Tag: IASbiz

What has D&D taught us about sales?

What has D&D taught us about sales?

Now that you’re prepared to make your first impression, you have your plan and profile in place. It is time to think about how to match your big fish to the right salesperson. The process is all about matching the right salesperson’s personality/ style to the correct prospect.

Before we jump into this, make sure you go back and double-check your process because once we assign the salesperson, there is no turning back. The human factor and the benefits of each of your salespeople’s personalities will now come into play.

Ok, so now that you’re clear on making sure your process is ready, let’s talk about your salespeople.

You need to do this in two steps:

  1. Profile your salespeople’s personalities.
  2. Match the right salesperson to your target fish.

There are essentially three different selling personalities. Most salespeople are usually strong in two of the three arc types. It is crucial to think about your people and see which one each of them is.

The Sage 

This salesperson offers knowledge, experience, comfort, and trust. They can make a concerned customer feel at ease. It is their mission to educate the client to empower them to make the best decision. This salesperson tends to relay the logical information and speak to those benefits. 

To be successful, they need plenty of information, a demo of the product/service, references, and case studies, if possible. They tend to shy away from using emotional appeals and staying grounded in the client’s needs, not their future wants.

The Companion 

Much like it sounds, this is a salesperson that shines at building relationships. They can instantly relate to the prospective client and make them seem like old friends in no time. They work best with clients looking for friendship, information, and a similar peer group as the salesperson. This can include anything from age and culture to hobbies and nightlife. While sharing experiences can be beneficial to creating a new relationship, your salesperson must always keep it professional and dignified. 

This salesperson focuses on painting the picture of the ideal future state. They spend their time working towards the long-term sale and only get a few big wins. They excel at upsells and cross-sales because they are seen as the guy for their customers.

The companion can get in trouble because they tend not to have a large volume of clients. In addition, their sales process takes longer than the others, which can cause trouble for high transaction volume businesses. 

This personality type needs help pairing with the right client, schmoozing budget, and the correct information to meet the client’s needs. In addition, you should consider putting this person in a role working with the big clients that you need to maintain a relationship with.

The Brawler 

Obviously, this personality type is a little more aggressive than the others. They are all about business and the bottom line. While this may seem harsh to many people, there is a set of business people who want the same thing and respect someone who can get down to business and the benefits of a partnership. This salesperson will need to be trusted with a bit of authority as they will likely be closing deals on the spot. They’ll need plenty of resources and access to products and services. They are best placed in environments where they can work independently, exercise their authoritative discretion, and seal deals quickly. 

They are great in high-volume environments or with clients who want to make the now decisions. You tend to see them work best with your straightforward type A personalities.

Pick the right map

Any of these salespeople can all be successful when used in the correct environment. You can easily see how matching the right salesperson for the client can secure more big fish and for a more extended period of time. 

It is up to you as the business owner or sales manager to put your people in place to be most successful. It is also vital to create an environment for your sales team to work collaboratively vs. adversary. This way, you ensure that complimentary styles can share in the benefits. It is important to both have team and individual goals and bonuses.

If you need help figuring out how to capitalize on your sales team and land the big fish. Don’t hesitate to get in touch with one of our coaches. We would love to offer our aid.

O No First Contact! Are you prepared?

O No First Contact! Are you prepared?

Home page picture, used for social post

In the last post, we learned the process for researching our big fish (ideal client). Being prepared to make a great first impression is imperative to your success. Your strategy needs to instill confidence. The prospect needs to know you can meet expectations on time, at a reasonable price, and the quality at or above expectation. 

Now let’s begin to create the perfect first impression. Building a good plan starts with identifying the right big fish. Take a look at your notes and the research you’ve done about prospective fish. Then decide which one will be the most straightforward approach to start with.

There are a series of things to go through in choosing which fish to start with. They are:

  • Compile Your Hit List
  • Prepare your position
  • Define where to start 

Compile Your Hit List

Start with a list of all the companies you’ve been considering. Then narrow it down to the ones who know could use your products or services. Don’t overlook obvious choices, whether they are big or small. Don’t discount a company just based on the physical size. A small company can have significant opportunities. Think back to your earlier work where you identified what makes a good big fish.

Prepare your position 

You need to prepare your customer research. This starts by creating a documented procedure including the companies revenues, perceived target audience, industry challenges, company culture, decision-makers, etc. Use this tool to get into the heads of your clients to understand their needs and wants.

Once, you have the information you’re ready to make the first move.

Define where to start (prioritize) 

Great so you have been able to narrow your list to a responsible 10-20 ideal clients. Now you need to set priorities of who you should contact first. To help you chose please consider the following:

  • Which have the most purchasing resources to spend?
  • Does their company vision complement yours?
  • What are their employee incentive programs as they relate to your products/services?
  • What’s the company’s actual need for you?
  • Will the partnership lead you off-course?

