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Hello, and welcome to my blog! I'd like to thank all of those who have supported my efforts in making this website. If you want to truly support me, then please follow my blog. Let me know you were here:D I make it a point to respond to all messages asap! Thanks again for your continuing support:)

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

How to make your job work for you

It is true that there are a lot of people out there who say they're unhappy with their jobs. I sometimes feel like I live at work, but do I hate my job? No, not at all. I'm lucky in many ways. I try to see the mixed bag of pros and cons, and make it have more positives than negatives. And I've also realized that if something is not working, maybe it's my fault. Maybe I can do something to make it work better. Sometimes all that's required is a new perspective. I'm not saying you have to act like you love something that you don't. But you can find a way to make it through the difficulties with a better attitude about it. That is something you actually have control over. You don't have control over someone else's agenda. You can't control other people's expectations. But you can control how you react to them. You can control whether you let them bother you or not.

I've realized that there are many, many things that I can't control. I have limited control what others do. I can influence them in their behavior by being an example to them, but I can't MAKE them do anything. They also have their own agenda. They may not agree with mine. They may not do things exactly the way I think they should, but maybe they'll find a way that works better for them. And maybe that method will get the job done better than what I proposed. I'm not meaning to undermine my abilities in any way. I know what works for me. But everyone is different. Maybe my method will hold someone else back when it helps me to excel. So, it looks like one thing even experienced pros need to do is learn to be flexible. And let some things go. I've found that it definitely helps keep the blood pressure under control.

Are you what you do?

Yes and no. You are most known for what you do, though, and the value you can add to the world for doing it. Are you making a difference through your profession? If you don't feel that you are, then maybe you need to rethink things. Do I feel like what I do makes a difference? Yes, I do. Is it important? Yes, it is. Could the world keep turning without me? Of course! But is the world and my profession better with me in it? Yes, it is. If you can answer this way, then you're doing something right. Maybe you're not getting recognized as much as you think you should, but it's possible that your clients love you. Maybe you've helped people, and have made their lives better with what you've provided for them. Take the goodness that's inside you and make something great out of it. Use the skills you have to help people meet their needs and in the quickest amount of time possible.

Work is not entertainment

Let's get real here. It's work. If it was fun all the time, that's what it would be called. But it's called work for a reason. If you happen to have fun while you're working, consider that a bonus, not a requirement. We're programmed to only do what feels good to us. To only do what feels comfortable. But if you're only doing what feels good and comfortable, are you really growing? Probably not. If you're uncomfortable, maybe it's because you're expanding your set of skills. Maybe your status quo has been challenged, and you're being forced to perform at a higher level. Maybe you're being required to work harder. And that's uncomfortable, isn't it? And it's not fun sometimes, but it's not meant to be. It's meant to help you grow. If the end result is that you've achieved more than you ever did before you forced yourself to be uncomfortable, then that discomfort has served a purpose.

Attitude is everything

A great attitude will most likely get you far. It will not only make your clients love you, but your entire team. If you have other people on your side, they'll back you up when you need them the most. They'll help you win. And they'll be happy for you when you win, too! Because you were good with them. Your boss can forgive a lot of things, and you'd be surprised how forgiving people can be of your imperfections. You can be forgiven for practically anything if you've got a great attitude. Employers want to keep people who are compliant, punctual, and who do their jobs with a smile. Who are willing to help add value in some way without being asked. Your attitude will determine your level of success. Yes, your skills are necessary to make you successful. I have so many skills that have helped me stay employed with my company for a long time. But my attitude is the only thing that kept me there. The ONLY thing.

Thanks for stopping by...CC

Monday, October 1, 2012

New Sales.Simplified Book Review

By Mike Weinberg

I have never done a book review on my blog before. This is the very first for me, and I am honored to do it, because of the fact that New Sales.Simplified is a great book! I have been reading Mike Weinberg's blog for some time now, and he addresses issues that salespeople face while prospecting quite passionately. He gives practical, and easy to follow tips on how to build new business with prospects in the shortest amount of time.

I have hoped for a while that he would elaborate even more on the topic of New Business Development, because it's one of my main interests. And right when I was hoping to see more from him on this subject, his new book is being released. Mike has chosen a great niche, because of the fact that New Business Development is one of the most neglected areas of the sales process for a lot of salespeople. It is also, by far, the most critical to master. He takes you step by step through the process, and helps you to realize that it is really not as daunting as a lot of people think it is. We just make it more complicated than it has to be.

There are a lot of salespeople who are new to the field, short on training, and whose companies are short on resources. I highly recommend this book for the new salesperson, who wants to be effective at prospecting as quickly as possible. New Sales.Simplified addresses that need, while also providing tips on how to cut through all the noise and ineffective practices that are just a plain waste of time.

