Sales reps know the key to increasing sales is to build relationships with their clients. We like buying from people we like.

In a post dated 8/29/12 by Christine Crandall on Forbes.com, Crandell writes that Fortune 100 buyers are relationship focused. She says that regardless of the industry, organizations place more importance on their vendor relationships than how well the product or service performs. This finding applies to the everyday consumer as well.

Certainly the product must stand on its own. But a successful business pairs a superior product with excellent customer service.

In a previous post (“Kitchen Rain” posted July 12, 2012) I listed several companies I use regularly. I rely on them year after year because they consistently complete a job as agreed and at a fair price.

I also feel comfortable with them in my home. There is a mutual respect between business owners, employees, and me. I like these people.

However it is not uncommon for small business owners to find it challenging to handle the business end while also physically providing the service. We recently had a major project done here where the main part of the work was done very well but the entire job was not completed. I left multiple phone messages over several weeks asking when the owner planned to return.

I later learned the owner was injured on another job and unable to work. His absence was for a legitimate reason but he left me wondering if the work would ever be finished. A couple of phone calls from him to inform and update me would have alleviated my concerns.

Customers want to feel special, as if their business matters to the owner. We want to be greeted with a smile when walking into a store or restaurant. We want the owner or employee to answer their phone, complete projects in a timely manner and as promised, and send an accurate bill within a reasonable amount of time. Also, it is a significant plus if they remember us in some way. These elements are crucial in a successful business no matter how large or small.

It’s simple, really. It’s called professionalism. Actually it is common courtesy.

©2012, Mary K. Doyle

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