 

Now you should have a target in mind to start with. It’s time to plan your approach and execute that plan.

Here’s the step-by-step plan to help you make an excellent first impression:

  1. Build and analyze your database. Use the following lead tags to categories and track your sales process (if you don’t like these, come up with your own, but make sure you a definition that includes the behaviors your prospect should be displaying): hot leads, great fits, warm leads, and secondary leads.
    1. Great fits: these are the top 1-3 from your list above.
    2. Hot leads: these are leads that you have been able to engage in meaningful conversations. Specifically, you have spoken with them, and they have moved to the end of your pipeline.
    3. Warm leads: these are the leads that you have engaged in meaningful conversation but have not been able to get over all their objections. They see you as a problem solver and their most likely solution but you still have to get them over the hump.
    4. Secondary leads: These are not great fits, but you feel you can still bring value to them. However, they may not be your ideal for several reasons.
  2. Send out initial mailings (this a print mailing, you may, in addition, consider sending an email) to peak interest, educate, and establish preeminence. It should be short, clean, and concise. Ideally, to speak to the problem they have and don’t want.
  3. Follow up with your first phone call 2-3 days after they would have received the mailings. During the phone call, find out whom you need to be speaking with in the future and set up a meet with the right person.
  4. Follow up your phone call with another mailing/E-mailing/social contact that thanks them for taking the time to speak with you and offer more details about your products/services. Use this letter and opportunity to set up a meeting to do a presentation.
  5. Follow up the letter with another phone call a couple of days after receiving the letter. This phone call is to help you further develop your relationship with the prospective client. You should also be able to set up a presentation meeting with them. 
  6. Call again a week later if they haven’t agreed to a meeting or presentation. Ask if they received your creative letter (the second one) and if they have a minute when you can stop by and introduce yourself in person.
  7. Repeat, Adjust and Adapt. No process is perfect; keep adapting and changing your contact method and message as long as the prospective client fits that ideal process. 

Now, don’t be upset if you don’t seal the deal right away. Some people simply take a little longer to woo. This can all be a little intimidating at first, but you can’t go wrong when you know you are offering a quality product/service.

Once you’ve gone through this process and make the first contact (and hopefully a good first impression), it’s time to put your best face forward, which means sending the right salesperson to seal the deal.

If you need help putting together your approach and make an excellent first impression, schedule a free consultation to discuss your big fish.

The best time to start was yesterday, but today will do just fine.

About the Author

I am a business coach and consultant specializing in uncovering the root cause of a challenge and offering an unexpected solution. That solution typically results in a substantial increase in profits and the peace of mind to set you free from your business.

I ask powerful questions to clarify who you are and what you want. I am empathetic, although surgical in approach. I make my clients feel they are the only person I am working with. I have an uncanny way of drawing people out and getting to the heart of the matter.

I am a Pittsburgh native who aspires to free business from the rat race. If I am not working to improve the lives of my clients. Then you will most likely find me on the ice playing hockey, reading, or making plans for the future.

If I can ever be helpful to my readers, it would be my pleasure to connect and see where I can bring you value. I look forward to continuing to share more great lessons with my growing community.

Where is your next big client? Picking a pond is important.

Where is your next big client? Picking a pond is important.

Let’s continue where we left off last week, where we talked about bringing the big-company mindset into your business and your team. Having a big fish mindset will help you overcome the mental obstacles that will keep you from being successful.

Now that you’ve learned how to overcome that, we’re going to identify who is our ideal big fish. It’s essential to know about the fish you are looking for before you put a plan together. We’re also going to take a moment to talk about the potential “red tape” you may encounter along the way.

It is important to know a few things about your fish. All people and companies have habits, and it essential to be able to identify them. For the sake of this article, we will talk about the most important habits for you to identify. These habits are their purchasing habits, procedures, and company culture.

Purchasing Habits 

  1. Fiscal Budgets:
    1. It’s essential you know the fish’s fiscal budget, so you know exactly when they are planning their expenses for the year. Knowing this information allows you to tailor your plan to approach them just at the right time.
  1. Current Fulfillment Partners
    1. Spend time identifying who they are buying from already. Your goal is to understand why them and not you.

Procedures

  1. Responsibilities:
    1. You need to know who has influence over purchasing, who does the actual buying, and who can kill a deal if they want.
  1. Purchasing structure
    1. Besides knowing who the decision-makers are, it is important to identify the company’s desired sales process. For instance, do they want an RFQ or RFP, an estimate, etc.?
  1. Get on Their List:
    1. You need to know how to get on their list of people to buy from. Your name needs to be on the list but at the top of it and in as many categories as possible for more interaction. Ask about a procurement program and what you need to do to go through the application process.