In reading Mike's book, I could tell it was going to be worth reading all the way through. It is filled with detailed tips on winning new business, not just doing what salespeople have been doing for far too long; relying on existing accounts to get them by. Its focus is on fundamentals. The basic set of skills that every salesperson needs to be effective, especially in the initial phases. It seems that this book is right on time, and has arrived to fill a much needed, back to basics approach for building new business.

You can take a look at Mike's new book here: http://www.amazon.com/New-Sales-Simplified

Thanks for stopping by...CC


Monday, August 13, 2012

The perils of public speaking (and how to avoid them)

Occasionally, I've been required to speak in front of large groups for my job. This is in no way a favorite thing of mine to do. However, I have gotten really good at giving these types of presentations. I wanted to share what I have learned about speaking in public, and how to get past obstacles that may be holding you back in this area.

Fact: 75% of people have some kind of anxiety when it comes to speaking in public.

Don't let it become a phobia

For some reason, avoidance is a common way of handling the public speaking experience for a lot of people. The reason why they do this is because they are scared. And the truth is that fear can be mastered, if you face it. And only if you face it. If you avoid what makes you fearful, you become more fearful. If you face the fear, you realize it was silly to be scared of something so harmless. That facing fears is something required to be successful. And that it takes courage to succeed.

Don't avoid the inevitable

There comes a time in everyone's life when they have to face the music. Everyone will have to speak publicly at some point in their lives. That being said, that is not the time to speak for the first time in ten years. If you've been practicing getting up in front of an audience, that time when you have to get up will be much easier. Because you've forced yourself to get up before that, and it wasn't so bad. You know you can handle it.

Public speaking is the one skill that elevates the more successful individuals, and sets them apart. Not everyone is willing to do it, and the ones who speak regularly are seen as leaders. Public speaking is a vital element of leadership. It opens up a lot of doors (and windows) of opportunity. It would be sad to miss out on a great opportunity, only because of an unwillingness to speak in front of an audience. That is not a good enough reason to miss out on great possibilities in life.

Know where to look

One of the biggest morale busters while public speaking is looking at too many people. I know that might sound weird, but it's true. This is a recipe for loosing your cool quickly. You have to know where to look, and who to look at. And in which way. Don't look for a response from everyone. You are mainly there to talk about your point, not to catch facial expressions of people watching you. This could make you become paranoid, and forget what to say. It could throw you off, especially if you catch someone doing something negative, like rolling their eyes or doing something disrespectful.

Limit your focus on what you're saying, and look at the important people in the room. If your boss is there, look at him or her. Seek out people who are responding positively to what you're saying. Audio will be your cue where to look. Look where you hear a positive response to your message. Not everywhere. It will help you stay focused on what's important. Your message. And connecting with the people who are really there to hear it.

Know your topic

I've found that speaking in public gets much easier if I have an outline in my mind of what I'm going to talk about. If I really know my subject. This is where preparation comes in. There is simply no way to get around this. If you know what you're going to talk about, you will be much less nervous. You will feel more confident and strong. And realize that this is something you can do more often.

Don't get overly confident

This is where so many people fail. They have given successful presentations in the past, and now they think they can just show up. That they don't have to prepare. This is a sure recipe for disaster! You ALWAYS have to prepare. Always! Always! There is no way around it. Spend time thinking about, and writing out what what you want to talk about. Go over it many times. Rehearse. Anticipate questions from your audience. And when you think you're done preparing, make sure to go over everything again. And maybe even once more. You can never be too prepared. And you should never think you don't have to. You always do.

Just do it

One of the worst enemies of great public speaking is hesitation. When faced with a choice, the easy way out is not really the easy way. It leaves you with a sense of dissatisfaction and doubt. Actually getting up and speaking is so much easier than avoiding it. And gives you a new sense of belief in yourself. Speak up the next time you have an opportunity to do so. You will find it benefits you in many ways.

Thanks for stopping by...CC

Monday, August 6, 2012

Arrogance is annoying...

I am getting tired of all the arrogance I see on the net. Social media sites like Twitter get on my nerves sometimes. Not because they're fast paced, or because they are business platforms. I love them for that. It's because when I read people's profiles, I sometimes feel a need to head to the bathroom and throw up...

Arrogance is not cute

If you are the top anything, that is great. If you've accomplished great things, that's wonderful. I just don't want to hear about how wonderful you are and all the bragging rights you have in your profile. I feel like if it's really true about you, it will reveal itself over time. Yeah, tell me about a couple of your accomplishments in your profile. That's fine. I need to know something about you in order to be interested in following you. However, please don't think that I care about all of your amazing feats if that is all you want to talk about, and not offer anything to help me be better.

Help without bragging

We all have something to offer. I have accomplished some great things. Things that I don't feel like I need to tell anyone in order for them to like or follow me. That's right. I don't mention all of my accomplishments in my profiles. I don't want to make people sick to their stomachs. I want to help them be better. I want them to benefit from what I do on the net, not get sick of me talking about how great I think I am. Because I don't think I am...

