I know, you're thinking that every one of these articles should be about successful salespeople, or managers. What to look for, who to hire, who to avoid...right?
Well, it's just as important to understand who the BEST customers are, and why....so let's dive in.
1. They are available - In our industry, you need face time with your customers. You need time for education, for follow up, and for relationship building. Those customers who won't give you time to do that limit how successful you can be. When you have a customer that does make themselves available, it's up to you to maximize the value of those interactions....but at least you have a chance. Presence, not presents is the key to success in home care.
"Presence, not presents is the key to success in home care...."
2. They are loyal - The best customers are the ones that see the value in a relationship with you. They understand what makes your agency a good fit for their needs, and they don't stray by "spreading referrals around" in some vain attempt to "be fair" to all agencies. Did you ever go to Wal-Mart and have them tell you to go buy your dog food at Target so they could "be fair" to other retailers? Of course not! Great customers stick with you because you fill a need, do it well, and act as a true professional
3. They are open to listening - The best customers are the ones that are open to listening and learning When I qualify a prospect who tells me they refer 2-3 patients to private duty services per month, I know I have an opportunity. When I see that they could (and should) be referring 12-15 per month based upon the types of patients they are discharging, the best customers will listen to me, understand why I'm saying this, and at least be open to making a change.
4. They communicate with you - Especially when things go wrong. The best customers will tell you what's going on, without pulling any punches. What they like, what they don't, and what you should be doing to work more closely with them. Remember the old customer service adage "If they complain, they care". I want my customers to tell me what I'm doing right (so I can do it elsewhere as well) and what I did wrong (so I can fix it). It's of no value to me for someone to stop referring because they had a problem with my agency, yet tell me "Nothing's wrong....we just haven't had any referrals" for months afterwards. They talk, I listen, then....maybe I can fix what went wrong.
'Remember the old customer service adage "If they complain, they care".....'
5. They tell others about you - This is the BEST type of customer, the one who will not only work with you, but tells others to do the same! When your customers makes this leap they go from "customer" to "advocate"...and that's a powerful ally to have in building your business. When you tell someone why they should work with you, it's expected. You are a paid spokesperson for the company. When one of your customers is willing to do it, it carries so much more power because they do it without being paid. When you have these advocates, treasure them and treat them like gold!
There you have it, the 5 things you should be looking for in your best customers. If you don't find all of these traits in any of your customers, it might be time to adjust your sales approach so that you are creating relationships that benefit you, them, and their patients.