How To Snub A Customer

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Have you been snubbed as a customer? I bet you have. You’re smiling as those experiences come to mind right now.

I recently took a simple drive through the take out service of a well known chain restaurant. I paid my money at window number one as instructed, and I proceeded to window number two. What happened next was beyond my comprehension.

When I arrived at the window, a young lady had her back to the window, and that’s where she remained for the duration of this event. She was engrossed in conversation with another worker in the window. To make matters worse, I saw my bag with one small food item sitting on the counter just inches from this lady’s hand.

Several seconds later, the other lady grabbed the bag, looked in and said to the “Snub Lady”, “Is this this customer’s order?”

Her reply? “Yes.”

“So why didn’t you give it to him?”

“You can give it to him.”

And without a word, this mysterious hand came out of the window with my bag attached and just as quickly and silently as it came out, it went back in. I drove off shaking my head and declaring this to be the ultimate customer snub!

So, How Do You Snub a Customer?

You turn your back and care about the conversations that matter most to YOU.

You care not about your customers and their needs. You leave that up to someone else.

You choose not to put yourself in your customers’ shoes.

Some of you reading this blog are saying, “This doesn’t apply to me, I’m the boss. I don’t work directly with the customers. My employees are the ones who need to read this.”

Not so fast, Mr. Boss. From my days with Southwest Airlines it was made abundantly clear to me that every boss, every manager, every leader had customers of their own…the employees they were responsible to lead.

Your Employees Are Your Customers

Translation? The way you lead your team, the way you interact with your employees, the example you set by the work you do will be the way your employees indelibly interact with the people you say mean so much to you…your customers.

Want great customer service? Give it first to the customers you’ve been called to lead, your employees!

Just this week I learned about a job posting in a department where three employees work very part time hours. When questioned about the decision to hire, the employees were told the department had 24 extra hours to give, so a new team member was needed.

Enter customer snub number two. The part time employees hearing this news have been begging for more hours so that they can better support their families, but management has consistently said, “Sales are down, and we don’t have the hours to give.” Funny how they now have 24 hours to give, but not to their “customers,” the current part time employees. It was as if their backs were turned, the needs of their customers ignored, and the shoes of their “customers” were never worn.

Want to build morale, win customers for life and watch your sphere of influence grow? Do not snub a customer!

Turn your face to your customers, identify their real needs, address those needs with intentionality, and in the process, make sure you walk in the shoes of your customers. And do it with an honest desire to understand their needs as if they were your own.

Before you make the final decision that affects your customers and their families, before you recommend a product or service for your client to buy,  care enough to find out what life looks like, feels like, and is in the life of your customer. A well cared for customer will become a customer for life.

“As goes the leader, so goes the organization!” ~John Maxwell

Who are your customers? How will this message impact the way you relate with your customers this week?

If this article made a difference for you, please leave your comments in the box below. I want to know what actions you’re going to take to make a difference this week. I’ll be cheering for your success!

What Influences My Buying Decisions?

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In thinking about various buying experiences, there are some sales people I work hard to avoid, and here’s why:

  • They have their own agenda…they want me to grow their business by giving them referrals even though we just met.
  • They care…about closing the sale on the spot even though I have no interest or need for their product.
  • They are ready to write me off once they realize I’m not going to buy today.

Admit it, while reading the above statements, you had names and faces of specific sales people come to your mind, didn’t you?  Today I call for sales professionals everywhere to close the books on this archaic method of selling and instead, give the very best of yourself to the very noble profession of selling. We need the very best of you and we need you to engage us in a selling process. Bring your best, and we’ll buy because we love to buy, but we hate to be sold!

Here’s what sales professionals can do to positively influence my buying decisions today.

Have A Heart

We are naturally drawn to people who genuinely care about our well-being. To care about others is to have a heart that’s motivated to find ways to bring the greatest value to people, even it means referring them to someone more qualified to serve them well.

When we’re driven by a heart that has the best interest of others in mind, we’ll find buyers looking for people like us. And price won’t matter. People love to buy from people who care enough to make life easier or more worth-while. People buy from people they know, like and trust.

Create Great Customer Experiences

People will see your caring heart when they see firsthand the level of service you bring to your customer experiences. Planning a great customer experience from start to finish will allow your customers to see you in a new light, making it easier for them to know you, like you and to build trust with you.

Engage In Learning Processes

When a person enters the market to buy, it’s because they have particular needs, desires or problems to solve. Sales professionals who engage clients in a learning process understand the value of engaging people on their level.

A learning process allows time and space for real customer needs to surface. Once they do, the sales professional is positioned as the trusted advisor that he or she is. There’s no greater joy than meeting the needs of people and making a difference in their lives.

