Putting the Customer First

August 10, 2012

One of the most important things I stress to my staff is to get out and see your customer’s “belly to belly” or face to face. The more time you spend talking to customers in person, the more you’ll know about their business and understand their needs. You’d be amazed how often I call on clients and learn that they’ve never met their sales reps from other stations – how can you truly know what the customer needs if you don’t listen to them in their environment? LISTEN, gain trust and credibility, and learn what they need, then WE can deliver!

Joanne Kurilla, an Account Executive with me here for many years, always says “don’t throw up on your customer”. I have to laugh at this saying, but it is absolutely true… you never want to force what we think is the next greatest promotions or idea on the customer, if it isn’t right for their business. And you shouldn’t just keep talking about everything going on with the stations right now, stop listening to yourself talk and start hearing what the customer has to say. Figure out what they need and then plug it in to what we can provide for them… make a customer, not a sale!

Do what you say you will do, and do it by the date you said you would do it! Commitment to your customers will build trust and credibility, which will get you the sale. React to your customers by building a package for their needs; within the time you said you would, and believe me, they will keep coming back to you. However, no one is perfect and customers don’t expect you to be perfect, but they do expect you to fix things when they go wrong. Learn to admit to your mistakes and fix them immediately. The biggest mistake you could make would be to try and make an excuse or attempt to cover up your mistake… make the customer and the issue your priority, fix it, and move on.

Putting the customer first is the difference between running a successful department and driving one into the ground. Although it is a very easy concept to implement, many people just can’t stop talking themselves out of a sale. All you have to do is stop and listen to the customer. Take a genuine interest into what they are saying.

If you are a good listener, then you will be a good biller. If you are a great listener, then you will be a great biller. By listening, you are indeed, putting the customer first, and that is what it is all about!

Marge Guglielmo is making Greater Media, Inc. great in her role as General Sales Manager of Magic 100.1 & 95.9 The Rat WRAT-FM in Belmar, New Jersey.