A touch of humility...

Goes a long way. Whether in a conversation, or in your online profiles. If you want me to follow you, please don't call yourself a "guru." That sounds too much like goulash, and I don't like that either. If you really are an expert, you won't have to say it at all. Your followers will see it in everything you do and say.

Thanks for stopping by...CC

Image courtesy of mattwkane.com

Monday, July 23, 2012

How to create #SEO for your blog

Plant the tree

and remember...

It takes time.

Attract the right audience

With the right information

What is your audience looking for? What are they seeking? Provide that for them, and generously...

Remember what's important

Remember that you are catering to a certain audience. Not everyone is going to like what you write about. And everyone liking what you write is not required. You aren't blogging for that reason. You are blogging about a certain topic because you are an expert on that topic, and you want to share your knowledge. You want to teach others, and help those who will benefit from what you know. Remember that not everyone will get it, and that is okay. Better to have a couple hundred real fans, than a million who don't get what you do, or just think you are 'okay.'


Visit other websites on similar topics, and leave comments. Engage. It will attract new followers back to your blog, and let others know who you are.

Social media marketing

Market your blog on all of your social media platforms. All of them. It's free advertising for your blog, and is worth the investment of your time.


Join Triberr. I can't stress this enough. Perfect example: before I joined Triberr, I had an audience, but now I have a major Google presence. And it's mostly because of my great tribe members sharing my posts. If you are invited to join a tribe, you should not hesitate. Accept the invitation. You will see how much it will benefit you, and pretty quickly. It is also a great way to get RTs (re-tweets) on Twitter, which send your optimization through the roof..

Regular posting

If you don't post regularly, your blog probably won't get enough traffic to create #SEO. I would recommend posting at least once a week, and more if you can swing it. Every time you post something new, it registers across the entire web. I've even noticed my Klout scores go up if I put up a new blog post. And the more #SEO you get, the higher your Klout score, too. Something to consider, if that is important to you.  

#Keywords and #hashtags

But not too many. You don't want to get keyword and hashtag happy. Just try to emphasize the main point of your blog post by mentioning whatever keyword you want to show up on search engines three times. Hashtags are keywords with a number sign in front of them, and they were created for Twitter users to easily show up in search. A great way to get noticed..

Watch it grow

At the beginning of this post, I said it takes time. And I'm really not kidding. I started this blog 2 yrs. ago, and it's just becoming successful. That should tell you a lot. It's not going to happen overnight. It's probably not going to happen in a few months. You gradually build your optimization over time, until you see the fruits of your labor.

Thanks for stopping by...CC

Thursday, July 12, 2012

What it means to lead...

As I sit at a table with my mother, she is showing me how to paint. I am not doing so well, and keep muddling the colors together. She gently starts guiding me. Giving me tips on how to use color. How this and that need to be done. I start making another mistake, and she gently gives me more guidance. You can tell she wants me to get this.

She has been painting for a long time, entering her art in art shows. Helping other people to develop a love for watercolors. So, I finally agreed to paint with her. She had asked me many times, and tried to encourage me to paint. I thought I couldn't paint, until now. And I realized something else, too. That my mother is a leader. For years, I misunderstood her gentle nature. But I realized she wanted me to learn when I was ready...

A real leader does not bully

Anyone can spout off orders. Can threaten to take people's jobs away if they don't perform up to 'their' standard. Anyone can get angry and shout at people. To instill fear in others is not leadership. Intimidating people into behaving a certain way is not leadership. It's just bullying.

Anyone can be a bully. Bullies use brute strength instead of strategy. They use fear tactics that lower morale, instead of speaking to people respectfully. In ways that motivate them, and encourage them to perform at their best. Bullies don't know how to do that. Leaders do.

Show me someone with great leadership abilities, and I guarantee you they trust their employees. They give them the tools to do their jobs, but trust that they will do them right. In their own way. The way that works for them. They don't micro-manage, and they don't hover.

Real leaders have courage

A true leader inspires others to love, because they love themselves. They encourage and inspire. Inspiring others means you are inspiring. In the choices that you make. The words you use. The way you think. It means you put yourself on the front line, ready to fight with your men...to win (or lose) the battle side by side.

They don't just accept the way things are

Just because something is 'standard protocol' does not mean it is the only way. True leaders know this. Not everyone does things the same way. They come up with new ways to improve what is being done. To change what is not working. They are instruments of positive change.

They know how to delegate

Let's face it. There is a lot on our plates. Why add more, when it's not necessary? True leaders know how to assign tasks. They also know their own personal limitations.

They keep a clear head

If you act confused, and show a lack of confidence, it affects the people you are leading. Prepare yourself for a tough job ahead. Know that it will be difficult, and be willing to face it with strength. Be prepared with a set of answers to possible questions. Know how to explain what you want your team to accomplish, and by what time.

