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7 Ways To Destroy The Relationship With Your Client

Posted on Have Your Say: Leave a comment?

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

Posted on Have Your Say: Leave a comment?

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

How To Differentiate Between What The Customer Wants & Needs

Posted on Have Your Say: Leave a comment?

business man writing concept of customerIn conversations with salespeople, we sometimes ask if they know the differences between prospects’ needs and prospects’ wants.

It may sound pedantic, but it can make a real difference in presenting solutions.

Oftentimes, prospects will confuse their wants with their needs and vice versa. Their needs often revolve around the business; their wants often revolve around their personal gains.

For example, they may say that they want a bigger discount from you.

You need to determine the reason for this. Just because your competitor is offering a higher discount, or is cheaper than you’re offering, is not a valid reason, or a need. You need to be absolutely clear on what the rationale is they are using to request this.

It could be they are simply being greedy. Or they have to justify the price they are paying to your boss. Or (and this could be the main need) they have to make more revenue and think that getting a bigger discount from you will help them achieve that.

So, here you have recognised that the real need is to increase revenue, and they want you to increase discounts in order to achieve that end goal, or need.

It may be possible, then, for them to increase their revenue by selling more of your products, and identifying how their business operations can be adjusted to accomplish this could be a way forward.

It entails being a consultant to their business, rather than a salesperson of goods and services. But it offers a level of service that other competitors may not have offered before.

A need, then, outweighs a want in its achieving of business goals. Determining how you can uncover those needs creates a closer relationship and identifies a stronger force in the decision-making process.

Some people have fears about what will happen in their business if they don’t achieve their goals. By helping them move away from those situations, you lessen the fears and help them build confidence.

Others have opportunities to achieve goals and they need help to move towards them. This is a chance for you to discuss the gains they would get from your products and services.

Either way, by uncovering a real need, the door starts to open toward making a decision that will ultimately help them attain their needs and their wants. That will help them improve their businesses and they’ll thank you for supporting them in that achievement.

Happy selling!

Sean McPheat

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

(Image courtesy of dollarphotoclub)

Posted in Sales Interactions | Tagged , | Leave a comment

How To Avoid The Awkward Question Of Budget

Posted on Have Your Say: Leave a comment?

Business man with suitcase full of moneyHow many times have you been in conversation with a prospect and the question of budget comes up?

You want to know if you’re pitching in the right ball-park, so you go right out and ask what budget they were thinking of spending.

You then sigh in disappointment as you realise the solution you’re selling is well out of reach of the figure they have quoted. You then adjust your presentation and switch to the basic model because, as you assume, that’s all they can afford.

The problem is the basic model won’t solve their problems. It might help them achieve some of their goals, but not all of them.

It might save them a little money but won’t make the big savings they are seeking. If only they had a bigger budget, then all would be solved. They would get the results they want and their success would be guaranteed.

Instead, why not leave the budget question out of the conversation altogether?

Actually, the last thing you should be talking about is money, budgets and finance. The subject you should focus on is either their problem or their opportunity, the pain or the gain.

The budget is not the prime issue at this stage; their problem is. If they don’t have a problem, there isn’t going to be a sale anyway.

So ask yourself: What problem does my prospect have? How is this situation affecting their business success? What are they losing by not having my solution? What’s the monetary impact of the problems he is experiencing?

You then determine if these are problems that need to be solved. If they are, you can assimilate the value of solving the problems. If the value of the solutions outweighs the current situation they are in, then (and only then) does money become an issue.

The prospect may have determined a budget based on spending levels, not on value levels. This may mean they have thought about spending rather than the returns they would get on their spending. The returns can be considered an investment for them, rather than a cost.

Any person would go above their budget if the value of the solution outweighed the problems they were facing at the moment and they could see that value monetised as an investment.

So, rather than ask what budget the prospect has set aside, talk about the value of your solution and get the prospect to agree about the  results those solutions will bring him. Then the issue of budget is really about how much they are willing to invest, rather than how much they are willing to spend.

Happy selling!

Sean McPheat

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

(Image courtesy of dollarphotoclub)

Posted in Buyer Types, Pricing | Tagged , | Leave a comment