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Friday, November 25, 2011

The key to unlocking your client's heart...

Be a true friend

1) Do you know your clients as people?
2) Do you call them just to say hello and catch up?
3) Have you ever gone out to lunch with one of your clients?

If you've ever had to work hard to get an account, or to build business of any kind, the answer should have been yes to all of those questions.

Being a true friend to your clients doesn't mean you have to get too close, but it means that you are there for them when you're needed. It also means you think of them and how they're doing. That you care about how your products are working for them, and you check in with them from time to time. Just like you have to keep in touch with relatives and friends to show you love and appreciate them, a relationship with a client should be nurtured in the same way.

Make them laugh

It's very true that we take ourselves too seriously. I've done it, and I'm sure you have, too. But, come on! There's nothing wrong with making a situation lighter and happier for everyone by having a sense of humor. As long as it's appropriate to the situation, I'm sure your client will appreciate your sense of humor, and that you put a smile on their face. It lets their guard down, too, making it more likely they will want to spend more time with you. More time equals more sales, and more lasting relationships.

Understand them as people

What happens when you really feel like someone understands you? You want to talk to them more. Put yourself in your clients shoes, and work hard to understand what they are truly saying to you. Sometimes, this will make you have to take a step back, and really think about what they're communicating to you. It helps to slow down a bit, and listen to them more than you talk. When you ask them a question, give them plenty of time to answer. It helps to know something about their lifestyle, their family, their job. Get them talking about what matters to them. It should reveal a lot more than just the information they provide. It will give you a better understanding of your client as a person first, and of what they really need from you.

Understand what's valuable to THEM

In our minds, value may be very different than what a client may find valuable. It's pointless to try to define what you find valuable about a product if your client doesn't find it valuable. It's important to find out what your client thinks of as valuable, and it may require a shift in gears on your part. It will make you more effective in your pitch, though. And a lot more likely to have a happy customer. For example, if your client can't be sold on quality, and they only think of price as value, that's when you talk to them about the best price option.

A lot of customers aren't going to listen to your pitch about how great a product is if it goes over what they are willing to spend. You should find out what their spending limit is, and point out the highest quality product to them in that range. They'll be more likely to be willing to spend a little more over their limit if they see you are staying within their range. Prospects and clients alike are mainly concerned about cost first, and then quality. To them, cost is value. I don't think in those terms, but I am not some of my clients, so I work with what is important to them to find them the best solution. And they usually end up going over with me, because they know I care about what's valuable to them.

Be sincere

Sincerity is all about meaning what you're saying, and having your actions meet up with your words. It also makes it a lot easier to maintain an honest relationship, which is what you want. You want your client to feel comfortable, but you also want to be comfortable in helping them to get their needs met. Be genuine. Be true to you. If you feel that something isn't the right fit for them, tell them in a caring way. They will appreciate your honesty, and be more likely to trust you.

Be true to who YOU are

This is probably the scariest one for a lot of people. It's scary to open up and be yourself sometimes, especially when people have let you down in the past. It's scary to think that people may not like, or agree with, what you have to say. They may simply not like YOU. But wouldn't you rather work with people, and work for people, who genuinely like and value you for who you really are? Not so scary after all, is it?

When you let your real personality shine through, it's like a ray of sun through the clouds. People can tell it's real. And it warms the hearts of those around you. What could be better than making people feel happy to be in your presence? I can't really think of anything better, as a basis for business, or for a good life. It's about understanding that who you really are is what makes you special to them.

Thanks for stopping by...CC

Friday, November 18, 2011

Jerky behavior from a client's perspective (and what they'll never tell you)

Yes, I know...

The title is catchy. And why is that?

Because I think we're all guilty.

At times, I think we've all been guilty of actual jerky behavior, or perceived jerky behavior.

Caring more about your own agenda

"I feel rushed into making a decision. I'm not liking this. It's uncomfortable. Do you really care about helping me, or just your commission?"

Customers can always tell if you really care about them. They can also tell if you don't. If you rush them, it'll make the whole process uncomfortable and counter-productive. You'll achieve the opposite result of what your looking to achieve. Really take the time to connect with your customer as a human being, not just a number. I guarantee your numbers will be better for having invested the time. More time connecting equals more sales. It makes you memorable, and virtually guarantees that client will want to work with you again.

Opening those listening ears

"That's the third time I've had to repeat myself. I feel like I'm talking to a wall. And do you really care about what I'm saying?"

Have you ever had a conversation with someone who asks you a question, and then they'll interrupt you when you're answering THEIR question? I have. And I'll tell you right now, that is a real conversation killer. Or when you're talking to someone, and it's about something very important to you, while they're off in outer space somewhere? You know they're not listening to you, and you feel really irritated. And rightfully so. That's how clients feel when you don't listen to them. Exactly the same way you feel when someone is not listening to something important to you. Something that may mean a lot to you, and they're not caring is the main deciding factor of whether you continue to talk to that person or not. Clients are human, too. If they don't think you care, they'll just walk away.

Only talking about yourself

"Come on, not only is it vain, but I'm falling asleep listening to you go on and on about you. What about me? I'm standing here, and I need you to help me. And you're wasting my time."