They teach

They understand there's a deeper sense of purpose to what they're doing. That their expertise is also a responsibility to help others. That they've been given gifts to share, not just hold to themselves. Or to waste. And they share those gifts unselfishly...

Thanks for stopping by...CC

Image courtesy of www.calivas.com

Saturday, July 7, 2012

How to survive a job in public relations...

Public relations: definition~1. the actions of a corporation, store, government, or individual, in promoting goodwill between itself and the public, the community, employees, customers, etc. 2. the art, technique, or profession of promoting such goodwill.

The juggling act
Public relations can be daunting, especially when you are such a busy person. You probably have so many things to do at the same time you're even reading this article, let alone doing your job. And yet, you're taking the time to read it, because it might help you in some way. I hope it does.

In dealing with the public, we are putting ourselves on the line every day. It takes a spirit of courage to even try to do it, because there are so many different types of people that we serve. So many different personalities we face, and possible problems that could arise.

Multi-tasking, I've found, is not a friend to PR. It divides our focus, so that we aren't able to concentrate on helping people. On actually listening to them. And solving potential problems, or actual problems they are asking us to solve. It makes you less intelligent than you really are, especially in a social sense. And PR is social at the very core.

Ways to facilitate good PR practices

Customer surveys
Social media
Customer reviews
Store meetings
Special events
Shared community projects (community relations)

Community service

Understanding people is vital to good public relations. That we are all part of an extended community, and have a responsibility to help each other. To make things better for each other. Understanding that we are part of something bigger than ourselves. PR should focus on ways to improve experiences for the community. Ways to make it better. At times, you might be part of a larger PR campaign to improve relations and collaboration between your company and other neighborhood businesses. i.e. other businesses that share the same mall or space. The same block. You might be included in projects to make the customer experience better and the area safer for customers and employees. All of this is part of PR.

When things go awry

Customer complaints. Fingernails on a chalk board? Okay. Take a deep breath, because you can't make everyone like you. But you surely can control how you and your company are perceived. You CAN control how that customer feels about you and your handling of them when they walk away. Even if you feel that they were wrong. How you handle a difficult or unhappy customer can make or break your company's PR efforts.

And remember,  it's the little things that matter. A kind word goes a long way. Gestures of good will,  no matter how small, can make the difference in whether or not you become known for providing quality customer experiences. Good PR is a skill that can be learned. And remember, there is the customer's side, then there's your company's and your employees side. And a good mediator is one who is able to find a middle ground. Under which is truth and resolution.

Outwit outplay outlast

PR can sometimes feel like a game of survivor. There are so many things to balance. But at this tribal council, the best way to stay in the game is to think ahead. To really trouble shoot before anyone starts to get remotely upset. If you think there's even a slight possibility you've bothered someone by something you've done, apologize. Make them smile. Say something that will lighten their heart. To make their day better. That's how you want them to remember you and your company, when all is said and done. That you made their burden lighter, and solved their problem. 

Thanks for stopping by...CC

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

The business of empathy...

Empathy~definitionThe ability to understand another person’s circumstances, point of view, thoughts, and feelings.

Why it's important

There are good reasons to have empathy. Not just in doing business, but in all aspects of life. Sometimes it's hard to see things as others see them. I am still working on this at times. It's impossible to fully understand the extent of what someone else is going through, because there are so many things we keep hidden. We have gotten really good at hiding our feelings and bad experiences, and presenting only what we want people to see.

That's why it's so important to be compassionate if another person actually does open up to you, and tell you something. In my job, I have heard so many heartbreaking stories of every day people. Things I'm pretty sure they didn't share with too many others. But they chose to share with me because they trusted me. That's huge. For someone to trust you with a very personal piece of information, and something that has hurt them very deeply. It means they are thinking of you as a friend.

It also means it's time to take off the business hat, and just be a human talking to another human. I've been told not to touch people, that it's not a necessary part of the job. That it's too personal. It could cause a lawsuit, etc. That's just not acceptable to me. If someone is hurting, my natural instinct is to care enough to try to comfort them. And the instinct to reach out to another person who is hurting should be rewarded, not criticized. We all need to be loved and cared about. And there are times when you need to throw out that stupid rule book, and just be a person caring about another person.

How it fits into the business world

There are times when we are expected to meet our numbers. To push and push until we're exhausted. I have to meet quota every day. It can be very taxing if you don't take things one day at a time. Overwhelming, in fact. That's why I've learned to sometimes take things hour by hour. Sales is definitely challenging work, and not for people who are easily disturbed. You have to have nerves of steel, and an even tougher will. It is always in the back of our minds. Which sometimes makes you feel like you're rushing to beat the clock. Don't make the mistake of rushing to take care of your customers, though.

