Tag Archives: sales

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good deals

Good Deals Should Be For Your Best Customers

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How are you treating your best customers? Are they acknowledged through cleverly branded rewards programs? Are they getting good deals?

How are repeat customers treated as compared with the on-boarding of new customers?

Switch your lease from one car brand to a different car brand and you’ll get a discount.

Sign up for cable or satellite television and we’ll give you a lower bill for 12 months.

Why do some businesses feel the need to punish their best and most loyal customers by offering better deals to brand new customers?

About the Data

Data driven analysis and decisions are certainly valuable. Data driven decisions are also sometimes supported by assumptions.

The existing customer base will continue to spend as much this quarter as they did last quarter.

Our best customers can afford to pay a higher margin.

Our high-volume customers will never notice.

While this may seem silly, almost ridiculous, it is a popular path for many businesses. The quest for growth or the quest to stop the bleeding allow assumption-based leadership decisions to punish the best customers.

Who Cares?

There is at least one other assumption. The assumption that the customer doesn’t care.

Just smile and talk really nice, ask about their children, grandchildren, or pets. Chat it up a bit. It isn’t their money.

Have them use their corporate credit card. Remind them that they get personal points on dollars spent.

We could certainly bring up integrity and ethics, but many believe that is just the way corporate America rolls. It all works, until it doesn’t.

Good Deals

Like many things in life and in society, someone is paying. Free stuff or free deals are sometimes good for one party while a different party is paying.

Are you truly appreciating and rewarding your best customers, or are they being punished?

Who is really paying?

-DEG

Dennis E. Gilbert is a business consultant, speaker (CSPTM), and culture expert. He is a five-time author and the founder of Appreciative Strategies, LLC. His business focuses on positive human performance improvement solutions through Appreciative Strategies®. Reach him through his website at Dennis-Gilbert.com or by calling +1 646.546.5553.


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sales distraction

Sales Distraction Inhibits Goal Achievement

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We all sell. Even those who are not officially in a sales role, sell. What sometimes seems like prospecting may be exactly what is causing a sales distraction.

Movement and motion are important, yet results are what matter the most.

Motion Isn’t Selling or Buying

People browse the internet, watch videos, and search eBay or Amazon. They don’t always buy; the activity of the search is a distraction. It’s window shopping.

In the summer, in suburbs or rural communities, there are often yard sales. People scatter their junk on tables and under canopies. The neighborhood gets involved, often there are cardboard signs, parking problems, and rubberneckers.

People who engage often don’t spend much, but they have some fun browsing. It gets them together with a friend or two, doesn’t cost much, and is more of a distraction rather than buying.

The same is true for many festivals, auctions, and community fairs. More of a distraction than commerce.

Those selling have a different role. Their strategy is to move the product, make a dollar, and improve their situation.

It may be for charity, to remove some clutter, or even a hobby business.

Sales Distraction

In the workplace, when trying to sell people sometimes seek an excuse or a distraction.

They claim they are prospecting, knocking on doors, and making calls. Yet, performance data still illustrates a pattern of coming up short.

There is blame towards a lack of collateral, the outdated website, or unfavorable economic conditions.

Sales tactics can become an activity. Check the box, do the labor, fulfill the role.

Have the goals been met?

Boxes checked are not always the same as goals achieved.

Rocking in a rocking chair gets you moving, yet you really aren’t going anywhere. It’s just motion.

Don’t get distracted.

-DEG

Dennis E. Gilbert is a business consultant, speaker (CSPTM), and culture expert. He is a five-time author and the founder of Appreciative Strategies, LLC. His business focuses on positive human performance improvement solutions through Appreciative Strategies®. Reach him through his website at Dennis-Gilbert.com or by calling +1 646.546.5553.


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bad choices

Bad Choices, Good Choices, or No Choice at All

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When someone suggests that you can pick anything you want, what will you pick? Nobody likes making bad choices. Most people really don’t want to be wrong. Do more choices help?