A well thought out learning process also allows the sales professional and the client  to know exactly where they are in the process so that everyone knows what next logical step needs to be taken. A process like this makes buying a pleasure because it’s focused on identifying and satisfying real needs of customers.

Any sales professionals who want to create such an intentional and professional buying experience, contact me. I can help you and your team create winning systems that attract new clients and turn those clients into raving referral fans.

What steps will you take to influence my buying decisions?

A Review of The Peter Principle

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Have you ever worked in a place where it seemed like those in leadership had a pattern of making excuses, using negative reinforcement, or giving superficial answers for ongoing and complex challenges?  If so, you’ve probably had at least one day where you left the workplace shaking your head at the incompetence of those in authority over you. There’s good news, and there’s bad news to the story that’s about to unfold.

The good news is, you’re not crazy, incompetence is alive and well in the workplace and in many well-meaning organizations today. The bad news, unless you’re in a position of authority with the responsibility of leading change, you’ll likely have little influence over it.

In 1969, Laurence J. Peter and Raymond Hull coauthored the book, “The Peter Principle:  Why Things Always Go Wrong”.  In this book they state,  

“Rather than seeking to promote a talented ‘super-competent’ junior employee, Peter suggested that an incompetent manager may set them up to fail or dismiss them because they will likely ‘violate the first commandment of hierarchical life with incompetent leadership: [namely that] the hierarchy must be preserved’.”

Why does this happen?  Because “in a hierarchically structured administration, people tend to be promoted up to their level of incompetence.”

Someone may make a great salesperson, but when promoted to senior level leadership may find he or she has lacks competence when it comes to leading  people and teams. Someone who made a great manager may not be right for an advancement if the new role takes him or her to a role beyond his competence. It’s important to recognize that with each new role comes new responsibilities and tasks that we’re not always competent to do well.

This begs the question, “What do you do if you’ve been promoted to a level that you now realize exceeds your competence?”

You have a few choices:

1. Remain in your level of incompetence because that’s the proven hierarchical structure that’s often the norm, but do so at your own risk. You’re likely to become very frustrated working and leading outside of your strengths.

2. Reach out to mentors, coaches, books, and training opportunities that can help you grow into your new role. Warning here:  Most companies that routinely promote to the highest levels of incompetence will likely deny you the opportunity for this kind of training. They’d hate to see you become competent in your new role. That would break the hierarchical system of promote from within, increase workload, maintain inadequate pay scale, and demand more from employees for the sake of the company.

3. Have the guts to step down and work at your level of competence.  Simply put, find a place that rewards you for working in your strengths! This is where you’re gonna hate me. Stepping down will likely result in a lesser salary, and it may cause you or others to perceive you as a failure. For most of you, this option is far too much to handle, so here’s my advice. Take what’s perceived as the easy road, and stay where you are. Then watch how quickly your health begins to suffer from the frustration that mounts.

And what if you work for a boss who has risen to his or her level of incompetence?

1. Suck it up and endure it…good luck with this one!

2. Write your letter of resignation and TURN IT IN!

Unless you’re the captain of the ship, you stand no chance of righting the wrong that you see in the leadership of the organization.

Some of you reading this blog are feeling stuck today, and you’ve been stuck for some time. You need a tribe of trusted people who can breathe positive life into you, who can encourage and support you through the changes you need to make. Change doesn’t come easy, but when going it alone, it’s even more difficult.

Have the guts to reach out to the best people who can help you navigate through the change you most need today. This will be a definite step toward Choosing Yourself, and why not? No one else will!

Contact me when I can be of help. I look forward to serving you well!

Obsessed With Your Success

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I recently saw a local business van around town that caught my attention, so I took a picture of it.  Later that evening I tweeted the picture and had this unbelievable reply from the company:

I smiled as I thought to myself, “Now there’s a business owner who gets it!”

How would you feel if you walked into a business and without anyone saying a word YOU KNEW that business was obsessed with your success? How would that culture cause employees to behave toward customers? How would that culture motivate bosses to treat their employees? At every level of the business, people obsessed about the success of others.

From what I’ve heard from employees at Specialty Business Supplies  and from what I’ve personally experienced from owners Steve Maclin and Dave Pyne, I believe they’re building a culture day by day that says to their employees and their customers, “We are obsessed with your success.”  In this environment, the employees feel safe to ask questions, they are empowered to make decisions, their ideas are valued, and as one employee whom I randomly met said, “They are great bosses to work for…they really seem to care!”

