Friday, July 30, 2010

KeFactors Fridays: Why It’s No Longer Your Daddy’s Customer Service


Jeff De Cagna (Principled Innovation LLC) describes it as “the recalibration of society.” What does that mean?


Four forces are changing our world, another page in the story of man (ie, don’t try to fight this).


1. Globalization. What does it mean in human terms? Adult learning expert Elliott Masie illustrates with an anecdote: “I had dinner last night with colleagues from Europe. Most of them spoke four to six languages and most of them did business in many countries. I mentioned a price, and they could very quickly, in their head, translate it into euros, and two or three other currencies. Americans can’t.” Bottom line: Professionals must become truly global executives, not U.S. executives playing on a global stage.


2. Demographic changes. Over 15 years ago Atlanta became a stop for many of the world’s refugees, and I predicted an Ethiopian business coalition would soon become reality. And it has. As refugees and immigrants become entrepreneurs, and technology puts us in touch across barriers of time and space, so have markets changed around us. Bottom line: Serving a local homogeneous customer base is locking yourself out of significant economic opportunities. Local is global.


3. Complexity. Inevitable to pluralistic populations are bouts of turbulence as communities struggle to adjust to one another. One example is the need to learn quickly about other cultural norms and protocols for smoother business transactions: this involves suspending judgment and developing tolerance for ambiguities. Bottom line: Customer service will require alert employees operating under guidelines from a savvy management focus. It’s no longer enough to merely advise, “The customer’s always right.”


4. Customization. Recent TV commercials for consumer products speak to this. Everything from autos to auto insurance is modular, geared for personal customization. Bottom line: The belief that “one size will fit all” is, at the least, very complacent.


This is a time for learning and adaptability. It will only help your bottom line.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Five Tips to Make it Easy for Customers to Buy



  1. Don't ask for information that is nice to know but unnecessary. Prospects who feel they are being asked to invest more time than necessary will sometimes bail.

  2. Fill out as much information as you can on required forms for customers. It sends a subtle signal that says "When you buy from me, I make your life easy.”

  3. Anticipate what buyers need to know in order to eliminate risks and fully understand benefits. Provide that early on in a sales cycle, and you can often shorten it.

  4. Communicate what the client can expect in terms of service. Do you promise to return calls in one hour, 90 minutes or by the end of the day? Set reasonable expectations and live up to them.

  5. Provide referrals, even if the customer didn't ask for them. This simple step boost your credibility.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Everyone's a Winner

While, not everyone can win a free copy of "Selling in Tough Times," I wanted to find a way for everyone to be a winner. If you are interested in learning more about social media and Twitter in particular, e-mail your name and mailing address to melissa@thoughttransformation.com, and she will send you a free copy of "Twitter in Two Pages."

Good Selling!

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

And the Winner Is...

BETH



Congratualtions!! Please e-mail Melissa, melissa@thoughttransformation.com your mailing address.

You may not have won this time, but if you are still interested in getting your copy of "Selling in Tough Times" it can be purchased at amazon.com.

Monday, July 26, 2010

A Case Of The Mundays

You know when you've had a great weekend and you sometimes just don't feel like going back to work?!? Well, to cheer everyone up who's having a case of the Mundays, I've decided to give something away today. While you might be an avid reader of the blog, connected to me on LinkedIn and following me on Twitter, do you have a copy of my book, "Selling in Tough Times"?

Would you like a copy of my book "Selling in Tough Times" for free?? Leave a comment below, telling me about what you did this weekend and why it's so hard to get back into the swing of things. My Director of Marketing, Melissa, will choose the best comment and send you a copy of the book!

Friday, July 23, 2010

KeFactors Fridays: Don’t Overlook Your Human Capital

Most businesses are so intensely focused on developing new revenues, leadersand managers typically overlook a hidden corrosive that will cost plenty if left unaddressed.

Aggression is valued in sales teams—and why not? Sales really for “sissies”or the faint-hearted; it’s demanding, vigorous work.

But there’s a danger in becoming a workplace culture so reverent of aggressionthat it tips into tolerating or even encouraging uncivil behaviors.

Low-intensity incivility ranges from stealing someone’s food out of the break-room fridge to leaving shared work areas untidy and depleted of supplies. High-intensityacts include sending nasty e-mails, hogging credit, or yelling at and publicly humiliatingcolleagues and subordinates.

Intentional or not, incivility exacts a huge toll: authors Christine Pearson and Christine Porath (The Costs of Bad Behavior) state rudeness is on the rise and estimatethe tab at $300 billion/year for U.S. employers in expenses related to lost time, loweredmorale/productivity, and employees fleeing a toxic workplace.