I know it can be difficult. I've gone through all of it, and for a long time. But I've learned that if I just slow down and listen, I find out everything I need to know to help the person in front of me. I think you probably realize I'm not the average salesperson. I know about business, and I have a lot of other skills. All of these things are things I've taught myself. Forced myself to learn. And one of the main things I also learned very early on was that, if you don't have the ability to relate to others, you aren't going to make it very far in life. 

Empathy is vital in every aspect of our lives, from our marriages to our relationships with our colleagues. Our relationships with our clients require empathy, and painstaking attention to detail if we want them to last. Listening to the customer, and understanding what they really need. It takes caring and empathy. Sometimes they could talk to you about something having nothing to do with business. Sometimes, they might even cry about something they are going through. It happens. They could tell you some things that shock you or break your heart. The best thing to do in that situation is just to listen. To let them get out what they need to say. To show them that you care about them. At that point, you don't need to be thinking about business, just the business of being empathetic.

The new business acumen

There's only so much you can learn from a book. They're just words on paper. The author may have translated an experience, or something they wanted you to feel. But it's up to the you, the reader, to interpret the deeper meaning of what was intended. 

Business in a book is different than business in the real world. Two totally different experiences. Business in theory is completely different than dealing with actual human beings in real life. And in real time. Real politics. Actually getting your hands dirty, doing the work is different than reading or fantasizing about what it could be like. It's going to break your heart. But it's also going to make you better at understanding just what that person standing in front of you is going through. Because you've been there.

Same thing with our feelings as human beings. We feel very passionately. It is part of being human. We have such deep feelings, and we keep a lot of them hidden. A lot of us are going through some terrible things. Things we can't even talk about. But we're going through them. Every day. We hurt deeply. Not just us, but the whole of humanity feels the same things we as individuals are feeling right this very second. 

Humans are sensitive creatures, who are fine tuned to feel. We are deeply affected by the feelings and actions of others. We are biologically made to feel the feelings of others. It is in our DNA. And we can't help but incorporate that into everything we do. When we do business with another person, we want to know that they understand what we need. At least on some level. That they can relate to us. That they feel what we feel. That they are human, too. We can't do business with people who are closed off, who give one word answers. Who don't have to ability to look us in the eye and smile. It makes us doubt if they can be trusted. And we need to trust those we do business with. Those we choose to invite into our lives. Those who invite us into theirs.

Thanks for stopping by...CC

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Why we love to...

Goals in blogging

What are they? Objectives in blogging...they ARE important, you know. I knew when I started this blog that I wanted to help salespeople to sell better. I wanted to help them to grow, and to be proud to be in sales. To look at it as a legit profession, and to own it. That was objective number one.

I also wanted to see if I could expand on what I already knew. And if you do any blogging for an extended period of time, you always expand on what you know. You have to, because each blog post requires you to do your own extended research. Blogging is a great way to learn while you are also teaching others about subjects they are interested in.

To continue, you have to like writing. It's as simple as that. If you hate writing, blogging is not for you. You won't continue to write if you have a distaste for it. But for some people, writing is like breathing. They can't go a day without writing something creative. And blogging is perfect for people who love to create.

There are other ones, too

Other reasons why people write. One of them being a desire to start a business, to market their business, and to make money. They blog to get writing assignments that can earn them extra income. Some bloggers write to proliferate their web presence, and to grow their customer base. They want to add to their current clientele.

Some people build a business on the internet, but most have other irons in the fire. And their internet marketing, or their blogging, is used to enhance their other business ventures. Still, others blog simply for enjoyment. For the sharing aspect, and for being able to give back to their community.

For whatever reason you choose to blog, I hope you decide to take it up. And if you're already blogging, please continue to keep that amazing content flowing. This is a free form of art that needs to be kept alive and thriving. I would love to see blogging grow even more, because I've discovered so many great people through blogging. Another great aspect of blogging is the communities you build with others who share the same love for this art form. Let's keep it alive.

Thanks for stopping by...CC

Monday, June 4, 2012

The boomerang effect...

Mastering the throw

If you throw a boomerang correctly, it is designed to turn back in your direction, landing right where you initially threw it. Hmmm. If you throw it correctly, and if you stay standing in the same spot. If you throw at approximately a 45 degree angle, instead of throwing it too far up in the air, and crashing it to the ground, breaking your beloved boomerang into bits. If you don't hold your hands awkwardly when it returns back to you, so as not to injure you fingers. A delicate process indeed. These guys make it look too easy. Same thing as when you see an expert seller at work.

Case in point

I have seen this happen so many times in my job. Personally, I am not one of those pushy salespeople who tries to pester people into buying from me. I don't have to. I just offer them something I know they're not going to find if they go around the corner into another department. Me. My help. My sincerity. I make them remember the way I spoke to them. I'm not going to give away my dialogue, but it always works. And even if they walk away, they come back to me.

If they like you...

They'll come back. The question is...did you make yourself likable to them? Did you offer them something they couldn't find anywhere else? Did you make them feel comfortable, and customize your conversation to their specific needs?


