Imagine your dream sale: two people are talking in a coffee shop. One suggests your product to the other. Because they are friends and they trust each other’s advice, the person actually tries your product, loves it, and becomes a converted customer!
But you weren’t there. Your sales team wasn’t there. And nobody learned much from the interaction, aside from the idea that referrals really work.
Customer-to-lead interactions are a totally untapped space for most sales people. You spend most of your time talking to existing customers and leads, but you never see the two groups talk to each other. What would your best customer say to a lead to convince them to use your product? How would they sell your product?
Awesome customers know how to sell your product better than you do. They understand the real user benefits of your product on a day-to-day level; they know how to talk to people in their industry; and last, but certainly not least, they don’t look like a sales person. Which is to say, the kind of trust a salesperson needs to build with a lead is implicit here; the lead knows that the customer understands their needs and struggles, and they aren’t worried about being upsold or duped because the customer has no incentive to do so. So, when people talk to your best customer, they aren’t waiting for negotiations or a sales pitch, only the promise of real benefits for themselves and their company.
Your best customer is also your best sales rep and compensating them, like you would a sales rep, can pay off big time. How can cool customers communicate with leads better than your own sales team?
- They appear to be upfront and honest. Your best customer knows what a potential customer looks like better than you do. As someone who has used your product, they understand why someone might be interested in trying it out, too. Your best customer can ask a lead, “What features do you need out of this product?” and honestly tell them whether or not your product will work for them.
- They are credible. Anyone at their level of experience or below will trust their opinions and advice.
- They can use real-life examples. It’s one thing for a salesperson to say what their product can be used for, and it’s a completely different thing to have a real user explain a product’s potential. Your best customer can approach a lead, explain what they do, and show how they use your product every day.
- They have a personal connection with the product. Your best customers view your product as a part of their success story. They can proudly (and loudly) talk about how far they’ve come in their career, and explain how your product helped them achieve their success.
- They know the hidden selling points. Maybe yourbest customer thinks your product is pretty. That might sound silly, but to a new lead, small but important pieces of information like aesthetic really matter, especially when they’ll be using the product every day. Your best customer could tell a new lead what made that daily process easier with your product, and maybe a pleasing appearance is part of that.
You can end up learning so much about your product and how it could fit into a certain industry, just by spending some time watching an existing customer talk to their peers. This doesn’t happen by chance, though--customer relationship management is something that every sales team needs to work on.
How can you tap into your best customers’ selling potential?
- Find your top 5 customers. And no, that doesn’t necessarily mean your favorites. If you have a referral program, look at your top referrers. Who has driven the most good business your way?
- Interview them. Why do they like your product? How do they use it on a daily basis? What about your company makes them want to tell other people about you?
- Reward them! There are plenty of ways to reward great customers. Take them to a conference or convention and watch your referral program in action. Offer to fly them out to a network or industry meeting. Put your interview with them under your testimonials page: free press for them, and credibility for you! Include them in a new development project for awesome advice and other easy ways include giving a customer free upgrades or product features that other users don’t have, a free consultation session, or free goods and services.
Of course, I have to add that when rewarding a great customer, you shouldn’t expect them to go above and beyond and send a million leads your way. The main goal should be to express gratitude for all that they’ve already done for your business. If your rewards come from a place of thanks (instead of a “You scratch my back, I’ll scratch yours” mentality), customers will be way more grateful and appreciative of the gesture. They’ll be much more likely to continue helping you out (and doing even more) if they know the company truly values their business.