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By Steve Schmidt, Partner

“If you want to interact effectively with me, to influence me, you first need to understand me.” – Steven Covey

A powerful statement. Simple and eloquent, profound and meaningful.

Taken a step further, we might add that you also need to understand yourself. After all, you can’t really communicate effectively with someone else without first recognizing how you prefer to communicate—and how you may be perceived by that person as a result.

But once you have the foundation, the bigger leap—one that only a few truly master—is to understand and adapt to the person you’re communicating with. That’s where your biggest opportunity lies.

As most of us are keenly (and perhaps, at times, painfully) aware in our relationships outside of work, people view the world through different lenses. This, in turn, affects how they communicate and like to be communicated with. We do our best to work through the communication challenges because, as much as technology has infiltrated everything our daily lives, we still strive for those personal connections.

The same applies in the workplace. New technologies and fads come and go, but being able to understand what your customers value most and then being able to effectively communicate with them from that vantage point is often what differentiates you and your organization from your competition. It’s also what forms the basis of strong, sustainable customer relationships.

A Corporate Executive Board study found that 53% of customer loyalty is driven by the sales experience. This supports the notion that perceptions are reality. So an important question for you to think about is this: How are you perceived by those you’re communicating with? Your ability to connect with people certainly weighs on that perception.

And the next question is, are you doing everything you can to build deeper, trust-based relationships?

The Behavior Styles Connection

You probably have some familiarity with the concept of Behavior Styles. It’s literally been around forever. Even Socrates grasped the value of understanding different behavioral approaches as he helped shape Western philosophy and evolved his Socratic method. The Behavior Styles Assessment, which reveals your personal Behavior Style and helps you understand the Behavior Styles of colleagues and customers, gives you a way to create personal chemistry and build rapport with diverse people—fundamental skills in sales, management, personal relationships and everyday life.

Let’s take a closer look at how Behavior Styles can help you strengthen customer relationships and improve your sales effectiveness.

In his classic book The Loyalty Effect, Frederick F. Reichheld says that the best way to move from transactional, rational dialogue to a more meaningful exchange is to focus on creating an emotional bond. When you communicate in such a way that your clients and co-workers feel valued, the outcomes of your conversations will yield better returns.

Easier said than done? Well, with the right level of awareness and commitment, anyone can master the ability to sell, serve and coach others by understanding and adapting to different Behavior Styles. The information you learn about their Behavior Styles can help you shortcut the process of connecting with them in a more personal and meaningful way.

A rule of thumb is to follow the three A’s:

  • Awareness of your personal communication preferences and how you may be perceived by others
  • Alignment of your communication strategy to another’s, once you determine their primary Behavior Style
  • Action, including successfully adapting on the fly as you communicate with others

The Compound Effect of Loyalty

Why should you bother? Ultimately, your ability to communicate effectively with clients and prospects—to move from transactional to emotional conversations—is what can move them from neutral to satisfied to loyal. And once you reach a true “partner” status, that loyalty will compound itself. Your loyal, fully engaged clients are not only willing to spend significantly more wallet share, they’re also the ones who will go to bat for you, becoming your best sources of referrals and new business.

No matter how much technology evolves, sales is a business of relationships. Having meaningful conversations that engage people in a way that they value is always going to be one of your most powerful selling tools. And that means you have to understand their Behavior Style so that you can focus in on what they care about most.

How many of your customers are fully engaged? How might more effective, engaging communication (as defined by the customer) help you achieve both your goals and theirs?

If you’re a leader seeking that competitive advantage, ask yourself this: What am I doing to equip my team to maximize every interaction?

 

Re-blogged from Integrity Solutions

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You hire two people with the same qualifications and skills. One succeeds; the other fails miserably.

Why?

Part one of Optimizing Performance for Strong Results, a two-part podcast interview with Integrity Solutions’ Mike Esterday, takes an in-depth look at this phenomenon and explores specific strategies you can take to unleash a stronger drive to achieve within your entire workforce.

As Mike explains, rapid change-in politics, government and businesses across every industry-along with increased competition, pricing pressures and product parity have raised the stakes on performance. At the same time, many managers are struggling with how to coach, recruit and work with the growing population of Millennials in the workforce. As a whole, this group has a stronger desire to find purpose in their work, and if they don’t find it, they’re willing to leave. And that means retention has become a pressing concern as well.

The good news is, the issues are connected: If we can light that fire within our people, they’ll not only be more likely to succeed, they’ll be more likely to stay.

Why So Many Training Strategies Miss the Mark

How many people have plateaued in your organization? How many do you believe can move off that plateau and perform at a higher level?

In the podcast, Mike shares that when he asks that second question, the answer he typically gets is about half. But what many managers don’t realize is that lack of belief in their people has a direct and negative impact. People pick up on it, and so they perform to the level that they think their managers expect of them.

“All growth, whether personal or corporate, begins with expanding mental paradigms,” Mike says.

Most people perform at the level they believe they should be performing at, he explains. In other words, our actions, behaviors and even our abilities are bounded by our comfort zones. To improve performance then, training and coaching need to focus on stretching that “area of the possible.”

