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The 5 outcomes to a Sales Process (and not all of them are great!)

In most ‘traditional’ sales strategies, the focus is usually on ‘getting a sale’.

However, this is far too simplistic… in today’s world of instant online reviews and the empowered customer, it’s downright dangerous. In fact there are five outcomes to a sales process, and they all need to be considered, trained and considered in order to get great long term sales results.

This is so much more than just ‘hitting target this week’!

Let’s look at each outcome in turn, from worst to best, and suggest a few strategies to make you more effective in each of them.

  1. ‘I’ll come back to you’: this is called a ‘no decision’: where the customer hasn’t made a decision, or has made one but hasn’t told you! The output of this is usually monumental time-wasting and unnecessary time, cost and aggro.
  • The main reason for this outcome is: you haven’t done your job properly (the customer hasn’t trusted you enough to keep discussing with you until they were confident to say either ‘yes’ or ‘no’. OR they don’t trust you enough to tell you what they’re REALLY thinking.)

2. ‘Yes’ for the wrong reasons: this is where you get the sale, but for the ‘wrong’ reasons. ‘So what’s wrong              with this? I’ve got the sale … happy days!’ you may ask. Well yes, that may be the case if you describe ‘happy days’        as:

  • High levels of complaints and returns
  • High levels of poor online reviews
  • Business success dependent more and more on deals and ‘special offers’

3. ‘No’ for the wrong reasons: this is where you don’t get the sale, but you should have: you would have                  been the best supplier for the job, but you weren’t able to build enough rapport and get the customer to trust                enough for them to understand the full nature of their need, the market, and how you could be the best long                  term solution for them.

4. ‘No’ for the right reasons: many sales managers would like to rip my tongue out for this, but a ‘no’ for the           right reasons is a ‘good’ outcome.

  • This is where you’ve built a great relationship with the customer, and have together agreed that, all things considered, your solution isn’t the best fit for the client, and you help them instead by pointing them in other directions.
  • If you do your sales properly, although this customer won’t use you today, when and if their need changes, they’ll come back to you, they’ll recommend you, and they might well use your services anyway (fully aware that you’re not a 100% fit) because you’re so helpful and trustworthy … and, by the way, no matter what your marketing manager tells you, you can NEVER sell something to everyone … you’ll NEVER get 100% success rate: it’s blindingly obvious common sense, so stop worrying about it and instead just ENSURE all your ‘No’s are gained for the right reasons!

5. And of course, the ‘best’ outcome is always a ‘yes’ for the ‘right’ reasons: this is where you not only get the             sale today, but you also get great levels of customer happiness, loyalty and reputation: a true win/win!

So, how do you ensure you get none of no’s 1,2 and 3, and all of 4 and 5?

There are 4 steps:

  1. Get your beliefs straight: if the above information makes you shout ‘halleluja’ then this isn’t a problem. If you’re worried about the above, then you’re going to struggle.

2. Put in ‘customer focused marketing (and sales) processes’, focused on delivering the 3 key customer needs at           every step:

a) Uncompromising trust

b) Obsessive focus on making it as easy as possible for the customer to deal with you (whether they say ‘yes’ or             ‘no’)

c) Continual attention, no matter what the outcome is:

i) (If you get the sale, it’s just the start … you then have to consistently blow their socks off)

ii) (If you don’t get the sale, it’s just the start of a relationship where you stay in touch PROPERLY: it’s taken                long enough to find them, don’t just drop them)

3. Step by step sales system, proactively building trust and relationships and an up front contract to make a decision ‘yes’ or ‘no’ based on agreed criteria and constant assurance that ‘It’s OK to say ‘no’’. Continually developed and improved using customer feedback.

4. Proactive professional (3rd party) feedback from all customers to help you continually improve and develop all the above points and reward behaviour consistent with these challenging beliefs and rules. This should be gathered from:

a) The ones who said ‘yes’

b) The ones who said ‘no’

c) The ones who said ‘not now’

And that is the 5 outcomes to a sales process.

For more information or to license or use our sales, experience, loyalty and reputation systems, please contact us: support@salesthroughservice.com

How to beat the competition?

How to beat the competition?

