Posts

How can I get more referrals?

How can I get more referrals?

Some businesses depend on referrals more than others – in fact, the more valuable your customer transaction and lifetime value, the more important referrals are to you.

So, if you want more referrals, it’d be a good idea to get the process right!

Here are some rules:

  1. Be referable: you’ll only get referrals if you consistently act in a way that gets people talking about you for all the right reasons – and none of the wrong ones. (This is of course easy for us to say and much harder to do – for a simple powerful system on how to do this, please see my book ‘Great or Poor’).
  2. Continually mention in all your communication, your desire to do such a great job that you grow through referrals.
  3. Gather feedback using a quality professional system (not a cheap online one): if you want someone to go out of their way to refer you, you need to go out of your way to engage with them first.
  4. Split the feedback you get into 3 categories, using the net promoter system ®
  5. For the promoters, have a systematic approach to ask them for permission to ask them for a referral … you could perhaps call it an ‘introduction’ … don’t go charging in at the deep end, take it slowly.
  6. For the detractors and passives, have other systems which we talk about elsewhere.
  7. Know what type of referral you ideally need and have a set phrase to ask: something like: ‘We’re looking for people like you who want to [achieve result] without [issues that they’re worried about]’
  8. Take up the referrals professionally: have a set system and a professional manner.
  9. Follow up with the referrer and keep them in the loop.
  10. Have a quality ‘thank you’ system: maybe a specific gift, extra valuable service or special event.

 

For more information or a free e copy of my book ‘The Sniper Approach: how to get more referrals without the BS’, please contact us at support@salesthroughservice.com

 

 

What customer loyalty schemes work best?

What customer loyalty schemes work best?

We want loyal customers!

We want customers to buy more and refer others to us!

Of course we do, and there’s acres of print on ‘how to run customer loyalty schemes’, and what to offer as incentives.

There’s just one small problem …. It’s all rubbish!

Recent in depth research shows what we all know as common sense: customer loyalty schemes generally cost significantly more than they generate (not taking into account all the time taken up by them), and they generate no REAL loyalty, just loyalty to the treat.

It’s like training a dog: if a dog only sits in order to get a treat, it hasn’t really learnt to sit, and this ‘training’ will fall apart completely under pressure.

Customers cannot be bought.

I repeat: customers cannot be bought: they can only be seduced (over the LONG TERM) to WANT to be loyal to you and recommend you.

This comes about by obsessive focus on and adherence to ‘customer reputation and loyalty systems in everything we do’. I.e. we see ‘customer reputation and loyalty’ as the No 1 purpose of our existence, around which all our systems and processed are designed, and truly believe that:15. What to do to build cust loyalty

‘If we do this well, the profits will follow … not the other way round’

Of course customer loyalty rewards can play a part in this (look at the Richer Sounds VIP club, or the Naked Wines Angel network for an example of this done well) … but it’s only one smallish part of the overall business strategy, and NEVER an effective strategy in itself.

Otherwise you just get a fat dog that sits when you have a treat in your pocket, and buggers off at any other time …

For free resources and help with customer loyalty 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 to Go the Extra Mile?

 How to Go the Extra Mile?

There’s always lots of marketing talk about ‘Going the Extra Mile’ and it sounds sexy, doesn’t it?

Well, here’s a little secret that not many people know –  it’s not realistic or a good idea (it’s just a marketing phrase which sounds cool).

It’s not realistic because it’s too far and you’ll create unrealistic aspirations for your customers and fall flat on your face. If you deliver a bunch of flowers with their order today, they’ll hate you if you don’t do it every time going forward.

And it’s not a good idea, because ‘great leaps forward’ usually leave you with more problems than solutions because you haven’t been able to think everything through and implement them properly. How many times do we hear of large re organisations within businesses, just to see their service to us fall to pieces?

So don’t get hoodwinked by the sexy marketing drivel. Put customer focused ‘Go the Extra Inch’ systems into your business and improve by continual small steps from everyone every week.