Fact: Chronic offenders will alienate other employees. Teams need trust(“psychological safety”) in order to learn and to reach peak collaborative skills, andoffenders kill this, especially if they’re team leaders. Coping behaviors can includeavoiding the offender; withholding effort, help, or information; or sabotaging theorganization for tolerating the offender.

Fact: Witnesses to rude behavior register the same physiological stress reactionsas targets, and few customers will continue to do business with an organization thatpermits rude behaviors, even from their high achievers.

Fact: Employees who are habitually targeted by rude behaviors will leave, andthe costs of replacing them are high, to say nothing of the relationships and networks thatleave with them. Pearson & Porath’s formula for quantifying this: 150% the annual salaryof a low-ranking employee; 250% the salary of middle management; and as high as 400%the salary of upper management.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Guest Blogger: Emmanuel Trenche - Customer service is an art form sales reps should brush up on

Here are some other ways sales reps can exceed customer expectations after winning over new customers:

1. Understand and confirm what the customer expects to receive in full.
2. Communicate to the customer what is required from them to meet their expectations. (Don’t assume they already know!)
3. Collect and gather all necessary information up front to minimize inefficiencies and lost time.
4. Provide all of the necessary information to other departments working on the job.
5. Communicate and reiterate what the customer expects to receive to other employees working the job.
6. Address potential obstacles or production issues head on and provide alternative solutions whenever possible. (Don’t beat around the bush and don’t promise anything you cannot guarantee.)
7. Encourage service to take ownership of the relationship to minimize service breaks and exceed customer expectations.
Examples:
a. Include a thank you card with your shipment
b. Provide a savings coupon or an additional service free of charge
c. Send a box of cookies or treats with the order
8. Follow up with the customer to ensure you delivered a pleasant customer experience (If possible, over the phone. This is a great time to build rapport and talk about future work.)
9. Gather feedback from the customer to improve your service patterns and understand their overall experience with the company.
10. Track missed commitments to ensure that a root-cause analysis is conducted and that employees are properly trained.

Emmanuel Trenche is the Marketing and Communications Director for Rex Three, one of South Florida’s top commercial printers. Emmanuel is also the Diversity Chair for the Advertising Federation of Greater Fort Lauderdale’s board of directors. His professional background is in sales and marketing alignment by capitalizing on customer relationship management (CRM) tools and sales process configuration. If you'd like to contact Emmanuel, please e-mail him at
etrenche@rex3.com.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Guest Blogger: Emmanuel Trenche - Customer service is an art form sales reps should brush up on

There’s a big difference between meeting customer expectations and exceeding them. Many companies view satisfying customers as a priority, but as a marketer, I have spent a significant amount of time working on improving the customer experience because, ultimately, this is what keeps customers coming back.

One way to improve in this area is to look at the way you currently service your prospects and existing book of business. What I have found is that a successful customer service model should be two-fold in its simplest forms:

1. Win the customer over.
2. Exceed their expectations.

In numerous occasions, I have seen sales reps work hard to win customers over, but to fall short at exceeding customer expectations after the sale is made. Sales reps struggle with this because the task of exceeding expectations usually requires the effort of employees in other departments as well.


More tomorrow on other ways sales reps can exceed customer expectations after winning over new customers.

Emmanuel Trenche is the Marketing and Communications Director for Rex Three, one of South Florida’s top commercial printers. Emmanuel is also the Diversity Chair for the Advertising Federation of Greater Fort Lauderdale’s board of directors. His professional background is in sales and marketing alignment by capitalizing on customer relationship management (CRM) tools and sales process configuration. If you'd like to contact Emmanuel, please e-mail him at etrenche@rex3.com.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Guest Blogger: Melissa Richman - The Missing Piece

My entire career I have worked in marketing. It's a career path that has allowed me to show my creativity, while interacting with people. Although most people wouldn't consider the Director of Marketing a sales job, a great deal of what I do requires me to use some of the most basic selling skills. Whether I'm selling myself to a potential client or selling a story to an editor, I need to make certain how and what I'm saying is done creatively in order to help me stand out from the crowd.

Recently, my cousin, who is a medical sales rep, was telling me a story of how she creatively used to sell herself on interviews. On her way to the interview, she would pick up a round cookie cake, have the company write her name on it, cut a slice from the cookie and insert a piece of paper where the slice used to be that read, "The only thing missing from XYZ company is" with an arrow pointing to her name. She said it was a little bit of extra effort and she felt ridiculous walking into an interview with a massive cookie cake, however at the end of the day it made her stand out.

