Building relationships

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Magnetically Attract the Best Customers by Becoming a Community Hub

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Attract customers by becoming a community hub

“Is Amazon coming for you?”

On November 9th I will be the guest expert on FCNews Marketing Mastery Webinar.

Amazon has created huge disruption in retail by making it easy to buy virtually anything on line, and they are now expanding into brick-and-mortar.

 

Box stores have poured hundreds of millions of dollars into advertising to create brand awareness. It may seem hopeless but it isn’t.

As a small retailer, you have advantages the big boys don’t. By using the right strategies you can out maneuver the big players and run circles around them. I will be revealing a powerful strategy to outmaneuver the big companies, and attract a LOT more customers during the upcoming fCNews webinar called:

“HOW TO TRANSFORM YOUR BUSINESS INTO A COMMUNITY HUB”

For more info and to sign up: http://marketingmasterywebinar.com/Lisbeth

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Your Employees Need More Than a Turkey for Thankgiving

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turkeyThanksgiving is the day for giving thanks for many things. But employees need more than a turkey.

It’s a holiday time when we get involved in our own families and shut out the outside world. As a business owner, this is wonderful time to give thanks to your managers and employees.

Being recognized satisfies a basic need that we all have; to be recognized. The holiday season is a perfect time to build and strengthen your relationships with all of your employees. It’s likely your employees spend more time at work than they do at home. You are part of their extended family. The older we get the family we have left in our lives.

This is the season where everyone is on overload and probably worrying about money. Prices continue to rise, and it’s likely your employees are feeling the pinch. In addition, you are probably trying to bring in as much money before the holidays and are wondering if business is going to go cold over the holidays. Your employees are wondering also; especially if they’re on commission.

How can you recognize them?

Spend as much time as you can during the holidays with your employees. Sure you’re the boss and can disappear over the holidays but why not stay and share in some holiday cheer with them. Having a catered dinner or lunch with them will help them celebrate together. You may not be part of their team, but it’s likely they feel close to each other.

Recognize their special efforts and tell each one of them how important they are to you. If there’s a way to give them some time off, why not? When I was in the retail business, we used to give our employees a special holiday dinner, and also celebrate New Year’s Day in the store with holiday cheer. (We rented a piano for the holidays and sang Christmas songs with our customers!)

As a group, why not adopt a charity or a family and give something back. We did several things, one that seemed to be the most enjoyed was to bring presents to the nursing home or collect “Toys for Tots.”

Hold special events for your customers. This is the time to give away mistletoe and small gifts to your customers. You can also have the holiday cheer in your store and invite your favorite customers. If they spend enough time in your store, it’s likely they see you as family. This is a good time for a “Girl’s Night Out” with plenty of vendors selling holidays gifts.

The bottom line, employees are what make your business go ‘round. It’s a good time to remember this. Happy Holidays!

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By | 2017-03-03T12:06:49+00:00 November 23rd, 2015|Blog, Building relationships|0 Comments

How Much Does Your Excitement Matter to the Customer?

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Eat more oatmeal!

Eat more oatmeal! Today is National Oatmeal Day.

A smile and excitement are worth quite a bit if today was any indication of it.

Today was “National Oatmeal Day” so the Quaker representatives were handing out fee oatmeal in NYC Penn. Station.   It was interesting watching the response they were getting from consumers. . Some of the reps. were very enthusiastic, smiling and making a big deal about the day. Others didn’t smile and just tried to get people to take the oatmeal.  The ones that were smiling and excited were getting people to take two; the ones who didn’t smile literally “couldn’t give the oatmeal away.”

I kept thinking back to something I say in sales training. “Remember whatever you have it’s catching to the customer.” The person with the highest or lowest energy will shift it to the other one. If you’re excited, it’s catching, if you’re miserable, it’s catching. It was incredible how obvious it was today.

I took the oatmeal with a smile on my face. I also took a good look at it and read the ingredients. The woman’s excitements made me curious and want to know more. Hey, not a big thing; we’re just talking oatmeal now!

I consider NYC the place for looking and shopping. I had an appointment in the city but instead of taking a cab, I choose to walk the 1.4 miles. (Maybe it wasn’t such a good idea in heels.)  I went into several stores to watch salespeople and look around.

Desigual is fun.

Desigual is fun.

My favorite store is Desigual out of Spain. The clothes are very arty and super different. The people, who work there is darling, just like the store. They laugh with the customers and talk about how you have to be careful how many of their prints you wear together, or you’ll look like a clown! I left laughing and energized. They truly have an energized brand.