There is always pressure to watch the competition, to see if we can beat them or if they are currently beating us. So many businesses obsess about what their competition is doing that they miss the true issue at stake. It is not the competition but instead themselves, their own beliefs, systems and actions.

True winners do not focus on the competition: they focus on themselves. They seek to truly improve everything they do, using information systematically gathered from their developing relationships with customers.

In the world of the empowered consumer and transparent online feedback, this has never been more important. Customers can toy with your reputation at the click of a mouse, publicise your problems at the swipe of a screen, and tell the whole world whether you were great or poor in a nano-second.

The true competition is not who you think it is. The true competition is your own business: your systems and processes, and whether they are good enough for the hyper-competitive world of the empowered customer.

Of course it’s important to keep an eye on what’s happening in your market, and to know what your supposed competitors are offering to clients, but this is only background information. I urge you to use this as a starting point only and instead obsess on the following four points:

Get closer to your customers. Your customers can tell you what’s out in the market, what you’re doing well and what you’re not. You then know what needs to change, and through this process you will also build world-class customer loyalty.

Put a continuous improvement and innovation system into place in your business, based on small steps, continually executed. We call this ‘going the extra inch’.

Filter all your systems and processes through the customer’s emotional needs: trust, attention and easy life. This way you can avoid inadvertently putting your foot in it, and make sure all of your systems deliver the optimum customer experience, resulting in maximum customer loyalty, reputation, cross-sales, up-sales and referrals.

Make sure you have at the heart of your organisation something we call a ‘customer-focussed mission’. This is a belief that you are not there to make money, but instead to do something so well that customers want to give you their money. This needs to cover every aspect of your business and direct everything you do within it.

If you do all of these things well it will enable you to continually improve and rise head and shoulders above the competition. Always keep an eye on your competition, as we’ve already mentioned, but more importantly keep an eye on yourself. Focus on your systems and ensure that you are continually improving and innovating to meet and exceed the needs of your customer: next week, next month, next year and next decade. In this hyper-competitive customer-empowered world nobody knows what’s round the corner, but you need to know before anyone else does, otherwise your market could literally disappear overnight, or trickle away until you suddenly realise that things have changed but it’s already too late.

Don’t focus on the competition. Focus on yourself and your competition will become less of a problem.

 

The 4 Basic Behaviours of Service Excellence

The 4 Basic Behaviours of Service Excellence

So much is written about customer experience that it often goes in one ear and out of the other.

The key to success in any subject is to keep it simple and do it well. 

So, what are the 4 Key Basic Behaviours of Experience Excellence?

Well, if anything is right, it has to be common sense: so all these behaviours must follow the common sense rules of all behaviours …

 

Rule 1: our beliefs drive our emotions

Rule 2: our emotions drive our behaviours

Rule 3: our behaviours produce our results

Rule 4: our results reinforce our beliefs

 

So, applying this to customer experience …

Rule 1: believe that great customer experience is your product: this is what produces success (NOT your product)

Rule 2: know that emotions drive behaviour: what emotions do you want your customers to have in order to be loyal to you? What emotions do you want your staff to have to be engaged and motivated by you?

Rule 3: what behaviours are realistic, consistent and sustainable: consistency is more important than occasional excellence (as McDonalds have proven so well!), so constantly seek to improve behaviours and consistency little by little, every day and every week (remember Kaizen?)

Rule 4: measure your results: as well as your profits: the results you need to measure are your customers’ opinion of you, because this will determine your future success (we’ll tell you how to do this simply and cheaply in a later top tip).

So: Learn and inwardly digest these 4 basic behaviours of experience excellence.

 

 

 

How can I be a better leader?

How can I be a better leader?

I would guess that we all want to be better leaders – after all, better leaders get better results with less effort! So what do you need to do to become one?

Here are a few rules and ideas for you.

