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“Undercover Boss” Uncovers Bad Leadership

Discovers some inept bosses.

Discovers some inept bosses.

After watching season after season of “Undercover Boss” I’m thinking we need  a show called “Undercover Employees.” They could find out what their bosses are doing.

“Undercover Boss” is  an American reality television series, based on the British series of the same name and producted by Studio Lambert in both countries. Just as the title suggests, the boss goes undercover to see what his entry-level employees are doing.

Two things that seem glaring; there is little customer service training and “bosses” don’t know what’s going on in their businesses. In fact, most of the bosses are amazed at what’s going on!

I was watching the “Undercover Boss” last week and was disturbed by the boss’s decisions. He was very generous with the employees he worked with, giving them large sums of money. The problem, as I see it, is that people were getting money to help with their “troubled lives” but weren’t asked to “better themselves” or attend schools, so they could obtain leadership positions.

My hunch is the people will spend their money, have great vacations or new toys but what will they have learned? I believe that people will be more apt to change is there are some conditions to these generous gifts. In fact, I feel so strongly about it. I sent a letter to the “Undercover Boss” and sent some customer service books.  I don’t know if I’ll get an  answer, but maybe the letter with my suggestions will get read! My biggest gripe, where in the  business  world do people get free handouts with no “strings attached?” And what’s the point if the gift isn’t connected with your business?

One great thing about the program is that bosses get to understand their employee struggles and help them grow. One of the best ways to help them grow is to provide opportunities for them to advance within the organization. Promoting good employees is essential to their learning.

In order for a business to perform adequately the “boss” must  be able to communicate with his employees.

There must be a way for the boss to know what their employees are doing without spying on them. This reminds me of mystery shopping; another task that I think is ridiculous. If you think, you’re employees are not acting appropriately they probably aren’t. This problem usually starts when a company doesn’t have a suitable training and accountability program. Teaching and training is one thing, if you don’t hold people accountable for what’s expected to don’t waste the training program. CEO’s must create a business model that is in line with the customer’s and employee needs.

Everything goes back to customer service and how customers are being treated. Front line employees are the ones who need the training and usually get the least amount. Because they’re not seen as the ones who “bring in the money,” they typically don’t get best training.

So far, 100% of the companies have leaders who have no idea of what’s going on in their businesses. How sad.

Many of the problems could be avoided if the leader spent time reading employee evaluations and staying in touch with their businesses.  No matter what business you have, the only thing that makes it work is the customers. The first customer of any business is the employees.

Lisbeth has been coaching business for over 25 years. To schedule a consultation or have her speak at your business, she can be reached at Lcalandrino@nycap.rr.com. Lisbeth lives in Historic Hudson Park in Albany, New York, with her cat Rainyday.

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By |January 25th, 2015|Blog, Customer Satisfaction, Training|4 Comments

“The Real Sale Begins When the Customer Gives you Testimonial”

The customer only cares about three things: me, myself, and I.

The customer only cares about three things: me, myself, and I.

I was talking with John Gregory, owner of Capital Vacuums, in Albany, New York. John has been in the  vacuum cleaner business for most of his life; he started by selling vacuums door-to-door. He insists the key to business is by giving customers a positive experience through “added value.” I asked John if he would share his ideas with us.

 

“When I was knocking on doors, cold calling I came up with procedures to follow. Once you learn them you develop good habits that make your job more exciting and profitable. One of the habits I want everyone to learn is to call our customers after the sale.”

 

Happy customersJohn’s theory of business is simple, add value and make the customer happy.

 

“If the customer isn’t happy with the product/service/experience we need to know it.   If they’re  happy with the product/service/experience we need them to tell the world by giving us an online review.”

 

Retail is a game that both the customer and the store have to win. If the customer is happy, everyone is happy. In the end the business will get more referrals and sales.

 

An online reviews seals the deal!

An online reviews seals the deal!

It used to be we thought when the customer paid us, they were satisfied. Now, we don’t consider the transaction over until we get a review online or a “like” on Facebook. Since I know that 90% of my business is from referrals, the real payoff is the customer’s review. It’s a satisfying   feeling to know that my team can provide an experience worthy of a good review.

