Blog Archives

Have A Laugh Fridays – ABC (Always Be Sellling)!

This is one of the top three most popular Have A Laugh Friday segments, so I thought it was time to show it again. This guy is hilarious, and it is only a 30 second commercial. Count how many references he makes to the movie “Top Gun” during this clip!

Remember “ABC” (Always Be Selling)!

Have a great weekend….

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“No” Can Be Good

I loved this post today from my good friend Chris Goodrow! Have a read, and enjoy your Tuesday.

Sales, Life and Leadership

Did I mention it has been a busy summer?

Well it has.

What was designed to be a summer of nothing, turned out to be exactly the opposite. Please don’t mistake that statement for complaining however. Although our expectations and reality didn’t quite line up this summer, I feel that I have been productive and have demonstrated to myself that I can adapt and perform well under various pressures: certainly better than I ever have before.

Additionally out of the craziness I have some stories I would like to share.

Last year, my wife and I embarked on a new venture by investing in Real Estate. The first year has been rewarding beyond our expectations, both from a personal development perspective and a business perspective. One tiny aspect had been nagging at me since soon after we took possession. A small section of concrete at the back of the house…

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Three Pillars of Business – Marketing, Sales & Service

Sarika Periwal reached out to me about a guest blog. I thought it was a great idea to do a post on marketing, sales and service.

For any business to succeed keeping customers happy is essential. It is always more profitable to retain an existing customer who will come back for repeated purchases than to convert new potential customers for each sale that the company makes. Statistics exist to support the fact that the cost of acquiring a new customer can be six to seven times higher than retaining an existing customer. To this effect you need some strong policies which help the company to improve their customer retention rate.

The focus of these policies is to deliver a flawless customer experience when they deal with your company. It does not matter what you sell. It could be a physical product, a digital solution, a service that is offered in special circumstances, or anything else. There are three main areas where your customer or potential customer will interact with you. These are marketing, sales and service. They are also known as the three pillars of successful business. If you manage to get your act together for these three aspects you will have a thriving business model. Here’s how you can do this and benefit the customer and the company both.

Marketing

All the marketing campaigns that you run are to get your customer’s attention. These all hope to make the right kind of offer to the customers at the right time to tempt them into making a purchase. Here the focus is to build on the trust that the company brand name inspires. To make the customer believe that they have the right solution to their needs and to provide the customer with the ultimate financial deal when they buy what the company is offering.

Sales

There is nothing as sad as losing a customer who would have bought from you but couldn’t find how to complete the sale. This pillar deals with providing the potential customer with the ease of buying the product in a quick and hassle free experience. You need to be able to provide the customer with many ways of buying the product. It could be in the shop, online or through partner vendors. There should be many payment options as well. A lump sum payment is easy for a small purchase, but arranging finance options for a larger purchase is a good idea. Also let there be the option of paying via cash, banker’s cheque or credit card. Each customer may have a preference for a specific payment mode.

Service

When it comes to encouraging retention and customer loyalty to your brand it is the after sales service that is most important. Many customers feel that a company loses interest in them as soon as they make the final payment for their purchase. This does not encourage them to buy from the company again. What needs to be done is to make the customer realize that the company is just as interested in pampering them even after the sale has been completed. A well trained team can make this a reality.

Author biography:

Sarika Periwal represents KarmaCRM, an online CRM service for small businesses and individuals. Karma offers a powerful and feature-rich backend system with an easy user interface. This tool can help you manage all 3 areas of your business efficiently. Contact us for more details or connect with us on Facebook or Twitter .

Have A Laugh Fridays – Trouble Connecting With Customers?

I stumbled across a cool company on YouTube today called Second City Communications. They are doing very cool things about video training with a humorous twist in the workplace.

This trailer discusses connecting with your customers.

You can check them out at :

Website: http://www.secondcitycommunications.com/

Twitter: @SecondCityBiz

Have a great weekend!

Have A Laugh Friday – Take The Insurance!

I posted this a few months ago and was EXTREMELY disappointed with the lack of views. Ha ha! I was in the car rental industry for over 2 1/2 years after university. If I had a dollar for every time this happened to me, well I would have had about $1000!

I love this clip.

Back to new Have A Laugh Fridays next week.