Listen to them. This is one way to set yourself apart. If they tell you something, and you remember it. And then incorporate it into a statement meant to assess what they are really looking for. What they need that maybe they didn't even know they really needed. Something that may even be a better fit than what they had initially chosen. If you remember their name without them having to repeat it, that is huge. Most people are terrible with names, and calling a person by name at least a couple times during that initial meeting will really make them appreciate you.

Sometimes, a customer will need more time to think things over. They might not be sure about investing the money, or that your solution is best for their needs. They might need more time to check things out. But as long as you make them remember you, and you have a positive attitude, they will probably come back to you.

Patience and trust

That's what it takes. For you to believe in your customer. For you to believe they WILL do what they say. Not getting upset, and scowling, while muttering about how inconsiderate they are for not coming back. Wait a minute. They ARE coming back. You know that, right? Because you talked to them in a way they respected. That made them remember you. And even though they may try to meander through a maze of other salespeople, they will ultimately spin back around to the place where you are standing. Because you made them remember you. And they didn't get that from anyone else.

Thanks for stopping by...CC

Monday, May 28, 2012

The chopping block theory...

If you've ever had the "pleasure" of having to catch and slaughter your own food, you've probably noticed that animals do not like to be taken to slaughter. Understandably so. Who likes putting their neck on a chopping block, and letting someone chop off their head? A rather uncomfortable thought, but please don't leave just yet. There's a point to this...

We humans, being the highest level of primate, have also developed an aversion for putting ourselves in danger. We tend to avoid the possible embarrassment of having to take risks. We like to be safe and comfortable. We like structure, and to seem like we know everything. We don't like the discomfort of trying something new. The problem is, if we avoid discomfort, we stay the same.

There has to be a certain level of fear for us to be called "brave." How can you be called courageous if you don't have to face some kind of demon along the way? To stare yourself down, and make yourself do something you never thought you could do. That's courage. Part of that is putting yourself on the line, and taking responsibility. For whatever it is you put your signature on. Take responsibility. Sometimes, just starting something is a sign of a courageous spirit. Of leadership. Accountability.

You make yourself vulnerable to your critics. You also set yourself apart, and have to run ahead of the pack, where you could get picked off first. You are the biggest threat. You are also the biggest asset. And everyone can see it. It is who you are. Your neck is out in front, ahead of everyone else.

"Stick your neck out every once in a while. It may get chopped off, but that's not very likely. Chances are, you will reach the finish line first."

Thanks for stopping by...CC

Thursday, May 17, 2012

B2C marketing and appointments...

Getting the first appointment

The first appointment is the most crucial. It's a compliment to you if your customer says yes to you scheduling an appointment with them. Think about it this way. If someone asked you to schedule an appointment with them so they could sell you some stuff, would you really want to schedule an "appointment" to do that? I know I sure wouldn't. So if that client says yes, they are really doing you a favor. Make sure you show your appreciation in every way you can.

The art of appointment making

Rule #1: Make sure it's a good appointment. Make sure you are prepared. Over deliver on expectations, because if it turns out to be a bad appointment, i.e., you wasted your client's time, they will never schedule another appointment with you again. They may not say that outright, but they don't need to. I am telling you for them. Great appointments get more referrals, and repeat business. But make sure they're great. With appointments, it's all or nothing. Either you make them amazing, or don't do them at all.

Remind them twice

If you have already talked to your client, and scheduled an appointment with them, you need to make sure to send them a reminder. People forget. They have a lot going on, so you need to send it to them in writing. An official reminder card with the date and time, along with a personalized note to let them know you're looking forward to seeing them. But that's not enough. You need to call to remind them again. That way they are held accountable for showing up, and you are accountable for keeping the appointment with them.

Fitting them into the mix

I've found that my busy schedule can only handle up to two high quality appointments a day. And I mean amazing customer service appointments. I don't want to give mediocre service, and I want to make sure I really pay attention to my guests. Two is the max with all the other stuff I am doing at the same time. If you're doing inside sales, you already have a lot going on.

Take time to think ahead about how busy you could possibly be, and realize that your appointment is expecting your undivided attention. I allow up to two hours for a service appointment. Some of them take even longer. One quality appointment is way better than three that were just okay. It's worth it, though, when you think ahead. If you have it planned out before that client even walks in, you've already set yourself up for a successful appointment. And remember, if that appointment is great, you're almost guaranteed more referrals...the main point of doing appointments in the first place.

Thanks for stopping by...CC

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

What's a resume?

Fast forward fifty years into the future, and this is what you might hear.

Blogging is the new resume

Sure, resumes are important. They're lists of our professional accomplishments and education. They're important. But are they good indicators of whether a potential employee will fit into your company's culture and values? Or if they are mentally stable? Sorry, no. But if you happen to read the blog of a potential employee, you can uncover so much about the person and their mentality. About their work ethic, and sense of responsibility. About how they get along with others. How they drive themselves. You get a look into their personality. Their likes and dislikes. Sometimes we will reveal so much more about ourselves in our writing. You really get to know the person's mind.