 

Years ago we had to ask the customer for referrals. We would ask them for a list of names or ask them to go out of their way to tell their friends and family about their experience with us. No matter how good the experience was the chances of that customer sharing it with friends/family were pretty slim. Most likely, the customer would soon forget about it. Now they can do it with a “click of the mouse,” or by hitting “send” on their phone. It’s amazing!

 

Think about how powerful that is. If we’ve met and surpassed the customers’ expectations, they can put it on the Internet for everyone to see. It’s just as easy for someone to spread the bad word about our business if they aren’t  happy. If they tell us first, we can fix it before they tell anyone else. Businesses need to be proactive.

 

Remember, business is built on value not on price. If you build it on price, you may not be in business very long. You must be able to define value if you’re going to deliver it. Here’s John’s take on value:

 

  • Building value can be as simple as explaining all the features & benefits of your product or service to the customer.

 

 

  • Building value can be as simple as engaging in real conversation with the customer, finding out their needs and conveying/painting a picture/ getting a customer to visualize using your product or service.

 

  • Building value is making sure the customer sees how the product or service will make their life easier or better. The idea is to make the value exceed the price. Make your product or service worth more than what you’re asking!

 

  • Building value can be throwing in something extra with their purchase. It can be as simple as a pen, mug or vacuum bag. It’s a present and we all like presents.

 

  • Building value can be an extended warranty, maybe a service plan.

 

Whatever value you give the customer it should be given to the customer as a present. Who doesn’t want a present? For your present, visit John and his staff at Capital Vacuum, 1593 Central Avenue, Albany, New York. http://www.capitalvacuums.com/

Lisbeth has been coaching for over 20 years. To consult with her or have her speak with your sales team, reach her at Lcalandrino@nycap.rr.com.

 

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Price Doesn’t Matter, To Whom?

Don't be fooled, it matters to everyone.

Don’t be fooled, it matters to everyone.

There seems to be a fallacy afoot that there is a group of people who are not concerned about price. Rubbish I say. Anyone with a lot of money didn’t get wealthy by making foolish choices. You only keep money by not making bad deals.

This doesn’t mean that every customer should be shown the cheapest goods you have. The other day I was in a flooring store, and the salesperson was waiting on one of her “special customers. The customer apparently has money and spends it.  The owner called the salesperson aside and suggested she be careful with her pricing. He was afraid she would turn him off my showing him the more expensive goods. I heard her say, “His wife likes nice things, and he doesn’t deny her anything. Besides, who wants to look at the junk?” As far as I’m concerned, case closed. I asked the owner about it afterward, and he had a completely different take on it.

“I’m afraid if we show them expensive merchandise they will think we’re after all their money!” It’s amazing what people think.

In my opinion, the problem is that salespeople are not sure how to handle  customer reactions. Everyone has their own ideas about what turns someone off.  It can be a look, a hesitation or just not responding to a question. At this stage in our lives, we should know that it’s pretty impossible to tell what anyone is thinking unless you know them very well. And if you watch any of the crime shows, you know that’s not that accurate.

Why wouldn’t you want to show your best products, the ones you are most proud of?  You know, the products that are unique and worth every penny of their price.

I was at the Lexus dealer having an antenna installed. I wandered to the sales showroom and told the salesperson I was looking for a preowned, older Lexus convertible. It didn’t take him more than a minute to show me a new one. I repeated I wanted a used one but that didn’t stop him. He said I might want to look at the features of a new one, so I would have something to compare. He was right, it made me stop in think; do I want to do without the heated seats.  I pretended like I didn’t care but he obviously had some good training.

Like the produce in Walmart, if I hadn’t been somewhere else, I wouldn’t have a basis of comparison.

My suggestion is to have products in every price point that are really valuable for the money. Ultimately the customer will be in charge of the final decision.

Lisbeth Calandrino has been doing coaching and sales training for over 20 years. Like her dad, she went to the retail school of “hard knocks,” learning by doing. She retired after 14 years of being part of a retail chain of flooring and furniture stores in the Northeast. She is convinced the best salespeople have very little to say; instead they know the right questions to get the customer to think. To schedule a consultation or have her speak at your business, reach her at Lcalandrino@nycap.rr.com. She lives in Historic Hudson Park, Albany, New York with her cat Rainyday.

