When I began my career as an entry level salesperson for a major oil company I was required to debrief every single sales call. Back then I dictated everything into a recording device. It was then transcribed and circulated to the sales and management team.
The debrief is a skill that surprisingly few people practice.
The reason I know this is because while operating my mainstream, brick and mortar landscape business I had to teach this practice to nearly every new team member. Naturally, I also made it one of our standard business practices.
Debriefs Give You and Your Customer Confidence
These days there is no excuse for not taking a moment to record what happened that worked, and that didn’t.
You can use mobile apps such as Dragon Dictation, dictate or write an email to yourself, or simply write down your notes and send them to Dropbox or wherever in the cloud you like to store your content using the Genius Scan app.
Ideally, you should be saving this information into your Customer Relationship Manager (CRM) to build a history of your interactions with every customer, and the projects you are executing for them.
If you just invested an hour or more with your customer, doesn’t it make sense to take a few minutes to capture the most relevant outcomes?
Part of our landscape sales process was to take a few minutes after our meetings with prospective buyers to compare our respective understandings. Invariably, we had the same understanding. This gave us confidence for successfully moving forward.
In my work now as a professional speaker I share my assessment of our collaborative efforts with my clients.
They loved getting this unsolicited and honest feedback. More often than not they too respond that their analysis from audience evaluations was congruent with it.
Congruency builds confidence and closes deals, but it won’t just come to you. You have to actively find it and capture it in writing. .
Most important is to WRITE DOWN your immediate thoughts while the experience is fresh in your mind. Fortunately, my plane ride to the next destination is an ideal time for doing this.
This is the single most important tactic for refining your sales process, especially if things did not work out as planned, but also to capture what worked out well. You may not forget what didn’t work, but you will easily forget those little things that can make your work with future customers even better.
Write it down and use it to refine process.
How a Customer Debrief Works To Build Trust
It’s simple. Just ask yourself (or with your team) what worked – and what didn’t.
#1 – Start by writing down the first thing that comes to mind. Give it some thought, but don’t overanalyze.
#2 – Keep writing. This will liberate your thoughts as you relive the experience. If hindsight is 20/20, then this is a great way to capture new insights.
#3- Jot down trigger words. You will discover there are certain words or phrases your prospective buyers repeatedly use. When writing them put them in quotes to indicate they are the exact words they used.
When you next communicate with them after that, use these exact words. They will resonate, and instantly communicate that you understand them in a meaningful way.
Listen, understand, and acknowledge. I’s a surefire way to build trust.
In a world where so many are just scratching the surface, the ones that go deeper will win the trust and loyalty of their prospective buyers.
Should your sales and marketing teams be debriefing and learning from their interactions with customers?
Jeff is also the author of Built-In Social: Essential Social Marketing Practices for Every Small Business – (Wiley 2013)