Posts Tagged 'sales'

A New Standard Of Service

146A friend of mine recently asked me if I could refer a good attorney.  I have one that I have used with no real problems, and yet I hesitated to share the referral.  Referring someone is a very personal endorsement and your quality of referrals says a lot about you.  I had to ask myself why I chose not to send my friend to this attorney. 

The reason is not that he has done anything extraordinarily bad.  Sure he has been hard to get in touch with recently and hasn’t returned a few emails, but nothing unusual.  The reason is in fact that I have recently had such great experiences with some other professionals that it has sort of set a new standard of who I want to work with on a regular basis. 

For example, a call returned within 24 hours is absolutely good customer service for busy people.  In fact, most customers will not complain if they get a call back within the week.  And yet my financial advisor returns my call within an hour.  He returns emails within minutes. 

Another example is the idea of who the expert is.  Old school business says that it is normal for your doctor to tell you what’s wrong in a language you don’t quite understand, and then tells you what to do about it and you do it.  But wouldn’t you rather see a doctor that explains things in a way you understand well enough to re-explain it to your spouse, gives you several options along with his or her suggestion of which will fit your health needs best?  And what would you do if your doctor saw you within ten minutes of your appointment time and wasn’t in a hurry when he or she met with you?

Once you have had excellent experiences with other professionals, it’s just hard to go back and settle  for less.  I want to challenge you today to set the new standard of service in your line of work.  Be the one that people just can’t wait to tell their friends about.  Ask yourself how you can manage your time in a way that allows you to meet or exceed every time commitment you make.  I am watching business people with less experience steal market share from the old guard on a daily basis just by being willing to set a new standard in their line of work consistently.  Providing excellence in the ordinary is quite possibly the best and most affordable marketing tool you have & the good news is that you have the power to raise your own bar starting now.

Take Away:  Get creative about the little things you can do to communicate to your clients their importance to you.  Put yourself in their shoes and ask yourself what it would take to make them tell their friends about how “over the top” you are.

Discernment is not a matter of simply telling the difference between right and wrong; rather it is telling the difference between right and almost right.  ~ Charles Hadden Spurgeon

Advertisements

Tern On Yuor Spill Chuck Fur Krying Owt Luod

Today’s post is so simple that I hesitate to go here…but I am going none the less.  If you are in business, very few mistakes will kick your credibility in the stomach the way misspellings can.  Now I hesitate to throw the first stone here because I am by no means an expert in grammar and I have never won a spelling bee.  But I do recognize the importance of how written communication can affect the perception others have of me.  

Now to give you a little breathing room, most people you deal with are not grammar experts.  An occasional “I” instead of “me” is not going to train wreck your relationship.  But most people will recognize horribly misspelled words.  If a client is strongly considering working with you to help them invest, make a purchase, build an expensive home, defend a lawsuit, or do surgery…obviously misspelled words in your written correspondence says several bad things about you.  First, it says you may not be as smart as they want you to be.  Second, it says that you miss details and that you may miss important details on the project they are considering you for.  Third, it says that you were either too lazy or in too big of a hurry to turn on spell check.  For those of us who are phonetically challenged, spell check is a must.  And if a particular document like a resume or a bid on a large job are involved, go an extra step to have one or two other people review it for typos, grammatical errors, and an overall flow that is easy to read and understand.

The bad news is that most people are not going to tell you that you’ve lost their trust based on your inability to spell.  The good news is that if you have done this before, you are in good company and the problem is easily solved and will impact the perception others have of you immediately.

“Fast is fine, but accuracy is everything.” ~ Wyatt Earp

The Palin Principle: what can we learn?

While this is not at all a political post, I couldn’t help but be impressed recently by McCain’s VP Sarah Palin.  As she was giving a speech, you couldn’t help but see how much people liked her.  People were smiling and laughing while she spoke…in other words, they connected with her in a real way.  Do you think that all of these new Palin fans really understand and agree with all of her politics?  Probably not.  Do I think those same people will vote for John McCain simply because they connected with his VP in a very personal way?  I’m sure of it.

How does that apply to being in business and providing great customer experiences?  The answer is that when people do not understand the in’s and out’s of the business or service you provide, they will decide whether or not to trust you based on two things. 

Oneis whether or not they like you personally.  If their brain and emotions tell them that you are someone that likes them, and that they like you back…trust occurs.  It’s that simple.  It’s so simple that it is even dangerous.  People will trust someone that knows very little about getting the job done if they like them.  Learn to like people, and people will like you back.  Remember their names, their kids’ names, that they make great fruit tea, etc.  Decide that this is too elementary and that your credentials should speak for themselves, and you’ll always come in second place.

Second is that when people do not understand the in’s and out’sof your business, they will judge you by the little things they do know.  How fast you return a phone call equals how much they should trust you.  How fast you send them that email you promised is how much they will trust you.  Decide that you are beyond having to provide lightening fast follow through on the small stuff…and you’ll start noticing your old customers are around the way they used to be.

“The person who knows how will always have a job.  The person who knows why will always be his boss.”  ~ Diane Ravitch

Why Sell Ice To Eskimos? sales negotiation

Why sell ice to Eskimos when you can sell life jackets to drowning men?                                                                  

 So why would anyone boast of being able to sell ice to an Eskimo?  The Eskimo clearly doesn’t have a need for ice.  He will certainly experience buyer’s remorse when reality sets in.  And in addition to losing his future business, you’ll probably annoy the Eskimo.