Company culture

  1. Lingo:
    1. You need to learn the company’s unique language and communications methods. These could include report names, buzzwords, and even the nicknames they have for their employees.
  2. Values
    1. Take the time to identify the values at all levels of the company. Not just the ones on the website. Values are essential to understanding motivation is the path to problem-solving.

These three areas are just the starting point for identifying your “Big Fish.” I encourage you to spend additional time creating an Ideal Client Avatar.

Red Tap Warning

Now that we’ve talked a little about what you need to know about your fish, let’s a quick look at the “red tape.”

Bureaucracy might as well be a four-letter word with the emotions it stirs in all of us. “Red tape” is a necessary evil, but one you can use to learn from. There are two ways to learn from their system:

  1. Analyze their activity.
  2. Review their correspondence.

Being an outsider looking in can have its advantages too. If you hate dealing with the “red tape,” imagine how their employees feel dealing with it. If they need to crunch some numbers, offer to do it. If they need more info, make sure you are giving it to them in a user-friendly way.

Congrats on creating your Big Fish profile; you have taken the next step. As much as fishing is a solitary activity when it comes to business, it is important to get help. Engage your team, support network, mentors, and coaches in this process. As always, I am here to help. Don’t hesitate to ask a question.

The best time to start was yesterday, but today will do just fine.

About the Author

I am a business coach and consultant specializing in uncovering the root cause of a challenge and offering an unexpected solution. That solution typically results in a substantial increase in profits and the peace of mind to set you free from your business.

I ask powerful questions to clarify who you are and what you want. I am empathetic, although surgical in approach. I make my clients feel they are the only person I am working with. I have an uncanny way of drawing people out and getting to the heart of the matter.

I am a Pittsburgh native who aspires to free business from the rat race. If I am not working to improve the lives of my clients. Then you will most likely find me on the ice playing hockey, reading, or making plans for the future.

If I can ever be helpful to my readers, it would be my pleasure to connect and see where I can bring you value. I look forward to continuing to share more great lessons with my growing community.

One Fish two, Fish, I can’t stop thinking about the Big Fish.

One Fish two, Fish, I can’t stop thinking about the Big Fish.

Title picture

In the last post, we started our series on catching big clients, or “fish,” that will sustain your business over the long run. Today we’re going to take that a step further by talking about understanding and thinking like a big fish company and how that can help you plan your approach and find success.

Before you can start landing big clients, you have to make sure your entire team is on board with your approach and vision. There are six keys to finding big client success. They are:

Six Key’s: Big Fish Mindset

  1. First Impression: Never give them a reason to doubt your abilities. Plan your interaction and be prepared to listen, learn, and act to solve their problems. Make it about them and not you; be patient. 
  2. First Priority: Your fish must always feel like they are your priority. Return calls and emails promptly and find solutions to their problems or questions as quickly as possible. Over-communicate on the process; let them know your thinking of them.
  3. Flexible: You need to be flexible in your negotiations. If they need a particular service or for you to customize a product, say yes for the benefit of the long term. A little hassle now will be a big payoff later.
  4. Long-term: This goes along with the last one a bit. As you are approaching and negotiating with big fish, you need to think about the long-term benefits for your business. If you go for a one-time big score, you will lose their interest.
  5. Have Fun: Work should be fun, even when trying to land big clients. Going after the big fish should be the most fun. You are sharing your vision with new people and including them in your future success and likewise. People work better in a fun, happy environment. Your passion will also be contagious and pull the fish into your vision even more.
  6. Put them first: If you take just a little bit of time and offer your clients ways to save money or time by introducing them to potential business partners, this will show you are invested and interested in their business. Strive to find the balance between your business needs and your client’s needs.

Now that you understand the basis of the Big Fish Mindset. You might be asking, great, how do I develop a vision for my entire company? There several tactics to employ, but here are a few of my favorites. 

  • Engage your team in defining who is an ideal “Big Fish Nothing gets a team to share a vision like having them be a part of the process design.”

 

  • Write the vision and goals everywhere. Create signage that reinforced the company vision and goals. Everyone loves suitable bathroom reading materials. A fun poster in the stalls can go a long way. Plus, this is a great way to reinforce company values.

 

  • Training, Training, Training: Constitnantly reinforces the goals and objectives while teaching your staff the skills to achieve them. Get help and provide resources for your team to be successful. May I suggest starting with a lesson on the “Big Fish Mindset.”

 

  • Score Board: create a way to share the progress with your entire company. It is a great way to show each person’s contribution to the whole. Plus, it can be a great way to track and evaluate your process. 

 

  • Strategy eats tactics for breakfast, holds frequent meetings to make sure your strategy is working, and adjust the tactics to achieve your goals.

