I bet you (or your people) have been on many training courses in the past that, whilst good on the day, failed to make a lasting impression or change. Many of us still have the handouts and workbooks stashed away in our drawers from long forgotten training sessions that have never seen the light of day since. So why didn’t the training stick? Why didn’t you or your people come bursting back into work making tangible changes and improvements? It’s because you need the following essential elements in order to make training really stick. Continue reading
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
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
No I’m not talking about my customers or even yours.
I’m talking about you and me.
I want you to take off your business hat and put on your customer hat and look at service through those eyes.
As buyers, we receive poor service all the time. We expect and accept shoddy service and broken promises as standard. We are amazed and surprised when we get the rare glimpse of terrific service. Continue reading
No company owns a customer. At best you get to ‘caretake’ them until they no longer need you or a better offer comes along.
Most customers are like cats; they come when they need something, have little loyalty (and several ‘owners’) and are easily tempted away by a more tasty meal. They know you need them more than they need you and that there is always a better offer to be had somewhere else.
Now dogs on the other hand, they are so loyal it hurts. You can shout at a dog and it still looks at you as if you are the most magnificent and lovable thing in the world. They don’t eat anywhere else or have several ‘owners’, in fact they will bark to defend you and scare off any threat to your union.
When it comes to customers, we need more dogs! Continue reading