Friday Faves – 8.19.16

081916Closing. (on a house) Didn’t get to posting this last week, so here’s an extra dose of ideas.

Use This Simple and Powerful Referral Strategy – Simple, yes.  But you have to start AND commit.

You Are Over Qualifying Leads – This is really worth considering, if you can be objective.

Leveraging The “Nice To Haves” – Nice to have = adding value.

 

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Friday Faves – 3.4.16

030416We’re entering the Home Stretch of Q1 and spring will soon be here. Some good ideas here to help you finish with a strong sprint so you can enjoy the new season.

What is and What is Not Urgent – I once saw a sign on an admin’s desk that said “Your emergency is not my priority.”  We all have to maximize our use of time, so here are some smart thoughts.

The One Question to Ask for More Referrals – Well, to be honest, I think there’s more than one, but this one is excellent if you’re not asking it through LinkedIn.

Phone First. Email Second. – Then referral, LinkedIn InMessage, driveby (physical cold call), then lather rinse repeat.  Persistence will eventually get you in.

Service is YOUR Responsibility

092815cLike most road warriors, I have a barful of road stories to tell.  Many of these, though, are great learning opportunities.  Take this one from last week, for example.

I try to keep my hotel points at one of two superchains, so I have status in both their loyalty programs.  I stayed in one of Brand H’s airport properties, where I had a miserable experience from beginning to end. The desk clerk insisted I had no reservation, despite my showing it to them on their phone app.  (Fortunately, there was a room available.)  Rather than find a way, he made me prove I had a reservation before he found a room was available. If I had just shown up for my first stay ever at Brand H and asked for a room, I would have been given one.  My responsibility to prove I had a reservation?

An associate was driving from home and we were to meet around 630 and head out to the North End for dinner. But, both our trips were longer than expected, so we decided to just have some drinks and apps at the hotel bar and crash.  Walking through the restaurant, I noticed the carpet was in serious need of vacuuming and tables were not bussed.  I had a bad feeling about this, but we were too tired to fight. No deuces at the bar, so we went to a hi-top.  The top of the table was sticky, like from spilled drinks not being cleaned up properly.  The second hi-top was somewhat better, though I didn’t eat the tortilla chip I dropped on it.  After a decidedly average snack, we called it a night.

When I returned home, I visited Brand H’s loyalty site and found a form to fill out (Completely Dissatisfied to Completely Satisfied) along with text boxes to tell them why. I took some time to give what I thought was sufficient detail of my experience.

Shortly thereafter, I received 2 or 3 “Sorry about your experience” emails.  Then, I got a second round of emails asking for me to provide more detail about my experience.  They don’t get it. They wanted me to spend more time helping them figure out their problem.

If I had received a phone call, or an email requesting a good time for one, I would have written an entirely different post here.  Brand H, wanted me to spend even more time (with nothing in return) providing additional detail at the cost of my time.  The customer fulfilled their responsibility by reporting poor service.  It is YOUR responsibility to make it right.

Examine your process for handing customer complaints:

  • Do you acknowledge the complaint quickly?
  • Do you accept the responsibility for investigating it?
  • Is your staff empathetic and are they good listeners?
  • Are they empowered to offer a suitable “makegood” on the spot, or do they have to go through layers to make it right?  (Is it easier for them to ask for forgiveness than permission to create a solution?)

Every organization will have customer service issues, so how you handle them when they happen makes the difference between someone leaving you for a competitor, or giving you referral business.  Regardless of the outcome, you’ll learn a lot about your business from the most important point of view – your customer’s.

Friday Faves – 6.26.15

062615Q2 shot to hell?   Or are you celebrating?  Here are some good ideas to head you in the right direction.

The 8 Biggest Challenges In Sales Now – You could make the #1 argument 8 times.  Disintermediation from the decision maker is also a candidate for #1.

Stop Worrying About How Much You Matter – We sometimes think the world revolves around us.  After this, you won’t.

Assessment: What’s Your Leadership Style? – An interesting, revealing self-assessment for leaders.

S.A.S.S (Stupid Ass Sales Strategy) – Does your process support what you promise?

Still Not Getting Referrals? Here’s What You’re Missing – As before, the most underutilized tool in our sales kit.

WISDOM GOES OUT THE WINDOW WHEN EMOTION COMES THROUGH THE DOOR – Get a pillow or nerf ball to kick or throw when you get off that annoying call, instead of showing your frustration to the client.

Pulling a hat out of a rabbit – Expect surprises.

Friday Faves – 6.5.15

060515Almost halfway through the year.  Happy with your results?  Even if you are, there is always room for improvement, more to learn.

Here are some posts that I read this week which may give you some new insights.

Pain and money and b2b selling – This may seem obvious, but it’s the obvious we frequently miss: make sure you CAN provide an effective solution before you pitch it.

Training vs. Improving – An interesting postulate.  However, there is no finer training organization than the US Military.  Nobody does a better job of training to task.

The Bigger the Deal – Not only are there some solid truths about “elephant hunting,” but some between-the-lines logic for a diversified pipeline.

Are You Neglecting This? – I’ve heard the whining “My manager only cares about numbers,” but the fact is that if you don’t know and control yours, you will fail to achieve your goals.