I think that says it all!  Keep up the great work guys, you are tapping into something that few people take the time to discover and fewer yet take the time to nurture.

What are you doing to obsess about the success of others? What difference has your obsession made?  Wealth Builders Connect is building a team of passionate leaders who share this same mantra. We’d love to have you join us as we build a tribe of leaders, “Obsessed about your success”!

Are You Selling What People Really Want To Buy?

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When it comes to the products you sell, it’s easy to get caught up in a flurry of activity about features, packaging, words, colors, and minute details thinking those things are what will bring the dollars rolling in. But what is it that people really want to buy?

I believe the answer is YOU!  People want to buy from people they know, like and trust.  And they buy from those people before they buy products with fancy packaging, ornate words, and eye-catching colors. People buy people first, then they buy products and services.

If I had an opportunity to set up a booth and market my products or services, I would spend time preparing to sell the one thing people want to buy, ME. I would do my best to prepare myself to be the most engaging, authentic, welcoming person people have ever met. The only real factor that I can control in the sales process are my perceptions of people, my actions toward people, and my engagements with people.   So I would focus there first!

When I arrived at my vendor space, I would stand to the side of my vendor booth and intentionally extend my hand confidently to people. I would smile and welcome people to the event as if the event were my very own. I would look people in the eyes when I talked to them, and I would intentionally make every person feel like a honored and distinguished guest in my living room

Why? Because people really want to know that they matter and when they do, they’re more likely to want to get to engage with me. And when they engage with me, they’re more likely to get to know me. And when people realize that I care about their needs, they’ll more quickly begin to like me. And when I approach people from a place of authenticity, they will more likely begin to trust me. And these, my friends, may be the very keys that open the doors to many great sales today and in the future.

I suggest the following three things before you “Sell your products or services”:

1.  Approach people as you would want to be approached.  Be genuine, friendly, and focused on others.

2.  Engage people in conversations about themselves.  Ask them open ended questions that help you discover needs that you can possibly meet.

Questions like:

  • What are you hoping to get out of this event today?
  • What are some of the best opportunities facing you today?
  • What are some of the greatest challenges that if met, would move you or your business to a more satisfying place?

The answer to these questions may open doors of opportunity and reveal real needs that you can meet. Meeting real needs will leave a more lasting impression on people…listen and learn. You might be surprised what you discover.

3.  Make every person you meet feel like they’re an honored guest in your living room…and really believe that they really are!  Take the initiative to welcome people and to invite them in.  Make them feel at home. This vendor space is your home for the day! Own it and own the results that you create.

People like to buy from people they know, like and trust. Before you sell your products, sell YOURSELF! That’s what people really want to buy. And if you don’t believe me, push your products onto people and spend time talking about yourself and your products before you listen. Go ahead, try it and let me know how that works out for you. (I mean it, I really want to hear from you).

Leave me your comments, ideas, and suggestions below.  I look forward to hearing how these ideas affect your sales and your interactions with people.

 

The Power Of Valuable Engagement

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I’ve learned over the years that the best clients are those who join me in a well thought-out engagement process. By creating a strategic system to initiate a valuable engagement with potential clients, you’ll find some of your best clients ever.

What makes these folks great clients?

  1. They’ve started a trust building journey with you
  2. They better understand and appreciate the uniqueness of your business
  3. They’ve received great value prior to doing business with you which in turn increases their trust in you!

When a person is willing to engage in a system or process like this,  your chances of doing business with them increases, the barriers to working together lessen, and the chances of building a long-term working relationship increase.

Trust is earned, it is not bought or demanded. Earning trust calls for a plan to teach, educate, and welcome potential clients into a journey with you. This process can take many different forms while the end result remains the same; to connect with people in a way that brings them great value so that they want to do business with you over and over and over again. And they want the same for their friends!

As you earn trust through education potential clients get to explore the unique approach of your business. As this process unfolds, a lot of questions, concerns or hesitations clients may have begin to be answered making them feel comfortable and causing them to trust you more. And finally, as potential clients learn from you, they find unique value that only you bring into their life and circumstances.

A systematic, well-thought out engagement process makes it possible for potential clients to get to know you, like you and trust you before they try your products and services. From there, the key is to build trust simply by being trustworthy. Delivering on your promises and adjusting your approach when the methods fall short.

Valuable engagement  never happens by chance.  It always begins with a desire to create the very best experience for your clients and it develops as you take decisive steps to create the process, test the process, and fully implement the process. In the end, the goal is to nurture raving fans for you and your business. Fans that come back again and again and when they do, they invite their friends!

That’s the power of valuable engagement!

