If you have ever brought a new born baby back home you’ll know that it doesn’t come with any training or even an instruction leaflet. The nurses pretty much hand the baby to you with the unsaid instructions of ‘keep it alive’. And that’s what you do. Guiding all your actions and decisions is the one directive ‘keep it alive’ even when you get to the toddling stage when the toddlers directive is to kill itself you still know that whatever it takes you have to keep it alive. So you bubble wrap all the sharp edges and barricade the stairs. We may all have different methods, but all parents are united in the one goal – help this child survive and thrive. So what has this got to do with customer service? Well I’ll tell you! Continue reading
Picture the scene, you are on a train platform and a fellow passenger smiles at you. They look friendly and professional enough, so you smile back. Then they quickly walk over to you and tell you how great they are at their job, how much of a catch they are and that they are sure they can make you happy. Then they ask you to marry them! How would you feel? Would you be shocked that a smile had developed so quickly into a proposal? Would you wonder why they hadn’t spoken to you first and got to know you a bit more? Whatever your initial thoughts, it’s highly likely that you would at best refuse and at worst run off!
This is exactly what happens when you connect with someone (either on LinkedIn or by another method) then immediately ask your connection to buy something from you or meet you for a sales appointment. This approach feels rushed and not centred around them and their needs.
Think of a sale like a romantic relationship. If you were on a first date and your date spent the whole evening talking about themselves and what they wanted out of life, you probably wouldn’t want to see them again. Everybody’s favourite subject is….themselves! So we respond well to questions about what we do, how we do it and why we do it. Find out a bit more about your connection in a genuine and authentic way. That way you can discover whether you have connected with a prospective buyer, a new friend or just a great connection to learn from. Continue reading
We all buy stuff all the time. Some things are habitual buys and others are more impulsive and spontaneous but they are linked by the same driver DESIRE!
A product doesn’t have to be sexy for us to desire it, we just have to directly link it to a need, goal or problem we have and it becomes desirable. Take rubbish bins for example, not sexy but desirable! The more needs something meets and problems it solves the more desirable it becomes.
People don’t always know what they want to buy but they always know the problems and needs they have. I see many examples of sales and marketing material that is too self-promoting, banging on about the company’s products and processes and not the buyer’s needs and goals. Continue reading
21st October 2015 is the date Marty McFly arrived in the future in the iconic film Back to the Future. Whilst we might not be whizzing around on hoverboards (well not in my town anyway!) imagine being Marty and glimpsing at future trends such as listening to our music on a tiny device that fits into a pocket or a company that customers can’t get enough of such as Amazon.
Great forward thinkers like Apple and Amazon (and many more) didn’t have a Delorean to take them into the future, but they did have the ability to anticipate what we would want even before we knew we wanted it! This great ability is called customer foresight and we all need to develop it in our organisations if we want to excel at selling and serving and remain one step ahead of the competition.
Most organisations have some insight activity focused on the needs, goals and problems customers currently have and how they can help them, but customer foresight is a different thing entirely. This is about solving problems before the buyer realises it’s a problem. Continue reading
Over the years I have run various customer services courses and as there was a demand for it, I supplied it. I rarely ran them as open courses because I wanted to ‘vet’ the companies to make sure they were ready for the training. The truth is that customer service ‘training’ is the last step for your organisation to take if you truly want to be customer centred (and then in the end you may not actually need it!).
Many call this process I’m talking about ‘Creating a Customer Culture’ and that in essence is what it is. I prefer to call it making customer care part of your DNA – where it drives your people instinctively, rather than you having to inspire it in them with initiative after initiative!
I’m including your sales and marketing functions in this too as from the customer’s prospective it is all service to them. And I’m also including internal customers because in business everyone who isn’t you is a customer. So that’s pretty much your whole organisation! Continue reading
When salespeople tell me they are still cold calling I ask them ‘When did you last buy from a cold call?’ Almost all say never!
If they want training on how to get passed gatekeepers I ask them ‘How would you feel if someone tricked their way passed your gatekeeper? Would you want to build rapport and buy from them?’ Guess how they answer that one!
We have a wealth of knowledge about how people buy because we all buy stuff all the time. If a fancy sales trick doesn’t work on you then it probably won’t work on anyone like you. Continue reading
No, I haven’t gone mad; I just want to show you that it’s a mindset and culture thing!
Most training courses consist of the sharing of tools and techniques to use and implement in your organisation. These tools rely on the desire, commitment and will of the learner to use them.
The trouble is it’s not that simple. If it was just down to learning the tools then we would have no problem selling, serving, losing weight, managing time, finding love or any of the other goals we want to achieve in life.
It takes more than that. It takes a real desire to want to do something differently or better and the right culture to do it in.
There is little point in JUST giving your people tools for how to give a great sales and service experience. They know what ‘great’ does and doesn’t look like, they see it every day as customers themselves. It has to go deeper than that. They need to understand WHY they WANT to do it. Continue reading
The key to winning back business is in service recovery and rebuilding trust and faith.
It’s rare that you can just pick up the phone and resell to a customer that no longer uses you. There will be reasons they no longer buy and they may not welcome a sales call from you.
Taking decisive service recovery steps are a must and even if your efforts don’t result in winning a lost customer back, they may help recover your reputation.
If they left you they were probably unhappy with something you did (or didn’t do) and unhappy people tell others. At one time I think the stats were that happy customers told 3 in 10 people and unhappy told 7 in 10. With social media you can add several zeros to that figure!
Try my 5 step service and reputation recovery method! Continue reading
Selling your existing products and services to your existing customers is the route of least resistance in sales. Plainly speaking it is the quickest, easiest and most profitable way to sell your products and services.
Whether it’s up-selling (selling a more expensive option) or across selling (selling other products in your range), maximising this area of selling will not only help you hit your targets more easily, you will also be providing better customer service to your buyers. Continue reading
The only way to be truly and consistently successful at selling is to adopt a serve mentality.
When you focus on how you are going to SELL then you are concentrating on your needs and desires. When you focus on how you can SERVE (show love to the customer) then you are concentrating on the customer’s needs and desires.
Now, if you are thinking I’ve turned into a love fest preacher, well I have and I am also a business woman and I need to balance all the serving and love with company goals, targets, KPI’s and managing people. Can you do both? Absolutely! It’s essential that you have them both and in balance. Continue reading