And that's what matters

Yes, we have to have the right skills. If we've accomplished great things, that's a big indicator of possible success in the future. If we happen to continue having the discipline we had before. We need to have a certain level of education and expertise. All of these things are important. But what's even more important is what you'll find at the very core of who a person is. Their courage. Their thought process. Their determination to succeed. And if they're honest about who they are in their writing, you'll find everything you need to know.

Thanks for stopping by...CC

There's always a reason...

Not to try.

"My resume is not good enough."

"I am not educated enough."

"I don't have enough experience."

"My (insert whatever lame excuse I can come up with here), is not enough."

"If I take online classes, there's no learning in that."

"If I go for what I want, I could get badly disappointed, even devastated."

"If  I get up and speak in front of people, they could see that I'm nervous."

I'm going to let you in on a little secret. They admire you for trying.

And when you constantly make excuses for not trying, essentially, what you're saying is, "I am not enough." You couldn't be more wrong. You have everything you need to handle whatever comes your way, otherwise it wouldn't be happening to you.

Thanks for stopping by...CC

Friday, May 4, 2012

My 10 best...

Posts, that is

Recently, my blog's been getting a lot more exposure, for which I am truly grateful. It means a lot to me that I've reached my targeted audience. That more people know who I am, are reading my posts, and showing their support.

There was a time, though, when no one knew who I was, and I started this free blog, expecting no one to read it. I just worked on it out of love for what I do, and hoped it would reach someone who could appreciate it. I put up my best work during that time when I was anonymous. Posts I'm most proud of to this day.

Every time I write a new one, it goes up in the ranks, and my best posts are becoming more and more hidden in the archives. I don't want them to become buried by new posts that aren't nearly as good. So I put together my own personal top 10 list. This is how I personally feel about my own work. Readers have ranked them, now I'm going to rank them myself. Enjoy!

 1) Client relationships are like...
 2) There is no magic formula
 3) Marginalized
 4) The not so dreaded CRM
 5) Easing the pain: CRM epic part 2
 6) Funnel Vision
 7) The key to unlocking your client's heart
 8) The purpose of blogging
 9)  Being your own leader
10) Customer service "wow" factor

Thanks for all the support from my new colleagues, who are just now getting to know me. And a special thanks to those who befriended me before anyone knew who I was. I will never forget everything you did to help me.~Cara

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

The one thing that's missing...

Sincerity: definition~The quality or condition of being sincere; genuineness, honesty, and freedom from duplicity.

I don't know what's been happening to me lately, but I think my b.s. meter has been on high alert. I just have no tolerance for it. It's just one of those things you can sense, without anyone telling you. They don't have to say they're phonies, you can just see it. And I HATE that! I am not usually an open-hearted person, but I think people can tell I'm genuine. I think they can tell I care about them. And I can't stand when someone pretends to care, but they really don't. Why bother? Everyone can see you're a fake when your sales pitch is so rehearsed that you don't even make room for actual conversation. When you have a plastered on smile, you don't think anyone notices? They do.

I am not trying to be difficult here, no way. Some of this might even be directed at myself. I am one of my worst critics, and I can be merciless toward myself. So please don't think I'm just calling anyone out without being able to see my own flaws. They are blaring for the world to see, trust me. But I'm okay with that. Flaws can actually make a person more likable. I have so much more respect for someone who has to courage to be human, and to see themselves as they are. Not to sugar coat things. To be genuine and vulnerable. To me, that takes the most courage. To be someone who people can approach, to really let them know you, knowing you could get just as easily hurt as you are praised. That's the only way I know how to be.

Okay, I'll get off my soap box now. It's just that I've realized something lately. I've noticed a difference in my own results, after making a few changes. I decided I'm not going to be so obsessive about numbers being met, and that I'm going to measure my success by how many clients I make happy today. That's all. And I've figured out how I'll do it. By treating them like friends and family. By trying to see things as they would, and by making it a point to care. Not that I haven't already been doing that. I have. But the results will show with the amount of care that I give them. They will automatically want to buy more. So I don't need to worry about it. No amount of education or experience can teach you how to have empathy, and to be real. That has to come from the heart of you.

Thanks for stopping by...CC

Monday, April 23, 2012

Of course we know each other. We run in the same circle...

So many times, I've been asked if I know someone. "Do you know so and so? He's in sales, too!" Okay, no, I haven't met that guy. Or gal. "Oh, but I thought you all knew each other." Well, that got me thinking. I realized that we all sort of do know each other. Salespeople, that is...