 

Chamber Member Needs

I joined the chamber in the hopes of finding new clients who would do business with me. Prior to my chamber membership, I had no experience with networking events, I didn’t even know what they were. Once at the events, I found myself overwhelmed as I stood in a sea of people feeling like a fish out of water. Chambers do a great job of providing networking events and that is greatly appreciated. But what I discovered was that I needed more than events, I needed a process to network effectively.

With no networking experience I made it my mission to crack the code on networking. I had too, or my family was going to starve!

Here’s what I discovered. Business people need to be trained to engage people in conversations that bring value in order to build trust and grow relationships. In trusting relationships business is earned and referrals are given. That’s what chamber members want and that’s what chambers are uniquely positioned to give.

For many chamber members, the ability to build key relationships, the knowledge of how to network effectively, and the opportunity to gain referrals translates into value found only through chamber membership.

Imagine yourself as a chamber member. You’re new to the membership and you’re new to networking. What would you most need? What would be your expectations? Is your chamber doing all it can to meet those needs today? These are the ideas I’d love to explore with you. Contact me and let’s find ways meet the relationship, training and referral needs of your members. 

Why Networking Events Don’t Work

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Networking events abound and yet people who attend them leave without getting results. Many people say the events they attend are…

  • Too Social
  • Too Cliquey
  • Too Overwhelming

And the result? Business people decide that networking events don’t work for them. And they typically don’t, but rather than give on this great business building resource, I formed a tribe of people who began to dissect the problem and fix the problem of networking events that no longer work. If you’ve ever shared our frustration, read on.

When I moved to Winchester I knew no one, I had very little money, and I was launching a business that was brand new to me.  One thing was certain; I had to crack the code on networking or I was going under financially! And crack the code, I did.  As a result 6 years later I continue to have a residual income from the business I launched, I have powerful connections with people in this community and beyond, and because of it, my business is flourishing.

I cracked the code on networking events when I realized that the best networking event in the world wouldn’t help my business grow without my intentional focus on:

  1. Training
  2. Planning
  3. Working
  4. Engaging

These are the systems we teach, tweak, and perfect in Wealth Builders Connect Groups throughout Northern Virginia. Together, we are finding success through group referrals and in the networking events we attend.

Networking events themselves are not meant to work for us. We are meant to work the strategically and carefully before, during and after the event.

If you’re looking for ways to network for results, “Wealth Through Connections” or Wealth Builders Connect may be for you. Contact me  when you’re ready to explore the possibilities.

What has been your experience with networking events?

 

Creating A Winning Sales System

Creating a winning sales system turns the dreaded work of cold calling into a process that teachable and effective.  Without a system, we’re left to the task of making more calls,  knocking on more doors, and hoping for better results.  If this was an effective method for growing your business, why hasn’t your boss offered to pay you for each new call you make or each new door you knock on?  May it be that they realize that more cold calling without a wining sales system isn’t really the most effective way to go about sales?

“Over 80% of decision makers absolutely will not buy from a cold call.”                                                                                                                                                 -Kenan Flagler Business School, University of North Carolina

How do we create a winning sales system?

1.  Define

Describe the individuals, businesses and industries who most benefit from the products, services, and ideas you are selling?  Define and describe your ideal client?  Who are the people and businesses you’ve had success working with in the past?  Why did these customers do business with you in the past?  Did they share a common need that you were able to meet?  Did they have certain level of relationship with you prior to doing business with you?  What is it about you, your approach or your previous customers that caused them to do business with you?

Once you clearly define your ideal customer, make a list of the ideal people, businesses, and industries you want to connect with and keep that list updated and with you at all times.  Be prepared to answer the question, “Who are you looking to meet?  Who can I introduce you too?”

Once you have a clear understanding of your ideal customer, show up at the places where those customers frequent.

2.  Connect

See yourself as a resource to others and connect with them by showing up at the places and events where your ideal customers will be.  Proactively position yourself as a resource to others,  and listen for opportunities to meet the needs of those you want to do business with.  If I were moving to a new community where I knew no one and where I had no previous connections, I’d find the most active Chamber of Commerce I could and I’d attend every networking event they offer.   Rather than waiting for your phone to ring, actively position yourself to become a valuable resource to the people and businesses with whom you want to connect.

3.  Nurture

Ask yourself how you’d like to be approached, treated and engaged by a sale person you’ve just met.  Make it your goal to treat each person you meet with respect and gentleness.  You’re there to be a valuable resource, not to be a sales machine that can’t be stopped!

