Archive for category The Sales Dept

The Distance Between Good and Great

Without regard for budget, the distance between good and great is largely the distance between your brain and your fingers. Often, marketers develop a good idea and execute it perfectly. They congratulate themselves and move on, perhaps never realizing that with just a bit more thought they could have hit a giant home run. A perfect example of what I mean stems from a recent 10-day Eastern Caribbean cruise.

Once aboard the ship, we could buy a soft drink card that yielded unlimited soft drinks while on board.

We also received a 16oz tumbler emblazoned with the Coke(r) logo and a small Princess(r) Cruise logo. Coke had its name in front of 3000 travelers for 10 days playing an integral role in life aboard the ship. Good promotion, no question.

Now that I’m back home, however, there sits these four tumblers on my counter. I see the Coke and the Princess logo …. so what? I am motivated to do exactly …. nothing.

For starters, it would have cost no more to imprint a website on the tumbler and perhaps a message that said, “Visit (website) to continue your cruise experience.” Since the tumblers were shrink-wrapped, it wouldn’t have cost much more to add an interactive component to the mix. Perhaps an ultra-removeable sticker affixed, inserted inside or shrink-wrapped onto the tumbler. The sticker would say, “Affix this sticker to the inside of your suitcase to remind you to visit (website) at home when you unpack.” When people got home and unpacked, that sticker would remind them to visit the website.

Another thought would be to encourage people to take photos of themselves in ports of call holding their tumblers – and email them in. Once they send their photo in, they would have reason to check back on the website to see if their photo was up. And you know as soon as they see it, they would tell all their friends and family to go to the website and see it.

With a little more thought, Coke and Princess could have leveraged something that I had to purchase in the first place … to their benefit! No kidding. Think about that. I paid money for the tumbler and drink card, giving them the opportunity to market to me during the cruise and interactively after the cruise. Now that’s brilliant! But they didn’t take it far enough.

Instead, I have a tumbler that (yawn) passively reminds me of my vacation.

If you are in the midst of developing a promotional campaign, perhaps now you have a bit more to think about. Ask yourself, “Is simply having our logo on an item good enough?” “Can we do more? Can we go further?” “How much more will a call to action really cost us?” Seriously, a great idea can be no more than another thought away.

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Silly Season Service…

It’s just after Christmas and all through the land people are buying, while others take orders, sell etc.

It’s a great time for retailers, it’s all so busy.

Me, I’m after an item, and like to compare prices and hunt about for a good deal (so I’m a cheapskate at times, negotiating can be like that.)

I saunter about zipping through lines of shoppers going this way and that, slow fast, turn right, shoot down an aisle, negotiate another bunch of people… I get to my destination to be greeted on browsing with a pimply faced kid who asks, “Are you right?” I have a standard response to that, “I’m fine thanks” unless “narky” and I give them a serve of “Great question are you implying I’m otherwise wrong?…”

The other one they serve up is, “Can I help you?” perhaps it’s a better approach but I go for “I only want help if I’m drowning…” This generally stops them in their tracks.

If I was running a retail  type business I would sack INSTANTLY any staff member who said either of these.

For goodness sake, chat to me, get to the point and discover if I have a need or want, but spare me the pathetic lame approaches, say hi, after all I am human and may well spend enough to pay your wages this week, but put me off and your wages will go elsewhere very fast!

Folks, if you are in retail, teach your people so say hello, how are you, good morning etc. Then follow this with some pleasant banter that engages me more effectively. Then and only then can I let you through to be able to find out what I want.

For those of you who find this pedantic, lots of people are put off subconsciously by these initial approaches and will shop with their feet, going elsewhere in search of their needs. I will be amongst them.

Wisdom comes in many forms…

Fast thinking and wisdom can work wonders, I saw this today and thought it’s well worth reproducing here, enjoy!

A wealthy old lady decides to go on a photo safari in Africa, taking her faithful aged poodle named Cuddles, along for the company.

One day the poodle starts chasing butterflies and before long, Cuddles discovers that he’s lost. Wandering about, he notices a leopard heading rapidly in his direction with the intention of having lunch.

The old poodle thinks, ‘Oh, oh! I’m in deep doo-doo now!’ Noticing some bones on the ground close by, he immediately settles down to chew on the bones with his back to the approaching cat. Just as the leopard is about to leap the old poodle exclaims loudly, ‘Boy, that was one delicious leopard! I wonder if there are any more around here?’

Hearing this, the young leopard halts his attack in mid-strike, a look of terror comes over him and he slinks away into the trees. ‘Whew!’ says the leopard, ‘That was close! That old poodle nearly had me!’

Meanwhile, a monkey who had been watching the whole scene from a nearby tree, figures he can put this knowledge to good use and trade it for protection from the leopard. So off he goes, but the old poodle sees him heading after the leopard with great speed, and figures that something must be up. The monkey soon catches up with the leopard, spills the beans and strikes a deal for himself with the leopard.

The young leopard is furious at being made a fool of and says, ‘Here, monkey, hop on my back and see what’s going to happen to that conniving canine!

Now, the old poodle sees the leopard coming with the monkey on his back and thinks, ‘What am I going to do now?’, but instead of running, the dog sits down with his back to his attackers, pretending he hasn’t seen them yet, and just when they get close enough to hear, the old poodle says ‘Where’s that damn monkey? I sent him off an hour ago to bring me another leopard!

