I keep hearing the customer has changed how we cope with them. Think about it, we’re talking about ourselves. It’s been a slow transition, so slow that we really haven’t noticed. We are so stressed out thinking about what we have to learn about our customers, we forget how we’ve changed. If you examine your path , you won’t be so stressed about the customers.
Let’s start with your phone. What type of phone are you using? When did you finally give up your ‘flip phone?’ Several of my friends still have a flip phone and are adamant about not changing. It makes me think, am I that stubborn? It’s hard to give up something we’re used to; if you’re still using your flip phone, you might examine what you’re missing.
Do you prefer texting to talking on the phone? I find it less intrusive, and I can reply quickly. The same people with the flip phones think that texting is ‘impersonal.’ Texting gives an additional way to get in touch, and it’s often easier. Have you asked your customers what they prefer? Let’s not assume we know, let’s ask them. If they prefer a phone call, honor it. Again, it’s not because they’re old they don’t want to give up what makes them comfortable.
Do you still have a fax machine or do you scan and email? I had to return a document to a national company, and they asked me to fax it. I told them I got rid of my fax machine three years ago and scanning is easier. They were insistent I fax. They didn’t have a reason other than the fact: “That’s how we do it.” Are you still telling customers ‘that’s how we do it?’ Is it time for you to move forward and make some changes?
Are people asking why you’re texting the person next to you? Often texting to someone during a meeting is a smart thing to do. It’s better than interrupting the speaker and what you have to say is essential. Isn’t it great that you can actually communicate without interrupting the rest of the world?
Are you still using the same-old lines, can I help you? Today it’s more appropriate to ask the customer what they’ve seen online that they like. It’s a short cut to understanding how they shop. My experience is that salespeople still ask how they can help you when we know the whole world is online before going into a brick and mortar store. Help the customer cut their shopping time in half, find out what they already know.
Communication is the key to all of our transactions; nothing has changed. What has change is technology and how it is impacting our world? The more you learn about technology the less stressed you will be.
Lisbeth has been helping customers build sales and marketing strategies for over 20 years. Understanding and using today’s technology is one of the keys to success.
Over the holidays I usually work for an event company demonstrating their product. I do this because it gives me an opportunity to keep in touch with the customers. I also get to talk with them about everything, including life. It’s interesting what people will tell you about themselves and their shopping habits.
Many businesses are still behind the “electronic eight ball” when it comes to their salespeople. The salespeople and the managers are still functioning like it was the 90’s. Although no more than 10-15 years ago, the world has changed dramatically since then. There are somethings that have remained the same; the salesperson still has to build rapport, overcome objections and close the customer. How it gets done has drastically changed. Customers are influencing each other when it comes to where they shop and what they buy. The customer is either “with us or against us.”
The salesperson is now an integral part of the marketing plan. More than ever the salesperson is not just closing the customer, but need to be driving the customer into the store. Here is what’s changed and how the salesperson can become a driving force to bring customers into the store.
I believe this is the profile of the new salesperson:
- Web savvy and can show the customer around your web site. Also knows how to link to your Pinterest, Houzz and Instagram photos. Has also created some YouTube videos for you about products.
- Understands how social media works and posts updates of customers and their products.
- Seeks affirmations and testimonials for customers for your web site. Is not shy about asking for referrals online. Also pays attention to your online reputation.
- Has an up-to-date LinkedIn profile with over 500 connections. Knows how to link up with businesses to expand his/her network.
- Is consistent in online postings. Posts weekly if not daily about products and new jobs.
- Has a smart phone and is capable of taking photos and posting. Can also show customers how to post online and “like and follow” your business on Facebook.
- Understands the value of Houzz and how it can help bring in more customers.
- Knows how to put together an event at your business as well as build the invitation online. Understand how online “meetups” can help you build a customer base.
- Understands that “tweeting” is not just for the birds. Tweets regularly and has a following.
- If he/she doesn’t already have a blog, is considering one to help build a “personal” brand.
Most important can help you figure out why your IPhone won’t turn off. Every business needs people with technology skills. Let’s face it, change starts from the top; the salesperson can’t do it alone.
Thanks to “In search of sociable salespeople,” for the photo.