When you meet a person who gives you their business card, this is your opportunity to engage the person in conversation that focuses on the interests, needs, and preferences of the other person.  You do this by asking open ended questions that you may want to anticipate in advance.  Questions like, “How long have you worked in that industry?”  “How did you first get involved in XYZ industry?”  “What do you see as your greatest opportunities and your great challenges in this industry?”  “As I’m meeting people each day, how will I know when I’ve met the ideal person to refer to you?”  Questions like these create conversation that enable you to identify possible areas of need that you can help meet.

After the meeting is over, this is your opportunity to nurture the potential clients you met.  Create a follow up process that is both personal and doesn’t smell of a disguised sales pitch.  This is not the time to sell, this is your time to nurture the relationship, to build trust and to connect with the person in such a way that they when they’re ready to buy, they’ll want to buy from you!

The follow up process that I’ve found helpful consists of a personal handwritten note card that is two-three sentences in length, it ties back into the conversation we had in person, and in it I re-iterate my willingness to be a resource to the person when I can.  In addition, I communicate with the person via articles, like the one you’re reading now.  I forward these articles to potential clients letting them know that the article made me think of them and I hope they find the article helpful.  I then contact the potential client and I ask for their permission to plan a 20 minute “exploratory” visit with them.  During that visit I focus on their needs that I’ve learned about during the meeting and other conversations that may have occurred, then I show them how my products and services may be a solution to their needs.

People today want to be nurtured, cared for, and involved in the process whenever possible.  Anything less and you may be marginalizing people and missing great opportunities.

What are you doing to nurture the potential clients you meet?  What systems do you have in place that work well for you?  What are you doing to grow your database?  How have you effectively nurtured the people in your database so that they want to buy from you?   I’d love to hear your thoughts and your ideas.  By creating a winning sales system, we’ll learn how to more effectively reach potential clients, nurture a relationship with them, and turn them into clients who want to buy from us.

I look forward to hearing your ideas and your experiences.  Share them with us so that we can learn together!

3 ProActive Ways To Win Potential Customers

 

Having a well written vision and mission statement tucked away in a file in the office, boxes of shiny new business cards, or even a building in a great location may be another disappointment waiting to happen.  The problem is that while these things may be important and in many cases necessary, they are not a promise for business or personal success.

The problem is that we can easily busy ourselves with these helpful tools to the point that we begin to hunker down and hope that someone who needs our products and services will one soon, find us and approach us with a readiness to buy.  The reality is that we can easily be overlooked and even bypassed if we fail to position ourselves to win.  Many people will choose to hide behind good and necessary business practices while relegating success to those who choose to differentiate themselves among the masses.  If you are determined to win the trust and eventual business of new customers, then here are some ways to actively position yourself for success today.

  1. Get More Personal.  There are plenty of companies large and small who appear more self-serving rather than caring enough to make other people and businesses great.  They take a hands off approach that communicates a lack of customer service that genuinely cares about people and their needs.  If you want to position yourself to win potential customers, look for ways to engage potential customers in conversation about their needs, their concerns, and ideas that will most benefit them.  Win potential customers by setting yourself a part as a person or business that cares enough to ask great questions and listen for the real needs that your products or services will then be able to address.
  2. Engage New People.  Identify networking groups, business associations, leaders groups where you can invest the best of your time and energies meeting and engaging new contacts in conversation that sets you a part from the masses.  Show up at the events with great energy and positive attitude that communicates to others that you’re here to add value, you’re here to be a resource to those you meet, you’re here to connect people with the people they most need to know and meet.  When you attend an event and approach people with an, “I’m here to learn about you so that I can be the best resource to you that I can be” attitude, you will create opportunities for others to seek you out to learn from you and ultimately to become your new customer or to your refer you to your next customer.  Go where the people are and engage them in conversations that most interest them!
  3. Making Your Follow Up Personal.  Plan how you will follow up in advance of the meetings where you meet potential customers then execute your follow up plan in a timely manner after the event.  Just as you were uniquely personal and engaging in the event, make sure your follow up continues to position you as personal and engaging.  Some ways to make yourself personal to those you’ve met might be a handwritten note that reminds the person of some detail of the personal conversation you had with them at the event.  Do not follow up with standard sales letters, we all know where those letters get filed.

In initial meetings with potential customers, set yourself up as a valuable resource who enjoys engaging people in meaningful conversations about their business, their wants and their needs and continue that engaging conversation in the follow up plan that you implement after the event.  Rather than hiding  in the comforts of your office and files, get yourself out of the office and into the events where other business people go to network and learn.  Train yourself to engage people in ways that are personal and beneficial both during the event and afterward.  Ultimately, your success depends on you and the people you engage, so engage them intentionally, often and in personal ways!