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By |January 13th, 2015|Blog|3 Comments

Want to Get Noticed? Get a Job in Target

Whether you’re in the market to sell yourself or your business you will have to build your brand. Your brand is what makes you unique—it’s what makes you.

Mark Zuckerberg in his "hoodie."

Mark Zuckerberg in his “hoodie.”

When I mention “hoodie” who do you think of? Could it be Mark Zuckerberg? He took hoodie to another level.

Don't forget clean underwear.

Don’t forget clean underwear.

My mom used to say, “Your reputation is all you have.” In those days it means a “good” reputation. These days I’m not sure if it has to be good. You just need a reputation!

Alex from Target,  no longer unknown.

Alex from Target, no longer unknown.

Building your brand isn’t easy. There’s lots of competition and everyday there’s a new unknown who’s become famous.  Last week, Alex was a 16 year old cashier at Target, overnight he became a celebrity with 300,000 followers on Twitter. Someone snapped a photo of him, and it went viral. He says he still doesn’t ’ know what has happened but there’s the buzz that it was a PR stunt from Target. It doesn’t matter, 30 days ago he was an unknown, know he is being represented by Shahidi, who is guiding him on next steps. We now have a brand called “Alex.” Alex was wearing a red Target shirt; I don’t think it was the shirt that made him famous. It was probably his innocent good looks. Here’re some ideas for building your own brand.

No matter what you do, you need your own personal brand to be remembered. If you’re in the sales business, you need customers to remember who you are. I remember I had a salesperson that was known as “the really tall, good looking salesperson.” He was 6 feet tall and definitely good looking. It got him lots of repeat business.

Here are some ideas for building your brand.

"A ship is safe in the harbor but that's not where it belongs."

“A ship is safe in the harbor but that’s not where it belongs.”

Be bold. Take a shot, don’t be afraid to be you and stand out. Your boldness may be your clothes, your hobby or your blog. It might be your haircut. Blogs have made many people famous.

Look like yourself.

Look like yourself.

Look good. Just because you’re running to the post office doesn’t mean you shouldn’t dress up. My mom used to say, “Put on your lipstick, you never know who you’re going to meet.” This was the upgrade from my grandmother who said, “Don’t forget to wear clean underwear in case you’re in an accident.”

Practice random acts of kindness.

Practice random acts of kindness.

Practice “random acts of kindness.” We always remember people who are nice to others. It never hurts to be kind.

Recognize opportunities.

Recognize opportunities.

Get known for working hard and doing an excellent job. This will also make you feel good about yourself.

Have fun.

Have fun.

Be fun, don’t take everything so seriously. I was lucky enough to work with Madeline Kahn in the 50’s. We were both college students working in a hotel in the Catskills; she was a singer and I was a waitress. In the afternoons, she used to dress up as Greta Garbo; a famous vamp from the 20’s and lounged around the pool.

Madeline Kahn, "Blazing Saddles."

Madeline Kahn, “Blazing Saddles.”

One day, the owner came out and yelled at her, “His line, Madeline; you have to get serious if you’re going to be a star!”

If you’ve ever seen “Blazing Saddles” you know she was silly and became a star.

Listen up.

Listen up.

Listen to others. A good listen that isn’t critical is always remembered. You don’t have to be a social worker; you just need a kind ear.

Albert Einstein said he wasn't smart, he was curious.

Albert Einstein said he wasn’t smart, he was curious.

See yourself as entrepreneurial. Being entrepreneurial with interesting ideas will always help your brand.

Take a chance.

Take a chance.

As Dr. Seuss said, “Be who you are and way what you feel because those who mind don’t matter and those who matter don’t mind.”

Lisbeth Calandrino has been a business consultant for over 20 years. To speak with her about your business or have her train your employees, reach her at Lcalandrino@nycap.rr.com. She lives in Historic Hudson Park with her cat, Rainyday.

