The Relationship Comes Before the Sale

One of the unique things we do at my company is pick up and deliver printing jobs to our customers. Unlike many print shops, we go through the trouble to make it really easy for our customers to place orders and receive their jobs.

Yesterday I rode along with Roger, who is both our driver and a good customer service rep, and together we experienced a good lesson about sales:

The Relationship Always Comes Before the Sale

We visited a customer who had ordered some printed copies of a program.  This order was a good sized order with ten boxes of printed material and normally Rodger would have dropped it off himself. I rode along because this is a customer I really like and she had been worried about the deadline. In the down economy, I take every order seriously and I want all of my customers to know I’m thankful that I have them. In fact, I want all of my customers to think they are the only customer I have!

The customer and I talked for a few minutes about her dad’s health and a trip she was taking this weekend to see the beautiful trees change colors in the Smoky Mountains. We talked for a good fifteen minutes before talking about work and it was sincere conversation. When we finished talking, she gathered up copies of all her printed materials: thank you cards, post cards, folders, letterhead and anything else they regularly print and gave me copies so the next time the needed to reorder I would have a copy and would be prepared.

When we got back in the van, Roger was amazed. “Wow – that was nice she went through the trouble to help us print other stuff. It seems like you are good friends with her.”

The truth is we are friends. Like every one of my customers, I believe that if people like you and trust you, they will always find a way to do business with you. I work on building real, personal relationships with my customers first and selling second. I think in this day and age, real personal service and salespeople who take a genuine interest in you as a customer are hard to find.

Do you put your relationships before making sales? Do you have an experience where you use a company because they take a real interest in you?



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