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3 11, 2014

5 Ways To Get Your Salespeople Connected To Customers

By |2017-03-03T12:06:54-05:00November 3rd, 2014|Categories: Customer Experience, Customer Retention Strategies, Customer Service, Motivation, Reaching the Consumer, Sales, Training|Tags: , , , , , , , , |Comments Off on 5 Ways To Get Your Salespeople Connected To Customers

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connecting-with-customer-service-advisorI 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. Building rapport is part of customer service and the customer experience.

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.

  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. The one I like the best comes from BEST Instruments. It is short but conveys lots of information.
  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.
  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.

To schedule Lisbeth to speak to your employees or schedule a consultation, reach her at [email protected]

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2 03, 2012

Selling is About Passion, Not About Sales

By |2017-03-03T12:07:06-05:00March 2nd, 2012|Categories: Blog, Change|Tags: , , , , , , , , |4 Comments

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Passion gets the job doneThe other day I met a personal trainer who was telling me about her profession. She was in great shape and obviously lived her profession.

“I love it she said, but they want me to sell it to people in the health club. In fact they want me to interrupt people who are working out and tell them about the personal training program.”

So what’s wrong with that I asked?” To which she replied, “I don’t want to bother them!”

I started thinking, how can someone love what they do and not want to share it with others? Have you ever seen a movie or read a book that made you so excited  you had to  share it with others? Did you worry they “wouldn’t buy it?” After you explained the movie all your friends  wanted to see it.  Why, because you weren’t selling the movie, you were selling passion and excitement.

 I asked if she thought what she did  was important, to which she again replied, “Of course I do .” She gave lip service to her passion, but somehow the possibility of connecting her passion with others didn’t exist.

Many salespeople are under the misconception that sales is about getting someone to do something or buy something because the salesperson wants them to. In this day and age, do people buy because the salesperson “makes wants them to?” I don’t think so.

No wonder salespeople don’t like selling; of course they feel “pushy.” Frankly, I think they have it all wrong.

When you believe passionately about your service or your product, why not share it with the world? If your service can change a life, unleash a passion, or build self-esteem why not share it? Maybe it’s not about selling, maybe it’s about “connecting” with others. It’s not about the product it’s about self-understanding and an ability to connect with another human.

Maybe people just don’t understand why people buy. People don’t buy because the product is irresistible, they buy because it feels a need in their soul or in their life. My friend was telling me about Oprah Winfrey attending one of Tony Robbin’s events ;while she’s there she does the unthinkable, she walks the hot coals. Despite all her experience and  self-understanding, she feels that walking the coals will do something for her her life.

How does this happen? Something that Tony Robbins said sparked a nerve in Oprah, one that said, “there’s more to life than what you have.” (Now I’m projecting what I think was going on in her head.)

Would you have tried to sell Oprah a walk on hot coals? Would you have thought this was something Oprah would have considered or would move her soul? Not me; that’s why I’m not as successful as Tony Robbins, I wouldn’t have thought of calling Oprah! (Maybe I should  go “walk the coals!”)

I’m sure Oprah didn’t do it because it was something to do; somewhere she made a connection with Tony which motivated her to take a risk. Tony’s passion and enthusiasm is catching, and Oprah  caught it. Whatever he had she wanted.

Why don’t salespeople get it? Some of the people with the best products hold themselves back with silly statements like “I can’t sell.” I think the problem is how we train salespeople; we talk about “closing, getting people to buy, making money” instead of understanding their gifts,  passions and value. According to the article on “value,” Steve Pavlina says that a speaker’s value lies in their ability to change the way people think in a very short period of time, sometimes permanently. That is a powerful statement. Isn’t this just another way to deliver the best customer service? Give the customer a way to get what they want.

Want to be a great salesperson? Instead of selling focus on believing in  your value.

Lisbeth Calandrino is know for her passion and ability to transfer her passions to others. To get a taste of her passion, download her book “Brain Snacks” which is available as a free download  for signing up for her blog.

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31 07, 2011

Who’s Driving Your Customers Away?

By |2017-03-03T12:07:08-05:00July 31st, 2011|Categories: Blog, Competitive Advantage|Tags: , , , , , , |2 Comments

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Why chase your customers away?

After my last blog  I received several inquiries about the value of interviewing customers.  Because of this I have added another post on the same subject.

There was a time, not long ago, when companies could generate new business by simply listening to and following the advice of their investors and business advisers. (If we all like it you should like it.)  To remain successful today,  companies must collaborate directly with their most important stakeholders—paying customers. 