As the Director of Marketing for Thought Transformation, I am always thinking of new and exciting ways to get the company's and Linda's name out there. The best thing about marketing and marketing yourself or your brand creatively is that it doesn't have to cost a lot of money. Instead sometimes it just takes a little extra effort to come up with an out of the box idea. Coming up with creative ways to approach both current and potential clients might be the best approach to close the sale you are working on right now. Want to run a creative idea by me? Please don't hesitate to drop me a line - melissa@thoughttransformation.com.

Melissa Richman has spent her career working with internationally recognized clients on advertising and brand promotion initiatives. As the Director of Marketing and Communications for Thought Transformation in Atlanta and owner of her own public relations firm, Packaged Public Relations, Melissa enjoys working with new and small businesses to develop public relations strategies that reflect the needs of the clients. If you'd like to contact Melissa, please e-mail her at melissa@thoughttransformation.com. You can also follow her on Twitter @melsilas.




Monday, July 19, 2010

Guest Bloggers: Melissa Richman and Emmanuel Trenche


This week we are lucky enough to have two guest bloggers who know all about the world of marketing. Our very own Director of Marketing, Melissa Richman, will be posting tomorrow on the importance of adding creativity to your pitch. On Wednesday and Thursday, Marketing Director for Rex Three in Florida, Emmanuel Trenche, will be sharing his recently written article “Customer service is an art form sales reps should brush up on.”

We look forward to hearing from our marketing gurus starting tomorrow!

Friday, July 16, 2010

KeFactors Fridays

Lucy Ke, president of KeFactors, was recently a guest blogger on Sales Is Not For Sissies. Her posts and insight led me to ask Lucy if she would be willing to blog for us on a weekly basis. Starting next week, Lucy will be blogging on a variety of different subjects in a series we are calling KeFactors Fridays.

If you have any questions for Lucy or any particular topics you'd like her to cover, please e-mail her at LucyKe@Kefactors.com.




Thursday, July 15, 2010

Growing Your E-mail Marketing List


Here's a good article on unexpected ways to build your list organically. Happy reading!


Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Five Real Ways Salespeople Waste Time—and Lose Money!

What separates “best of the best” salespeople from the rest of the pack? It’s how they chose to use their time! Eliminate these time wasters and sell more.

• Stop calling on accounts with teeny-tiny payoffs. You know who I mean. That’s likable Bob. He’s the part-time designer who works out of his basement and still hasn’t upgraded from the original version of InDesign! He’s also the guy who has ten alternates on the business card job and needs sixteen papers samples—cut to size and dummied up—and after all that will tell you with great regret that he bought the job on VistaPrint because they were cheaper.


• Stop looking for leads from 8AM to 5PM, Monday to Friday. Those are prime selling hours. Use them to sell. If you need leads, look for them on the weekend or after hours.


• Stop spending hours on useless research. By useless, I mean stuff that is interesting to know, but won’t help you get an appointment or make a sale. To become a better researcher, write down the specific question you need answered in order to take the next specific step.


• Stop calling people 100 times without leaving a message. You have to call five to eight times before people believe you’re relentless. The faster you prove that by leaving a message, the faster they pick up the phone.


• Stop calling people who demonstrate by their actions they are satisfied with their current solution. If you have called a prospect twelve times in 90 days, mailed three times and sent five emails—TAKE THE HINT! They’re not interested. Let them go. Move on. You’ll sell more in the long run when you stop wasting time on people who obviously don’t want to buy.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Ten-Minute Time Management Tip

Some days you only have 10 minutes to make sales calls. When that happens, here's how to set priorities.
  1. Call any customer who is on shaky ground and shore up the relationship.

  2. Call customers who could buy significantly more at your price. Don't call customers who are giving you small amounts of business, and it's all you'll ever get!

  3. Call prospects who have met with you 3 to 5 times. Work on converting them into customers.

  4. Call prospects you have met 1 to 2 times and continue to work on qualifying and converting them.

  5. Call suspects. Work on getting new meetings to pour more in the top of the funnel.

Giving the right people time and attention will maximize your sales and your income.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Twitter in Two Pages

Did you take off from work on Friday and are just reading last week's post now? Since the goal of this blog is to help my readers, here's one last chance to get your free copy of "Twitter in Two Pages."

E-mail your name and mailing address to melissa@thoughttransformation.com.

Good Selling!