 

  • Create a communication policy, be very clear with your team about how quickly you expect your staff to get back to customers. In addition, create shared language and terms around communicating to clients and other team members. Defining these parameters will solve a lot of problems down the road. 

 

  • Reward in public, coach in private. As often as you can, praise your team. Find a reason to thank your team and appreciate their work. If they’re not performing, pull them aside and ask a straightforward question. What do you need to be more successful?

Including a big fish mindset in your overall company vision and experience will allow you to achieve more as a business owner and organization than you could ever imagine. It will enable you to start thinking long-term and give you the ability to invest in your people, process, and profits. Include the tactics in your strategy, and your company will begin landing big fish in no time.

If you need help creating the system, process, and developing the strategy big-company mindset, contact us today to work with one of our coaches or check out our resources and tools. 

The best time to start was yesterday, but today will do just fine. 

Let’s Go Fishing with Dynamite

Let’s Go Fishing with Dynamite

There are several factors to consider when prepping yourself and your company to approach the largest clients you’ll ever work with.

Today we’re going to start with a brief look at the three paths every business faces and show you which one is the path to success. Then we’ll talk about the mindset it takes to attract the big fish.

There are three major paths a business can take:

  • Path of least resistance
  • False Success
  • Catch the Big Fish

Path of least resistance

This is the path most business owners chose. They chose it because it allows them to do what they like to do and avoid the discomfort of the things they don’t want to do.

Business owners who chose this path ended up working themselves into the ground without much reward or success. This is what happens when you fool yourself into thinking you will find quick success. This path is filled with highly skilled people but who fail to embrace the other parts of running their business.

You may also find yourself following this path when you are afraid of change. If you find yourself avoiding discomfort and not getting anywhere, t is time to choose a new direction.

False Success

This describes a business that shoots to the top so fast you are overwhelmed and don’t have the right resources in place to adapt. This can also happen from being overwhelmed by small clients and not finding large clients, which will sustain your business after the small client sales slow.

The business in this category tends to lack the systems and processes required to sustain the energy level to operate. They tend to have high revenue and low profits. They feel great because they have a ton of activity, but the reality is they are living month to month.

Catch the Big Fish

This is the path that allows you to build at a steady pace that you can manage by not allowing your customers to outpace you. You can do this by putting these tips to work:

  1. Attract, keep and lock in big clients.
  2. Integrate “big business” culture into your company and employees.
  3. Acquire the expertise you need to grow.
  4. Have the courage to make changes as you grow.

Now we are going to transition a bit and talk about the “big fish” mindset. It may sound easy to find and catch that big fish, but if you are stuck in the small business mindset, you may find it harder than you think. 

Think of all the benefits of aiming at more prominent clients:

  • Inexpensive
  • Highly Profitable
  • Longevity
  • Security

To catch the big fish, you need to believe your company can make a difference with theirs. It’s easy to get into the thought that a large company doesn’t need anything from a small business like yours, but this is entirely wrong!

Once you look at how big companies operate, it’s essential to know which ones are the best fit for your company. So how do you know if a company is right for you?

Ask yourself, is this a company that has problems you can solve? Does it scare you to solve their problems? If you answered yes to both of these questions, then I hope you know what to do.

It is essential to note the big companies are relative to your industry and your business. If your current average client is $500 per month, then jumping $2500 per month would be a big fish. The goal with the big fish mindset is to get the best return on the time for money exchange. 

Now once you have determined your big fish, then it is time to create your dynamite strategy for getting them. Here are a few tips that people tend to forget to include in your plan.

  • Whom can I network with to get an introduction to a leader at the company?
  • How are you going to turn perceived weaknesses into strengths?

If you need help catching a big fish, get a free copy of my book, the 8 Steps that Change Your Business Forever, to l help you fine-tune your strategy to create instant results.

Mom’s make the best customer service, experts

Mom’s make the best customer service, experts

The power of moms

My mother has taught me a lot over the years, but two key lessons that pertain to customer service are consistency and the Rule of 1%. In the last post, I shared my experience with STX and the lack of consistency and systems within their customer service experience. My mother’s lessons will ensure you do not make the same mistakes.

Your customer experience must be predictable and measured. You need to leave your clients, vendors, customers, and staff; feeling heard and cared for. The key to any customer experience is what do you want them to experience. Experience is a set of events and feelings. As you go about creating your customer service systems, keep this in mind. 

Be as my mother; she wanted to do what is best for me but rarely gave into everything I wanted. She listened to what I had to say even when I was wrong, acknowledged my feelings, and redirects me to the path of least resistance. She treated me the same every time, and I found comfort in knowing that. Everyone once in a while, she surprised me with something I never expected.

If you want to take your satisfied customers to Raving Fan status, you have to go above and beyond the average customer service experience. The key to any great customer service experience is consistency. 

There are three ways to develop consistency:

Limiting customer service options and. 