Marketing is a funny thing. Some marketers believe that more choices are better. More options mean that people get exactly what they want.

What is easier, pick one of three items, or pick one of thirty-three items?

Bad Choices

Netflix is popular. Is it easy to pick something to watch? Not usually, not unless someone has told you about something great that they watched. In that case, the recommendation closes the sale.

The next time you go to a restaurant watch how friends or family explore the menu. It is common that people will quickly glance through the menu only to want to know more about the special. It is a helping hand for the decision.

Chances are good your customers are the same. More choices, more options, it causes a stall or the inability to decide. No one wants to make a bad choice. More choices require more consideration.

It seems almost counterintuitive, but it is no secret to the best sales and marketing professionals.

No Choice at All

We are all selling something. Can you use this to improve your future offerings?

How does this logic affect the next conversation with your boss? Will it make a difference in how you manage future projects? Does it matter for your resume?

Remember, no one wants to make bad choices, with too many options the only choice they may make is no choice at all.

-DEG

Dennis E. Gilbert is a business consultant, speaker (CSPTM), and culture expert. He is a five-time author and the founder of Appreciative Strategies, LLC. His business focuses on positive human performance improvement solutions through Appreciative Strategies®. Reach him through his website at Dennis-Gilbert.com or by calling +1 646.546.5553.


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making connections

Making Connections in the Connection Economy

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Many have labeled our current economic climate as a connection economy. Considering that is a fair label, are you making connections?

So often we are focused on the product, the service, or other tangible aspects of our business. Build the best product. Have the best quality. Deliver the best service.

We do it in our careers too. Get more education. Have the most credentials. Achieve the best title. Make lots of money.

Business or personal, all these things are important. Yet, many businesses and people struggle to close the sale, struggle to get recognized for superior service, or struggle to find a new job or get that all-important promotion.

Questions to Ask

The questions may become:

“In a connection economy what makes growing companies grow?”

“In a connection economy what is important for the new job, career change, or advancement?”

The best answers may be as simple as it seems. Connections.

Many people suggest that society is shifting. Heads down, many stare at a small device held in the palm of their hand. A technology prayer.

Yet, humanity still seeks connections. In-person, or through technology, the social interaction often drives what happens next.

Making Connections

It becomes about who we think of when we need a new employee. It becomes about the brands and products we choose in a sea of possible selections.

The fastest growing companies on the planet are doing more than making things, selling stuff, or delivering exceptional service. Again, all those things matter but what matters in a connection economy is building strong connections.

Make good stuff, deliver great service, be the best you can be.

Be sure to connect.

-DEG

Dennis E. Gilbert is a business consultant, speaker (CSPTM), and culture expert. He is a five-time author and the founder of Appreciative Strategies, LLC. His business focuses on positive human performance improvement solutions through Appreciative Strategies®. Reach him through his website at Dennis-Gilbert.com or by calling +1 646.546.5553.

Dennis Gilbert on Google+


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competition

Do You Understand Your Competition?

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Every day we are competing. We’re competing through our business, competing to close the sale, or competing to achieve a promotion or get a new job. Do you understand the competition?

We may or may not know who the competition is with, but do we understand what we’re competing on?

Parameters of Competition

If you are focused on the size of the cake or the presentation of the dessert, how it tastes may be an afterthought.

The most durable laptop computer probably isn’t the most slimmest. The fastest car probably is the biggest or even the most comfortable.

What are the parameters of competition?

Here are a few of the most popular:

  • Service: When we compete on service our focus becomes about the delivery. Time, speed, and satisfaction.
  • Trust: We work hard to illustrate examples of trust. We work to show loyalty, commitment, and perseverance. Promises kept, not broken.
  • Image: While often very subjective our time and energy are spent on what you see.
  • Credentials: The focus of the card punch. Are the educational degrees attained? The certifications valid and current? Are they issued from a reputable source?
  • Price: Value is the afterthought, everything that matters is based first on price. If it is available everywhere at the same spec, price is the only differentiator.