Unfortunately many businesses still operate under the assumption that what’s good for them is good for their customers. In the early stages of a business, this may be  true because this is when a business is trying to build marketshare. But in order to continue to build market share and  maintain a  competitive advantage, they   must constantly evaluate their market position.  They forget that everything continues to change: consumer preferences, the market place  and their competitors.

 For 3 years I advised a high end kitchen retailer who refused to believe that Home Depot was taking their customers. Their show rooms were beautiful, their kitchens were beautiful and everything was beautiful (so they thought) .  My interviews told me  the  customers thought our  software was antiquated, the  kitchen salespeople had no use for the flooring salespeople nd we were often rude!  The customers couldn’t have been more right  on all three points. No longer could the owner ignore what he knew was going on and what he needed to do to improve the company.

Several people have said, customers don’t know what they want. When a customer spends her dollar with your competitor  she has told you what she wants. If she gives you the name of the competitor and how much she spent,  she is not only telling you what she wants she is shouting it!

How many times have you said they didn’t buy from me because of price? My experience leads me to believe that much of the time this is crap. Not only is it crap but it gets everyone off the hook. The only true customer who doesn’t buy because of price is the customer who doesn’t have the money-period! The rest fall into these categories:

I don’t like or trust you so I’m not interested in what you say or have to offer. This is a basic communication problem and most business don’t teach their salespeople how to communicate. Instead they teach them how to sell. (It’s like the horse before the cart as they say.)

Your product isn’t worth it. You overpaid and now you’re trying to get the customer to make up the difference. Better you get rid of it and sell your customers what they want to buy.

Your services are no different than your competitors but you fail to believe it. Instead you listen and take the advice of customers who don’t like your competitors.  Better data would come from the customers who bought from your competition! 

Your business has a basic perception problem. The outside of your store looks like a discount store and brings in the  discount customer. Why are you wondering why the better customer isn’t shopping with you?  Or the outside looks great and the right customers comes through the door but  your salespeople and your products are low end. 

The customer who says, “I’m so surprised, I didn’t think you had such nice stuff” is telling you I’m probably the wrong customer. I came in looking for junk and you don’t have it. The customer with money saw your building and went elsewhere.

If your customer says your price is too high you must find out what they mean by that statement. Unfortunately salespeople don’t usually ask the question. If I do a survey I can ask the question and 9 times out of 10 I will get an answer.

Although this may sound like a  big task , the  answers to your business success lie with your customers and most customers want to help you succeed; even the ones who went elsewhere. If you listen your customers will tell you what they like and what they don’t like. Actually you may need some help interpreting the data.

If you think your customers are valuable, you will listen. If you don’t think they’re valuable then you may be trying to sell the wrong customer. In either case you need to do a survey to determine the problem.  Once you get the answers evaluate the data and make the appropriate changes.

Look at all the businesses who have made dramatic differences in their product offerings to maintain their customers base. McDonald’s cut down the French fries and now adds an apple thus reducing calories and fat by 20%. Heinz Ketchup adds a line of organic ketchup and eliminates the high fructose corn syrup, Wal-Mart finds out that 50% of their customers don’t think their prices are that low (now Wal-Mart will change their slogan) and Dunkin’ Donuts just added a tuna fish sandwich to the menu.  It took Starbucks years to add skim milk lattes and only after Howard Shultz heard a customer says she was going elsewhere if they didn’t have skim milk. 

All of these changes were precipitated by customers.

Continuous evaluation leads to continuous improvement. Continuous improvement will maintain a profitable business.

Procedure:

Make it a priority; realize that your customer is your business partner and as in any partnership, needs to be consulted.

Consult with a firm that understands the sensitivity of this information and have them develop a a questionnaire to discuss with your target customers. The customers, the survey and the data should be confidential.  If a customer likes your company they will be open and happy to give you information that will be useful. If they don’t want to talk about your company that’s another problem.

Determine what you think makes you different and check this assumption  with your customer . Conduct a small study of 5 target customers, test out the questions and evaluate the information received. Even with 5 customers you will get plenty of useful data. The value of the data has a lot to do with the wording of the questions and the skillfulness of the interviewer.

Instead of blaming your lack of sales on the economy it would be wise to have a heart-to-heart talk with those who matter most –your customers. If you want to improve your business you must talk with your customers. Remember we don’t learn anything from experience; we learn through the evaluation of our experiences.

Lisbeth Calandrino has conducted numerous customer service studies and used this information to conduct targeted sales and customer service training. She is  author of the book, Red Hot Customer Service, 35 ways to heat up your business and ignite your sales. Lisbeth can provide speaking or customer service/ sales training using the principles of her book at your place of business or through video conferences.

 

 

 

 

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