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Retail Lessons I Learned From My Grandfather’s Farm

ApplesI learned my retail lessons from my grandfather. He told me the price customers would pay for the apples depended upon how they looked; the shiny ones would bring the most money; he was right.   I watched as customers picked through the apples, smelling and admiring the polished ones. It was at this point I realized how important merchandising was. Wow, less number one; pretty things sell.

It wasn’t long before I was busily shining up the more attractive apples. The ones with the worm holes went for the least; I told grandpa we were losing money. Grandpa smiled and said it was good I was paying attention and it was important to price the shiny ones so they covered the price of  “less desirable “ apples.

This was lesson number two: make sure you understand how to price your merchandise.

How do customers determine the price they will pay?

Yesterday I was speaking with a flooring manufacturer about his products. He spent at least 15 minutes telling me how his products were made and what they were made of. Frankly I zoned out after about 5 minutes and stopped listening. The only thing that’s interested me was whether the product would look right in my kitchen. Unfortunately he never asked me what I call “the customer’s conditions of satisfaction.”

Customers will only pay your price if the product works for them; no matter what you’re selling. Once you know what they want it’s your job to help them justify why it’s a good investment.

Want to know what customers will pay for? Ask them and they will tell you. If possible talk with customers who have defected from your business. These are customers that were  only yours but have disappeared. They will have a wealth of information for you.  Once you know what they want, you can tell them what makes your products better.

Find out what why your customers have changed suppliers. When was the last time you talked with customers who no longer buy from you? They will tell you why they’ve moved on and why they like your competitors better. The big mistake is to think you “know” why. Typically, the answer will be the competitor’s price was lower. Unless you have a third party interview your lost customer, this is what you will hear. It’s just easier for the customer to tell you your price was higher.

Shop your competitors, buy from them and experience their service. There’s nothing more eye opening than becoming your competitor’s customer. I had a “big box” store measure my house for flooring; the installer came with his IPad and within 5 minutes showed me the layout and what it would cost. I called the local retailer and he was drawing my kitchen on the back of a napkin! We did that in the 70’s and it wasn’t acceptable then!

Installing products should be a “custom art.” “Custom anything” always demands more money; it takes time and means that is being crafted for the customer. I come from the floor covering industry and very few. If it were my business, I would talk about “custom installation” and nicely correct the customer every time she mention the term “installation.”

Talk about what makes you different, can you offer “white glove service?” I recently bought furniture from California that took 4 months to get delivered. The company sent me photos of the “wrapped furniture” and told me what to expect upon delivery.

I was told to take a picture of the furniture when it arrived and after it was unpacked. They also suggested I purchase their “white glove service.” It meant two people would unload the furniture and unpack it for me. I had never heard of “white glove delivery service” but thought I should give it a try. When the truck arrived the delivery man was wearing white gloves but apologized for the dust on them but he was changing them to unload my furniture. I was astonished and the delivery man took it all very seriously.

The real key is the customer determines the value of your products. It’s up to you to build the value and test it with your customers. The more value, the more they will pay.

Increasing your bottom line depends on how your customers see you and your product. This is a good conversation to have with all of your employees. You can ask them, where they think customers’ see the value.

Lisbeth Calandrino has been doing sales/customer service training for over 20 years. She is happy to discuss your situation and how she might help your business. She can be reached at 518-495-5380 or Lcalandrino@nycap.rr.com. She lives in Albany, New York

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8 Incredible Lessons I’ve Learned From My Cat