Be the Trigger Event – Contacting prospects with valuable information, when you have nothing to sell them turns you from a vendor into a trusted resource.

THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN WHAT YOU DO AND HOW YOU DO IT – Excellent discussion of differentiation from a different point of view.

Are Referrals Your Priority … or an Afterthought? –  Referrals are the least-used sales resource.  This is a “drop the mic” case for making referrals a continuing effort.

 

Lessons from Alex

alexI needed to have my garage painted and Alex was referred by a realtor I know.  She texted me that Alex would call later that afternoon to set up a meet to look at the work and give me a price.  He called in about an hour and we met up later that Saturday afternoon.

We agreed on a price and I asked when he could do the work.  (I was expecting a week or so.) When he said, “How about tomorrow morning?”  Incredulously, I said “Sunday?”  He said he had a big job to start on Monday and would be tied up for several days.  I happily agreed.

Alex and his friend showed up exactly on time, moved some things out of the garage that I had forgotten to do and they set about to work.  They chatted away pretty much nonstop and finished much quicker than I expected.  They did a meticulous cleanup job and the garage looked better than I expected.

In a partially-finished basement room, we pulled up the stained carpet a long time ago, but the underpadding, which was glued to the concrete and the tackless remained.  I contacted Alex to see if he might want to remove all that, or knew someone who would.  Once again, he said he’d stop by the next day at 4pm and was right on time.  We agreed on a price and, as before, he asked if he could do the work the next morning, Sunday, at 8am.

8am came and went, but no Alex.  I was concerned, but then at exactly 9am, he arrived with a friend.  We went to the basement and the two set to work.  They carried all the padding rolled and neatly taped to the curb for trash pickup, and all the tackless was brought up in a garbage can.

I asked Alex for one more little bit of help before he left, move a heavy desktop from my office upstairs to the basement.  He gladly obliged.  As we walked out to the driveway, I paid Alex and as I was thanking him, he asked if I had any friends or neighbors that needed a reliable painter or any odd jobs done.

He said the weather is going to get better soon and he does exterior as well as interior painting.  Also, he does garage floor epoxy paint, which is very popular now.  He asked if I was happy with his work, which I certainly was, and asked me to please tell my friends if they need work.

LESSONS FROM ALEX

  1. BE PUNCTUAL – Except for one time, when Alex was exactly one hour late, he always called or arrived when he said he would.  Establish trust and credibility by honoring your commitments.  (BTW, he was an hour late because Daylight Savings Time started at 3am this morning.  Apparently, Alex’s alarm clock doesn’t change automatically.)
  2. BE EAGER – By jumping on the job the very next day, I felt Alex was motivated to do the work, which made me feel I would get quality work.  The energy you convey to prospects is received and an indicator of how you will approach their work.
  3. HAVE FUN AT WORK – While neither of these are jobs I would have enjoyed doing, Alex seemed and his friend seemed to have a good time as they worked.  If you enjoy your work, others sense it and gives them a good feeling about having you on the team.
  4. EXCEED EXPECTATIONS – My bad, forgetting to move some large items around, but Alex and his friend didn’t even ask, they just did it.  Plus they left the garage (and basement) cleaner than they were before.  When you exceed a client’s expectations, they want to do MORE business with you.
  5. GIVE A LANGNIAPPE – Moving the desktop wasn’t part of the original deal, but Alex gladly did it for me.  If you clicked on the definition, a langniappe is more than exceeding expectations, it’s like a gratuity for your client.  The first time I was in New Orleans and, after placing our order, the server brought us a langniappe of a few sauteed shrimp, I latched onto this great best practice.
  6. ASK FOR REFERRALS – After 2 successful jobs, demonstrating reliability and throwing me a langniappe, Alex earned the right to ask for referrals.  And, he’ll get some too!

Engligh, by the way, is not Alex’s native language, nor has perfected it yet.  But, between his heavily-accented 70% English and my 10-word Spanish vocabulary, we communicated just fine.  Though his English may not be very strong, his innate business sense and practices are.

Friday Faves – 1.16.15

011615Two mega-productive weeks, with an equally-productive weekend sandwiched in between is a great way to start a new year.  I hope you are off to a fast start, too.  Lots of great ideas around this week.

Go make it happen!

How to Handle Difficult Conversations at Work – Stuff happens.  Some civil ways to deal with it.

The paradox of rising expectations – Sellers expect increases in their goals, management wants to increase revenues. How else can we grow?

The 7 Things You Must Leave Behind to Get Ahead – I coached reps that clients were more willing to beat the dead horse they were trying to ride, than to find a new live one.  The same can be said for some sellers.

Things to Stop Doing in 2015 – Here’s another view of the preceding issue.

Get Back On the Horse That Threw You – If you live in the defeat, you can’t move forward to the victory.

Used to be – I have my own take on this subject.  You can see it on my other blog, What I Learned Today.

Use this Strategy to Get Referrals! – The least used weapon in a seller’s arsenal.

The 5 Rules On How Fast to Reply to Emails at Work – The one missed?  Clients/prospects.  They also get immediate response.