  • Remember all customers are volunteers – internal and external customers – they want you to be a great leader, so they have something worthwhile to follow.
  • See your internal customers as your no 1 priority – they’re the ones who need leading, inspiring and motivating to deal remarkably with your external customers
  • Have a crystal clear statement of what you and the Organisation are REALLY about (we call this a ‘customer focused mission’ but don’t worry about the name: if people are hyper clear on exactly what does and doesn’t matter to the Organisation, and the values associated with it, then that’s the job done).
  • Lead the Mission by example, and never deviate (even when times are hard)
  • If you ever do have to deviate, tell your people why and when you’re returning, before any deviation happens.
  • Manage your time effectively
  • Communicate effectively at all levels – win/win thinking and agreements
  • Gather feedback through simple systems and ‘management by wandering about’ obsessively
  • Ensure everyone else does the same
  • Use the feedback to understand people’s REAL needs, and Act effectively on feedback, little step by little step
  • Keep going: it doesn’t matter how slow you go, as long as you never stop!

Remember, there’s not a lot of difference between ‘a great leader’ and ‘a bit of a prat’ … focus on small things done brilliantly … by the inch it’s a cinch, by the yard it’s hard.

There’s your answer to ‘how can I be a better leader’?

 

For free resources and help with leadership and management systems that actually work, please drop us a line at support@salesthroughservice.com and we’ll send you our free ebooks on this subject.

 

 

How can we compete with online retailers?

How can we compete with online retailers?

This is a question we help a lot of our customers with.

The business landscape has changed dramatically, and this is affecting every business sector: the revolution that began with the world’s biggest bookstore online, now is effective goods and services in every sector around the world. Just look at a website like www.upwork.com for evidence.

So, how can a ‘traditional’ retailer compete?

We suggest two approaches.

  1. ‘Get great’
  2. ‘Get involved’

And you can use these individually or separately.

Get Great.

Customers do NOT buy on price … they buy on value. All great brands and long term successful businesses are NOT the cheapest … they are the best in terms of the value to the customer.

By this we mean that your value is your price multiplied by your customer experience (CX).

  • If your customer is only interested in price, then the CX score is 0 and these are your price obsessive fickle customers … and you don’t want these customers if you want a profitable sustainable business … let your competitors have them!
  • If, on the other hand, there is some value to the CX, then you need to know what the value is and how you can add it at every step on the customer journey (and the online retailers themselves know this and are doing this exercise obsessively). We suggest you look at your customers’ REAL needs (these needs are emotional needs and triggers), and step by step, inch by inch, develop your systems and processes to blow their socks off at every step.

Of course this is easy to say, and much harder to do: that why we work in the area of providing our customers with a simple and powerful systematic approach to help them do this: it’s called the ‘Great or Poor’ approach.

Do this well, as well as keeping a close eye on your online competition (which your customers will help you understand if you let them), and you’ll not only survive but thrive by offering new services that turbocharge your customer offer.

A good example of this was the wedding photographer client of ours who was suffering from lack of demand (everyone’s got a camera and a video camera with them on their phones these days), and listened closely and changed his business offer to include managing and sorting all these pictures and videos (rather than just taking the pictures in the 1st place), and now has had to take on 3 members of staff to cope with the demand.

Get involved

The other option (that can only work in addition to the above point we suggest) is to join the online retailing movement and offer your particular specialist skills and services online.

How do I make sure that I always get good feedback?

How do I make sure that I always get good feedback?

The answer is you can’t and you don’t want to anyway.

  1. You can’t: we’re now in the age of the empowered customer and the transparent business. Don’t try and manipulate the customer feedback and reviews: it’d be like King Canute trying to hold back the tide.
  2. You don’t want to: because in the age of the empowered customer, no one trusts an Organisation that only has great reviews (that’s why ‘testimonials’ no longer have any value). So it’s OK to get bad (and good) reviews and feedback: just accept them and use them to power continual improvement and continual development of your customer relationships and loyalty.

This is a truly new age, and it needs truly new tools: you can’t build a steam engine with the tools of a carpenter …

The tools you need are outlined in our book ‘Great or Poor’. This work outlines a simple, systematic approach to using the customer experience as your key driver of success, and gives you 4 straightforward but powerful principles and steps to achieve this.

If you want further information and support on how to get this right, please contact us at support@salesthroughservice.com

 

How do I destroy my competition and make lots more money?

How do I destroy my competition and make lots more money?

The answer is to see your competition as yourself … not as the others.

