ways to cut the bill. Through that conversation we managed to take the $40 difference down to $13 due to my husband's company discount and the fact that the monthly insurance was $2 more at the other company. I verified the cost of the early termination fees and how a last bill would be processed and went on my way.
On the drive from one company to the other, I was furious and couldn't wait to begin writing this blog post. It was obvious that the employees at the first store had not been through my free trainingRelationship Building: The Key to a Successful Business. One of the things I teach at the start of that training is that relationship building begins BEFORE you even meet someone. In this situation, it began when my sister-in-law and brother told me that they loved their service. It continued to be built when I saw their commercials. They pretty much had my sale before I came in the door but they unfortunately killed it by their inability to connect with me and their inability to sell their service.
So often I have clients say that they hate "selling." When we look at selling for what it really is, providing a service, and stop thinking of it as a terrible thing, it then becomes much easier to make the sale. Throughout my career, making the sale has always been a part of whatever role in which I've been. The more you do it, the easier it becomes. You have to, though, really believe what you have to offer is providing a service the potential customer needs.
Both cellular providers had a service I needed. The employee at the second store knew that and believed in his solution and made an effort to show the benefits to me. He wasn't pushy and was ok with the fact that I may leave. Even knowing I may leave, he didn't falter because he knew that if his service didn't work for me it would for another person walking in the door. When you come from a place of sharing your service instead of a place of selling, you are wanting the potential customer to benefit even if it's from another provider. That is true service and doing so feels good and is much different than 'selling' which most people don't like to do.
The first store I approached didn't try to sell with service. In addition to paying your termination fees (which no other company does), they give you free streaming on Pandora and other music apps. That's a unique thing they didn't share, despite the posters in their store telling me that and a cousin sharing that with me the night before. My cousin, by the way, is a customer at my current provider. He's happy with my current provider but has been impressed with the offerings of the company I'm considering switching to. The first store also didn't do anything to ask for my information so that they could cultivate a relationship further or inquire later about how they could help me make the switch. This store had everything handed to them and the work done to sell their service BEFORE I even walked in the door. All they had to do was be proud of what they have to offer and share it with me and the sale would have been made.
I'm definitely a cup half full sort of girl. I'm happy that the corporate offices did a great job with their commercials and that the service has been great for two of my family members. I'm also happy that there are plenty of other locations, as well as an online store, that I can use to switch to this company if I so choose to. Lastly, I'm happy that I now have a great example to share in my free presentation,Relationship Building: The Key to a Successful Business. If you know of a staff team or networking group that could benefit from this training, drop me a line @ firstname.lastname@example.org.
What struggles or successes have you had with making the sale? Share them in the comments.
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