Often times when we have a problem to solve we ‘think it to death.’ Often times it makes it more stressful and instead of coming up with good ideas, we impulsively make a decision. We can’t seem to quiet our minds enough to take in new information. Here are three ways that might help you decipher your existing roadblock.
Challenge your own thinking and ask yourself some questions. Why am I thinking this way, suppose I didn’t have these thoughts? Is there another solution that I might come up with? How would this be handled by a well-known authority on these types of problems?
Do I have any prior experience on solving this problem? How did it work out before, what steps did I skip that have caused this problem to get worse?
What is my heart thinking? Our hearts can be of help if we let it. Are you allowed to feel when you’re solving a problem? Think of how many times you’re sitting at a traffic light and you have this creepy feeling that someone is watching you. You turn to look out the window and sure enough, someone is looking at you.
For more information on how meditation can improve your mind, listen to this interview with Bethany Gonyea at the Albany Peace project. Check out my article in The Albany Times Union on Success and Meditation.
We all know the “one-hit wonders. They sell the customer and then disappear. Their paperwork is a mess, and they want nothing to do with the follow-up. Often times they are great salespeople and businesses depend on them. I had a business owner ask me what he should do with his best salesperson. The salesperson could sell anyone but after that he was nothing but trouble. He made mistakes in his estimates, and his paperwork was all over the place. The owner didn’t want to get rid of him because he brought in so much business, but everyone had to clean up after him.
I suggested he explain to the person how much it was costing them to do his follow through. Why not use part of his commission to pay for an assistant, (he was that good), and then he could do what he did best, sell. He decided to “clean up his act’ because he didn’t want anyone to have any of his money.
One hit wonders, razzle/ dazzle the customer and go on to the next one. To them, the only customer who is important to them is “the new one; “follow-through is not their strong point. This salesperson, likes the excitement of “capturing” an unknown customer. To them when it’s over, it’s over. It’s the hunt that they like.
Unfortunately, your ability to follow through and keep in touch with your sold customer will determine whether you get a referral. Referrals are the lifeblood of any business and 85% of your new customers will come from referrals. If you disappear after you sell the customer, where will you get your referrals?
I’ve been a salesperson my whole life; I understand the “thrill of the hunt.” When I was in the flooring business, I went from retail to the commercial end of the business. I loved growing the commercial business. The profits were bigger; the customers were more complex, and I had to work hard on building relationships and “stealing” customers. I gave up retail selling because the retail customers all seemed the same. Follow-up was key and referrals within a company came from doing a good job. When I was writing my book on Commercial Flooring (which is out of print) I interviewed Donald LaDuke, the original owner of Barry, Bette, LeDuke, from Albany, New York. I asked Donald what made a good subcontractor and Donald replied, “One that I’ve never heard of!” In other words, this was someone who did their work and didn’t cause a problem.
Here are three things you can do to build great follow through.
Remind yourself how valuable your customer is and how they will help you build your “personal” business.” Come up with a strategy for staying in touch after the sale.
Find out what makes each customer unique. Then decide how you can continue to build the relationship. It may be their field of business or their community connections.
Work hard at maintaining your connections. It will be easy with some customers and more difficult with others. Once they’re sold ask how you can stay in touch on line through social media or through emails. All of this has to do with two skills that I wrote about on the Albany Times Union: Communication and Connections.
Lisbeth has been helping businesses build retail strategies for over 20 years. To have her speak to your staff or develop a sales/customer service training program, she can be reached at [email protected].
Yesterday I receive a call from a floor covering retailer about technology.
“I just can’t keep up with it, he said, I don’t know what to do first!”
This is a common cry from business owners who believe that technology is the key to their existence. They think if they don’t learn everything about it, their business will fail.
Yes technology is changing every day, but that’s not the problem. The problem is finding your consumer. The consumer has found new friends in cyberspace. Instead of starting their product search in your retail store; they are starting their search online. To keep your business alive; you must know the following two things:
- Who is your primary customer? No, not everyone is a customer. Your customer should be profitable and should want to sing your praises. (This customer is probably a referral.)
- Where online does your customer hang out? (Everyone has their favorite places to connect.)
Your customer may still be at the Chamber of Commerce or at the Networking Group, but they are also online. To keep up with your customers, you will need to know their favorite haunts. Why spend all of your days on Facebook chasing down a customer and then realize they’re on LinkedIn?
Google has been writing about the Customer’s Zero Moments of Truth, ZMOT to give us an idea of what’s fueling the customer. Instead of telling us “what technology to use” they are telling us to find our customer. I have linked you to an article I wrote for the Albany Times Union on the ZMOT.
Three ideas from Google are worth significant attention. When it comes to the customer, Google suggests the following: Here is a video link to ZMOThttp://v1.zeromomentoftruth.com/google-zmot-es.pdf.
- Know where your customer hangs out and show up to engage.
- Show up often. (Don’t be a stranger or ‘one-hit wonder.’ hit wonder.’
- Know what to say when you show up.
If your primary business is B-to-B, then LinkedIn might be the place to show up. What will you show up for? Note the above. Either join a group connected with your industry and the people you want to know. If there isn’t a group, start your own.
If your primary business is retail, check out Facebook, Pinterest and Houzz. If you’re not sure which ones apply to your customers, ask them.
Let’s stop kidding ourselves. Most searches start on-line. Our job is to decide where our customers are on-line and meet them there. This is where the dance begins. The idea is to get the customer to engage with you so get to know and trust you. Once this happens they will consider going to your retail store.
Today engagement is all about listening to, and talking with the customer. The days of “telling the customer anything” are over.
Lisbeth has been coaching businesses for over 25 years. Her focus is helping businesses use customer service to impact the bottom line. Not sure where to begin? Give Lisbeth a call and share your thoughts. [email protected] or 518-495-5380.