Competing on What?

Understanding your competition is important, but you must first understand what you are competing on.

In the best scenarios you’re competing on what matters most to you. Your passion drives the focus and results. However, what brings you to the forefront of your offering may not be what the customer is buying.

A focus on quality may mean a higher price. An abundance of effort on image may drive questions about what is under the veil. Questions about credentials may signal a lack of trust.

What are you competing on? What matters most to the buyer?

-DEG

Dennis E. Gilbert is a business consultant, speaker (CSPTM), and culture expert. He is a five-time author and the founder of Appreciative Strategies, LLC. His business focuses on positive human performance improvement solutions through Appreciative Strategies®. Reach him through his website at Dennis-Gilbert.com or by calling +1 646.546.5553.

Dennis Gilbert on Google+


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commodity services

Commodity Services And The Race To The Bottom

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Everyone wants a good price. In fact, everyone wants the best price. It is seldom that someone wants to spend more than their neighbor or competition for a similar product or service. Have you ever felt like commodity services are really a race to the bottom?

Price Strategy

Many selling efforts consider the basic economics of price. Sell more at a lower price and we’ll get more money. Sometimes this may make sense.

Selling services has some differences when compared with selling raw materials or products. The value of the product is in the spec. Anything meeting spec may only come down to one thing, price.

Services have some differences. Businesses that treat services like raw materials or products, pushing vendors for the lowest price as compared to spec, may get less than they expected.

Race to the Bottom

When you are selling a service that is based purely on spec you may be selling commodity services. Yet your value will be judged on the expected quality.

It will need to meet spec which includes quality, but the quality of a service subjective.

This is even true for most jobs. When you negotiate a salary, it typically starts with spec. Ultimately though you will not only be evaluated compared with spec but your performance will be compared with price.

One of the challenges for the service provider is to apply enough margin to consistently exceed expectations.

While everyone is racing to the lowest price and trying to sell more, the intuitive path seems to include cutting operating costs to keep margins. Service quality often declines. Promises are broken.

Commodity Services

One trouble spot with services is that they often aren’t remembered for price. They are remembered for the feeling after the service.

The best lawyers, surgeons, and accountants may have to meet spec, but spec isn’t that relative to price. The service promise and the resulting expectations have more relevance.

If you were in trouble legally, would you hire the cheapest attorney? The spec may be, have the credentials to practice law. The promise is to keep you out of jail.

Here is a promise. The cheapest service may meet spec, but it will often be remembered as an inferior product.

A race to the bottom.

-DEG

Dennis E. Gilbert is a business consultant, speaker (CSPTM), and corporate trainer. He is a five-time author and the founder of Appreciative Strategies, LLC. His business focuses on positive human performance improvement solutions through Appreciative Strategies®. Reach him through his website at Dennis-Gilbert.com or by calling +1 646.546.5553.

Dennis Gilbert on Google+


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AI Change

Will AI Change The Customer Journey

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Is AI (artificial intelligence) going to change the customer journey? AI change is happening now. Nearly everything is being influenced and driven by data. Data means automation, and automation means AI.

It has been happening for years. In the past decade it has been accelerating. Are you moving towards AI? Probably, whether you recognize it or not.

Front runners in AI will change the definition and behaviors of the customer journey. Businesses who have not adapted will appear to be offering an inferior experience.

Data Driven

We once went to the bank on Friday to cash a paycheck. Then direct deposit became popular, first as an option, eventually as the norm. People are also using less cash and doing more debit or credit card purchases.

This isn’t news, but what does it mean? It means data. Data means automation, and automation means AI.

Now imagine interfacing this data capture with other data to enhance the customer experience. Imagine knowing when, how, and what your next move will likely be, or perhaps, should be.