 

For me NYC is energizing. There are many different types of people, interesting fashions and the most helpful that I know. I left my phone on my car seat and had to keep asking directions to my destination. I choose to ask many people to see what type of reception I would get. People took out their phones to look for directions, some walked with me to make sure I was heading the right way.

We all need to reenergize. Some of us get it from alone time and others from other people.  Getting refueled is about connecting with yourself and who you are. Get out of the house and go to the movies, get to the gym.  I enjoy being around people who have lots of energy because I feel lifted. In fact, it will carry me thought many days of work. I also love when I can share my energy with others. Energy goes both ways.

If you get a free moment, check out your energy and the people around you. Are you in a major slump? People can energize you as well as deplete you of your energy. Take a minute and think about yourself.

Remember what the flight attendant says, “Put your oxygen mask on first before helping anyone else.”

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By | 2017-03-03T12:06:49+00:00 October 29th, 2015|Advertising, Blog, Building relationships, fun|0 Comments

7 Lies Customers Tell and How You Can Still Sell Them

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Liar, liar pants on fire.

Liar, liar pants on fire.

Even seasoned professionals get taken in by customers who use statements to put them off. Rather than take it up with the customer they just give up.

Customer can bend the truth, especially if they haven’t made up their mind about buying. They will say just about anything to get out of the store. As a salesperson, if you’ve done your best, there is no reason to back off from the customer.

START BY NOT BELIEVING THE CUSTOMER’S EXCUSES! If you believe them, it’s over. If you believe them you do not believe in yourself or your business. 

Here are 7 standard customer lies and ideas for selling them.

  1. I can’t afford it. Now we all have had times when we couldn’t afford something; that doesn’t mean we didn’t buy it!

If you’ve explained the value of your product and how it will help the customer, they should be able to see that living without it would be a mistake. Ignore the statement and review the customer’s “conditions of satisfaction.” Give them the features and benefits that fit the customer’s key concerns. You can also suggest a product that is less money and explain the comparison. The customer may don’t let the customer scare you. Your job is to make them feel you have their best interest at heart, and your product is what they need.

  1. We’re just looking.” You’ve heard this a million times and you might be tempted to leave them alone. My suggestion, don’t.

Yes, people just look but if you leave them alone while they’re looking you run the risk of looking like you don’t care. Statements like, “We have some new products, and can I point them out to you?

“We have a huge store; can I help you find the right products?

These statements should be followed up with rapport building statements; anything other than trying to sell them. Talk about their kids, the weather or their smart phone.

3.”I have to ask my husband or my wife.”

One reason the customer might say this is because she or he doesn’t trust your judgment. If they don’t believe what you’re saying, they certainly don’t want to make the decision alone.  It may be true that they aren’t the decision maker so “nicely” review two or three benefits that fit their situation and be quiet.”

  1. “We weren’t prepared to buy; we have to look around.”

Don’t be afraid to tell them you understand, but you don’t want them to lose out on the product or pricing. Before they look around suggest that you review your product with them. Check out what they said about their situation and explain how your product fits the bill.

  1. I’ll know it when I see it.”

This is really a funny statement. If you ask them what it will look like they won’t be able to tell you. They may say you don’t have it. This is a good time to ask them to describe the perfect product to you. If you can get them to talk about it, you will probably come up with new ideas.

  1. It’s too expensive.”

This is a wonderful statement and gives you lots to work with. Review their budget with them and review how the product will work for them. This is similar, to “I can’t afford it.”

  1. “Your competition is cheaper.”

Your competition might be cheaper but are they as nice as you? In other words, building rapport and showing you care is more important than ever. Explain what makes you different and what you’re willing to do for them. Cheaper doesn’t always mean better even if it’s the same product.

What special treats do you have for your customers? A comfortable showroom, an interactive web site that really helps the customer finds the right products. Plenty of social media chatter that shows that customer’s trusts you. You might familiarize yourself with your customer’s online reputation.

How about this? A print out coupon they can only get on their smart phone while they’re in your store.  If you have “wiggle” room, make sure it sounds legitimate. It might do the trick.

Once you’re done, don’t forget to ask the customer  what she thinks about what you’ve said.  This is an easy closing statement that is overlooked by most salespeople.

Lisbeth has been doing sales and customer service training for over 20 years. Reach her at Lcalandrino@nycap.rr.com.

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Do Customers Always Buy on Price? 3 Ways to get out of the Rat Race

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priceMost everyone has heard the story about the two industrious brothers who set out to make a fortune by buying watermelons for a buck each and selling them for ten dollars a dozen. They set up their stand alongside the road and business was going gangbusters. While counting their money, they came up a little short. They finally figured it out; they needed a bigger truck.” Believe it or not, the story has been around since 1900 when Paul Nathan, wrote a book called “How to Make Money in the Printing Business.”

