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23 09, 2015

5 Reasons Why Not Utilizing Social Media will be Your Demise

By |2017-03-03T12:06:52-05:00September 23rd, 2015|Categories: Blog, Building a Brand, Customer Satisfaction, Social Media Marketing|Tags: , , , |0 Comments

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What's going on with your social media?

What’s going on with your social media?

I reached out to an old friend and asked him what he had been doing. During the conversation he told me he had been ‘forced’ to learn about social media. At first I was a little amazed and then excited that he was entering into the new ‘sales game.’

Some aspects of selling have really changed.  Sales professionals can use social media to reach out to and influence their customers. They can also meet new ones.

In fact to grow a business, it’s essential to reach out to your customers. If they don’t stay connected to you, they will make new friends with your competitors.  If they make new friends, they will just disappear.

Below are 5 reasons why social media is a good thing for salespeople.

  1. Statistics tell us that 73% of customers will not make a buying decision before asking their friends for advice. Yes, both men and women. You may have experienced a longer buying cycle with your customers and wonder what’s happening. According to Google, customers often leave a store and then go to social media to “checkup” on the store and the salespeople. (This makes the case for a strong LinkedIn profile.)
  2. This is the age of transparency and customers want to know who they’re buying from. You probably realize that we are entrenched with reality television. Everything from “Hoarders” to “Swamp People,” we are engaged in other people’s lives.
  3. Do you know what customers are saying about you online? Managing your online reputation is essential if you expect to get good referrals. These days the referral business is up from 80% to almost 95%. If the customer doesn’t know who you are, it’s unlikely they will do business with you. It’s important to ask customers to write referrals for you. You should Google your business and see what customers are saying about you.
  4. Social media will expand your customer base. New customers will be more likely to be interested in your products and your services if they see you online. Each salesperson should be posting information about their latest jobs, products and staying in touch with possible customers. You can’t have too many Facebook friends and fans!
  5. Blogging is a way to expand your expertise. Consumers want to know about you and what your business can do. They are also interested in ‘who’ you are. No you’re not ‘Swamp People’ but you’re just as interesting. Don’t shy away from getting ‘personal.’

I suggest that salespeople contribute to social media daily. Some people hire outside consultants to manage their social media—not such a good idea. You want customers to stay close to you, not to  your marketing people!

Lisbeth Calandrino has been helping businesses build sales and marketing strategies for over twenty years. It’s time for all businesses to merge their sales and marketing. Who knows their customers better than your salespeople?

To schedule a consultation or have Lisbeth speak at your business, reach her at Lcalandrino@nycap.rr.com.

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3 09, 2015

7 Lies Customers Tell and How You Can Still Sell Them

By |2017-03-03T12:06:52-05:00September 3rd, 2015|Categories: Blog, Building relationships, Customer Satisfaction, Sales, Selling on price|Tags: , , , |0 Comments

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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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27 07, 2015

Why do Businesses say Stupid Things to Their Customers?

By |2017-03-03T12:06:52-05:00July 27th, 2015|Categories: Blog, Customer Retention Strategies, Customer Satisfaction, Customer Service, Marketing, Reaching the Consumer|Tags: , , , , |4 Comments

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no cookingOn my way to the gym I pass this restaurant; today the sign outside says “No Cook.” I’m assuming that means they’re not open. Why would you put that sign up? This is just a ridiculous thing to post for your customers. What’s the point? What kind of customer service can a restaurant deliver without a cook?

It brings up all kinds of thoughts for me.

  1. They don’t pay their help very much or why would the cook leave?
  2. There will be no food until they get a new cook; will the new cook be good? Should I even try it?
  3. When the new cook comes, will there be a sign that says, “New Cook?”
  4. They don’t sound very resourceful, why not just start cooking? There must be someone who works or owns the place that knows how.
  5. Why do we care about your cook? It’s your problem now it’s mine.

Why would you share any of your misfortune with your customers? Consumers don’t care about your problems only that you make them feel good.

Actually, I would have liked it better if the sign says, ‘cook quit or cook fired.’ At least, I can get a laugh about it. It reminds me of the nursery that had the sign, ‘closed during the winter,’ of course; we know that. Why not the sign that says, ‘can’t wait for spring?’

There was another sign on a restaurant door that said, ‘closed because of lack of customers.’ I guess that’s my fault; nasty implications with that sign.

Why not be positive with your customers? Why not close because you’re giving your business a face lift, or you’re having a face lift? My friend had a sign on her restaurant that said ‘owner taking a cruise; she needs it. Thanks for being my customers see you on July 1.’ Those of us, who know Carmella knows she works really hard and deserves a vacation.  We were all excited to welcome her back and ask about the cruise. She even came with gifts for her ‘regulars.’

Customers always want to know, ‘what’s in it for me?’  There’s nothing in it for me when the cook leaves. We all listen to the radio station, ‘what’s in it for me.’ WIIFM. If you do something that inconveniences the customer you can be sure they won’t be happy.

If you can’t make the customer happy, at least make them laugh, or  hold their hands to improve the customer experience.

 

Lisbeth Calandrino has been helping businesses build sales and customer service strategies for over twenty years. To have Lisbeth consult with you, reach her at Lcalandrino@nycap.rr.com.

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26 04, 2015

An Update on What Value Means to Your Business

By |2017-03-03T12:06:53-05:00April 26th, 2015|Categories: Blog, Customer Satisfaction, Motivation, Reaching the Consumer, Repeat and Referral Business, Success|Tags: , , , , , , , , |0 Comments

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What makes you different and what is it worth?

What makes you different and what is it worth?

Everyone talks about value but what does it really mean? Simply put, it means going above and beyond what is expected. For instance, giving out cookies and hot chocolate during the holidays in your business can be considered added value. Cookies add to the festivities and are unexpected by the customers. Will all customers think they are added value? Probably not the people who are on a diet or don’t eat chocolate chips. Value added is a marketing and sales strategy for your business. It helps customers remember you, build repeat and referral business and build differentiation.

Before you can deliver, you have to know your customers, and what they expect. Yes, customers want to be treated with courtesy, feel that prices are fair for the marketplace and expect your place of business to be inviting. If you can’t deliver what’s expected, how can you go above and beyond and deliver the “added value?”

Once you know who they are, then you can go forward trying to figure out what you can do that they would like.

So added value is something the customer gets and finds delightful. Imagine giving your customers a beautiful winter blanket on a beastly hot summer day. The blanket is worsted wool, with horse blanket fringe as well as being soft and warm. Delivered in the summer, it isn’t valued, in fact, becomes a problem. You might say, “I wouldn’t care when I got the blanket, it’s so magnificent. “ Despite your excitement, many of your customers would not be feeling the same. So treating the customers using your standards may not be adding any value nor getting any points from your customers.

Instead of thinking what’s of value to you, find out what’s of value to your customers. For any of this to work, it must be determined within the context of your customers.  Of course, we all have fixed budgets, but we still have to look at the customer’s criteria. I go into the gym daily. It has become an important part of my health plan. One of the things, besides all the people I know is the coffee that is served free of charge in the lobby. It makes a huge difference to me; it’s always fresh and somehow signals the end of a good workout. So it’s a big deal to me; no, it’s not rational but value isn’t rational.

I know they make a big deal about wiping down the equipment after it’s used in the gym. (They consider this huge value.) Frankly, this doesn’t really matter to me; I know the best thing I can do is go home and change my clothes. I’ve been told the gym is one of the dirtiest places in the world so I don’t think a simple wipe down will help.

In all of our lives, it’s the simple things that make our own world special.

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