It is easy to give customers what they want. However, this can cause us to drift from our vision of how we want our customers to feel. Instead, stay true to your vision and offer one or two solid customer service techniques that will set you apart from the competition. 

Make sure the techniques you chose do not feel like a burden. To be honest, your goals are to address the customers feeling and before their problems. 

Start by fine-tuning your current systems before you can add anything to the mix. 

  • Think about how I want them to feel, and am I currently getting them to feel that way. 
  • What action am my staff or I taking to get them to feel that way?

There’s nothing worse than launching a new program when you haven’t even worked out the kinks of an old system. 

Put solid systems into place.

Once you know what you’re going to offer, you need to have a system in place to execute it flawlessly every time. This system needs to consist of the right people in the right roles and responsibilities and technology that guarantees a positive experience every time. Emphasis needs to be placed on the results, which ultimately is the satisfaction of the customer.

To get the best results to think about how you empower your staff to make decisions. If they have to go through a supervisor or you before they can approve a refund or replacement, what is the point? Your system needs to have the least number of steps possiable. Remember, your customer is already in a higher state of agitation, and your first job is to lower the feeling.

Good coaching is the key.

When creating excellent training, you need to remember it is not about the outcomes. It is about teaching your staff how to shift the emotional state of customers to create an optimal resolution for both them and the company. It is about the tools they have at their disposal and how information needs to be shifted through your organization. 

The final piece to consider is your process for continually enhancing your staff skills. Your goal is to train them to be confident that they are the empowered expert who can solve your client’s issues.

Small steps lead to great results.

You may be looking at what currently doing and saying, “shit, I have a lot of work to do.” That is okay let the Rule of 1% be your guide to implementing the change in your business.

The Rule of 1% is simply defined as adding to your customer service one percent at a time. Before you can do this, you must have your consistency perfected, or it will never work. This one percent may seem small, but if you approach the vision for your company with baby steps, you will find a massive increase over a solid chunk of time. It’s not a sprint; it’s a marathon.

Avoid doing too much at once, or you’ll set yourself up for failure. Think of the confidence you and your employees will have when you improve one percent each week. By the end of a year, you’ll have improved more than 50%!

While rules and standards are necessary for growth, always be flexible with your best customers. Most retailers only allow a set number of items into a dressing room to reduce the risk of shoplifting, but it generally restricts the large percentage of people who are not stealing from you. Flexibility is the key to what you deliver to your customers, and consistency is the key to how you provide it.

The bottom line is customers rely on you to deliver what you promise. If you spend too much on bulky advertising that promises more than you can deliver, even your best intentions will unravel quickly, and you will fail.

Focus on your vision and baby steps to turn your satisfied customers into Raving Fans.

I hope you’ve learned a lot about good customer service and how it’s essential to your overall success. If you need help with any of the steps we’ve gone through over the last four lessons, please feel free to connect.

In upcoming posts, we’re going to explore strategies of bagging the big clients and keeping them.

I interrupt our regularly scheduled blog for an important customer service announcement.

I interrupt our regularly scheduled blog for an important customer service announcement.

the image is call attention the fact that this not my typical blog but sharing a personal experience

In the last post, we talked about figuring out what your customers want out of a positive buying experience. Today I was going to talk about the concept of Deliver +1 and how this concept can take your customer service to the next level. Instead, I need to share a recent experience as an example of what not to do in your customer service system. 

Over three weeks ago, STX hockey ran a BOGO special. Anyone who knows me knows I love STX equipment. As you can imagine, I was excited. It was the chance for me to pick up their top-of-the-line sticks for $100 or less, which, if you are a hockey player, it’s a steal.

However, when my order arrived, it only had two of the four sticks I had ordered; the box was ripped open. I was shocked. I immediately went online to look up the customer service number. I called no answer; upon listening to the customer service message, it stated that they do not have customer service hours on the weekends and suggest sending an email. 

I left a voicemail and then followed up with an email to highlight my issues and my desire to speak with someone. I expected them to get back to me on Monday. 

Monday afternoon rolls around, and no replay. So I decided to call again, no answer. I leave another voicemail and email. Two days later, I called again. This time added how they could resolve the issue to my satisfaction. (see email below)

Apr 16, 2021, 13:54 EDT
Hello,

I am following up because I have now left three voice messages and have not heard anything from you. I was a major supporter of the STX, but I am now becoming extremely frustrated that you have been unable to get back to me about the issue with my stick order within a week.

I would like to either receive the other two sticks that I ordered with your BOGO deal or a refund for the product I didn't receive.

Please call me at (edited to remove personal information)

I waited another two days and no response. I left another voicemail and an email. At this point, I have created three support tickets and was starting to get frustrated. I am a massive fan of the brand and love their equipment, but the lack of support was ridiculous. 