cat in business suitI’m always amazed when people say cats aren’t as smart as dogs or cats are “sneaky.” I would question both of these statements if they made sense, but since they don’t, I’ll continue. Cats don’t seem to be valued like dogs. They are often left behind when someone moves or thrown out to fend for themselves. Despite being mistreated, they can forget and forge ahead, oftentimes alone. They are among the most charming of the earthly creatures.
I think I would rather have a cat than a dog as a business partner. For starters, a cat will always let you know where you stand. Additionally:
1. Cats know enough to cover up their trails. I never knew any cats that didn’t know how important it was to keep their “business” covered up. They will continue to dig until it is either covered or they’ve thrown it into another room. They don’t leave things around that will incriminate them or get them in trouble.
2. They are masters at follow-through. If you can’t find something, most likely, the cat knows where it is and will eventually find it for you. They don’t forget where things are; they know how to hide things from everyone but themselves. They stay with the task – even if it’s endlessly chasing an elusive laser dot.
3. Cats have more patience than the rest of the world. My cats can watch a fly on the wall from 5 feet below until they find the right time to pounce. They don’t get rattled and know the value of a good stakeout.
4. When they want something, they’ll let you know. One thing about cats: Being subtle isn’t their MO. If they want to sit on your lap, they will let you know, and if there’s a keyboard in the way, it will have to go. If they love you, they’ll let you know. I remember when I traveled a lot; my favorite cat got in my suitcase and left her mark in front of me. She wasn’t sick, but it was obvious she didn’t like me leaving and needed more love.
5. They know enough to hold a grudge. If you mistreat cats, they will never forget it. They would rather move out and fend for themselves than stay with an abuser.
6. Cats respect intelligence. It has nothing to do with age; it has to do with who has decided to be in charge and make it happen. They often change roles, but only if it’s to their advantage. The treats go first to the cat in charge no matter who you give them to.
7. Cats know the people who love them. Cats have favorites and will let you know. I have a cat who loves one of my friends. When my friend comes over and calls the cat’s name, the cat comes from out of nowhere to get pet.
8. Cats know enough to take naps when they’re tired. They know the value of a good snooze and the importance of conserving energy for the tough stuff. They don’t get cranky or get moody; they just go to sleep.

Never underestimate any earthly creature.

Lisbeth Calandrino has been coaching businesses and training for over 20 years. To schedule a consultation or have her speak to your team, reach her at 518.495-5380 or Lcalandrino@nycap.rr.com.

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By |December 16th, 2014|beliefs, Blog, Motivation|2 Comments

5 Things You Can do to Improve Your Business Over the Holidays

holiday-party-graphicBusiness people are always saying, “There’s not business around the holidays, what can I do? “Depending upon your type of business, you may be correct. The holidays might be the right time to build relationships, which may lead to more business. Instead of hiding away from the holidays, my suggestion is you get involved.

The holidays can be a lonely time, particularly if we think about what’s missing in our lives. Not everyone has a network of family or friends who will reach out to them. If this is your situation, then it’s time for you to reach become the catalyst for planning and event. This is a way to improve the customer experience and get to know your customers better.

Consider the holiday season a wonderful time to build customer connections and bring joy to your neighborhood. You might want to join with other merchants to decorate your street, sell Christmas trees and evergreens even serve hot chocolate outside. You can put the event on Facebook and also hold a drawing.

Here are some things you can do to bring joy to your life and improve your connections with your customers.

  1. Plan at least one event in your business to include past customers and friends. Ask your previous customers to invite friends to join them in your holiday party. The party can be a girl’s night out with a holiday theme. Include other businesses that have products to sell, jewelry, makeup or perfume. This way, people can buy last minute gifts as well as enjoy meeting new people. Don’t forget to decorate and put up holiday lights.
  2. Adopt a family for the holiday and get your customers involved. Have a list of sizes and things that the family will need. Your store can collect everything, and you can hold a wrapping party. This season my friends and I are adopting a family and helping to decorate their house. I have found that giving to others is a great way to forget about myself; I also don’t need a thing do you?
  3. Get your customers involved in Toys for Tots, local fund drive or collect food for the local animal shelter. Don’t forget to have something for children; this will certainly bring in their parents.
  4. When I was in business, we rented a piano over the holidays and had a group of customers whom were willing to come and sing holiday songs. We served snacks, wine and had a wonderful time.
  5. This is a good time to straighten up your mailing lists and plan for the next quarter. What kinds of events do you want to hold and how will you improve your business?

This is a great time for everyone to join in, find ways to give thanks and enjoy the holiday season in your special way.

Lisbeth Calandrino has been helping business improve their business strategies for over 20 years. To schedule a training or consultation, reach her at 518-495-5380 or Lcalandrino@nycap.rr.com.

