The Incredible Selling Power Of ‘The Silent Promise’
Every business, large or small, and every individual in sales, operates by a purpose…and only three forms of purpose are available:
The 1st purpose: To be pleased by customers means that although you probably have a positive work and service ethic…your main focus and talking point inside the company is about your budgets, your results, your success, your problems, the dubious need to ‘up-sell’, etc. You would never knowingly reveal this indulgent attitude to customers, but they somehow know that your real interest is in selling products and making money…as opposed to helping them to achieve the best possible results
The 2nd purpose: To appease customers means that while you are concerned about your internal performance obligations, you are also very much focused on serving customers well…and giving them what they ‘want’. The problem here is that what most customers want is rarely equal to what they really ‘need’, hence the term ‘to appease’. This weak platform results in most customers not having enough super, not having enough risk insurance, not having enough home insurance, not having the right lenses for their glasses, not having control over their finances, not having the best oral or hair appearance, etc. In short, customers are pacified, not satisfied
The 3rd purpose: To please customers means that while you are conscious of your own company/job aims and results, you are even more aware of what results customers really need…over and above what they ‘want’, including ‘good service’. Accordingly, your propensity is to work backwards from what customers need, which involves ‘down-selling’…and this in turn leads to many customers achieving a much better result than expected, plus of course your results are enhanced as well. The least that can happen when operating from this platform is that customers end up with just what they want, which is the starting point for the other two ‘purposes’.
In order to fulfil the 3rd purpose of ‘pleasing customers’, it is necessary to go beyond your open promises of providing good products and pleasant service…to the point of creating and delivering a silent promise to deliver far more than is expected.
In my work as a speaker at conferences, I operate by two promises: one is to stick to the brief provided and to deliver a presentation that the audience finds valuable and relevant. Both parties know this promise and if I fail to deliver on this pledge, I will suffer revenue and reputation problems. The second promise concerns my intention to go beyond what is expected of me, to the point where attendees find the presentation to be very enjoyable, also very interesting and very different to what they have heard before…and also very helpful, in a practical and immediate sense. The second promise is ‘silent’ because I am not in the habit of saying to organisers ‘By the way, the presentation I will give at your conference could be the best your staff have ever heard.’ Additionally, I can’t say to audiences at the start of a presentation, ‘Hi there, just before I begin I want you to know that this session is going to be seen by you as being very special, plus you are going to find the presentation very humorous…and I think you will probably find that what I have to say is first class.’ So I remain silent on my second and ultimate promise, however if I deliver on my private promise then the organisers and audiences are usually very public and vocal in their appreciation.
The 3rd and highest business purpose of ‘pleasing customers’ therefore involves a silent promise, and it must remain that way with customers…however the promise is spoken out loud within the business, between management and staff. If you have ever organised a surprise party for a friend then you will understand what I mean by the need to be silent with the friend, but very vocal behind the scenes with those who are helping you to deliver the surprise.
Most companies promise service but fail to deliver the unspoken promise of satisfying unexpressed customer needs. At the 3rd level, silence is indeed golden!