Once again, the weekend  was approaching, so I knew I could not get a hold of anyone. So I decided to try the hail marry of getting shit done before I just cut my losses and move on, never to buy from them again.

I looked up the CEO, email, and phone number using a prospecting tool, shout out to Seamless AI. I sent a final email highlighting my displeasure and how I would like to see it resolved.

Apr 22, 2021, 9:34 EDT
Hello Kenneth,

I am reaching out as a concerned customer and business owner myself. I have been trying to reach someone at STX customer service for over two weeks. I have left 4 voice mails and sent 3 emails and have not heard back from them.

I had an issue with your recent BOGO sale, in which I only received two of the four sticks I should have received as much as I am pissed that I did not receive what I ordered. I am more concerned about my favorite hockey brand.

I have truly enjoyed using your products, but I am now considering switching because of the lack of customer care. It is ridiculous that not one person could reply to a voice mail or email in two weeks. I hope that you, as the owner, have taken the time to read this email and will hopefully respond to me.

My phone number is (edited to remove personal information)

My support ticket (26556)

Later that afternoon, I got my first response. Now it took me over two weeks of messaging and calling to get a response. You would think they would have taken the time to read my emails and listen to my voice mails, where I spell out my problem.

No, the first thing is two different customer support agents contacted me—each one asking for my order number, which I had shared with them twice in earlier emails.

After giving them the information, they credited my account and have sent me the two missing sticks, which seems like a desired result. I got everything I wanted and then some; however, they still made several significant mistakes. These were the ones that bothered me the most.

  1. Their customer service agents were called agents instead of having names, which made the limited interaction feel impersonal. To be honest, this was a characteristic of the entire experience.
  2. They were extraordinarily unorganized and failed to communicate how they resolved my problem. Suddenly, I got an email from my credit card company that I had received credit and a similar message from UPS that a package was on the way. 
  3. Lastly, no apology. I am glad they resolved the issue, but seriously they took no ownership and left the experience feeling cold. 

As you continue to read this series on customer service, I hope you take my experience to heart while developing your customer service systems. Next week I will introduce the concept of Delivery +1 and the 1% rule.

In the meantime, if you need help building a holistic customer experience that turns your clients into raving fans. Then don’t hesitate to contact me.

Secrets Secrets they Can Be Fun… Let me tell you one.

Secrets Secrets they Can Be Fun… Let me tell you one.

Top secrets customer service information

In the last post, we talked about the first secret to building a solid customer service plan and how to decide what your vision is. 

Today we’ll talk about the second secret in taking your satisfied customers to raving fans. You must know what your customers want. Know who your customers are, and you will know better how to serve them. Having a defined ideal client is really important here. An upper-class woman in her 30’s is going to have completely different expectations than a working-class man in his 50’s.

When considering what your customer wants, there are four main areas to focus in:

  • Listen to your client
  • Ask Your Customers Sincerely
  • Offer More than Just a Product/Service
  • Know When to thank them for their feedback 

These are all important when deciding what your customers want out of their experience. 

Listen to Your Client

You need to listen to both what they say and what they don’t say. Clients may say they want one thing and mean something else. For example, if your customers are begging for lower prices, you may find their real priority is quick delivery. Your clients fall into four categories.

First, you have the raving fan; they’re the person who will self-identify with your brand. Take, for example, the hipster that will say I will only use apple products. Most of the time, they love what you do and provide you with positive feedback. This is your 20% sweet spot. However, if you’re looking to grow or pivot, you have to listen to what they say and prod them for negative feedback.

Second, you have the passive client; you need to listen to customers who only reply with “fine.” These customers are so used to bad customer service they only give a monotone response. Think of the client that leaves the 3-star review and writes it was good—clearly, no a lot to go on here. 

Third, you have the silent client. Listen to your “silent” customers. These customers don’t bother to complain because the service is so bad they’ve just given up and don’t feel like their voice matters. They feel unwanted, and when a competitor shows up, they’ll be gone.

Lastly, you have the detracter or “Karen.” These are your clients who had such a negative experience that will actively try to cause harm to your business. This can be in the form of a poor review or youtube rant. It is essential to make sure that you have a plan in place to handle these people. One suggestion is to create a Non-ideal client profile; this will allow you to figure out who that person is before they even have a chance to buy from you.

Ask Your Customers Sincerely

If you aren’t sincere when you ask their opinion, they will see right through you. It is essential to understand why you are asking them for their feedback. Are you truly prepared to take feedback and make changes? If not, don’t ask. Client feedback is not an opportunity to pander to them in an attempt to create some false value. This is your chance to reengage them and keep them as loyal customers.

You need to ask them sincere questions that get them thinking about their experiences. Make them feel like you really care, and you should! 