But most don’t, at least not effectively. Mike explains the simple reason why:

“That soft stuff is hard! It’s a lot easier to teach people product specs, selling techniques, managing numbers and activities. It’s tougher to get at attitudes, beliefs and achievement drive.”

But those factors are the “turbo chargers” for most people’s success.

The other key? A learning process that gets people to learn and practice skills long enough that they become part of their natural behavior.

The Importance of Purpose

Purpose is also a major factor in growing performance, Mike says. Organizations that focus on purpose tend to light that internal fire more. In the podcast, he explores three components to this focus:

  • Purpose of the organization: Communicating clearly why we’re in business
  • Purpose of the job or team: Lighting the “personal why” by clarifying the purpose of the individual’s or team’s role and how it links to the organization’s purpose
  • How that purpose creates value for the customer: Understanding the impact on the customer

This last point is critical. Customers can tell what our intentions are when we interact with them. Are your employees thinking, “How can I get this transaction done?” or “How can I fulfill their needs?”

When people shift their view from believing the purpose of their job is to sell products to believing the purpose of their job is to improve lives, they’ll release more achievement drive, and that will increase the activities they need to do to succeed.

And that, Mike says, is how you create meaningful work.

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Re-blogged from Integrity Solutions.

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Johnny Walker, president and CEO of JohnnyWalker.co, is an Integrity Solutions business partner and expert at building_MG_4928 great service teams. We caught up with him recently in a recent podcast to hear his thoughts on how training can bridge the divide between sales and customer service.

The relationship between sales and customer service is critical, but these two divisions are typically trained separately, with different emphases and objectives. While most companies stress the importance in sales training of having a customer-centric focus, they often overlook many of those concepts when training the customer service team.

That lack of a consistent approach and mindset for interacting with customers can cost companies revenue, customer loyalty and even great salespeople who get fed up when the relationships they’ve spent months developing are destroyed in an instant by a fumbled customer service issue.

Hiring Great People Isn’t Enough

Building a great customer service team requires more than hiring great people who naturally enjoy helping others. As Johnny explains in the podcast, we also need to equip those great people with the soft skills like emotional intelligence so they can interact effectively with the customer. The customer has to feel that the person on the other end of the call is laser focused on understanding their needs and solving their problems. They must truly believe that they are the most important person the customer service rep has talked to all day.

And that’s why one of the most common customer service tools around is also one of the worst things we can do in customer service training: hand people a script. We all know when someone’s reading a script, especially when you’ve talked to several customer service reps from the same organization and they’re all saying the exact same thing.

As Johnny puts it, we need to focus our training efforts less on what to say and more on how to interact. We can do that by giving people a process that allows them to be authentic and build genuine relationships rather than a script that takes their personality out of the equation.

Listen to the podcast to hear more from Johnny as he discusses:

  • The connection between sales and customer service
  • Pitfalls of typical customer service training approaches
  • A values-based, concrete process that helps customer service reps relate and empathize with customers, even when they’re having a bad day

Re- Blogged from Integrity Solutions 

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Sales Training

What’s easier? Getting a customer or keeping one?

What’s cheaper? Getting a customer or keeping one?

Whenever we ask a sales leader these questions, the answer is always the same: No doubt about it, it’s easier and cheaper to keep an existing customer than to go out and get a new one.Opposites

Yet many companies still spend a disproportionate amount of money and time on sales training compared to their investments in the development of customer service skills. As the environment gets more competitive and the war for sales talent heats up, this is a trend that could have very serious business consequences.

The Cascading Impact of Poor Customer Service

Here’s a scenario that will be acutely familiar to many salespeople, particularly those who are dealing with complex, long-term sales cycles.

The salesperson spends several months—or even years—developing a relationship with the potential client, who we’ll call Jim. Over time the salesperson builds up a reputation as a partner and trusted advisor, one who is committed to uncovering Jim’s needs and supporting his individual and broader goals. Eventually, the deal comes together and Jim makes the purchase.

But then one day, a problem, question or need comes up that requires the help of customer service. As a prospective client, Jim had the time and attention of the salesperson who was focused on understanding his issues and finding the best solutions for them. Now, as a customer, Jim feels like he’s being rushed through the call by a customer service rep whose primary goal seems to be to run through a script to get a quick resolution—whether it meets Jim’s true underlying need or not.

It’s not that the rep isn’t nice or friendly necessarily, but the problem hasn’t been solved, at least not beyond the surface level. As a result, Jim has to keep calling back or stumble his way through the issue on his own. He grows increasingly frustrated and annoyed, thinking maybe this solution wasn’t all it was cracked up to be. Or maybe that salesperson was pulling one over on him.

In an instant, the trusted advisor and partnership status is gone. And it’s only a matter of time before Jim is, too.

“It took me 18 months to get that sale,” the salesperson thinks. “And customer service lost it in less than six weeks.”

It gets worse: It’s not just that customer.

