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How To Take Effective Notes During A Client Meeting

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bMany salespeople ask us about the best way to broach the subject of taking notes in a client meeting. Some actually state they’re worried about asking or simply taking out their notebooks because it may put the client off or slow down the meeting.

Also, some have asked whether it’s OK to use a tablet rather than a notebook, or whether it may look a bit pretentious to use such technology.

Actually, I’ve never met a customer who has objected to me making notes during a meeting. It’s a natural thing to do, but still some may not know how to do it effectively. Here’s my take on making it look professional:

A Chinese proverb states, “The faintest ink is better than the greatest memory”. Just like an Ed Milliband speech, you don’t want to miss out something important in your records. So it is always good to have some form of record of what the meeting was about

The way to approach it is, at the start of a meeting take out your tablet or notebook as if it’s the most natural thing in the world.

As you open it up, establish eye contact and say “You’re ok with me taking notes, aren’t you?” Say it as if it’s a foregone conclusion the obvious answer will be “Yes, of course!”, which it almost definitely will be. (I’ve yet to come across a prospect who has said, “Actually, I would like you to memorise my every word rather than write them down!”)

The benefit of taking notes is that you can control the pace of the conversation. If the prospect sees you writing, they are more likely to slow down rather than race ahead. Also, they may take more time to consider what they are saying, if they know that each word may be dissected and transcribed.

Write down only the key points. You’re a consultant, not interviewing a star for a front-page tabloid story. The main points are those things that are most important for you to remember and will help you assimilate the solution for this specific client.

Writing notes will help you resist the temptation to interrupt, as you will be concentrating on what they are talking about rather than thinking through what you wish to say in response. It actually changes the whole complexion of the conversation and turns you into the listener rather than the salesperson. This will aid you in building rapport, rather than losing it, as many people think when they take notes.

When you get to a specific point, you can then take control by saying something like, “So, Mr Client, what I see from our discussions so far is….” and you can then cover the main points so the client can see you’ve really appreciated the situation from their viewpoint.

After the meeting, use your notes to be absolutely clear on the needs of this specific client from this meeting. If necessary, link them up with notes from other meetings you may have had from them, so you can see the connections and identify the way forward from now on.

As you can see, there isn’t really any need to feel nervous about taking notes. They are simply another way to show the prospect how important you see the discussions. Done correctly, it will add to your professionalism and help them see the benefits of dealing with you, the real consultant.

Happy selling!

Sean McPheat

Managing Director
MTD Sales Training
http://www.mtdsalestraining.com

(Image courtesy of dollarphotoclub)

Posted in Sales Meetings | Tagged , | 1 Comment

Why The Lowest Cost Can Sometimes Be The Riskiest Option

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economía y finanzasWe all know that when you buy a cheap solution, you are also losing something that paying extra would bring for you. But many people buy cheap because they don’t see the worth of paying extra.

A friend of mine refuses to buy high-ticket brands because, as he puts it, ‘paying for the name doesn’t make people feel any different about me when I wear it’

So, what he’s referring to is that he doesn’t see the worth of paying £30 or £40 for a branded tee-shirt when we can get a perfectly good, cheaper one without the name on.

‘Worth’ is in the eyes of the buyer, and if that worth isn’t built, the result will be one of ‘it’s not worth it to me’. I suppose that explains the success of L’oréal’s catchphrase ‘Because you’re worth it!’ on their adverts…they’re trying to make you feel that you, personally, are worth paying more for yourself, and hence increasing your own worth.

John Rankin’s quote comes to mind. Written over 150 years ago, it still sounds as if it could have been written yesterday:

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Sound advice. Today, we say that if you buy cheap, you also buy risk. The risk of the item not doing what you intended it to do; the risk of it failing more quickly; the risk of it not providing the results you intended.

Your customers, when they say they want the cheapest, often mean they want to see the best value in the product or service. Your questions have to revolve around what they see as the best solution for their situation. If that means the initial investment or the overall costs being higher than what they originally intended to pay, it should be clear to them what risks they are overcoming if they go with your solution.

A minimising of the risks may well be worth more than the extra costs. That should help them see they are getting good value.

Happy selling!

Sean McPheat

Managing Director
MTD Sales Training
http://www.mtdsalestraining.com

(Image courtesy of dollarphotoclub)

Posted in Sales Tips | Tagged , | Leave a comment

7 Ways To Destroy The Relationship With Your Client

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Two young businessman boxing againts dark backgroundCustomers often judge us by the quality of the back-up service we offer. If everything goes well before we actually start working with them, they may see fit to buy our products and services.

The proof of the pudding will be after the deal is done. If the back-up isn’t there, we may as well say goodbye immediately to this customer being loyal to us.

Naturally, good quality service is the requisite for customer satisfaction. It got me thinking, though, about all the poor service we’ve experienced, and I have devised an acronym on the word ‘service’ to remind us of what we shouldn’t be doing. All these will destroy customer relationships:

Sloth: The dictionary definition is “habitual disinclination to exertion; indolence; laziness”.  A good work ethic is essential to excellence in sales. If you don’t want to work, feel that it’s just too much effort, or that good enough is good enough, then maybe sales isn’t the right career for you. Being lazy on things like quality of communications will simply tell your customer that you don’t care and you don’t deserve their attention.

Excuses: Passing the blame onto things that you feel are the cause of problems and lack of opportunities is the epitome of a poor sales attitude. A blamer will never think that anything is their fault and that the whole world is conspiring against him or her. They will blame the economy, customers’ lack of decision-making, the quality or price of the products they are selling – in fact, anything that means the blame doesn’t fall squarely on their shoulders.