Imagine every Friday you go to a local ATM and withdraw fifty dollars in cash. Next imagine that every holiday weekend in the summer you spend at a family home two hours from your residence.

What is the AI application here? Will AI change something?

AI Change

On the Friday of a holiday weekend imagine the ATM asks you one additional question. “It is a holiday weekend, you’ll likely be out of town, would you like to withdraw additional cash?”

Of course, some would quickly identify that the ATM could be programmed to do this without knowing your usual travel plans.

What if you started out of town on Friday of a holiday weekend and your smartphone reminded you that you had not yet visited the ATM?

Imagine that you also normally visited the dry cleaner, stopped at a convenience store, and checked the weather through an on-line app.

Now imagine you are running late and you get a (smart phone) reminder that the dry cleaner is about to close, the convenience store is nearly out of ice for your cooler, and a thunderstorm is about to break out in the area.

Better yet, it reminds you that you’re now traveling away from your home and with the coming storm you’ve left two windows open.

Wouldn’t it be great? It is coming. In fact, most pieces of this are already emerging.

-DEG

Originally posted on July 16, 2018, last updated on May 4, 2019.

Dennis E. Gilbert is a business consultant, speaker (CSPTM), and culture expert. He is a five-time author and the founder of Appreciative Strategies, LLC. His business focuses on positive human performance improvement solutions through Appreciative Strategies®. Reach him through his website at Dennis-Gilbert.com or by calling +1 646.546.5553.


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attraction matters

Attraction Matters For Your Success

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There are people who don’t like baseball, apple pie, and certain automobile manufacturers. Who do you appeal to, who is in your crowd, your network, or your tribe? Do you believe attraction matters?

To some extent we all sell, we all market, and we all deliver a customer service promise. We do it in business, and we do it person to person without a formal business model or plan. Wouldn’t it be great to connect with lots of people who share in the same or similar aspirations for life, community, or career?

Much of this may depend on your market reach, where you spend your time, and what your formal philosophy on life is all about.

Habits Create Culture

I’ve tried to convince some coaching clients to read more. I’ve even presented them with the idea that they may read more than they realize, why not do it more constructively? It matters for some, but for others they just never indulge.

Podcasts are popular in some circles, but everyone wants to know the best of the best first, without really shopping around. These are limits, limited beliefs, values, and ways of doing things.

Values and traditions, they of course build what we call culture. Is the culture where you work strained? Is it because everyone is like minded or is it because of different values, beliefs, and traditions? Are those differences managed constructively or destructively?

Attraction Matters

Do you believe attraction matters? Whatever you do for your business, what you do for your customers, or what you do to grow your career, will always matter most to those who are interested.

People who don’t get involved with social media, they don’t really care about social media. People who don’t like football, NASCAR, or reality TV won’t tune in and they won’t see your masterful thirty second commercial.

When people don’t like to read, they probably won’t. When they don’t like social media they probably won’t join. An organization that doesn’t see a bigger future probably won’t care much about your career.

Everything that you do or want to accomplish will only happen in an atmosphere that embraces what you are selling.

It is true for advancing your career, for selling your product, or for building an effective team.

People who don’t connect with it will probably never buy it.

Attraction matters.

-DEG

Dennis E. Gilbert is a business consultant, speaker (CSPTM), and corporate trainer that specializes in helping businesses and individuals accelerate their leadership, their team, and their success. He is a five-time author and some of his work includes, #CustServ The Customer Service Culture, and Forgotten Respect,Navigating A Multigenerational Workforce. Reach him through his website at Dennis-Gilbert.com or by calling +1 646.546.5553.

Dennis Gilbert on Google+


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speaking the truth

Testimonials and Speaking The Truth

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Not so long ago I was on a telephone call with a potential client. During the call, the client was clicking through some of the features of my website and specifically wanted to see customer testimonials. It causes me to wonder, are testimonials really speaking the truth?