Have a great weekend!

Can Business Really Be That Easy?

My wife is pregnant, and I figured that she might need a late night snack a couple of weeks ago. Truth be told, she was not that hungry, but I was up for some take out food! I convinced her to order something with me, and off I went. This was not a fast food restaurant, and had an above average menu.

I placed my order at the counter, and proceeded to sit down at one of the booths. It was half an hour before close, and I was the only patron left in the restaurant. There was a cook preparing my food, and one Manager/Owner.

The Manager caught my attention for the wrong reasons. He had a frown stapled to his face, and looked like he would rather have been anywhere else but there. This was not a young adult, it was somebody in their late 40’s/early 50’s who had probably been in business for some time. He seemed to be hovering behind the counter, watching the cook’s every more.

He walked right past me on two or three occasions as well, and never said one word.

I received my order a few minutes later and left.

I described my observations of what happened with the manager with my wife, and noted that he did not even say one word to me in an empty restaurant.

Her reply (grin included),

“Maybe you are expecting too much.”

Here is how I would have approached “myself” if I was the manager in that situation.

  • “Hey, how are you today?”
  • “Oh great! Have you been to our restaurant before? How was the food/service?”
  • “Fantastic! Just to let you know that we are under new management, and are appreciative of your continued support.”
  • “I will tell you what. Here are a few $5 off coupons for you and your friends to come by later. I would love if you help us spread the word! Thanks so much!”

Truth be told, I would have probably settled for,

“Hello, how are you today?”

But I am always trying to take things to the next level, and expect more than a simple hello!”

  • What type of interaction (if any) would you have expected from the manager in that situation?
  • How would you have interpreted his constant frown, hovering over the cook, and lack of interaction with me?
  • The million dollar question…. was I expecting too much?

Do You Want “Jalopinoes” With That? (what ???????)

I went to a hockey game with a good friend of mine several ago. During the standard 15 minute intermission we stopped by a concession booth to grab a bite to eat. We were having a great conversation and lost track of time. 15 minutes had passed, and the line had barely moved.

Then we really started to pay attention to the guy who was serving us. He was slow, lethargic and very methodically serving people. By the time we finally received our food, 10 minutes of the next period had expired.

But the story gets better. I had ordered nachos with cheese. He proceeds to ask me,

“Do you want jalopinoes with that?”

I responded with a laugh,

“Did you mean jalapeno peppers?”

“Yeah, whatever… jalopinoes”.

That was one of the funniest interactions that I ever had at a fast food counter! I wish I could recreate his voice in this post.

Sitting back and watching this young man work slower and slower, as the line got longer and longer with no manager intervening was memorable, for all the wrong reasons. They were obviously not motivated to do their job to the best of their abilities, had no enthusiasm, and would have rather been anywhere but there. Maybe that was “just how he rolled”, but certainly a little encouragement and support from the managers could have helped him speed up and engage people a little better.

Now on the flip side…..

When was the last time you had a memorable service experience at a fast food restaurant?

I did, over and over, and it was only ever to order food in the restaurant and take it out, or go through the drive thru. It took a few visits to realize that it was a different experience than other similar restaurants. The owner who worked behind the counter a lot of time was a difference maker. The employees (typically young teenagers) bought in to what he was teaching and how he was training them. The positive attitude was very noticeable. Everyone was unflappable during busy times. I had never seen a fast food restaurant be so in synch with people lined up to the door!

I often observed the owner encouraging the kids, and tactfully discussing things with them when they did something wrong. The incredible part was he owned two different locations, and the experience was exactly the same at each one. Kids as young as twelve and thirteen years old showed work ethic and levels of maturity unheard of at that age. They always had smiles on their faces, and never hesitated to engage customers. They certainly realized how important their customers were to the company’s success.

Some of the kids used humour in their approach. One girl sang a song to us in the drive through, as a way of asking for our order. Another girl quoted our order total in pennies and not traditional dollars and cents. The owner was involved with many local charities, and it was well documented in the community. I know that he taught the values of helping others to his staff, and that certainly helped in their development as they became young adults. The team work within the group was very solid as well. I never saw one person say “That is not my job” or comparable when they were working.