You probably know how to buy the right products and what time of the year customers are likely to buy. You probably even run ads to drive customers into your business and think you’re good at it. But what about your salespeople? Are they lovable?
If so, why are these things happening in your business?
Sales people are complaining about prices. “We could sell more if your prices were as low as our competitors.”
They don’t really push for the sales, or call customers back. “I don’t want to turn customers off.”
“I can’t reach that quota; we don’t have enough customers.”
“Why don’t you advertise more?”
Our competitors are stealing our customers. “How can they give stuff away?”
So who is leading your crew? The only people in command are your managers. Managers need to know what problems their salespeople face and then train them to overcome these problems or hire someone. Why do so many take the easy way out and think that product knowledge is the answer to all of their company problems?
One thing l know hasn’t changed; customers still fall in love with people not products. Despite this fact, businesses spend little on making their sales force “loveable” and confident.
Seven to make your salespeople more ‘loveable and confident.’
The better people feel about themselves, the better they will be at their jobs. If you don’t feel good about yourself, you won’t learn and will lack in confidence. Find out what’s really bothering your salespeople and come up with the answers.
Train in areas that are causing the most problems. Not sure about overcoming objections? Train it and get your best salespeople to share their secrets.
Help them love what they do. Provide an atmosphere of support and learning. If people feel like they’re achieving, it’s likely they will love what they do.
Teach them how to use their time wisely. Some activities will bring in customers, and some things are just a waste of time. Sending notes to customers has high values, playing Candy Crush probably doesn’t.
Set a good example, or play ‘follow the leader.’ Managers need to be focused, supportive and always thinking how they can help people feel fulfilled. Being positive and achieving goes a long way.
Encourage creativity; everyone has their own brand of creativity. Find ways to make it happen in all of your staff. There are fun games that encourage people to think differently. Once you play the game, tie the results back to their jobs.
Discuss the price of success. Success is not something that just happens. It takes years of preparation and learning. While you’re making this happen, other things need to be put aside. Everyone will have to decide what’s most important.
Malcolm Gladwell talks about the 10,000 hours to become an overnight success.
Being happy with you is the first step in being lovable.
Lisbeth has been helping businesses build “lovable” relationships with their staff and their customers for over 20 years. To have her speak at your business or develop a training program for your managers and staff–reach her at Lcalandrino@nycap.rr.com. Or call/text at 518-495-5380.
Motivational Matrix, Dr. Jim Taylor
People talk about ‘getting motivated’ but how does that relate to their success? I always thought that motivation was the key to success but now I’m not sure. I think the equation is much more complicated. Motivation is only a small part of being successful. Have you ever said, “I feel really motivated to get some work done,” and then gone to take a nap?
Motivation or the desire to get things done is one of the first steps to success. The bottom line is it takes hard work to get it done. I’m not talking about the work that you do every day, i.e. going to your job, putting gas in your car, and cleaning the house, etc. I’m talking about what you do after that stuff is done. Success will come when you’re focusing on that special dream or goal. It could be losing weight or getting fit. They require your ability to ‘get it done’ no matter how you’re feeling.
Writing for Psychology Today, Dr. Jim Taylor defines motivation as “being able to work hard in the face of obstacles, boredom, fatigue, stress, and the desire to do other things.” Each person has a different motivation that drives them toward success. Dr. Taylor illustrates this with the motivation matrix, which breaks down motivation along two dimensions: external vs. internal and negative vs. positive. Each combination—internal-positive, external-positive, internal-negative and external-negative—can provide sufficient motivation to net you success.
Does your style of motivation work?
Will it give you the drive, planning skills and sacrifice you will need to stay the course?
Will it give you the ability to work when you’re sick?
What about turning off the Golf Channel?
Are you able to say no to a party invitation because your ‘work of success’ isn’t finished?
What will you say to your friends when the call you a ‘workaholic?’
Can you sacrifice that special brownie your girlfriend made so you can stay on your diet?
Does giving up one day mean giving up forever?
Confronting the obstacles before you get started is one way to help keep you on track. We’ve all fallen off the ‘success wagon’ but the smart ones get right back up.
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.