Treat customers like royalty if you want their loyalty

By J.R. Zirkelbach, New Leaf Service Contracts

I recently traveled to Rochester, N.Y., to provide on-site retail sales training for one of our valued BrandSource clients.

En route, the irresistible aroma of charbroiled hamburgers wafted across the parking lot from a nearby Burger King. I’m a man of a “certain age” now so I’m pretty careful about what I eat, and fast food generally isn’t on the list. But having consumed nothing but coffee all day, I made an exception and pulled into the drive-thru lane.

A young man’s voice came across the intercom, asking what he could get me. I gave him my order, which he repeated back. He then told me the total and stated very emphatically, “You rule!” A huge smile crept across my face and was still there when I got to the next window to pay for my burger.

As the woman there processed my payment, I told her how awesome it was to be told that I “rule” and we both had a good laugh about it. I then pulled up to the final window, where I was again greeted by the young man who had taken my order. He held out a paper Burger King crown and asked, “Would you like a crown? Because you’re a king!” I was totally blown away. I accepted the crown, complimented him on his enthusiasm and looked for a reason to visit that location again before leaving town.

The young man certainly was enthusiastic — so much so that it was contagious. And so contagious that I’ve been telling everyone about it since. I couldn’t help but smile, feel special and hope to do business there again. He likely represented the Burger King brand the way company leadership could only wish all its employees would.

That begs the question, how do you and your salespeople talk to your customers about the products and services your company sells? Are you enthusiastic or do you just parrot the words? Imagine if that young man thought to himself, “This is stupid, why do I have to tell them they rule and are kings?” and then let that attitude come across in his tone. I can assure you I wouldn’t be writing a column about my positive experience with him. It’s a reminder of what our parents taught us: It’s not what you say, it’s how you say it.

The same is true when asking your customer to purchase an extended service plan — your choice of words and enthusiasm have a tremendous effect on how she responds. Mumbling “Oh, by the way, we also offer extended warranties” as you write the order is essentially saying “Please just tell me no.” But what if instead you enthusiastically say, “We’ve got a great plan that extends your protection from the manufacturer’s one-year limited warranty to five full years. In addition to providing additional parts and labor coverage, it also provides coverage for things that the manufacturer doesn’t, like food loss and power surge. And the best part is, it’s only $199. Doesn’t that make sense?” How can your customer feel anything but excited about that offer?

Your customers rule, so treat them like royalty. Be enthusiastic when telling them about the terrific products and services available at your store. Do this and you’ll make a great impression, one they will tell others about, while creating a customer for life.

J.R. Zirkelbach is a business development executive at New Leaf Service Contracts with 30 years’ experience in retail. New Leaf-administered service contracts can provide an enhanced customer experience, earnings opportunities for salespeople, and increased profitability for BrandSource members. Contact J.R. at jzirkelbach@newleafsc.net.

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