In the game Legend of the Five Rings, based on a fanciful version of medieval Japan, there is a concept called Sincerity. The idea is that it is more important to appear sincere than to actually tell the truth. Our culture has a bit of this as well. It is very important to appear to care, often more important than actually caring.
What do I mean by this? I care about my customers. I would never want to sell a customer a car that would not meet their needs because, although the consequences might not come to me, I would know that I had done something to harm my customer, and it is my duty to make my customer better off. Even if there is more money to be made, I must do what is best for the customer.
The customer does not know this. While, in the long run, this will benefit me, most customers will never realize that this is going on in my head. This means that all the true caring in the world will not generate the benefits of appearing to care with acts like calling on a customer’s birthday, sending thank you notes, and remembering small details.
This is why we have a Customer Response Management software or CRM. It keeps track of things like birthdays, purchase anniversaries, and little Jimmy’s dog’s name. Of course, I need to actually care enough to use the CRM to prompt me to send those birthday cards, but the fact is that it’s not me remembering these details.
This has important implications for both customers and salespeople. For customers, the takeaway is that it is very easy to appear to care, to appear sincere, without having any concern for the customer’s well being. The fact that your realtor calls you on your birthday means that she is smart and has a good CRM system. It may mean that she cares, or it may mean that she knows good business.
For salespeople, the takeaway is that, while some customers will see that you care about their well being, those little touches will make a lot more difference to how many orders you write up than the good, ethical thoughts in your head.
While being a good person and caring about people makes you a good person, crossing the T’s and dotting the I’s makes you a good salesperson.