Of course you need to know what’s happening in the market, but the best way to do this is to get very close to your customers (including potential customers and lapsed customers).

And, yes ok, listen to some ‘experts’ but take everything they say with a large pinch of salt.

But, to answer the question, if you examine almost all truly long term successful and profitable organisations, you will find that they obsessed about themselves and how they could obsessively, systematically, consistently, and continually blow their customers’ socks off.

So, focus on this, and getting as close to your customers as you can, and they not only fantastically complement each other, but they also, by the way, will destroy your competition and ensure you make lots more money.

(And when you do, don’t stop doing what got you there in the first place!)

If you want further information and support on how to get this right, please contact us at support@salesthroughservice.com

 

What social media marketing works ?

What social media marketing works ?

‘Social Media’ has been a buzzword for a while now.

At first it was promoted as the ‘answer to everything’ ; just advertise here and you’ll have clients flooding in (and we all have heard that line somewhere before!)

Then it was : you have to be there and communicating with your tribe.

Because everyone always wants a simple answer and a quick fix.

So here is the simple answer and quick fix.

Simple answer: social media is just a new way of communicating that means your customer, or potential customer, can find out all about you, and tell others all about you, without your knowledge of consent. It is a radical change in consumer behaviour that will have ever growing revolutionary impacts.

Quick fix: as communication has become two way and interactive, so must you and your marketing. This means simply that you must take 4 steps:

  1. Genuinely have an attitude of wanting to wow the customer
  2. Gather feedback and engage with customers systematically and proactively
  3. Look for the customers’ REAL (emotional needs) and design your systems and processes around these
  4. Do this and continue to change and evolve in small steps

 

‘Sales through Service’ is a proven and powerful set of systems to boost sales whilst also enhancing the customer experience – to receive a free ebook ‘The 7 Deadly Sins of Service’, please email support@salesthroughservice.com or visit http://www.salesthroughservice.com/free-sales-resources/

 

 

Why doesn’t customer service training work?

Why doesn’t customer service training work?

Because you can take a horse to water but you can’t make it drink.

You people WANT to do a great job, but they are faced with a million things that are stopping them:

  • How they are treated
  • How they are feeling (this one is not really in your control, but how you identify and deal with this IS in your control)
  • The way the organisation behaves
  • The processes you employ
  • The culture you promote

The only true answer to the oldest employment problem in the world (How can I make my people motivated and enthused to give great service?) lies in systems.

Great or Poor ® systems to produce a consistent and continually improving customer experience.

Sales through Service ® systems to enhance long and short term sales (and reduce costs) at every step.

In today’s’ hyper competitive transparent market, it’s unlikely that your organisation can thrive without starting to get this genuinely right.

 

‘Sales through Service’ is a proven and powerful set of systems to boost sales whilst also enhancing the customer experience – to receive a free ebook ‘The 7 Deadly Sins of Service’, please email support@salesthroughservice.com or visit http://www.salesthroughservice.com/free-sales-resources/

 

 

How do I handle complaints?

How do I handle complaints?

We all get complaints: some are maybe fairer than others, and there’s a lot of print acreage devoted to strategies to deal effectively with them.

There’s perhaps one point I’d like to try and make crystal clear in this post:

In the age of global choice, 2 way instant communication and transparent online reviews, the real issue with complaints is:

NOT the complaint itself, but

Your attitude to the complaint and how you handle it that matters.

Of course it’s important to deal with the complaint itself professionally, but customers will judge you and share their opinions worldwide about you on such issues as:

  • How easy you made it for them to tell you
  • How welcomed their feedback was
  • How well you listened and showed that you genuinely gave a s**t
  • How you went out of your way to try and ensure they left happy

These are the key issues to concentrate on – these are what will turn individual complaints into massive PR triumphs (or the opposite).

A start point is to change the word ‘complaint’ into ‘compliment’, because, by complaining, they’re giving you the message that they care about your customer experience, and believe you’re mature and caring enough to deal with their feedback constructively and kindly.

On top of that, they’re bringing something to your attention that 20 other customers have walked away from without telling you (and instead told their friends on social media).

And those are massive compliments.