Friday, July 9, 2010

Friday Freebie: Twitter in Two Pages

Still not really sure what Twitter is or how it works? Then you might be interested in "Twitter in Two Pages." Thought Transformation's Director of Marketing has mapped out what Twitter is, how it works and what you need to do in order to start "tweeting" today.

Interested in reading this free, informational piece? E-mail your name and mailing address to melissa@thoughttransformation.com and she will send you a FREE copy of "Twitter in Two Pages."

Thursday, July 8, 2010

FRIDAY FREEBIE

Have you jumped on the social media bandwagon? Are you still confused about how social media actually works? Check back tomorrow because we are giving away something that can help you when it comes to learning more about Twitter and the best part is, it's absolutely FREE!

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

I'm on YouTube

Thought you might be interested in watching me in action. Good selling!!

YouTube - Print Excellence Keynote Speaker Linda Bishop

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Good Selling Email

I got this email trying to sell me. It was well-written so I want to share it along with my comments.



The email read:



Dear Linda,



I know I have emailed you a few times before, but I am still interested in speaking with you. You see, at Albrecht & Co. (an ASI Ranked ‘Best Place to Work’) we provide the means for existing business owners to get out from under all the back office work and provide them with the tools to grow the money they are putting in their pockets. We also offer the same benefits for sales reps in our industry that are looking for a better ‘home.’ The point on my email to you is simple; can you spare 5 minutes of time for us to discuss the possibility of working together? I think we would both agree that smart business people know there options. Even if you decide that Albrecht & Co. is not the solution you are looking for, I think we will both learn a lot from our conversations. I look forward to hearing from you, Linda!



Best regards,

Fred



Here’s what Fred did right.

• “Name-dropping” when he tells me his company is an ASI Ranked “Best Place to Work.”

• Benefit statement—he will eliminate back office work and make me money.

• Asked me to “spare 5 minutes.” It’s a small investment—which makes it easier to say “Yes.”

•Check out the statement “I think we would both agree that smart people know there options.” Grammatical error, but what the heck—it’s brilliant to find common ground.

•The “Even if you don’t want me, I think you’ll benefit” is smart too, because it makes the seller sound reasonable and not overly aggressive.



Fred’s email was 163 words. I’m trying to pare my selling emails down to 100 words or less, butit’s tough so no points lost. Did I talk to Fred? No, because I buy what he sells from my own clients. However, I did respond and told him if he ever needed sales training, I’d love to talk.



Good selling!

Monday, July 5, 2010

Every Buyer Has Problems

Every buyer has problems. Unfortunately, they don’t always meet the right salesperson to help them find the right solution.

To be the right salesperson, you must build enough rapport and trust to “earn” honest answers to questions. And, you must ask enough questions to fully understand the client’s problem.

This is a simple, yet powerful, question that few salespeople ask: “Mr. or Ms. Buyer, what is the biggest problem you would like to solve right now?”

Maybe you can help. Maybe you can’t. Unless you ask the question, you don’t know.

Friday, July 2, 2010

Happy Birthday America!

Enjoy your holiday weekend!


Thursday, July 1, 2010

Guest Blogger: Lucy Ke - Customer Labels

Customer. Client. Constituent. Donor. Stakeholder. Patient.

As much as labels tell us what is, they also tell us what isn’t—and therein lies therub, especially in customer relations.

Plenty of organizations make this mistake: they’ll allocate best resources to serve important customers, at the same time forgetting the value of each and every customer.Taking it a step further, for many organizations, their suppliers and employees are also customers. (How often have I seen on consumer complaint web sites, “I may have to work for these bozos, but I’ll never spend my money on their products or services!”)

Here’s another fact of life: organizations who habitually deceiveand mistreat their employees suffer the worst customer relations—because degraded, unhappy employees will, consciously or not, spread the misery around.

So what do you do?

First, get in the habit of treating everyone as a customer. Don’t differentiate: close the gap between customer and co-worker (or supplier). Hopefully this will mean areduction in phony cordialities, and an increase in spreading a habit of trust and respect.

Second, expect to be surprised. Unfailingly, human beings manage to do betterin life, so that delivery man coming through your service door may be working his way through school and could one day become a client.

It’s a matter of trust and treatment. Nobody does business with organizations forwhom every transaction requires a leap of faith. Without trust, nothing can really getdone. And we may forget the things ever said to us, but we never forget the way we were treated.

Lucy Ke is president of KeFactors, which provides leadership and customer service training, course development, and coaching for organizations eager to tap into their associates' talents and potential. With 30 years in design and marketing, Lucy believes in cultivating more strategic individuals for a more productive workplace. She can be reached at 404.444.0747 or LucyKe@Kefactors.com.