USE COMPLAINTS AS A SPRING BOARD – Best sales and Marketing Ideas #77

Jose John July 26, 2013 No Comments
101 Best sales and Marketing Ideas IDEA 77: USE COMPLAINTS AS A SPRING – BOARD Even the best-run companies get some complaints. It may be to do with the product, the service that goes with it, or such matters as delivery or technical support. The first way in which to see complaints is as a source of information. They constitute feedback that must be noted: lessons must be learnt, and action taken to stop the situation from recurring. Sometimes a complaint is a one-off, and only affects one customer (although it may be none the less annoying or costly for them because of that). Sometimes too, complaints make the news: as I write this Sony are in the newspaper because batteries supplied for laptop computers are allegedly causing the machines to catch fire. The matter is ongoing, but the cost will be tens, perhaps hundreds, of millions of pounds. While we would all rather no complaints occurred, when they do they must be handled constructively, and the best made of the situation. Idea From motor manufacturer Mercedes Benz…. I pick an example here that is safely in the past of the company involved. Satisfactorily behind them is perhaps a better way of putting it. After the Mercedes small model...
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BRAG, BUT DO SO CONVINCINGLY – Best Sales and Marketing Ideas #76

Jose John July 26, 2013 No Comments
101 Best Sales and Marketing Ideas IDEA 76: BRAG, BUT DO SO CONVINCINGLY Customers want to know that you are competent, knowledgeable, and generally “know your stuff.” Only then do they feel able to deal with you with confidence. You need to tell them, but out- and-out bragging can not only sound unsuitable-“He’s just a braggart”-but also risks you’re not being believed. For example, if I was selling you my training services, and said to you, “I’ve been involved in sales training for more than 20 years, there’s really nothing about it that I don’t know, and that’s a promise,” you would be entitled, indeed sensible, to take it with a pinch of salt, and wonder about my communications skills. Idea From the world of professional services… If, on the other hand, I gave you reasons why I considered myself an expert, it might well be more credible. Perhaps I would say to you,” When I first joined a training company I spent a long time sitting in on courses and talking to those leading them about why they were conducted in the way they were, before my then boss would let me anywhere near fronting an event. It was drummed into me that I would spend the rest...
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TAKE A LONG-TERM VIEW – Best sales and marketing Ideas #75

Jose John July 26, 2013 No Comments
101 Best sales and marketing Ideas IDEA 75: TAKE A LONG-TERM VIEW It is an old maxim of the world of selling that the job is not to make a sale, but to make a customer. The implication is that the business you can obtain over the longer term is more important than clinching a single deal today and there is certainly some good sense in this view. Sometimes this philosophy can be taken to extremes, and still make sense. Let me prefix this idea by summarizing my experience with the mobile phone company Vodafone. I have just wasted at least two hours of my time discovering that it cannot supply what I want. I went into a local shop to ask, and was told the company could do what I wanted, but only via a bigger store. I e-mailed the company and (eventually) got a reply saying this was the case.  In London a little later, another shop told me it could only sort out my problem by telephone. When I was home again, I telephoned. Nobody needs all the details: after endless holding, several transfers, and my demanding to speak to a manager, I was told the company did not do what I wanted at all. You...
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PUT VALUE ON INFORMATION ABOUT THE CUSTOMER – Best Sales and marketing Ideas #74

Jose John July 26, 2013 No Comments
101 Best Sales and marketing Ideas IDEA 74: PUT VALUE ON INFORMATION ABOUT THE CUSTOMER The importance of asking questions and listening to the answers has already been stressed. So too has the need to tailor, and be seen to be tailoring, the case you make to an individual customer. One simple mechanism you do this, and makes a positive impression on the customer too. Idea Catching the details… To be fair many sales people do this, but if they do not, it can send all the wrong signals. Remember first that people’s sense of individuality is strong. We all think of ourselves as being unlike other people. And we want others to understand and take these differences into account. Certainly this is true of buyers and sellers. For example, I wear spectacles, and have just had an eye test. Very thorough it was, too. I would not have been much impressed if I had walked in, perhaps been asked to read a couple of lines of text, and then been told, “Right, I know exactly the prescription you need”. I want a thorough check. And believing it is complex and individual matter, I was pleased to see the optician completing a detailed form as the test progressed. So...
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MOTIVATION AS A CATALYST – Best Sales and Marketing Ideas #73

