Laurie Liss is a flight attendant for Southwest Airlines who spends a good portion of her life making people’s days. According to an article by Lorraine Bailey which appeared in Southwest: The Magazine, “Laurie gives handmade travel pillows to active military members and veterans. When she flies, she carries a dozen of them in her bag. In November, Laurie will be part of Operation Freedom Bird, a trip bringing a group of Vietnam veterans on a healing trip to Washington, D.C. Laurie also participates in local projects to make superhero capes for kids with medical conditions.” Why does she do this? In her own words, “I’ve learned that you get back what you put in. Even small gestures can make a big difference in a Customer’s day.” We should all aspire to live our lives like Laurie.
- Turning Your Customers into Long-Term Friends: The Secret Sauce that Guarantees Repeat and Referral Sales [Kindle & Paperback Editions]
There’s only one way to become an outstanding success as a salesperson. It’s called repeat and referral sales. It doesn’t matter if you’re selling cars, real estate, insurance, pharmaceuticals, financial services or farm equipment. If you don’t focus your efforts on generating repeat and referral sales, you’re going nowhere as a salesperson.
Furthermore, there’s only one way in which you can get your customers to provide you with continuing repeat and referral sales and that’s by turning them into long-term friends. Let me give you an example: Joe Girard was a car salesperson for Merolis Chevrolet in Detroit. For 12 straight years Joe was listed in The Guinness Book of World Records for being the world’s best new car salesperson. During his final year of selling cars, Joe sold 1,425 new Chevrolet cars and trucks! That’s 1,425 new Chevrolet cars and trucks sold by a single salesperson during one calendar year! How did Joe do it? The answer is simple. 65% of his sales were to repeat customers and the other 35% were to customers who were referred to him by his repeat customers.
So, the year that Joe Girard got into The Guinness Book of World Records for selling 1,425 cars, how many cars did he actually sell? The answer is NONE! His customers sold them for him. Why? Because Joe took the time to turn each of his customers into a long-term friend. As Joe put it, “I stand in front of my product as well as behind it.” In other words, before you could buy a car from Joe, you first had to buy Joe. He wouldn’t let you buy a car from him until he turned you into a friend. Then, after you bought a car from Joe and you experienced a problem either with the car or someone at the dealership, Joe went to bat for you and personally saw to it that the problem was resolved to your satisfaction. Joe also made it a point to stay in touch with his customers after they bought a car from him; he didn’t forget about them and he made sure they they knew it. Yes, Joe truly loved his customers and they loved him back by providing him with enough repeat and referral sales to make it possible for him to sell more than 13,000 cars in 12 years.
As Joe said in his book, How to Sell Anything to Anybody, “All of my customers these days are people who ask for me by name. All of them.” You too can enjoy the same level of success as Joe Girard once you stop focusing on making sales and start focusing on turning your customers into long-term friends.