Tag Archives: sales

The ONE Thing You Need To Do For Your Business, Right Now! (and it’s free!)

When was the last time you had a good picture of your small business service or product? I don’t mean walking the factory, checking in with your managers or running a survey. Those things are good, but the results are skewed at best, just plain misleading at worst. The Emperor’s New Clothes and all that. Sure, do those things when you can, but try this today:

Shop your business. This goes way beyond QC and spot-checking. Take your perspective from outside the door, or at least use the same channels your customers have to use. Take your new imperial clothes all the way out of the building, turn around and engage your business from the street. It sounds easy enough, right? When was the last time you interacted with your own company the way a customer does?

IMG_3704Do you sell products? Buy a few from your sales department. Have them shipped to your home to see the whole process in action. Does your sales team follow up each purchase? Did the shipping department process the order immediately? Maybe your company is a bit smaller, but does everyone look for (and take) opportunities to go the extra mile? Is your latest catalog in the box?

Even a restaurant can do this easily. Call in an order of your best and worst sellers, then pick them up from the counter yourself. Take a look at how your food is presented to a paying customer; you may even understand why that particular menu item is your least popular!

What about your phone system? Is it friendly, up-to-date and functional? You’ve been dialing direct for years, your customers may be hitting the keypad in frustration on their end. Email your sales or support employees–anonymously of course–with a question a customer would ask. See how timely and polite the response is. Call your staff and let them show off their customer service skills.

If you own a service company–no matter how small–you can still experience your company from the outside. Set up a service call, go through the process from start to finish. Do they offer additional services or upgrades? It will be worth it, just to see the look on your employee’s face when they realize you are the customer.

Fortune 500 companies are notorious for letting these kinds of details slip through the cracks. Your edge exists because of that lack of detail, don’t ignore the advantage.

Take a good look at your company, but do it from a customer’s perspective once in a while. Shop your company.

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Six Things to Avoid At Your Next Lunch Meeting:

In one way or another, we are all in sales. Whether selling a service, a product, a promotion, or just ourselves, we are all on commission. Here are a quick few things to think about before you set that next “Meet and Eat”. Six things to avoid at your next lunch meeting:

Don't waste time at your next meeting! Plan ahead whenever you can.

Don’t waste time at your next meeting! Plan ahead whenever you can.

1.) Lunch! Set a breakfast meeting instead. Your clients are busy, you are busy. Lunch is tough to set aside and easy to cancel. Everybody eats breakfast! Pick a place that’s on their way to their office, be early!

2.) Awkwardness: You were early to the meeting, right? Get a good spot, order two cups, plenty of creamer/sugar and a carafe of coffee (if you can), and ask the server to bring one check to ONLY you at the end of the meal. Watch for your guest to enter. Enlist the help of the staff when practical to make your meeting as smooth as possible.

3.) Indecision: Know what you want, order quickly, and get to the point! Breakfast meetings should last about 20 minutes total, keep it simple. It is your meeting, take charge of the details early.

4.) Difficult food: Keep the hands free and the bites small. You should be listening more than you’re talking, but don’t use that as an excuse to order the giant breakfast chicken and waffle platter. You want them to remember the meeting, not the food you ordered!

5.) Visual aids: Don’t risk flailing a brochure or chart around, you may wear your coffee. Or worse, your guest may wear your coffee! Save the printed powerpoint for their office, keep your cool and your clean clothes.

6.) Credit Cards: Yup, I said it. Keep everything simple: Pay cash, tip well, and excuse yourself as soon as you’re both finished. Give them time to themselves to think about your proposal. Don’t risk embarrassment on a card limit or balance issue, unless you are trying to impress with your Amex Black Card. Eliminating this step speeds the whole thing up by a few minutes, no matter how responsive the server is.

Follow up in a timely manner, and thank them for their time. Busy people like to know you appreciate their investment in your day. Give them an idea of when you might want to meet again and they will be happy to join you!

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