Twenty years ago, it took a relatively long time to build a bad reputation. Today, with the megaphone of social media, it can happen in seconds. And when it does, all that good will your salespeople have worked so hard to build up will be wasted, creating a deeper hole for everyone to dig out of.

Many salespeople we’ve spoken to who’ve been burned before aren’t risking it any more. They’re protecting their accounts by stepping in and handling the customer service issues themselves. That way they can be confident the person will be listened to and understood and that the problem will be fully addressed.

But if they’re focused on customer service, then that inevitably means they’re taking time away from their primary role—selling and growing the business. Not only is that borrowing against future revenues and commissions, it’s not the kind of work most top-notch salespeople want to be doing.

So consider: How much sales did that one instance of poor customer service really cost you?

4 Reasons Why Customer Service Training Doesn’t Always Help

Because of these tangible financial, talent and long-term business consequences, when we work with companies on sales training initiatives, we’ll typically ask them what their budget is for customer service training. A lot of the times the answer we hear is simple: “We don’t have one.”

But even those that do have a program in place can be missing the mark.

Here are some of the reasons customer service training fails to solve this problem:

1- It focuses on scripts rather than a problem-solving process: Without a concrete process and formula for problem solving, consistency is tough to maintain—from rep to rep as well as from call to call. While most reps love to help people, everyone has an “off” day or moment. A process keeps you focused on task and helps consistently draw out what you do best so your bad day doesn’t win out.
2- It’s primarily product focused. Product-focused training focuses on the issues that might go wrong or common questions about the product. It doesn’t help people develop the skills and insights to engage with customers based on their needs and behaviors. And because problems are often unique, it doesn’t necessarily help the rep get to the true realization of the issue.
3- Success is measured by call volume/length of calls: If reps are being measured by how quickly they can get to resolution or how many calls they take in a day, it’s not likely they’re going to be able to get to the root cause of problems and get the issue fully addressed.
4- It’s disconnected from sales training: Having a common language and approach is the expectation in sales. But it doesn’t always carry through to customer service. Considering customers may interact with various different reps when they call, a common sales language (not a script!) that extends from before the sale to after is essential to ensuring the company’s values are consistently demonstrated.
When was the last time you conducted customer service training? Was it just a “one-and-done” initiative? Are you focusing on what really matters? Make sure you’re not inadvertently sabotaging all the good work you’re doing on the sales side.

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Have you ever listened to a renowned professional speaker who has mastered the art of boosting sales like never before? The energy level and the enthusiasm they put in making their presentation a huge success is commendable. These motivational speakers bring freshness to the content by engaging their audience with appropriate content, motivation and direction that will help them to master the expertise over the sales job. They entertain, they make their audience laugh over gags, they make their audience feel uncomfortable by asking them some straight forward questions and most importantly they will challenge their audience with new idea and concept related to practical problems. These extra efforts that they put in make them special and unique.

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Among the sales tips that they share using theoretical examples, five are discussed in this article which will help novice sales executives to learn and master the trade.

Lead generation

Achieving sales target begins with the first step that is lead generation. There are plenty of theoretical tips related to lead generation by using lead magnets and extensive campaigning. But sales experts always suggest practical ways of lead generation and that is reaching out to existing customers and convincing them with solutions that solves their problems sooner. This way they can do a trust building activity and also learn how many customers are interested in trying the new product.

Effective campaigning

There are plenty of campaigning techniques that one can exploit in order to boost their sales. One of the most effective sales techniques is to do extensive campaigning on all the available mediums. Internet marketing, email marketing, Facebook Marketing, Radio and Video are some techniques through which a sales executive can create curiosity about the product and try to lure more customers.

Product launch and extensive promotion

Another way to boost sales and hit the market is with a grand product launch and extensive promotional activities in the form of commercials, road shows, campaigns etc. These techniques create new customer bases who can introduce many more into the loop. Sales executives should constantly think of new idea wherein they can capture the attention of avid buyers.

Customer follow-up

A sales representative should have the capacity to convert potential leads into valuable customers by continuous follow-up meetings. Though there are social networking channels available for them to interact on frequent basis, personal follow-up meetings create a great deal of confidence in the customer’s mind.

Feedback call

A sales professional should always manage to create a warm relation with his customers. His intention should not just be to sell the product for time being, but to make the customer a loyal customer who is ready to subscribe and try all the products launched by the company based on the sales executive’s suggestion. In this process, the sales representative must gather feedback about the product and if possible pass their feedback to the concerned authorities. As per the international professional speakers, this way a trust factor is built between the customer and the executive which will help in future deals

These five sales techniques tips are really important for an aspiring sales professional or a newbie one in this field. These tips not just helps the sales professional to group their audience but also helps them to understand how sales has to be conducted from start till end.

About the Author

Phil-M-Jones_2051675Phil M Jones is one such motivational speaker who is an expert in addressing international audience with his practical yet professional sales tips. One can benefit from home by subscribing to his audio CD’s and training materials. Visit the website philmjones.com for more information on the speakers training schedules and materials.

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/expert/Phil_M_Jones/2184770