There no bigger sign of a jerk than someone who doesn't care about the time constraints of others. It cries out selfishness. Time IS money. Some of us have so little of it, that we hire people to help us manage our time better. Don't waste someone's precious time showing them something they don't need or want.

Perceived jerky behavior

"I am very lonely. I'm here, waiting for some help. I'm willing to pay you to help me, which is the only way I can get help from anyone most of the time. And you're busy. How dare you be busy? I want help now, and you're not helping me right away. I shouldn't have to wait, even though you might be helping someone else. And so what if the phone is ringing? That phone can wait.You're so rude."

Now, this one is left to interpretation. I've had someone tell me I was being rude to them, when my intention was, by no means, to be rude. I think some folks think that everything needs to stop operating when they walk in the door. That you need to stand behind them, even when they're not talking to you. You can't please everyone, and there are some customers that are always looking for something to criticize. Those people are different than the ones that have an actual problem with your jerky behavior. At least now you know the difference, and you'll be able to nip any potential jerky behaviors in the bud. It'll give you more energy to focus on trouble shooting with the ones that perceive you in their distorted perception as a jerk. This is your opportunity to show them you're not.

Thanks for stopping by...CC

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

The art of selling...

Selling: definition~ "The art of convincing someone to buy something they didn't know they needed." Jeff Marsh

This is the way I've been trained, and it makes a lot of sense. In many ways, "selling" is opposite of "transaction." Anyone can make a transaction. Not just anyone can "sell."

Transactions are easy to make. They don't take much effort. You go to get the customer something they already knew they wanted. No problem! They make their purchase, and goodbye! Pretty easy, right? Well, selling is altogether different. Selling, which is now becoming more and more uncommon, is a carefully orchestrated set of negotiations. It's asking a string of intelligent, thought provoking questions of your client. It's actually caring about making them happy by adding value. It's about suggesting something they didn't know could be a better choice for them. And it's really paying attention to them and their needs, not just wanting to take their money.

It's completely different than a transaction. A transaction is putting money in a cash register, or your company's bank. It's not about caring. It's not really anything more than the end of the line. And if you missed the most important part of the process, then you didn't really sell. You just took their money, and traded something for it. Yes, a transaction is essential for survival, but it's not anything more. It's not passion for business, and it's certainly not going to get you known in your field as a leader, or anything, really. If all you do is make transactions, then you're missing the point of being in sales.

Sales is about passion, and really selling what you believe in. It's a whole process, not just a transaction. It's real work, with an even bigger reward. It's pure love for what you do, and it's obvious to everyone when it's there! And when it's not.


When was the last time you came to work, and really felt like leaping for joy? Some of you might be reading this, and thinking I'm crazy. But seriously, answer the question, okay? When was the last time you really felt passionate about selling? When was the last time you felt like you were in your element, and everything was right with the world? If you can't remember when that was, then I'm sorry. You can't fake having passion for what you do. If you're not passionate about selling, then it's not the right profession for you. I've seen people get into sales, and they start off strong. They do great. In the beginning. Then they fall flat in their numbers. They can't make it. They lose their drive.

Why does this happen? Because they don't like selling. They may even be great salespeople, but they don't have a passion for selling, and they're not going to make it in sales because they simply don't love it! You have to love selling to stick with a sales career over the long term. There's just no other way... 

Attitude can make or break you

There are a couple very important things I've learned about having a positive attitude. First off, you can think your way to being happy. That's right! You can literally influence your own happiness! I've had someone tell me point blank that they were jealous of me because I'm happier than they are. And this was someone very close to me. That's funny, isn't it? I mean, I'm really no different than anyone else. I have a job, a home, family, a husband and child. I have struggles, just like everyone else. But I'm happy. And I see other people who might even have it easier than I do who are always complaining about this or that. They're unhappy. Why?

Because of them. Yes, you read correctly. Because of them, and their attitude toward things. They choose to look at the negative, rather than thinking of ways to help the situation they might be in. They choose to be complaining birds, rather than take responsibility for things that aren't working in their lives. They choose to accept mediocrity, instead of rescuing themselves, and pulling themselves out of their mental rut. And whose fault is that? It's theirs.

Sales is very much the same way. There are pitfalls, and there are moments of darkness. You might have a really bad month, and feel like you want to slap yourself silly. You might feel really upset about your numbers declining. But a winner is not going to get stuck complaining about the situation. They're going to get up, and take action to try to correct it! They're certainly not going to blame anyone else for their lack of performance, or let themselves sink into negativity. The price for that is too high, because...

A great client just walked through the door. And you don't want to let them down. So you make damn sure you get the corners of your mouth up, and approach them. And don't let them know, or even get the smallest inkling of what was happening before. Your numbers were down. So what? One of your favorite clients is here, and they need your help. So you help them to feel good about coming in to see you. Not only have you made them a happy customer, but now your numbers seem to go back up again. It's not just because of that one customer, but because you made the decision to take responsibility for your success. You made the decision to focus on growing your business through a difficult time, and you got through it. Three months later, your numbers are way up again. And all because of your understanding that when it got tough, you needed to work harder. You needed to sell!

It's all about service

By now, you've worked hard to create great relationships with your clients, and you've worked with them every step of the way to build value. When all is said and done, you've made sure to really sell! You've become an artist, and that has its own reward.

Thanks for stopping by...CC