The moral of this story….

Don’t mess with the old .. age and treachery will always overcome youth and skill! Knowledge and wisdom only come with age and experience.

I am in no way insinuating that any of you are old, perhaps some are just youthfully challenged!

Over time I have come to respect the wisdom of the more “mature” around us, and as I get older I hope I  can benefit more from my own wisdom and have the good sense to draw more on the wisdom of others.

In business it can seem like we know it all, (or we think we do) but the reality can be different. I guess the point being to know the difference and profit from it.

Don’t yell at me lets chat first…

Many of you know I have a business seminars listing service on another site, I have a bunch of events put in there as a service to the wider business community so people can find events in a “one stop shop” approach for aussie businesses.

I list only publicly available events and have done for about 6-12 months now.

This weekend I got a nasty note “take down our events off your website or we will take legal action”… whoa lets not get too pushy now. So I sent back a note, apologies for not asking permission but hey can we now have permission?

Short answer no… Okay so I pull the events off and send back an apology for creating hassles.

1. There is no need to shout (offering legal action straight up is a bit much in my view) I hear you okay…

2. If the guy had said, “Hey Steve, thanks but no thanks, please remove within 24 hrs as it upsets our measurement systems etc, hope you understand…” I would have been more than happy to do so. Now it just gives me a chance to write another blog entry on communicating.

Ok… so it’s not a big deal but why should he “shout”, when a “chat” would do it just as elegantly and effectively.

Some before the sales stuff…

Lets say you have done things right and you have a good service or product to sell, and yet people are not buying… What next? Well consider these three interlinked points and see if you can do something with this.

Firstly people start off as suspects, they move to prospect next, then when they buy they become a customer.

So lets figure out the ‘suspect to prospect’ part and see if we can find ways to get them engaged enough to want to buy what you have.

Here are the three points.

1. You are not offering them what they want right now – In a shop, they might walk in to kill some time, or they might want something but they can’t see it right now…

2. Not offering them enough information for them to “sell themselves” on what you have to offer -You can have the best product or service in the world, but if the info is not there to support it how can they ‘process the information.’

3. They don’t want to talk to you, maybe they want to check things out a bit first – This can be a case of “I want to look first and see if it’s okay by my ‘standards’.”

That’s the three points, so lets pull it apart a little.

Okay so we are talking about the psychology of sales, or more correctly, pre sales. So what’s going through the persons head? Probably at a sub conscious level they have a need or want to be met and are “cruising” to find a solution. If they have no need or want, they may be open to an idea, if it fits with their values and beliefs.

So they may be on a search for an answer or could be open to an idea. If they are searching in a retail context for something they “want” they might be readily put off by a sales person that says “Can I help you”, the suspect does not make it to prospect. If on the other hand they have a strong need for something they might respond more positively to the “call for help”…

Lets go for the person that has no idea of what they want, a blank canvas… a person comes along and offers them a “Business opportunity” they may turn straight off. Why? well the idea does not appeal to their values and beliefs, the things they find important at a core level.

If however the sales person was to set things up so they were in alignment with the persons values and beliefs, they will probably have a much better chance of success.

An example… You have a business proposition, the economy is down and you have a sure fire way to assist them to get through it.  1. figure out what they want, $$, financial freedom, peace of mind they can get ahead, that sort of thing. 2. Give them info that shows the benefits of fitting to those needs. 3. Give them the chance to check it out a bit first, no hassle, no bother…

The challenge is to do it in ways that do not put them ‘offside’ in the process.

A little enthusiasm can go a long way….

Here’s a short video from Tom Peters, if ever you wondered what comes first passion or skills, here’s Tom’s answer…

Thanks to Tom and the team at Skill Soft.

Really? That's the BEST you can do?

I received an e-mail from a supplier yesterday.

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They sent me a proof to approve and fax back to them.

First thing I noticed was that my Purchase Order (PO) number was wrong. The next thing I DIDN’T notice, was the fax number to which the supplier wanted me to fax the approval back.

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It was buried within 3 pages of blah, blah, blah … blah, blah, blah.

I faxed the proof back noting my approval. I also noted that my PO# was incorrect and what the correct number is. I then mentioned that they should consider putting the fax-back-to number right on the proof. Ya know, because it would make it easy for me.

The supplier wrote me the following reply:

Mr. Crooks.

When your PO came across our fax machine the numbers on it were hard to read. The Order Entry Department did the best they could considering what the fax looks like but, I assure you, I’ll change that one incorrect digit. I truly apologize for your inconvenience. I’ll forward your idea about a fax number being on the proof to the proper department.

In my opinion, the Order Entry Department DID NOT do the best they could. Their best would have been to call or e-mail me to verify the hard-to-read-information. So, if guessing is the best they can do … do I need to find someone with perhaps higher standards?

Look. You don’t have to be a genius to put a fax number on a form that you want a client to fax back to you. Nor does it take the wisdom of Solomon to verify information you can’t understand.

With regard to service, attention to detail and making life easy for your clients, before you tell someone, “That’s the best I can do” ask yourself, “Is that the best my competitor can do?” Find out before your client (ex-client) does.

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