One manager, one leader can make all the difference in the world. There is a reason that I am able to recall this so vividly, but rarely remember details of the hundreds of other fast food experiences during my life (except for the “jalopinoe incident”.

He could motivate, teach, inspire, and get the young adults to buy in to his plan. He was able to properly tell them when they did something wrong, without them feeling bad about it. And when you include consistent smiles on their faces and prompt service, it made for an enjoyable experience every time!

His team had “IT”, and I truly do not know what “IT” was. But when you walked through the doors, you could feel the different vibe almost instantly.

Think of your experience as a leader in your career and personal life.

  • What things have you done over and over that brought you success?

Great job and keep doing those things.

  • Now think of things that you did once or twice, they were successful, but you stopped doing.

Start doing them again! If something works, repeat as often as you can.

Why do you think that certain sports coaches have success wherever they go?

They have tried and testing techniques and keep repeating them. The message may be tweaked over time, but they never stray too much from what gave them initial success.

Remember the old saying, “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it!”

Educate

I “met” Mark online a couple of months back, and have been enjoying his blog ever since. Turns out we “travel in some of the same circles” online in the sales space!

I really enjoyed this post about educating during the sales process. Often, people forget this critical step.

Thanks Mark!

Mark McCarthy's Blog

Educate

Educate.  It’s part of the sales process many can’t get used to.

But sales people have to do it.

Sure there’s lot of  buzz and research about how prospects do all this learning  online about a business before they even get to a sales person.  I’ve preached that research before myself.  But I’m not buying that it is entirely true hook, line and sinker any more. 

I keep hearing prospects confused, unsure or frustrated about certain services or products.  I keep hearing prospects so busy at work and so inundated with messaging and marketing- they don’t have time to research and learn. 

If you are a company selling somewhat abstract  services like money management, digital marketing, brand development, risk avoidance, sales training, marketing solutions and the list goes on – you have to understand that many prospects just really…don’t understand. 

These prospects aren’t going to shout this…

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Inside Sales – Your “Personal Assistants” or Valued Members of the Team?

Within the sales function of organizations, an individual or group of people go about their business day after day, and in many cases, without a lot of respect from their colleagues. It is the Inside Sales team.

If you haven’t taken the time recently to think about how much easier your job is because of them, take some today. When was the last time you bought them a coffee, took them out for lunch, or phoned/emailed to say thanks?

Our team always pitched in to get inside sales Christmas gifts with one company that I worked for. The group knew how much we appreciated them, and always loved the surprise!

Have you been guilty of using inside sales as your personal assistant?

Be honest with yourself!

Inside Sales’ role is typically clearly defined, and if you consistently dump tasks on them that you did not feel like doing yourself, you are just being lazy! Work with them on moving activities towards closing sales like quoting price and delivery, handling customer questions etc.

One concept that really helped me get on to the same page with one of my Inside Sales teams was establishing “Rules of  Communication”.

The goal was to communicate on their terms as much as possible, not mine.

  • Currently, are you calling or emailing inside sales for every situation that arises during the day?
  • Do you even know if they prefer to be phoned or emailed?

Our agreement included the following clauses:

  • If something was an emergency or crisis, I called immediately
  • If something needed to be completed as soon as possible a detailed email was sent. They were always monitoring their inbox, and would respond as soon as possible
  • For non urgent requests – follow-up notes, general questions and other important items were put on a Daily To Do List. It was sent to Inside Sales at the end of the day. In my case, there was a two-hour time difference, and I typically had my answers waiting for me by the time I got to my computer the next morning!

The less nagging, disruptive phone calls the support team handles internally, the more they can focus on booking business. Call when needed, but always take a moment to think, “Does this have to be dealt with immediately?”

The more you strategize with them as teammates, and respect the job that they do, the smoother the sales function should run in general. Who do you think they will give priority service to when they are in a time crunch? The rep that treats them like gold and respects them as people and colleagues of  course!

And always remember, they are not your personal assistants!

Have A Laugh Fridays – “But I Had A Reservation!”

My recent post on customer service inspired me to look for customer service related content for Have A Laugh Fridays this week. I hit a home run with this car rental gem!

As some of you know, I lived and breathed car rental for over two and a half years for my first job out of university. As I watched this I of course laughed, but I also had flashbacks to all of those irate customers over the years. Enjoy!