I get my hair cut by the same person every time, no matter what. It’s not a hard cut: I go with a buzz, four up top and three on the side. Anyone can do it, really. But I go to the same person every time.

Why? Because she knows me. She knows what I like, that I’m in the neighborhood, that I work at HubSpot -- all that. And, in turn, I know her. There are no awkward silences. She never does a bad job, and the experience is always delightful.

In theory, anyone can cut my hair. But when it comes down to it, a lot of stuff matters that has nothing to do with why I’m actually there (to get a haircut).

This experience got me thinking about sales reps, and how important it is they do more than just make a sale. Nowadays, sales reps need to deliver an experience.

If a rep wants a customer to keep coming back, they need to do more than just accept a contract. Granted, an excellent product can sometimes outweigh a bad sales rep, but a lot of customers are betting on the salesperson. This is who they trust. This is who they believe will help get them where they want to go.

So what makes a sales rep unforgettable? I think it’s a combination of the following five traits.

1) They offer help.

In recent years, sales has transitioned from an “always be closing” to an “always be helping” model, and this shift has been tremendous for the customer. Instead of someone just selling a product, sales reps have taken on the role of a teammate and advisor for their prospects. As Pete Caputa, vice president of Sales at HubSpot puts it, “Inbound salespeople focus on helping prospects even if it results in them not buying.”

Together, you and your customer can accomplish their goals. With your help, their revenue can improve, their home can look better, or their car can run smoother -- whatever their desired result may be. It doesn’t matter what your service is; offering help is critical to success.

We’re seeing a transformation in the world of sales. The buyer has the same knowledge as the seller. The only thing they are looking for is for help with the buying process. When you reach out with that warm email, this is your chance to offer assistance to the buyer.

Here are some key phrases to remember when you first reach out:

  1. “I can assist you with this decision about [enter subject]”
  2. “Do you need any guidance with [relevant topic]?”
  3. “How can I help you during this process?”
  4. “Would you like any clarification about [relevant topic]?”

2) They know their customers.

What’s the most important part of sales? Many experts argue that it’s knowing your customer or prospect. This idea of building relationships has come to the forefront in sales these past few years, and for good reason. Now, people are buying from folks they trust, and who know about their business. Tom Cruise might have said it best in Jerry Maguire: “The key to this business is personal relationships.”

Excellent sales reps have done the research, know a company’s market and strengths, and can help identify a solution to their problem.

Buyers value relationships. Today’s memorable sales reps know where their lead went to college, where they worked prior to their current company, and their favorite vacation spot. They take the time to ask personal questions and develop a bond that goes beyond the scope of a project.

Whether you’re doing your research on LinkedIn or in person, really dive into your customers’ and prospects’ needs, wants, and personalities.

Here are five questions to ask when you first meet a prospect:

  1. Where’s your hometown?
  2. What’s the one word you would use to describe yourself?
  3. What are your top three goals in life?
  4. What made you look into our service?
  5. What do you want to get out of this transaction?

3) They go the extra mile.

Whether it’s staying late to help with a support issue, following up to solicit feedback, or simply sending a “hey, how are you?” email, there are a lot of ways to show your passion for your customer and their success. According to Jim Cathcart, great sales reps are committed to the success of their client’s business like it was their own.

If you want to go the extra mile as a sales rep, there are a few easy things you can do. Start with sending quick emails to your prospects. Aim to do this once every two or three weeks, and hop on the phone at least once a month. Use these calls to solicit feedback from the customer on what they like, what they don’t like, and what they think could be improved. This is also a great chance to ask questions about life in general, and deepen the personal bond.

In addition, loop them in on added benefits. Whenever your service is doing something new, include them in the update and make a point to let them know that something unique is happening. Offering a first look can make all the difference to a prospect.

Finally, make a point of getting things right. Each time a customer comes up with a complaint, assist as best you can to solve the problem and put them in touch with the right person. Response time matters to customers, and being there as their sales rep is extremely important.

4) They use memorable words and phrases.

Sales reps understand that how they present themselves, what they say, and how they say it is crucial. Memorable sales reps utilize science-backed words that convert. For example:

  • You. This process is about the buyer, and the sales rep has to focus on getting that across.
  • Because. Because is the reason: “You need these new flowers, because you want your yard to look great."
  • Looking forward. Focusing on what lies ahead as a result of this purchase is important. Can they reach their goals with your product and how?
  • Value. Make it clear they are getting a great deal. This is a product that works very well for the price, and the customer will benefit by purchasing it.

In addition, think about buzzwords. What matters to your prospect, lead, or customer? What’s their need and how can you solve it? The more you can use the specific industry terms and descriptive phrases they’d use to explain their problem, the better.

To make the most of memorable language, come up with a list of five buzzwords to use during your first email or phone call. For example, if you’re a physical therapist, and your potential customer talks about having pain in their back, use words like “relieve” or “fix” or “improve.”

5) They assist and inform.

Modern sales reps have also taken on the role of teacher with their prospects. Buyers now have product information before they ever talk to a sales rep -- what they need is a salesperson’s expertise to make the offering work for them.

Memorable sales reps know their product or service like the back of their hand, which helps them give effective demonstrations and field a wide variety of questions. If you’re shaky on your product’s features or value proposition, recruit someone to get you up to speed. Make sure you know the company’s history, and that you can easily explain it to someone.

Finally, spend an extra few minutes with new customers to guarantee that they fully understand what they’ve just bought. While they’re still in the decision process, teach them tricks and hacks that they can bring back to their teams in order to make the most of your offering.

What makes me go back to the same person for my haircuts is the experience. I enjoy more than just the service. Similarly, sales reps today are being expected to take on the roles of a friend, teacher, and confidant, all wrapped up into one person. These are five easy ways to go above and beyond for your client, and become unforgettable. 

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Originally published Nov 3, 2015 7:00:00 AM, updated February 01 2017

Topics:

Emotional Selling