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Effervescent Sales and Service

November 5, 2012

At the end of my father’s industrious career, he was a coffee sales manager in Portland, Maine.  One Monday morning after a long weekend visit in 2006, I met him in the kitchen to wish him a successful sales day. With his effervescent personality he said, “Trace, I’m really going to get those dead ducks today and land us some coffee sales!”

My dad resembled Chevy Chase in a National Vacation movie – quirky, peppy and adorable. With his coffee cup in his hand, a smile on his face and a twinkle in his eye, he walked out the door ready to conquer the coffee-drinking-world by storm.  He was, and remains, my shining example of an enthusiastic sales person.

Shortly after that visit my father passed away unexpectedly. He was 66 years old.

I remember vividly the moment a big, beautiful arrangement of white roses appeared at the funeral home from the customer service staff at the coffee company. Later his boss approached me at the funeral and said, “Your father was one of our best salesmen, not because of his knowledge of the product or love for selling, but because he loved his customers and delivered excellent customer service.” All of a sudden the white roses from the customer service department made perfect sense. To this day, I grace my desk with white roses when I need my father to inspire my business week.

I learned some very important sales and customer service strategies from my father that have helped me in business since he’s been gone.

Here’s one lesson that is my father, through and through: Make Sure Your Customers Know You Care. In order to grow a successful business, your clients need to know they are important. Your customers should know you care about them. You do this by communicating with them frequently, making sure they are happy with your product or service, and fixing any problems they have immediately. It doesn’t take a lot of effort to make your customers feel important. What it takes is time.

Be Warm and Friendly:  In today’s automated world, personal communication is diminishing. Great customer service is not found in voice mail systems, e-mail messages and formal documents. Great customer service is found in personal phone calls, face to face meetings and heartfelt notes. Don’t forget that at our core, most people love communicating with people. Warmth, friendliness and attentiveness go a long way in today’s world.

Enjoy Your Job and Your Customers Will Notice: If you love your business, love your product, and  love being an entrepreneur, your clients will notice. Don’t underestimate the power of loving what you do.

Every day I am grateful for such a wonderful father.  I’m even more thankful for him on those I tough business days or when sales calls are looming. Those are the times I think about the wonderful example my father set for me.

Those are the times I think about the wonderful example my father set for me.  I remember to put a smile on my face, a twinkle in my eye, pick up the phone and say to myself “I’m going to land me some sales today!”

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