Just over 6 years ago, I wrote a blog about how a great CRM is like my wife. (In many ways, it was an ode to her.) Well start-wipe to today, and I still believe I hit the nail on the head with my analogy, but there is one new way this works. For a CRM to be great (and for your team to continue the relationship with a prospect) they need to have the last word in the conversation.
Yes, now my wife and I have been together a total of 21 years, married for 17, and darn it if my wife doesn’t always need to have the last word in every conversation or debate. (Read: I’m smart enough to not say “argument”.) And much like my wonderful wife, your CRM (and your team) must always get the last word in with a customer, not because it ends the discussion, but because it keeps it going.
Being the last one to say something has two benefits.
- In many CRMs, when a customer replies back, an alert or required action is automatically generated and expected from your team. Even if the customer’s response is “Thank you, but I bought elsewhere”, your team shouldn’t just dismiss it. A simple reply of “thanks for the chance to assist in your search. When it comes time for your vehicle’s first oil change…” Much like if a customer on the showroom floor were to say, “I’m just looking”, you don’t teach them to say “Well when you’re ready, I’ll be over here.” Of course not. You teach them to follow that up with a question. That’s what creating a dialogue is all about. Don’t let a customer’s email/text reply sit unengaged in the CRM or you’ll have tasks compounding in the CRM
- (Now – the most important reason. And this is where the “last word” in a conversation with my wife comes in.) If you’re the last one to comment, you are always the one in control of what the topic of conversation is, and it is up to the customer to respond back. The key is asking a question. (While rarely is the last word in an argument a question, in the CRM, it needs to be.) Take a text conversation, for example. If your team is engaging in text with a prospect, inevitably the time comes where things go quiet. If your last outbound text to them wasn’t a question, what are you even expecting from them to text in response? This is what it takes to keep the conversation going. Always be the last voice they hear, or the last text/email they read, and ensure it has a question to be answered. This way, if someone ghosts you (Read: the text thread goes silent), you at least know the customer is aware it is on them to respond back with an answer. It your last words to them were in statement form. “Yes, it has the tan interior”, then how do you know that is all they needed from you? You don’t! So be the one to end every response to a customer with a question.
This is what keeping a conversation going is all about. Never do you actually want a “last word” with a customer, but you certainly want to be the last to propose an offer, ask a question, or offer a favor. (Wives don’t want the last word. They just want to keep the conversation going to prove you care and to make sure you understand unequivocally that you’re wrong and they’re right.) You never want a customer waiting on you. It is much better to be waiting for a response from them. By asking a question and being the most recent to speak, at least both parties know who the onus is on to reply.
Make sure you get the last word with your prospects. Or, should I say, always be the one asking a question to keep the conversation alive. The person that does get the last word is always the one in charge. I’ve learned that well.