Lack of Responsibility: Following on from ‘Excuses’ comes the age-old failure to accept responsibility for things that go wrong. It may not exactly be your fault that the traffic caused you to be late for the appointment, or that the competition have a better/cheaper/more cost-effective offering than you, but you still have the ability to respond (response-ability) to anything in a way that drives towards solutions rather than concentrating on the problem.

Vicious Circle:Sales people who wallow in their own pit of despair caused by the above are also quick to find themselves in the vicious circle that perpetuates their poor and negative attitude. One bad result leads to another, poor attitudes build further obstacles, one negative customer turns into the whole world being against you, and before you know it, the circle comes around again and the negativity continues.

Incredulity:The inability to grasp the real situation for what it is and deal with it so you can see the causes of the problems and deal with them. We often see salespeople who lack responsibility and make excuses fall into the vicious circle of not believing it’s their fault for anything that goes wrong. Being incredulous blinds you to possibilities and doesn’t allow you to see past the current obstacles.

Cocky Attitude:Seen in many networking events where the salesperson feels they must justify their claims of being number one in the industry. We’ve all met them and have a negative feeling towards them. Customers then say, Yes, your product may be better than the competition, but show us the results it will get us, rather than just overloading us with details of how good it is. Being cocky will just make people think you’re a fool and won’t believe your sometimes-outlandish claims.

Egotistical:No-one likes a big-head, simply because great salespeople don’t need to tell anyone how good they are; they simply deliver results that speak for themselves. When a person’s ego gets above their station, we tend to think badly of them because it often hides a feeling of insecurity that needs to be covered up. A great salesperson will not try to prove he or she is great by being the loudest or most brash, so that people will hear them. The ego needs to be kept in check or others will see you for what you are…someone to be avoided!

So, that’s my take on the antithesis of a great ‘service’ provider. I’d love to hear if you have some other words that would fit the acronym.

Happy selling!

Sean McPheat

Managing Director
MTD Sales Training
http://www.mtdsalestraining.com

(Image courtesy of dollarphotoclub)

Posted in Customer/Client Retention | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Why Customer Experience Is So Important For Your Success

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wHave you a favourite restaurant? Car dealership? Clothes Shop?

If you have, it’s probably because of the products they sell and the people who run it. Overall, though, we judge our favourite establishment by the experience we have when using it.

These experiences build our relationships with people, companies and businesses. Relationships are made up of touchpoints and touchpoints are experience-driven. It’s safe to say that touchpoints are the key building blocks of experiences.

Touchpoint Metrics defines touchpoints as “every point of contact—online and off; each communication, human resource, branding, marketing and sales process initiative creates touchpoints. The quality of touchpoint experiences drives perceptions, actions and relationships.

Intervox Group relates customer touchpoints to relationship cycles and defines it as “all physical, communication, and human interactions that your customers experience during their relationship cycle with your company.

Touchpoint Experience relates touchpoints to time and sees touchpoints as “every point in time the customer ‘touches’ or connects with your company throughout the entire product/service delivery; pre-, during and post-purchase

Touchpoint is a point (what/who) that is touched via any channel (when/where/how) for a purpose (why). So, it is every point of interaction, internal and external, seen and unseen.

So, we could define it as simply “interaction between 2 or more entities which happens anytime any place by any means for a purpose.”

The way we create touchpoints for customers will determine how they feel about us, our products, services and offerings. As these series of touchpoints equate to an overall experience the customer goes through, they epitomise the very essence of how we treat the customer.

It could involve how the phone is answered to them, how they are greeted face-to-face, how long they have to wait in a queue, how they are treated if they have to complain, and countless other opportunities that occur when we encounter a customer interaction.

So, identify what points of contacts you personally are responsible for. Help create a special feeling at that point so the customer remembers it. Identify what could be improved. Be creative in how these touchpoints could be developed and you enhance the experience that every customer has when dealing with you.

Happy selling!

Sean McPheat

Managing Director
MTD Sales Training
http://www.mtdsalestraining.com

(Image courtesy of dollarphotoclub)

Posted in Customer/Client Retention | Tagged , | Leave a comment

10 Ways To Get Your Customer To Commit To The Sale

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shakerClosing is seen as the holy grail of any sales interaction. It gets the order, or at least progresses the sale onto the next level.

Securing some form of commitment from someone is a great feeling, as you have proved your worth and changed their lives and businesses to some degree because of the changes you will be providing for them.

But it isn’t always that easy, of course.  So, here’s a checklist that you can use before you make any attempts to secure commitment from your prospect:

- Have I built up enough value in your products and services for your prospect?

- Have you discussed the money value of the solution? (Cost savings, productivity, etc.)

- What other value is there? (Health and safety, non-monetary improvements, etc.)

- Do you genuinely believe your solution is the best one for the company you are working with?

- Does the customer understand and value the benefits of the solution to their business?

- Can you clearly demonstrate those benefits quickly and easily?

- Can you support those benefits with evidence from real examples of other companies you have helped?

- Is a decision to buy your offering better than a decision to use another company?

- Have you minimised the risks to the prospect in making this buying decision? (Financial, time of implementation, loss of productivity, etc.)

- Have you created enough urgency to encourage the prospect to move forward now? (Impact of not choosing you, etc.)

By achieving these levels of fulfilment, you create a real need in the prospect’s mind and allow for a further development of the relationship, as you build value in your products and convince your prospect that the best thing for them to do would be to make the wise decision and choose you!

Happy selling!

Sean McPheat

Managing Director
MTD Sales Training
http://www.mtdsalestraining.com

(Image courtesy of dollarphotoclub)

Posted in Customer/Client Retention | Leave a comment