It’ll give you fantastic progress over time, very happy people and a world class reputation (if you do it right).

Please contact us at support@salesthroughservice.com for our free SHORT ebook on this subject called ‘The 7 Deadly Sins of Service (and what to do about them)’!

go the extra inch

 

How do I formulate a sales strategy?

How do I formulate a sales strategy?

Of course you want a sales strategy, otherwise you might look silly at a meeting and get terrible sales results.

But, let’s face it, how many ‘sales strategies’ have you seen that were based on wishful thinking and numbers picked out of the air (at best!)?

So, instead of seeing the need for a ‘sales strategy’, we suggest you start formulating a ‘buying strategy’ instead. You might perhaps be well advised to consider:

  • How can we manage and build our reputation so it spreads for the right reasons?
  • How can we encourage great reputation and continual referrals?
  • How can we ensure customers become more and more loyal to us and want to buy more and more things?
  • How can we become indispensable and remarkable to them?

And then, when you’ve nailed this, you can start considering the next step … a ‘sales strategy’ …

  • Now that we’ve done the above brilliantly, how can we make sure that people can find us easily and want to say ‘yes please’ quickly?

After all, this is the age of the empowered choosy consumer, who shops around the world and can make or break you at the touch of a button.        stratergy

Please contact us at support@salesthroughservice.com for our free SHORT ebook on this subject called ‘The 7 Deadly Sins of Sales (and what to do about them)’!

How can I sell more?

How can I sell more?

You know that dreadful feeling in the middle of the night – surely there’s a way we could sell way more? Why is it so hard to get the growth we need?

It used to be that we could advertise, push, promote … and increase sales.

The problem is that in these days of global consumer choice, outrageous price competition and choosy customers, it isn’t as simple as that any more. The key challenge now is not how you can ‘sell’ more, but how you can get the customer out there to find you more easily (through reputation and referral) and ‘want to buy’ from you more because you’re the best thing since sliced bread.

And that takes a VERY different skill set and tool set from what used to work in the ‘good old days’.

We call this skill set and tool set ‘Sales through Service’ and it needs to permeate everything in your organisation like a stick of rock.

Otherwise, those choosy customers with global choice will find it very hard to find you, and very hard to want to buy from you.

Please contact us at support@salesthroughservice.com for our free SHORT ebook on this subject called ‘The 7 Deadly Sins of Sales (and what to do about them)’!

Why feedback doesn’t work: manipulating feedback is like taking aspirin for a broken leg!

Woman laughing on mobile phone isolatedAs feedback specialists, we help businesses organisations with all sorts of feedback on-line off-line, direct and indirect, immediate and delayed.

(I bet you didn’t even know that there where so many variations!)

Now, most people are beginning to realise that feedback only has value when it is transparent, and includes both positive and negative; but there are many organisations out there, and even, hideously, feedback systems that are promoting the ability to filter feedback; i.e. you just publish the good feedback (this is a process we use to call in the good old days, publishing ‘testimonials’).

So, without me having to spell out how completely ridiculously daft this is to do this let me just ask you some questions;

  • How popular would Trip Advisor if it only had good reviews?
  • How reliable would customer reviews on Amazon be if they only published the good reviews?
  • How would EBay work if the customer could only publish a good review?

It’s ludicrous isn’t it?  Yet, so many businesses are still on this mind set of ‘testimonials’ rather than feedback!

I don’t know how we can make this clearer; manipulating feedback in any way is like taking Aspirin for a broken leg.

Feedback instead needs to be dealt with systematically structurally, using both immediate and time lapsed systems, and joined together to make it easier for the customer to tell you whether you are good bad or indifferent.

The feedback needs to be published openly so that your consumers will trust you (remember; everyone can get things wrong, just not owning up is the problem!).  And every type of feedback should generate a response that will build customer loyalty and referrals.

There are ways of doing this that are tried and tested and pay for themselves many times over.  If you don’t know about these or have any questions you know where to get hold of us.

