Sales tips for the aspiring rock star!

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Play 31 Competitor Proof Your Business! Pt I



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According to Jay Conrad Levinson, 68% of all business lost in America is lost to apathy after the sale. We are in essence ignoring our customers to death.

It made me think about the fact that now, more than ever, we had better be defending our turf!. Here are some tips to help do it more effectively:

1) Are you saying thank you creatively and often? Make sure you are sending a handwritten thank you within 24-48 hours of every order you deliver. Don’t have the time? Think its’ overkill? Perhaps your competitors (that seem to be coming out of the wood work) these days) have the time! Has your boss and/or top management expressed gratitude to your client? Think we can express too much gratitude? Think again! William James once said "The deepest principle in human nature is the craving to be appreciated" Who the hell are we to argue with a dead dude who said some great shit?
2) Follow Up: Are you calling to follow up? Are you making sure everything arrived on time and in one piece? Are you taking their temperature to make sure they are happy? Be proactive. Stop trying to meet client expectations and start focusing on how you can provide them with a “Wow” Don’t know? Why not ask? Do you only call when you want money? If you do, all I can say is WTF, Dude? That's just wrong!
3) Inform your client within 90 days of a similar product or service. It’s a no brainer that we can easily become pigeonholed and limit our opportunities if we don’t educate our clients. We can also lose business because someone else comes along showing how they can provide a one source solution. Think about it, buyers are stretched thin these days because of downsizing. The last thing they want to do is manage more vendors than necessary. Make sure you keep them informed. Aside from conversations with your clients, consider using a newsletter, “Did you know” style fact sheet. Some free advertising space if you click here:
http://salesplaybook.blogspot.com/2009/02/play-17-ps-free-ad-space.html
4) Account Review: Every 90 – 180 days. This is where I believe we are missing the boat big time! Hopefully, when we initially met to discuss doing business we did a thorough needs analysis, but how long ago was that? Even so, business moves at the speed of light, and I guarantee you that something changed, they have new challenges, new opportunities and . . . since the world seems to be keeping us in a “virtual” electronic relationship state, there is no downside to show your pretty (or handsome) face with a good old fashioned, “real time” meeting. During the account review you should be showing how your product or service has impacted their business, doing the equivalent of an exam on the client, checking overall satisfaction, sharing new products or services etc. While you are there, when was the last time you toured your client’s facility? When was the last time they toured yours?
5) Go Deep! Once you have established a strong relationship you need to get into other departments and have the ear of other folks in the organization who can influence the relationship. One thing we are seeing these days are contacts leaving an organization and replaced by someone else in the organization the rep has no relationship with. Do you like starting over? I sure as hell don’t! Make sure you are known in the organization.
6) Jay Conrad Levinson recommends asking for the names of 3 others who could benefit from your product or service at or around the 6-9 month period. At first, I disagreed thinking it should happen sooner. Jay’s theory is to ask once you’ve truly had an opportunity to earn that right!
7) At the one year mark, send them an anniversary card!
8) Harvey Mackay has something called the Mackay 66 which is a bit lengthy but necessary today to know your client better than anyone else! Check it out here:
http://www.harveymackay.com/pdfs/mackay66.pdf
More to come in Competitor Proofing Your Business Part II this Wednesday

Pass this along to a friend . . .we can't keep all the success to ourselves!






3 comments:

  1. Dear Paul,

    Great suggestions! Your William James quote, "The deepest principle in human nature is the craving to be appreciated," is right on the money. Saying "Thank you" for anything, especially an order is a no-brainer.

    May I suggest (in a self-serving, but also altruistic manner) to use charity greeting cards as your primary method of written thanks. Good Cause Greetings produces holiday, thank you and all-occasion cards that support charities worldwide. Ten percent of gross sales go directly to well-known and well-respected nonprofit organizations doing good works for people, animals and the environment. On top of the generous donation, Good Cause Greetings are printed on recycled paper with soy-based inks. The finished product is also easily recyclable. Check us out at www.goodcausegreetings.com.

    Help your sales career, help those less fortunate and help the environment all at the same time by using Good Cause Greetings in your regular contact with customers.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Hi Paul,

    Thanks for the article - a gem. This "blog" keeps me sales minded in the absence of impending Sales Bootcamp training sessions. I agree, personal touches and handwritten notes are key. Often, we think about our clients but don't act on it ("I wonder how XYZ is doing?" "What happened to the proposal I sent out to QRS?"). Rather than just thinking these things, it's important to apply your suggestions and act on them. Follow up. Be present. Thanks again - great advice.

    Adrienne Joselow
    Account Executive
    Westland Printers - A Consolidated Graphics Company

    ReplyDelete
  3. Great post. One other competitor that is coming out of the woodwork that I do not see many focusing on, but I guarantee we have all lost business to, is the "customer does nothing" competitor.

    Instead of focusing on ABC Company across town, focusing on your customer as you mention puts you in a better position to handle every form of competition you face.

    Val King
    Saleslaundry.com

    ReplyDelete

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Paul Castain is the Vice President of Sales Development for Consolidated Graphics (CGX) one of North America’s leading general commercial printing companies. Paul has over 25 years of sales and sales leadership experience. He has trained, mentored and coached over 3,000 sales and sales leadership professionals. An accomplished public speaker, Paul has delivered numerous key note addresses. He has authored numerous training manuals, articles, blog posts and is currently working on his first book for release in 2011. Feel free to email Paul ctstrainer@yahoo.com. This has been a paid announcement by the friends of Paul Castain!

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