 

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4 Ways to Transition Your Salespeople from Employees to Business Partners

EmployeesIt appears that the country is trying to instill an entrepreneurial attitude into all of us. With many of the traditional high-paying jobs disappearing, we find ourselves in a quandary.

There are many people who were fortunate enough, often without much education, to move into jobs that paid well and provided a good retirement. It would appear that many of these jobs have disappeared. In addition, consumers have transferred much of their trust from the salesperson to the Internet. The role of the salesperson has been altered.

Salespeople have long been in a position to provide important product and service information to inquiring customers. Now, customers ask their friends or get information from many social media outlets. Let’s face it: A good salesperson has to think differently now. Salespeople are still part of the equation but must see themselves as more than salespeople. Having an entrepreneurial spirt will help.

As entrepreneurs, we are always looking for ways to find new business and come up with new ideas, and we realize that we can make or break a business. A successful entrepreneur is always looking for ways to understand his or her customers and find ways to become a trusted confidant.

I believe that anyone who receives compensation for a job is a partner. Many people often say, “I just work here,” implying that they have no say or effect on the business. These days, everyone needs to realize they have an effect on the business, and the customer certainly does care what they have to say.

Whether it is online or in the store, customers are seeking them out for advice, information and as a connection. Changing the salesperson’s role will have a tremendous effect on your business.

Here are some thoughts on how to take the employee-employer relationship you currently have and forge it into a new partnership:

  1. Ask your salespeople daily about their customers. What did they find out, what do they know and what changes do they think you should make in your business? Learning how to be inquisitive is one of the skills that should be taught. More than ever, it’s important to know how the customers got into your store and how the Internet has affected their decision to purchase.
  2. Encourage salespeople to seek new ways of engaging customers—new ones as well as existing ones. It’s likely that the satisfied customer will be your link to your next customer, since 90 percent of your business is from referrals.
  3. Engage and teach your salespeople skills that will help them connect with their customers. These days, whoever gets to the customer first will probably win. Getting there first means getting to them before they get into your store. Once they’ve connected to the customer, the salesperson must be building a marketing plan to stay in touch and link to the next customer.
  4. Determine what tools your salespeople will need in order to continue to become the customer’s partner. Will it be contests, holding events in your store or writing a blog to engage the customer?

All of our roles have changed; it’s no more business as usual. A partnership implies helping each other achieve goals and bringing more talent and expertise to the table. How will this work in your business?

Lisbeth Calandrino has been providing consulting and training for businesses for over 20 years. If you would like to book a consultation or have her speak with your team, reach her at 518-495-5380.

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The Wild West of Customer Service

trunkAlbert Einstein was the first to coin the phrase “The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.”

The Wild, Wild West of Customer Service

We have reached a time when there is a sales revolution afoot. For hundreds of years, salespeople were expected to “hawk” their products and convince customers to buy. This conjures up a picture of salespeople heading into town with their wagons and snake oil. Since that time, we’ve given them new names: sales consultants, sales associates or relationship partners. Whatever you call them, their main job has been to sell the customers. Salespeople that don’t sell, soon become history.

Separating the Herd

One of the interesting things that differentiates the good salespeople from the bad ones is their commitment to long-term continuous development. If you are not developing your skills, you are going backwards in your career. If you’re not keeping up with the trends, you will have trouble building rapport with prospective customers.

The Internet is insisting on good communication.

Cyberspace: The Final Customer Service Frontier

The Internet has changed the role of the salesperson. The consumer’s first stop in their shopping is the Internet. According to a study in 2013 by PricewaterhouseCoopers, LLP, 83 percent of U.S. consumers go online to research electronics, computers, books, music, movies and more before going to a brick-and-mortar store. If your business isn’t listed, don’t get too comfortable.

Ask yourself: “Do I go online?” and “Do my friends go online?” These days, everyone is going online to purchase something. Going online gives the customer valuable information and gives her a reason to sell herself on products. Most salespeople have had experience with their customers shopping online but aren’t comfortable in collaborating with the customer or seeing the customer as their equal.