Wanting Testimonials

As we talked on the phone, she was saying aloud the features she was seeing. “Okay, here is your seminar list. Oh and here are your blog posts. Okay and I see your speaking topics. Do you have any testimonials?”

Testimonials are valuable, certainly. They also have their own dedicated page on my site.

I wonder though, are written testimonials, the kind we see on a business web page real?

I don’t mean to suggest that anyone makes them up. Although, of course, someone could, what I question is how authentic these testimonials really feel to the reader or potential customer. Is this written word really speaking the truth?

Similar to references on a job application, would anyone knowingly list a reference that would say something bad, I don’t think so.

We live in a funny World. People cite in a negative sarcastic tone the perceived lack of authenticity related to online data, articles, and social media posts. There is a tremendous social atmosphere (movement?) which many people have labeled as, fake news.

Therefore, it may beg the question, “Why do people believe in testimonials?” How many businesses would display a comment that expresses disappointment with their product or service? Unless it is some paradoxical shift, I believe none. Zero, no one would do that.

Speaking the Truth

Testimonials may be one of the most intriguing inspirations for a call to action. They matter. Every marketer will tell you that. People believe in them. Psychologically, they move people to action. Are they fake news, maybe?

Perhaps the real truth exists in the number of clients or customers served, years in business, or when a friend of a friend provides a real spontaneous and unsolicited referral. I’m not saying that testimonials are fake news. They are probably real on most websites. What I am saying is what makes people so sure.

What did I tell the potential client? I directed her to my testimonials tab.

She was satisfied.

– DEG

Dennis E. Gilbert is a business consultant, speaker (CSPTM), and corporate trainer that specializes in helping businesses and individuals accelerate their leadership, their team, and their success. He is a five-time author and some of his work includes, #CustServ The Customer Service Culture, and Forgotten Respect, Navigating A Multigenerational Workforce. Reach him through his website at Dennis-Gilbert.com or by calling +1 646.546.5553.

Dennis Gilbert on Google+


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handling rejection

Handling Rejection, or Processing the Right of Refusal

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It is often why people claim they do not like sales. They say it is the rejection. Are you handling rejection in the right way? Is it rejection or really just a refusal of your offer?

We may be living in a cynical world. Some social media channels offer the option for a thumbs up, or a thumbs down. Some posts get many clicks and some get few or none. Harsh comments, nasty or angry posts, and people just looking to pick a fight.

How do you accomplish your best work? What happens when your work is rejected? Imagine if you are not the successful candidate for the job, or the big sale you were attempting to close was given to someone else. What do you do, or how do you feel?

Brutal Truth

Often the brutal truth is that your work, your skills, or your offering is right for someone, it just isn’t right for them.

Another possibility, but much less of a probability, is that they don’t understand your work. Your work was exceptional but they misunderstand it. You were the best candidate but you weren’t compelling enough. Perhaps, they couldn’t make an emotional connection to your offer.

Yet another possibility is that everything was perfect but that they were already leaning towards someone else.

Some of these things are fixable. Some will not matter regardless of any effort or repair.

Handling Rejection

What may be most valuable and most important is that at least now you have an answer. Answers are rare today. The cynical world sometimes clashes with the legal world and while silence feels vain, it is all you will get. Sales professionals will tell you, “The client went dark on me.”

What is the best way of handling rejection or a refusal of your offer?

Say, “Thanks so much, I really appreciate you letting me know.”

– DEG

Dennis E. Gilbert is a business consultant, speaker (CSPTM), and corporate trainer that specializes in helping businesses and individuals accelerate their leadership, their team, and their success. He is a five-time author and some of his work includes, #CustServ The Customer Service Culture, and Forgotten Respect, Navigating A Multigenerational Workforce. Reach him through his website at Dennis-Gilbert.com or by calling +1 646.546.5553.

Dennis Gilbert on Google+


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