Jose John July 26, 2013 No Comments
101 Best Sales and Marketing Ideas IDEA 73: MOTIVATION AS A CATALYST It is again the nature of the sales job that it can be repetitive. One call follows another, and many may involve saying essentially the same thing to each customer. I have already recommended tailoring the sales message, but the point remains. Because of this repetition and because there is often a low level of contact with head office, motivation is particularly important for sales personnel. And quite right too, you may say. It is possible that you would do better if you were better motivated (although you might be highly motivated already, of course), so can you stimulates the motivation process? Idea From electronics retail giant Richer Sounds…. Recently a colleague of mine bought a new television from this retail chain. He was impressed with the service and the selling – it was a purchase that needed to come with some sound advice – and was telling people at a committee meeting us both attend about it in very positive terms. Credit where credit is due: and there is nothing like word of mouth recommendation. He had been so impressed, in fact, that he had quizzed one of the sales staff about just why the service...
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THE UBIQUITOUS SALES MEETING – Best Sales and Marketing Ideas #72

Jose John July 26, 2013 No Comments
101 Best Sales and Marketing Ideas IDEA 72: THE UBIQUITOUS SALES MEETING If I ask many sales people about sales meeting held in their organizations, they raise an eyebrow, sigh deeply, and say, “Oh dear”. And they may not be so polite. Nevertheless sales meetings should help you sell better. If they don’t, it may be the sign of a poor manager, but even so maybe you can make suggestions, or take an initiative. Idea Again from many well-run sales teams… Every so often, sales team gets together. This might happen weekly, monthly – whatever, with the frequency dependent on such factors as cost and geography. However often this happens, you want to get the most from it. Again a good manager will see this as an opportunity to inform, motivate, gather, and exchange ideas- and undertake development activities. It is sometimes a problem to keep such meetings fresh. They can settle into a repetitive format and a bit of a rut. So do not be backward in making suggestions, or volunteering to initiate action in this area. (You might collaborate with colleagues, so you say to your manager, “A number of us think …”).  A number of things are possible: Training games and exercises: these are designed to...
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DON’T BE TOTALLY SELF-SUFFICIENT – Best Sales and Marketing Ideas #71

Jose John July 26, 2013 No Comments
101 Best Sales and Marketing Ideas IDEA 71: DON’T BE TOTALLY SELF-SUFFICIENT This and the next two ideas link to how you and your boss work together (whoever your boss is: in a large company it is likely a sales manager or director). By its nature the field sales job is one in which people must be self-sufficient, and where a great deal of time is spent alone and away from base. Tacitly or otherwise, your organization’s culture might suggest that you should be self-sufficient. Indeed your boss may have said equivalent of, “Don’t bother me all the time, get out there and sell”. Idea From many a well-managed sales operation… On the other hand two heads are often better than one. Consider ongoing counselling, which usually involves accompanied calling, evaluation, and a link to development of all sorts. Most managers will evaluate what any sales persons is doing and what results they are getting. While a bad manager may see this as just looking at the figures and shouting when targets are missed, many see this role more constructively. They take the view that even the best performance can be improved, and act to do just that. The most practical way in which this happens is through joint...
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EN ROUTE TO SUCCESS – Best Sales and Marketing Ideas #70

