Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Create Customer Gratitude

Tomorrow is Thanksgiving. A day for reflecting on what we're most grateful for. We've talked this week about expressing our thanks to customers. But, what about customer gratitude? What can you do to make your customers thankful for you?

Here's a story from George Ludwig, author of Power Selling: Seven Strategies for Cracking the Sales Code that illustrates the type of sales behavior that produces grateful customers.

One cold Friday night in January 1991, the phone rang. "Is this Tom O.?" the caller asked.

"Yes , it is," Tom replied. "Who's this?"

"I'm Dr. Gary B. from XYZ Children's Hospital. I'm the new ortho surgeon here, and we have an emergency spinal case tomorrow. My technician and I don't know how to run the Cell Saver, and neither does anybody else available to us. We have a six-year old boy who really needs surgery now - he can't wait till Monday. Can you help me run the device and train us, too? I used another brand back in Boston, and I can't reach that sales rep."

"I'll do it. What time do you need me?" Tom answered.

Dr. B. said, "Be here at 6:30am to scrub in."

The next morning, Tom ran the Cell Saver, which collects blood shed during surgery, separates the oxygen-carrying red cells, and returns them to the patient during the procedure. All went well in this four-hour operation. Dr. B. and his nursing team thanked Tom profusely for coming on a Saturday, with such short notice, and going the extra mile for their patient.

About a year later, Tom received a phone call from the ABC Teaching Hospital in Minneapolis. The company he sold for had been completely locked out from getting any of the Cell Saver business at this hospital, but the purchasing agent on the phone wanted to fax a purchase order for seven Cell Savers, worth more than $100,000 in business. Tom was stunned and elated! He was also confused, because he hadn't even visited the hospital in six months. The purchasing agent told him that their new chief of surgery, Dr. Gary B., refused to use any other type of equipment. Their order needed to be completed ASAP, and Tom ended up with a killer commission check.

Now that's a grateful customer. What can you do to prove your worth to your customers - when they need it most? Give it some thought - and enjoy your turkey!
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