Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Will Your Business Slide Into the Ditch?

Yesterday I was driving home from a speaking engagement which was about 90 miles away. The drive usually takes about 75 minutes or so, but due to Winter driving conditions, it took me nearly two hours to get home. I counted dozens of cars which had spun off the road, resting in a snow covered ditch after losing control.

While I was moving along at a snail's pace on Interstate 80, a car flew by me. He was completely ignoring the conditions and I could pretty much predict the outcome. Not long after he had passed me, I saw him again...in the ditch. I'm sure he thought that he would be fine and the rest of us idiots were taking far too long to crawl along the interstate. He will be much later in arriving at his destination than he would have been otherwise. I counted 42 cars in the ditch and 3 overturned semis over the course of my 92 mile journey. Having grown up in Minnesota, I have visited my share of ditches (especially in my teen years). I just developed a healthy respect for the conditions, and would rather arrive late as opposed to not at all.

I don't know what the conditions are looking like on your business' road to success. I do know that it is essential to understand what the conditions are surrounding your business; even if you don't like them.The condition of your employees, customers, and competition play a huge role in your business strategies and action plans.

If an employee has personal issues bothering them, often times they just need an ear for ten minutes to vent. This will put them "back on the road" to being productive. If you are dealing with an upset customer and don't let them express their frustration because you are trying to solve their issue right away, you may wind up with an undesirable outcome. If your biggest competitor is running a successful promotion that is wooing customers, find a way to model it.

In business and in life, we must take risks. We must forge ahead, but also realize that sometimes conditions will necessitate a slight adjustment in the speed at which we are going. This is not a bad thing. It will just help keep you on the road to success.
For more information about booking The Shef for your next event, visit http://www.theshef.com or call our offices at 1-800-863-2591

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Noah, Like the Ark

What if every customer you dealt with in your business felt such a connection to you that they couldn’t wait to purchase your product or service? My fiancee, Shelly, and I had that experience the other evening when we decided to pop into a furniture/electronics store. We were just getting a few ideas for what we may like for the home sometime in 2011. When we visited the television section, we were greeted by screens and sounds of all sizes. (Did you ever think that a 42″ television would be considered “small”?)

A sales associate named Noah approached us to see if there were any questions that we had about the televisions we were looking at. We explained to him that we were getting some ideas and were interested in a television purchase sometime in the near future, but not that evening. Instead of pulling the ultimate amateur sales move of whipping out his card and saying, “If you ever need anything, please call me!” He told us, “I understand that you are just looking, but let me just tell you about a couple of things that you may want to consider regarding the technology when you are considering a television down the road.”

This guy was an ultimate no pressure, consultive salesman. He went on to show us a couple of things regarding the different finishes and light qualities that we were very appreciative of and would have probably never considered. He went on to explain, “Most people will talk to their mechanic, their hair dresser, and their neighbor about what they should look for in a television. Those people are more than likely not going to have any more information than you do right now. I happen to deal with this stuff every day, so it kind of makes sense to get your information from an expert, doesn’t it?”

After investing 10 minutes or so with us, he left us alone to explore and look at the various televisions. He managed to catch us a few minutes later and reminded us that he would be happy to answer any question big or small and handed us his card. “If you lose the card, just remember Noah, like the ark.” How can you forget that!

There are several things that anyone in sales could learn from this exchange:
1. Coaching your prospects into making the right decision for them will always pay off in the long run. It is about a relationship, not a transaction.
2. Ask important questions to qualify your prospects, and get used to the phrase, “I understand”. Also remind your prospect that you are the expert, and to leverage your expertise when making a buying decision.
3. Brand yourself. Whether it is around your name, a hobby, or something else; people will remember your brand.

Jeffrey Gitomer tells us that “People hate to be sold, but they love to buy.” If more salespeople took lessons from Noah, there would be many more happier customers and sales professionals in the world.
For more information about booking The Shef for your next event, visit http://www.theshef.com or call our offices at 1-800-863-2591