Jose John July 22, 2013 No Comments
101 Best Sales and Marketing Ideas IDEA 70: EN ROUTE TO SUCCESS Productivity is important, and the nature of a field sales job dictates that there is inevitably some idle time. There’s time spent travelling to the customer (and trying to find some where to park), time ahead of a meeting waiting for people in their reception areas, and so on. At worst sales people can work hard and still find that only 20- 25 percent of their working time is actually spent face to face with customers; it goes with the territory. Enough said, or is there? Idea For those with a company car… Given the problem of productivity, you should at least consider the way you work and see what possibilities this suggests for productivity improvement. One example that applies to anyone driving to customers makes a good point. How far do you drive each year? Or perhaps more relevantly, given today’s traffic conditions, how long do you spend in the car? Listening to the radio or to music may dull the tedium of a long journey, but it will not help you sell more. You could spend some of the time doing something more useful (and much safer than talking on a mobile phone, which must...
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WITH A LITTLE HELP FROM A FRIEND – Best Sales and Marketing Ideas #69

Jose John July 22, 2013 No Comments
101 Best Sales and Marketing Ideas IDEA 69: WITH A LITTLE HELP FROM A FRIEND Who else can help you improve your selling? Idea From a training company… A mentor is someone who exercises as low-key and informal developmental role. More than one person can be involved in the mentoring of a single individual, and while what they do is akin to some of the things a line manager should do, more typically a mentor is especially not the person’s line manager. It might be someone more senior, someone on the same level, or form elsewhere in the organization. An effective mentor can be a powerful force in your development. So how do you get yourself a mentor? In some organization this is a regular part of ongoing development. You may be allocated one, or able to request one. In other organizations you may need to initiate a mentoring relationship. You can suggest it to your manager, or direct to someone you think might undertake the role. What makes a good mentor? The person must have authority (this might mean they are senior, or just that they are capable and confident), suitable knowledge and experience, counselling skills, appropriate clout, and a willingness to spend some time with you (if...
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GET OUT OF HERE – 101 Best Sales and Marketing Ideas #68

Jose John July 21, 2013 No Comments
101 Best Sales and Marketing Ideas IDEA 68: GET OUT OF HERE A break can do you good. The right sort of break can do your sales results some good. Idea From the world of training… Here is something that will perhaps be regarded as something’s of a luxury. But it can have real value, and be cost effective too. It can take various forms, but in one company I worked with (now taken over and merged away), one category of senior people were allowed to take six months (paid) leave after working with the company for a certain number of years. In consultancy – a fee-earning and time –dependent business – this represented a significant cost. However it was a business in which many people did not habitually take long holidays, so in some ways the time off was a quid pro quo. Certainly it was highly motivational, both to these entitled to the break and to those who aspired to be. I cannot now remember whether it was compulsory, but the extended periods of leave often included a project, something to which no time would otherwise have been given. For example, people sometimes wanted to travel, and this linked usefully to the international development of the business....
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ADMIN RULES OK – Best Sales and Marketing Ideas #67

Jose John July 21, 2013 No Comments
101 Best Sales and Marketing Ideas IDEA 67: ADMIN RULES OK Selling to people is a personal business, often one to one; it is dependent to some extent on personalities and relationships. It is influenced by how the sales person approach matters, the techniques they use, and such things as the perceived degree of pushiness. But alongside all that there is a thread of more physical and mundane matters: appointment times are set, literature is sent, arrangements are confirmed, and all this creates – or should do aura of efficiency. This is not simply important in itself: the level of predictor of service to come. So short-falls in your admin can act to dilute the effectiveness of what you do in selling Idea From the pharmaceutical industry… Consider a cautionary tale. A pharmaceutical company was holding a sales meeting for doctors. It had chosen a suitable venue, and everything was well arranged: documentation, catering, and so on. The company executives were well practiced in their presentations. The PowerPoint slides contained only a manageable amount of text, and not single one was projected upside down. At one point the doctors were introduced to a topic that was to be dealt with by showing a 20- minute video film. An executive...
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UNDERSTAND CUSTOMER’S CULTURE – Best Sales and Marketing Ideas #66