According to Google, in their book “Why ZMOT Matters More Than Ever” they state the following: “Three years ago, we changed the marketing rule book. And by ‘we,’ I mean all consumers. Our shopping behavior — the journey each of us takes on our path to purchase — helped identify a new ‘Moment of Truth’ for marketers and brands. ZMOT, or the “Zero Moment of Truth,” describes a revolution in the way consumer’ s search for information online and makes  decisions about brands.

More customers are seeking solutions online.  Instead of the salespeople being the go-to people, the Internet has taken their place. If the internet is taking the place of the salespeople, what should they do? They need to understand the changes in their role and the changes in how they connect with their customers. The biggest problem for most salespeople is their lack of skill when it comes to using the Internet and social media tools. They’re used to having customers come to them instead of having to reach out to the customers. Business owners need to provide the tools for their salespeople.

Great salespeople understand the value of staying in touch with their customers through some type of communication. The Internet has given us many new venues to stay connected. Unfortunately, many businesses are not allowing their salespeople to spend time online with customers. They say it’s a “waste of time and money.” It’s actually quite the opposite: If your salespeople are still sitting waiting for customers to show up at your door, you’re wasting time, money and talent.

Old marketing venues are less effective and starting to diminish. Newspapers are struggling as are television and magazines. What does this mean? It means salespeople need to spend more time online getting to know customers and finding new ways to connect. The key is to decide how to use these connections.

To get started, look at the venues most used by your customers and develop a strategy with your salespeople to infiltrate these venues and make them work for you.

Lisbeth Calandrino has been doing business consulting for the past 20 years. To schedule a consultation or have her speak with your employees, call her at 518-495-5380 or email at Lcalandrino@nycap.rr.com.

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By |November 24th, 2014|Blog, Blogging, Customer Experience, Customer Service|0 Comments

Are Communication Skills Much Ado About Nothing?

COMMUNICATIONI have been doing sales training for over 25 years, and I am always amazed when I see a salesperson having trouble building rapport. Here’s what Wikipedia has to say on the subject: “Rapport is one of the most important features or characteristics of subconscious communication. It is commonality of perspective: being ‘in sync’ with, or being ‘on the same wavelength’ as the person with whom you are talking.” In other words, rapport is when we get each other. It’s as simple as that, but it becomes complicated when we believe that everyone should think like us. Not only do we think it, we spend time trying to convince the other person of our position. If you’re spending your time convincing, it shows a lack of understanding of communication. In order to be a good salesperson, you have to give up your position of having to be right and hand it over to your customer. Remember, if you want to be right to win, that means the customer has to be wrong. In any transaction or relationship, no one wants to be wrong. According to Sravanthi Reddy G.,  selling is a two way communication relationship and involves talking and listening.

  1. Before conducting any type of sales training, I always suggest we do a standard sales training inventory: a test that will show the person how they communicate, who they communicate best with and what gets in their way.
  2. Learning about your communication style makes it easier for you to absorb new information and understand how it will help you. This is why school is so difficult for many; they can’t understand why they need the information and how it will help them. Once you do some communication testing, people will open up and want to learn. I use BEST Instruments because it’s simple and very revealing.
  3. Building rapport is the concept of connecting to your customer. Instinctively, we know how to communicate with people like ourselves. If you ask people why it works, they often say, “We just click.”
  4. You can click with anyone. Isn’t that amazing? Instead of passing on a customer because you don’t like them or just don’t get them, once you learn about yourself, you can make adjustments in your communication style.
  5. Great salespeople are in control of their communication. They know why they connect and what makes it work. On the other hand, amateurs leave it up to fate. Another great line is, “The customer just wasn’t ready to buy.” Building good rapport has little to do with the customer buying your product; it has a lot to do with whether the customer buys you!

Give a gift to your salespeople: the ability to understand their communication and sales skills. It will benefit them and your business many times over. Lisbeth Calandrino has been doing sales and customer service training for over 20 years. To book a consultation or have her speak to your group, contact her at Lcalandrino@nycap.rr.com or 518-495-5380. Lisbeth lives in Historic Hudson Park, Albany, New York,  with her cat Rainyday.

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By |November 18th, 2014|Blog, Reaching the Consumer, Sales, Success, Training|0 Comments