Tag Archives: sales

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brand experience impacts

Brand Experience Impacts and the Unexpected

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At the car wash, the grocery market, and the restaurant you have an experience. What are customers feeling from your brand experience impacts? Are you sure about every touch point?

The valet at the 5-star hotel, the guy sweeping up cigarette butts in the parking lot, and the janitor plunging the clog in the bathroom.

An incredible waitress, a kind flight attendant, and the nurse at the doctor’s office.

A fast-food voice on the intercom, the hardware store clerk, and shipping verification from an eBay purchase.

All of these things, no matter how big or how small they may seem, are part of a brand experience.

Unexpected Experience

Many people believe that your brand sits entirely on the hands of the graphic artist, the photographer, or a clever press release.

Indeed, all of these things matter. They matter a great deal. Yet, often, your brand is about unexpected touch points.

Businesses want to train their sales team, the customer service team, and managers. These are not the only people or places where your brand is exposed.

Where is your brand exposed?

Everywhere.

Brand Experience Impacts

What is the weakest link in your business? It may be a touch point where your brand is exposed.

What employee teams are not customer facing? Who is in the backroom, the warehouse, or on the R&D team? They’re still building your brand.

Who answers the phone, responds to social media, or sends email messages? To the customer, in each of those moments, that is what they know as your business. Not the CEO, not the beauty of your website, and certainly not the marketing speak in your mission statement.

The impacts of your brand are loud and clear.

They’re often developing from human interaction.

-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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customer hustle

Customer Hustle, Is That What Sells?

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Energy is contagious and often inspiring. Business minded people often like the idea of fast-paced, work-hard, play-hard, and win. Is it all about the customer hustle?

The act of hustling generally has a stigma of negativity. It may be perceived as trickery, deception, or even fraud. Largely though, in business circles, it represents a feeling of move fast, solve problems, and achieve goals.

Why is there so much focus on the customer hustle?

Time is a precious resource and when people know what they want, they want it now.

They don’t want to place an order for a car and have it delivered in six or eight weeks. When they want an ice cream treat, they expect to find it, quickly and conveniently. It’s true for getting a pizza and it’s true for an order from Amazon.

Customer Hustle

When a business fulfills a customer need or desire, it wins. It is expected to be replicated, modeled, and the competition works hard to exceed the previous best experience.

The moment anyone clicks anything on-line it starts a reaction. Search engines favor it over others, the word spreads, and action happens.

Speed seems to matter most. Timely means immediate.

The unfortunate other side of the customer hustle is that it is a short-run game.

Short-Run or Long-Run?

Short-run works okay for McDonald’s drive through, or the local pizza shop, but not so well in long-run products or services.

A dentist should be thorough, accurate, and complete, no exceptions. It’s a long-run game.

An expensive automobile or home, same thing, it’s a long-run game.

Yet it is often about the war of clicks. Fueled and offered to the public via a friendly search engine algorithm.

Does the long-run game still sell?

What’s Selling?

People talk about home appliances and suggest that they aren’t built like they once were. The same is often true for heavy equipment, electronics, or a garden tool .

The pressure and force connected with the customer hustle has driven a mind-set of fast and now, instead of good and lasting.

What is connected with the work that you do?

Is it built to last, or built for right now?

We don’t seem to find both.

It’s often a hustle.

-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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desperate hustle

Desperate Hustle And The Path It Leaves Behind

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Are you good at hustling? Are you assertive and spring into action conquering sales and navigating corporate environments in a single bound? The desperate hustle may leave behind some unfavorable consequences.

Businesses like people who can make things happen. It is a good trait. Sales and marketing professionals often thrive on the hustle. A good hustle, not a crafty snake oil bait and switch. Just a good hustle.

The hustle often has positive effects. Bringing in revenue, building the brand, and weakening the position of the competition.

Desperate Hustle

Then there is the desperate hustle. This often develops after a period of sleeping, complacency, or internal change where the biggest hustle becomes a version of hustlers, who are hustling for a new job with a new employer.

This desperation or corporate push means that people are in fear of their job, their livelihood, and how they’ll support their family. They become desperate.

The consequences of this behavior can have very negative long-term effects. When the mindset is divide and conquer without worry or concern about what or who is in the way. Watch out.

The mindset may become, as long as I’m winning, I don’t care.

This is dangerous and a sign of faulty leadership.

Future Outcomes

Sometimes the workplace objective is met, yet the path of destruction in its wake is devastating.

Clients get burnt, vendors hosed, and interpersonal workplace relationships may be damaged beyond repair. After the revenue is counted, the future actually becomes bleak.

Being a strong hustler is good. Leaving behind a path of destruction is not.

Find the balance. You’ll do your best work there.

-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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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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