Jose John July 21, 2013 No Comments
101 Best Sales and Marketing Ideas IDEA 66: UNDERSTAND CUSTOMER’S CULTURE The world is large and varied, and so are the customers in it. At home or board, sales people should study how culture affects personal relationships. Idea As an example consider a single country, albeit one that many appear somewhat alien to Englishmen like me…. Japanese business people tend to be well travelled, are group-oriented, and rather formal in their dealings with each other. To start well when selling to Japanese people, you need to remember a number of things. Do not overdo eye contact, shake hands only if a hand is offered to you (and do not try to bow in Japanese style, although a sincere nod of the head is appreciated), use title with names, and make sure that careful use of language ensures understanding, checking as necessary. Business cards are much used (yours should have a Japanese translation on the reverse). The Japanese have a tendency to check details. You quote a delivery date, and they will want to speak to those involved in implementing it, to reassure them that it is seen as possible. The Japanese always try to conceal their emotions, hate losing face, and are uncomfortable if other (you) lose control, for...
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DRAMATICALLY MEMORABLE – Best Sales and Marketing Ideas #65

Jose John July 21, 2013 No Comments
101 Best Sales and Marketing Ideas IDEA 65: DRAMATICALLY MEMORABLE No doubt you work at creating a positive persona and profile for yourself with your customers. If you do so, they will think of you as professional. They may know other details about you too: where you live, something of your family, the fact that you have a new car, or recently went on holiday to American. If customers have a general picture of you as a person, it may help enhance your image, but can you do more? Idea This was prompted by the television news station Channel News Asia…. As I write this I am appearing regularly on an overseas morning program on ChannelNewsAsia to talk about building a successful career. This is linked to my book Detox Your Career (which is also published by Cyan, and sets out an action plan of active career management to help you survive and thrive in the competitive workplace. Buy one soon –sorry, another plug and an example of persistence!). There are posters in bookshops in Singapore and other parts of South East Asia featuring my picture, and the description “ChannelNewsAsia’s Career Guru”. Fame at last? Hardly! It is doubtless transient, but such things do have an effect on your...
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WORK THE LOGISTICS – Best Sales and Marketing Ideas #64

Jose John July 21, 2013 No Comments
101 Best Sales and Marketing Ideas IDEA 64: WORK THE LOGISTICS Sometimes it is difficult to meet with customers. The locations are far apart, and compromises must be made about when and where you get together. This is especially the case when relationships are good. I deal with one person on a regular basis, but meet him perhaps two or three times a year. I like to do business face to face, but because I know it is complicated for him to travel to me, there is a danger of my not requesting a meeting when it might help us both. A solution came at the sales person’s initiative. Idea With my own “buying hat” on …. From my sales person’s standpoint, if he’s to retain my business he needs regular contact with me. He knows I lives 50 miles north-east of London, and travel to London regularly for meetings and so on. We now have the habit of meeting at London’s Liverpool Street station, timing our meetings to fit in with my train times. So if I’m in town for a meeting in the morning, we might meet for an hour at 1pm, allowing me to catch the 2.08pm train back afterwards. This suits me well: I have...
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WHEN THE CUSTOMER DOES NOT LIKE YOU – Best Sales and Marketing Ideas #63

Jose John July 21, 2013 No Comments
101 Best Sales and Marketing Ideas IDEA 63: WHEN THE CUSTOMER DOES NOT LIKE YOU It would be a dull world if everyone were the same, so it is no great surprise that we do not get on equally well with everyone we meet. This does not matter much, if at all, in some circumstances. If you never see again the guy you sat next to flying to a holiday in Madeira, or even distant cousin Mary, you can no doubt live with it. But customers are different. You need to get on with them, certainly in terms of a business-like relationship (even if you do not want to invite them to dinner), or you risk losing business. Realistically, though, you are not going to hit it off with everyone, and there may be a few – be honest –where the relationship you want is a non-starter. What do you do then? Idea From a graphic design company… Something I have seen in a number of businesses (so the graphic designers are just an example) demands some honesty amongst people, but can pay dividends. It can be initiated independently one to one, or might for example involved a manager at a sales meeting. The idea is, you pass the...
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