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The Team at NOW bring you topics of interest to owners of small businesses. Please feel free to leave a comment or let us know if there are particular topics you'd like us to cover.

Sell for Success 1

The Team - Tuesday, February 07, 2012

DON'T FORGET TO SELL

Today there is a lot of emphasis on marketing, particularly on web marketing, with an expectation of being able to convert sales without a face-to-face meeting with a prospect. Marketing alone rarely converts prospects into customers and business owners have to remember to "sell". This is the first of four blogs on selling.

Marketing brings income into an organisation by convincing people to buy your product or service. Marketing should develop awareness, trust and desire. Conversion or selling creates action. Aspects of marketing include:

  • Branding;
  • Market research;
  • Advertising;
  • Direct marketing (inc. web and social media);
  • Public relations;
  • Workshops and articles; and
  • Selling.

All of these except the last normally involve pitching to a very wide audience in the expectation that a percentage will gain an interest and will take action to buy. In practice, the percentage that takes action is a very small percent of the market addressed.

INCREASE YOUR SUCCESS RATE

Selling – face-to-face or over the telephone – brings a human face to the process and a high conversion rate from interest to order should be achieved. A good salesperson raises interest and then helps the prospect over hurdles far more effectively than other marketing processes.

If your organisation raises interest but you would wish for a higher conversion rate into a sale, maybe you need a dedicated professional sales person or if you are a small organisation, dedicate some time each week to focus on converting prospects to customers. Methods other than selling provide useful support for your sales people. Other marketing methods help to prepare a prospect to buy – a salesperson solves their real issues and gets an order

In the next blog, I will talk about improving your ability to sell. 

Feel free to ask me a question here or drop me an email and I will get back to you.

What are the sales techniques you have found useful? - Leave a comment below

Coming Soon, "Improving Your Ability to Sell"

Bob Cross

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Surprise Your Customers With Unexpected Levels of Service

The Team - Thursday, March 25, 2010
One of the main features of marketing and branding is how customers evaluate your service. Why not surprise your customers by exceeding their service expectations?

Go on, do it! It's not that hard to do because most of us have been battered into submission by years of mediocre service.

In his book "Purple Cow: Transform Your Business by Being Remarkable," Seth Godin says that the key to success is to find a way to stand out--to be the purple cow in a field of monochrome Holsteins. And when you stand out in the crowd your customers talk about you, they spread the word, they make remarks about the great experience they had and you become "Remarkable".

One way to be remarkable is take your customers by surprise and offer superlative customer service - well in excess of their expectations.

We are so used to expecting customer service to be lousy or insincere and corporatised (Coles - "Have a Nice Day"). So when we get good friendly customer service, personal attention, and an unexpected "something extra" - it is so surprising that we tell our friends and colleagues.

I had a remarkable customer service experience recently with Kalamunda Dental Care. The exemplary greeting and courtesy at reception was an indication of their special service culture. Coupled with the care and attention I received whilst being drilled and filled was  enough to make me recommend this dentist to my friends and relatives. But a couple of days after the visit I received a thank you letter for my custom and 3 scratch lottery tickets. Now that was unexpected, remarkable in fact, and here I am raving about it. What a surprising thing! A business that took the time to thank me and reward me for my custom.

Now, it's not that hard to do but someone had to think it, plan it, make it someone's responsibility and execute it.

One of the tickets was a winner by the way!

Imagine what it would mean to your business if you spent time each week planning and tweaking your customer service. How would you be able to pleasantly surprise your customers.

Think about ways you can build a remarkable customer service experience in your business:

Stop and think about what you want your customers to experience.

Write down all the ways you and your staff come into contact with your customers -this includes telephone, face to face contact, letters, invoices, website, email, advertising.

From your marketing through to your after sales service, plot and write down the things you are your staff can do to make your customers rave about you.

Pity the supermarket check out staff who are instructed to mouth "how are you today?" and "have a nice day" and end up so flat and phoney - the big corporations so often fail when it comes to understanding personalised service.

Recruit people that are capable of understanding your culture and can absorb your training  - if you need to pay a bit more to get the right people then do it - the cost of inadequate staff will cost you far more than the extra wages you may have to pay to get someone remarkable.

Ensure that you quickly assess the capability of new staff and if they cannot deliver the customer service excellence you want move them on quickly or take them out of a frontline customer role before they do any more damage to your business.

Amongst the many results of customer service is the fact that customers often don't think about price - and you are now differentiating yourself on the basis of service, whilst your competitors are competing on one thing and that's "price."

Why not share your thought and successes with others? Drop us an email at team@nowbusinessmastery.com and we'll publish your tips here or, better still, leave a comment on this page.
Comments
Dave commented on 26-Mar-2010 07:48 AM
I can count my experience of great service on the fingers of one hand. It is so important to stand back from your business every now and then and really think about whether your customer experience could be improves
Anonymous commented on 30-Mar-2010 05:24 PM
This has been a great reminder of how important this is and will be certainly attending to it in my current project. To create a remarkable customer experience in OZ will certainly provide advantage as it is so rare.
Jon commented on 30-Mar-2010 07:44 PM
Maybe we should start a NOW Customer Service rating service and shout about businesses that give exceptional service

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