Monday, December 20, 2010
Friday, December 17, 2010
Today is the last post of 2010 on the Sales Is Not For Sissies Blog. I decided it might be fun to wrap up 2010 with the first KeFactors Friday post that Ms. Lucy Key ever posted for us.
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, December 16, 2010
Wednesday, December 15, 2010
- Too much contact: 35%
- Lack of knowledge about the products and services the rep sold or what the competition sold: 20%
- Lack of industry knowledge about usefulness of the product/service to customer: 9%
- Overly aggressive sales style: 8%
- Customer forgotten/ignored after the sale: 8%
- Other: 20%
Number one on the list--too much contact--is all about the value you bring. If you don't bring enough value, customers perceive sales calls as wasting their time.
To bring more value, plan better calls. Ask yourself, "How can I help my customer get a raise?"
Salepeople who help their customers earn raises are welcomed with open arms.
Tuesday, December 14, 2010
On Friday, November 5th, I arrived at the Atlanta airport by 6:35AM. I checked my bags by 6:40. At 6:45, I walked into the Brooks Brother Store near Delta’s check-in area. Before the clocked hit 7:00AM on the dial, I spent $198 for a gray suit jacket to expand my working wardrobe.
As I handed over my credit card, I didn’t worry about price or wonder if there was a better gray jacket to be found at another store. I was happy to spend the money because buying clothing at the airport at the crack of dawn saved me time.
We’re all short on time and we all want more of it. Even when buyers claim they need a low-priced option, most of them really mean they want the lowest acceptable price taking the least amount of time to find.
What does this mean for sales professionals?
It means all of us need a time-saving component in our selling scripts. “Customer, we save you time because . . ."
• We’re easy to deal with.
• We’re watching your back.
• We are experts at this.
• We eliminate problems.
• Customers get what they expected to get.
• Customers like the end-product.
More time is the one thing everyone wants to buy. Selling your time saving advantage helps you sell more.
Monday, December 13, 2010
This place is right in the middle of a poverty stricken area, and initially, as I drove to get there, there were mangy dogs running wild on the street. I would have been more comfortable in a suburban Marriott Courtyard, but figured God had a plan.
The thing to remember in situations like that is, it's good to be uncomfortable once in a while because that forces you to examine your thinking and your prejudices. Overall, it was a great trip and a very cool experience.
Friday, December 10, 2010
Good intentions often make us say things we shouldn’t, especially when the pressure’s on and the customer’s complaining. Here are some common mistakes—no, here are some deal killers:
Denying the customer’s right to his experience. A common mistake is to blurt out variations along the lines of, “Oh, that’s not true!”… “I’m sure our employee didn’t mean it that way!” … or “No one’s ever complained about that before!”
• What the customer hears: “You better prove you have a case before I believe you enough to help you.”
• What’s better? Listen. Your job at that moment is to fully understand the customer’s experience of the problem.
Blaming the customer. This can happen subtly, an accusation made via implication or nonverbals, but just because it may be inferred or unspoken does not mean the customer hasn’t picked up on it. “Well, we could’ve gotten this done on time, but we didn’t get your content until a week after it was promised to us.”
• What the customer hears: “It’s all your fault. You’re not easy to work with.”
• What’s better? Alert the customer to budget or timing concerns before they become issues, and remember you’re in the business of providing solutions. You’re not there to ward off imagined litigations by assigning blame.
Typecasting the customer. This happens in the most egregious circumstances, when the workplace culture has become so politicized that an adversarial “us-them” attitude has developed. Customers are outsiders, therefore they’re “idiots”… “crazy” … “ill- informed”….
• What the customer hears: They don’t need to hear anything. Sooner or later, that attitude of condescension or resentment seeps through employee pores and taints interactions with your customers.
• What’s better? Workplace culture attitude adjustment. Better make it quick too.
Thursday, December 9, 2010
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Wednesday, December 8, 2010
Tuesday, December 7, 2010
Monday, December 6, 2010
Customers are more likely to be price-sensitive when:
- They see little differentiation in the product they're buying.
- Service levels are about the same among their vendors.
- Products or services are easily compared.
- Make it more convenient to buy?
- Deliver it quicker?
- Prove you're more reliable?
- Reduce risks?
- Include something for free?
Friday, December 3, 2010
Perfect lives do not create interest. Few movie blockbusters or bestselling novels are based on perfect people who lead perfect lives, free of danger, ill will, or distress. Such stories don’t entertain. There’s no suspense to them.
Just because a TV program’s called a reality show doesn’t mean it honors reality. Most reality shows are loosely scripted—but scripted nonetheless—for friction, elimination, rejection, and confrontation. Consequently, reality show players are volatile, quick to fly off the handle. They confront before they have all the facts and offer up behind-the-back candor. There’s also a great deal of name-calling and cussing, and the sort of behaviors which—if you saw it out in public—would make you cross the street with your kids toavoid it.
The concern, of course, is that this bleeds into everyday life. Human beings are visually inclined and thus visually influenced. Watch enough people flying off the handle, and you come to believe it’s socially acceptable.
Who’d object if you blasted your horn at the driver ahead of you, slow to move after the light turns green? Did a co-worker irritate you? Maybe this person irritates everyone in the office, so what would be so wrong with blowing your stack at her? Maybe you’ve got a customer who’s constantly nagging and complaining, so dealing with him is exhausting. Who would hold it against you for confronting him with your objections to his behavior?
We’ve become so anxious about detecting how we’re being “disrespected,” we’ve forgotten what it is to give respect. Conflict is not a green light for physical, mental, or verbal abuse. As natural and inevitable as it is to experience conflict and anger, don’t give up your right to choose. Your reactions are your choices. Your reactions are within your power to choose.
The role of conflict in reality TV is to drive up ratings.
The role of conflict in reality is to tell us, “Something’s wrong here. Something important needs to be worked out.” How you participate in a solution says a lot about who you are, as a professional and a human being.