Extra tip: If you have a plan of how their feedback is being used, share it with them during your review process.

Offer More than Just a Product/Service

Your customer service process does not just start after you have completed the sale. Make sure you are thinking holistically about your client’s experience. It starts from the first contact and continues indefinitely.

Your customers are looking for much more than a simple product or service; they are looking for an experience that makes them feel good. They gauge every step of the process with a value. When you consider this and treat them like people, they will feel like they belong. That is when your product or service becomes a community.

Know When to Ignore Them

First, you must acknowledge that your business is not for everyone and everyone is not your customer. You will sell to people, and people will buy from you that really shouldn’t have. 

It is okay; in reality, you can’t give them everything, and some people you will never make happy. You have to set limits and stick to them. If your vision and company don’t meet the customer’s needs, they will be best suited elsewhere. 

Be direct, tell them this is not working out, and create a process to help them find the right place for them, and then move on to those you can help.

Start Here

  • Who is my customer? 
  • What are my goals for my customer experience?
  • What questions can I ask to make sure I am delivering on that experience?
  • How will I use their answers?

Now that you have learned some quick tips and tricks. If you get stuck, I am happy to answer questions. Email me: doogie@ideasactionssuccess.com 

 

Customer Service Secrets

Customer Service Secrets

Attract client to post about customer service

Shhh... I Have a Secret

You can create a great customer service system for your business in 3 easy steps.

Customer service is a pretty hot topic and can make or break your business. Consumers have little patience for lousy customer service and quickly get tired of waiting in long lines, trying to get a live person on the line, going through an interrogation to return something, or trying to communicate through a language barrier. 

If you provide them with a simple, efficient, pleasant experience, they will revisit your business over and over. More importantly, your clients will tell everyone they know! 

There are three secrets to good customer service; the first one we’re going to conquer is knowing exactly what YOU want.

You are the captain of the ship and the visionary for your business’s future, so you need to have a clearly defined plan for your business, including customer service. There are three main goals you need to consider:

  • Understand Your Road Blocks
    • It needs to be easy for your customers to do business with you. You can do this with advertised discounts, kiosks, your website, and other technology-based programs to help them shop. No matter what medium you chose, make sure you understand all of the steps your asking your client to do. Then make sure you can make them as easy as possible.

 

  • Your Experience Needs to be Like Talking with Mom
    • Doing business with you needs to be a warm and pleasant experience. Your staff has to be knowledgeable, approachable, warm, and patient. Your customers need to feel like they are getting good value for their time and money. Perceived value goes beyond the price of the products and extends to their shopping experience.

 

  • A Penny Wise a Dollar Foolish
    • Change your mindset and ask yourself, “How can I NOT afford to do these things?” This shouldn’t be a question of expenses, but making and keep happy customers. It is always essential to think about customer lifetime value when dealing with complaints, refunds, replacements, etc. Think a penny today is a dollar tomorrow.

With these thoughts in mind, you also need to consider a few things when deciding on the actual programs and standards you’ll put into place.

  • Share your customer service vision with the rest of your staff. 
  • Empower your staff to make decisions at the moment.
  • Connect your incentive programs and bonuses directly to customer service.
  • Monitor the level of customer service your staff is putting out.
  • Set a time to review and improve your customer experience regularly.
  • Know when you can ignore what your customers want.
  • Continuously focus on your goals.

 

Now that you know what you want, you can start thinking about meeting those wants and creating a positive customer service experience.

If you’re having a hard time deciding on what you want, the tools, resources, and coaches in our GUIDED TOUR can help you define your company’s wants and needs in relation to customer service.

Business 2.01: Grow the Right Way

Business 2.01: Grow the Right Way

Show how your business grows just like planting a tree. It is to serve as symbolism for the work we put in as business owners.

Two weeks ago, we talked about the first three of the seven specific areas you need to consider in your franchise prototype process. Here are all seven again:

  • Primary Aim
  • Strategic Objectives
  • Organizational Strategy
  • Management Strategy
  • People Strategy
  • Marketing Strategy
  • Systems Strategy

(The first three focus areas were covered in the blog: Business 2.0, please read before continuing)

Creating a focus in these seven areas will get you on the path to creating a business that works for you. Today we are going to cover the last four.

Before we jump into it, think of constructing your business model like planting a tree. At first, it’s so tiny and weak you wonder if it will even make it through the night. But, you keep watering, fertilizing, and nurturing it. Your ideas will grow the trunk, and each of these strategies will extend out like the branches of your now a strong tree. Finding the perfect support staff, employees, vendors/suppliers, and other relationships will make your tree flourish with leaves and flowers to bear fruit. 

Grab your pen and paper, roll up your sleeves; it is time to get to work.

Management Strategy

If I told you, having excellent management is not about finding great people with a lot of experience but about creating a system to cultivate, promote, and train talent. 

