Ever heard that famous saying, "For want of a nail…the war was lost?" It suggests if you focus too hard on the little mundane details, you may lose sight of what's really important—winning the war. But I'm here to tell you sometimes it’s the little details that really matter in building and managing business relationships and the "little things" can put you ahead of the competition when dealing with a buyer.
Buyers are busy enough before you walk in the door or give them a call. If you can save your buyer even a little time and effort, not only will they be appreciative, they will also remember that effort in the future. If you're sending out a booklet or catalog bigger than a couple of pages, write a quick personal note and make the message relevant.
Put your note on the inside cover or shoot the buyer a quick e-mail saying "Tom, the products you're interested in are on pages 45-48. Have a good day, —John Doe." Hardly any of the salespeople who called on me did this, and the ones whodid had a huge advantage when it came to choosing my rep.
In addition, a personal note increases the buyer's curiosity and the odds your material will be read sooner than later. When I received a 60-page catalog filled with junk I didn't ask for and no note from the seller, the catalog found its way to the far corners of my desk where, to borrow a line from Verizon, it was forever in "the dead zone."
Another little detail often overlooked: prepping for common buyer questions. Buyers often ask themselves these questions every time they receive a communication from a rep. Before the buyer has time to ponder the vast possibilities of answers to these questions, make sure you have a response lined up for them. Don't wait for them to ask; make sure you tell them in your introduction:
1. Why am I receiving this communication?
2. How did you get my name? (If it was a reference, name the reference so the buyer knows you are recommended by a trustworthy source. Example: Hi, John, Bill from Company B gave me your name and thought you would really be interested in…)
3. Do I know this person? (i.e. you! Have you met before? Been at a meeting together?)
4. Is this product important to me, the buyer?
5. Is there any reason I should pay attention?
Make it easy for the buyer to see the relevance of your communication, and your message will get read. These little things may not win you the war, but it keeps you in the battle.
What buyers want: assurance that time spent with you today can pay dividends tomorrow.