Why feedback doesn’t work? simple: you’re not doing it properly!

What to do? you need to engage an expert: it’s a simple as that:

  • you wouldn’t get an office junior to do your tax return,
  • and you wouldn’t go to the post office when you felt ill:

so why go to anyone other than an expert when you need to get the single most important aspect of your business right?

Your customers are talking…  Are you listening?

In today’s hyper connected, value savvy global marketplace, your customers are becoming ever more the key and demanding.  They can talk about you behind your back to the world at the touch of a button and the speed of light.

To quote Jeff Bezos: ‘Your brand is what the customer says when you’re not in the room’

So are you listening?

Research shows, that the vast majority of businesses and organisations are either not listening at all, or listening ineffectively.

Not listening at all: the ostrich with its head in the sand syndrome.  There are plenty of feedback systems to at least help you get started with listening, even if you just monitor twitter and put google alerts on your brands.  If you are not currently listening, there must be a reason for this: either you are nervous and unsure what to do for the best, or you may be frightened as to how to react to feedback as and when it comes.  In either case we at Investors in Feedback can help you move forward in a very cost effective and easy to manage way:

Beware, there are plenty of snake oil salesman out there who will try and take a large chunk of your money for systems that work ineffectually or in an incomplete way.

Listening ineffectually: we find that the vast majority of businesses who are gathering feedback, are using ineffectual systems, these are systems that have the following issues:

  • low response rates
  • no real understanding of what the customer means
  • lack of true information to help you learn and grow
  • perceived unfairness
  • lack of consumer confidence that their review will make any difference (so, instead, they don’t bother to fill in your reviews, and, instead just gossip about you to the world behind your back)
  • and, probably the biggest issue of all, inability for the customer to feed back to you in an easy and risk free way, while they are still a customer to you (i.e. Before they have left you or completed their transaction with you)

Many of the online feedback systems that are touted so widely at the moment have all these issues attached to them: one thing that they do help you with is ‘search engine optimisation’, through publishing your feedback openly and transparently (and this is something that should genuinely be encouraged in all circumstances).

If you wish to know more about all these issues and find out how to put feedback systems in place that would genuinely build your reputation, customer loyalty and referrals, then we are the worldwide leader in feedback audit and accreditation to help you achieve these aims.

Your brand is what people say about you behind your back

Jeff Bezos, CEO of Amazon.com probably the most successful retail business of all time, is consistently quoted as saying the above about businesses Brands.

Yet, how much time and effort do businesses often put into feedback and genuinely getting close to the customer versus developing Brands and pretty Logos?

I think the point is clear: in the world of the 21st century empowered customer, transparent business processes and unrestrained online feedback, it is becoming stupider and stupider to spend lots of money on Brands whilst either ignoring or treating feedback and customer engagement as a minor issue in your business.

It is now the other way round.

We are going through a revolution in how people behave and interact with each other: for the first time in history, there is two way global information and the voice of one customer can relatively easily be more powerful than the voice of your entire marketing department.

For example, over a year ago some feedback on a car brand’s service disaster, ranked higher on google for almost four months than the official service website for that car brand. One small lapse of focus, combined with poor feedback systems, produced many hundreds of thousands of pounds worth of damage.

There are many similar examples across the web: please just search for further examples!

In a revolution, everything revolves.

  • Customers get information from reviews and other people’s opinion, rather than your official information
  • Customers can shop on price 24 hours a day rather than wait for your annual sale
  • Sales teams are dealing with customers who know just as much about your competitors as they do about you (and probably more than you do)
  • Customers can access products and services from around the world at the touch of a button at a fraction of the price they used to have to pay
  • And marketing is now not about polishing your brand to make it look as shiny as possible, it’s about genuinely engaging the customer, gathering feedback and investing in customer reputation loyalty and referrals, for long term product and brand success.

Investors in Feedback helps you fill the gap, revolve your systems to drive continual customer reputation, loyalty, cross sales, up sales and referrals.