The way you structure your management team development is essential to your growth and your employees’ happiness and, ultimately, your customers/clients. This strategy is results-oriented and doesn’t depend on the people but the actual system that’s in place.

A management strategy, in short, includes goals, rules, company direction (mission/vision), standards (supervisor expectation of behavior and performance), skill development. That tells your employees how to act, grow your business, and meet clients’ expectations. 

It is a well-orchestrated procession of actions that allows your staff to exceed your clients’ expectations while fulfilling strategic objectives over and over again. It is your operation manual, your series of checklists, scripts, and action processes. 

People strategy: 

If your management strategy is what you want your people to do, your people strategy is how you get them to do it.

You need to show your employees how you feel about their job performance and dedication to your business. They also need to understand “why” they are doing specific tasks. This helps your employees personally connect to their job, leading to better production and a happier workplace. 

There are several strategies you can use to get the highest performance of your employees (They are in order of effectiveness):

  • Constant, regular, and public reminder/thanks of how their work is impacting the community (companies goals)
  • Internal education program
  • Internal staff dream program
  • The innovation game
  • A learn this business program:” not just your job.”
  • Performance Incentive Programs
  • Contests that reward high performance
  • An employee of the Month
  • Performance/Holiday Bonuses

These are just a few of the ideas you can use. To create a great people strategy is to find the balance between appreciation, education (the why), and directing of staff energy.

One of the best ways to appreciate your employees is by calling a meeting and asking them how they would like to be rewarded. Think about it for a while and put the best strategy into play. Keep it fresh and change up the system you use from time to time to keep your employees guessing. Once they get used to the prize, it’s time for a whole new approach.

You need to build a community within your company. There needs to be support, appreciation, and respect. The more “at home” an employee feels, the better they will perform and the higher their loyalty level.

Marketing Strategy

Marketing is, of course, essential to the success of any business, but it also must work cohesively with the other strategies you’re using. There are two central pillars of successful marketing strategy-the demographic and psychographic profiles of your customers.

The psychographic tells you what your customers are the most likely to buy, and the demographic tells you who they are, which can help you learn why they buy specific items.

With this information, you have answered the pivotal questions of marketing:

  • Who are they?
  • Where are they at?
  • What do they want?

Now all you have to do is speak to them. 

Systems Strategy

There are three types of systems in every business:

  • Hard Systems
  • Soft Systems
  • Information Systems

Hard systems refer to those that immutable they’re opening and closing procedures, your standards of office cleanliness. These are the systems that don’t have any wiggle room and are usually all internal.

Information systems include customer data, product information, financial…anything with data and numbers. This the recording of important information to the operation, use, and success of the business.

The most important of all three systems is the soft systems because it is where your employees have the most flexibility in execution and usually require the most creativity.

The most critical soft system is your sales system. In your sales system, the two keys to success are structure and substance. The structure is what you sell, and substance being how you sell it.

All three systems are essential to your business’s success, and while they all have their particular roles, they all must work together to get the job done. This also goes for your entire business development program.

Recap 

I want to take a moment to recap on the ideas we went over through these business development lessons. We have covered a lot of the series of blogs.

An entrepreneurial myth, or e-myth, is an assumption that anyone can succeed at business with: 

  • Desire 
  • Some capital 
  • Projected a targeted profit

There are essentially three key roles that need to be filled to set your business up for success:

  • The Technician
  • The Manager
  • The Entrepreneur

The four different stages of a business life cycle are:

  • Infancy
  • Adolescence
  • Growing Pains
  • Maturity

There are a few things we are going to talk about:

  • Business Format Franchise
  • The Franchise Prototype
  • Franchise Prototype Standards

There are three main areas of business development:

  • Innovation
  • Quantification
  • Orchestration

Seven specific areas you need to consider in your franchise prototype process. Here are all seven again:

  • Primary Aim
  • Strategic Objectives
  • Organizational Strategy
  • Management Strategy
  • People Strategy
  • Marketing Strategy
  • Systems Strategy
Question and Actions

If you have been following along over the past few months, I thank you for those who have not; then you have a lot of work to do. Below are guiding questions and action steps. As always, I am here to help.

  1. What do I do now? First, identify what role in your business you play. Are you a technician, manager, or entrepreneur? 
  2. Where do I need the most help? Take some time to think about the area you need the most help, then start taking your business’s next step.
  3. What will it take to get past my ego? As entrepreneurs, we constantly feel we must go it alone, but in reality, once we get past our ego holding us back, we can get the help we need to succeed truly.

I am here to help you work through all of these areas and give your business a jumpstart that puts you ahead of your competition right from the start. Feel free to contact me directly at doogie@ideasactionsuccess.com. I am happy to answer any questions you have and discuss the success of your business.