A sale, in addition to the rest of life, is a negotiation.  We may not naturally assume this or even enjoy negotiation.  If, however, you are in any form of sales this is reality.  Due largely in part to my natural awkwardness when it comes to negotiation, I have been studying this subject for years.  Selling is negotiating.

In addition to many aspects of negotiation, I have a special interest in the area of sales negotiation.  I have learned one specific concept that has so influenced my life that I just knew that I wanted to share it with you.

 Instead of the Eskimo thing, wouldn’t you rather be in the position of selling life jackets to drowning men?  Don’t feel bad; you are not the cause of their situation.  You are the solution.  They need life jackets.  Wouldn’t you agree that the worst life jacket sales person in the country could close this deal?  Price will likely not be an issue.  And the drowning man will almost certainly feel good about the purchase for years to come… 

            So Jack, you ask, what is the point?  The point is that this sales person, or negotiator, has a tremendous POSITION OF STRENGTH.  He has walk away power while the drowning man does not.  POSITION OF STRENGTH could be defined as anything that you do to increase your opportunities and alternatives to a given situation.  In your career, this may include finishing that college degree, reading everything that you can get your hands on about your area of expertise, and even getting out of debt.  These types of things make you more valuable while making the sale less urgent.  Assume your job is lost today.  You are negotiating your compensation with a potential employer.  Wouldn’t you agree that having $25K in an emergency fund and no debt would take the immediacy away and you would certainly negotiate a better deal?  And what about your current employer?  If you are constantly investing in yourself by creating relationships and becoming indispensable, would a raise or promotion not be much more comfortable to discuss?

            In sales, if you are selling the right product (life jackets) to the right group of people (drowning men), you have a powerful POSITION OF STRENGTH.  You are now in control.  If you cannot afford to walk away from the sale, you have already lost the deal.

            This principle will translate into every area of your life.  If you are always working to increase your POSITION OF STRENGTH, you will be a better negotiator.  While the other guys are looking for the overnight method to greatness, you are investing long term into something that follows you and continues to build.  Don’t worry about the Eskimos.  Be ready for the drowning men because they are on the way…will you be ready??

Missed It By That Much!

Staying positive is a big deal to me.  So I try to catch people doing things right when it comes to customer service instead of looking for people doing things wrong.  The exception is when we can learn from a less than great customer service experience in order to win next time. 

Just last week, I was considering hiring a broker to help me purchase a vehicle.  He was out of state, so we had to interview each other by phone.  It should be mentioned that at no fault of his own, he was already at a disadvantage since most decisions are made based on non verbal communication.  So you might say I was paying extra attention to his expressions, responses, etc.  The purchase was a big deal to me, so I wanted to hire someone who understood that.  But as much as I needed his help, I chose not to hire him.  He lacked enthusiasm.  He just wasn’t interested enough.  And then there was one or two sort of sarcastic tones when I explained what I was looking for.  I think it shocked him when he didn’t get the sale.  He obviously knew his business well.  Yet, I’ve had so many great customer experiences lately that I just chose not to settle for any less.  Why work with someone who doesn’t value customer experience as much as I do right? 

Back to being positive…it was a good reminder to me that being an average sales person is never going to get great results.  The only way to rise to the level of the elite, the really wealthy, and the sought after is to always have your A game ready.  Sometimes it’s the slightest difference in how you perform that determines coming in first place or second…and in sales, second place is last place. 

First phone call gets the biz

In sales?  Like leads?  My business is connecting seriously interested consumers with seriously committed business people.  Sales people today are spending an unheard of amount of time, energy and money to generate referrals or leads.  But would you be shocked if I told you that a majority of small biz people today spend the time and money to make their phones ring & never return the calls?  It’s true. 

I was recently at a real estate confernece and the speaker said that nearly 75% of all the referrals sent to real estate agents never get opened

Even with our own referral program, even after we interview, screen and find the very best people in the business who commit to serve our referrals, the most difficult challenge is getting them to simply call the referral quickly.  Now because we are so hard on quick call backs, we now have a group that carry blackberries and call the referrals back often within 15 minutes, often while they are still at their computer (talk about a good first impression); but getting biz people to understand the importance of an almost instant response to an online referral is still an uphill battle. 

The great news is this:  If you will do this one thing ten times better, you will win.  You can have an average website, an ordinary name for your business, and speak highly of your own competition…and if you will find a way to have someone from your office call back every missed call or email within 5 minutes, you will win the customer every time. 

What we have learned is that when your customer does not understand the technical in’s and outs of the thing they are calling you to do for them, whether it be investing, taxes, insurance, real estate, car repair, etc., they will use something they do understand to determine whether or not to trust you.  An instant call back = trust.  A slow call back or no call back = no trust.  And once trust is lost, it’s lost. 

The only call back that’s more important than a first impression call back is a complaint or concern call back.  When an existing customer calls you worried because the stock market is dipping or because their car is making a funny sound…don’t miss this…everything is on the line.  A quick and sincere call back makes 95% of their worry vanish because they were afraid you would disapear once you had their money.  A slow or non call back confirms their worst fear that you were only interested in their money.

If you’ll do this one thing 10x better, your customers will not be able to wait to tell their friends that they’ve finally found someone they can trust.  It is the most important single thing you can do to win or lose your customers and clients.

“The person who knows “how” will always have a job.  The person who knows “why” will always be his boss.”  – Diane Ravitch


Subscribe to RSS

Top Posts

Advertisements