Research shows that price is virtually never the primary reason someone buys something. It’s also usually not the second reason—maybe the third. With the prices of smart phones these days you know. what I’m talking about. Most of us have a feeling that a higher price is equated with quality and value. Even if you shop the discounters, such as Marshalls and TJ Max, if you’re like me you wonder—are these prices really good? Often the products are last year’s merchandise and a little behind the style. Check in this time next year for today’s styles.

When times are tight, businesses have a tendency to cut their price. A business doesn’t cut wages when it lowers prices so wages as a percentage of sales goes up and sales go up because of lower prices. These two factors spell disaster long term.

Statistics tell us that price is infinitely more important to salespeople than customers. If a salesperson is concerned about price, they tell their customers, they think their prices are too high and invite the customer to beat them up on price.
Of course price matters. If you don’t talk about it to your customer, what are you communicating? It says you’re scared and don’t think your merchandise is worth what you’re selling it for. Until you can discuss price with confidence and credibility, you’re in trouble. Words like regular price, list price, best price, and lowest price, you are clearly implying that the price is negotiable. Your eye movements can also invite the customer to beat you up on price. When you say a price, you don’t believe, you almost always break off eye contact and look down.
1. All things being equal, do customers buy on price? Says who? Don’t fall into believing this trash. You can probably remember the time you paid full ticket for something and were really happy. Maybe it’s that new Apple Watch. Check out why people are buying them.
2. It’s your job to explain to the customer that not everything is equal and why the customer should pay you more. This brings us back to value, what extra things does your customer want? Can you give these things to them? Do these things make your company different? These are things you learned in your first selling class right?
3. Things are never equal, really. Coffee isn’t coffee or is it? My hunch is a lot of coffee is the same, but you would never know it. From Starbucks to Dunkin’ Donuts to your “home-town town coffee roaster,” each has you believing you should pay their price.

Maybe the glass on your front door is cleaner?

Adopted from “How to Sell at Prices Higher than your Competitor, ” Lawrence L. Steinmetz.

Lisbeth has been teaching businesses how to improve their customer service and the customer experience for over 20 years. To schedule a consultation or have her speak at your business, reach her at Lcalandrino@nycap.rr.com. If she’s not in her office, she can often be found mornings at the YMCA in East Greenbush, New York. 

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Three ways to Build Your Relationships, One Customer at a Time

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Wellness Center

Wellness Center

The world has changed more than we know. I went to my favorite supermarket and saw this sign in front. More businesses are wearing “new hats” so they can compete. Hannaford also has a wellness center that is part of CHPHP and the YMCA in East Greenbush. I still think that’s a slam dunk. I met someone involved in this association, and she said this brings exercise and wellness to people who might not be able to afford the gym. It’s free, and the programs can compete with any of the gyms in town.  They’re trying to build relationships with their customers.

It’s time to think creatively. Many of you are holding events in your stores to bring in customers. Your business should be considered your home and having an event says, “Welcome. “I hear people saying but we didn’t do any business, and we didn’t have many people show up. This is not about doing business, but it’s about building relationships. If you didn’t get many people that you don’t know how to throw a party. If you want people to come you’ve got to tell them why they should come, tell them again, and then go pick them up! I know you’re saying it’s too much work, but building relationships is work. It means showing an interest in someone else and putting your own agenda on the “back burner” as they say.

I remember when we had an event in our store for contractors. Our biggest contractor said he didn’t want to drive the 40 miles to come to the party—I didn’t blame him. I said a car just left and would be there to pick him up at six! He said he was so embarrassed, but he showed up.

Sometimes it just means paying attention. Today in Pilate’s class a woman came up to me to talk about the class. She was very out of shape and said she wanted to talk with me about a weight-loss program I had mentioned. I knew the class would be hard for her, but I suggested her not worry and do what she could. I told the instructor about her who was kind enough to give her a little extra attention without embarrassing her. She felt special and signed up for the weight-loss program after class. I was so glad I took the time to talk with her; I knew she was serious.

  • Show that you care about others. Instead of waiting for people to talk with you, reach out. What do you have to lose?
  • Be genuinely helpful to others. That doesn’t mean doing it for them, it means noticing when someone needs you.
  • Just listen to someone. Sometimes just listening, without providing a solution can be very comforting.

 

Summer is around the corner; what’s next?

 

Lisbeth had been helping businesses build relationships with their customers for the last 20 years. Need some new ideas?

Lisbeth can be contacted at Lcalandrino@nycap.rr.com.

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