Maybe we have a certain look that helps us identify each other. For instance, I went to our biggest competitor to compare how our store stacked up against theirs. To see if my department, in particular, compared with theirs. Theirs didn't even come close to ours, but there was one thing that stood out. The level of customer service I was given by the girls that worked there. They were really nice to me, and it was like they recognized me from somewhere. One of the girls said, "Oh, you must be new. Where are they putting you?" She was nice and friendly, as were the other girls. This was at Macy's, by the way. And I said, "Oh, no. I'm just shopping." And I told them where I worked. But it was funny to see that they recognized me. They just knew.

If there's anyone who can understand what we do, it would be another one of us. That's just a given. If there's anyone who understands what makes me tick professionally, it would probably be another salesperson or manager. There may be other people in the world who get it. Partially. They may understand our motivation behind what we do, but it may not be their calling. They may understand business, but don't find it interesting. It's not their calling, so they don't really know us. They won't understand. When I talk to other sales and business people who truly love their jobs, I feel like we know each other. We get it. There's nothing we enjoy more than talking about metrics over coffees, analyzing where the numbers have jumped and fallen, and in coming up with strategies for future success. We find joy in discussing things like business acumen, sales processes, functions, features, and getting clients to feel that passion for what we're selling.

It's like being a tourist in a foreign country, and running into a person who speaks your native language. You just have to stand and talk to them, because you know they understand you. And that's why we need to stick together. Because we have the passion that those outside of the sales world don't have. We get it. And without saying a word, we feel a part of something. Like an extended family. And I know you get it. After all, we run in the same circle!

Thanks for stopping by...CC

Friday, April 20, 2012

Navigating the dead zone...

I decided to do an experiment, simply out of curiosity. I thought that it might be interesting to see how sending notes to clients who hadn't been in for a while could change business. Would it really make a difference? So, I tracked thirty targeted client's purchases for a quarter. I just happened to send reminder cards to these clients, after their accounts had been dormant. I didn't call them. I just sent each person a card, to remind them we wanted to see them again. It was interesting to see what happened. Keep in mind that these customer's accounts were inactive, and at all zeroes for over a year. Out of the thirty, eight customers came in and made purchases. Here are the results:

Customer #1 made a purchase in my department: $236
Customer #2 made a purchase in my department: $132
Customer #3 made a purchase in my department: $105
Customer #4 made a purchase in my department: $084
Customer #5 made a purchase in my department: $070
Customer #6 made a purchase in my department: $052
Customer #7 made a purchase in my department: $042
Customer #8 made a purchase in my department: $025
 Total dollars purchased in my department were....$746

But that's not all. Those customers made purchases in other departments, and a couple came back multiple times, making purchases throughout the store. Here are the rest of their purchases for the quarter...

Customer #1: $0000
Customer #2: $1511.00
Customer #3: $0203.04
Customer #4: $0201.11
Customer #5: $0020.85
Customer #6: $0252.25
Customer #7: $0000
Customer #8: $0478.64

Quarterly sales results for these eight customers altogether: $3412.89. (Keep in mind these numbers translate much higher for B2B.)

The results are very clear. They had no activity on their accounts for over a year, but after sending cards, they came in and made multiple purchases. Simply because someone let them know they were missed. I let them know that myself, and my team wanted to see them again. I told them about our store promotions in my department, as well as other departments. And they came back. It made me think of what could be possible, after making such a minimal effort, and getting those kind of results. What if I did more? What would happen? What if we all did more to invest in relationships with our clients?

Fact: It is seven times more expensive to gain a new client, than to work to keep your existing clients happy.

What does this mean for our businesses?

When I have associates ask me if it's worth it to send thank yous, reminders, and call customers, I just laugh inside. Of course it's worth it! The results are conclusive every time. Not only in dollars, but in customer relationships. Relationships that are going to carry your company during hard times. Lifetime customer satisfaction is more than worth that little bit of effort you put in.                                                              

Is there really such a thing as "dead"?

Just like our relationships with our friends and family are ongoing, so are our relationships with our clients. In our relationships, our careers, and anything we do, consistency is the key to seeing results. If you consistently make an effort to keep clients happy, those relationships will never die. You'll keep them alive, and full of vitality. That person will look forward to the times when they will see you, because they know you care about them. The only way the relationship could die is if you neglect it.

Love them, and they will love you

In the end, I realized something. Reaching out to a person is always better than not making an effort. Clients appreciate even the smallest gestures. So reach. And keep reaching. Even if it's been a while. You just might find that they'll reach back, and you'll gain repeat business.

"A flower fades, and drops to the ground. Its seeds scatter over the dry earth. After the rain, new life springs forth from that which has died."

Thanks for stopping by...CC

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Some of the greatest career moves...

Aren't planned at all. They evolve naturally over time.You might think you've got it all planned out, and you know what will happen. The truth is that you don't know what will happen, and neither do I. But I've learned to embrace it. To accept that I am not really in control of my destiny. That it's already planned out for me by someone who knows way better than I do.

Some of the greatest career moves started off as accidental job choices. Taking a position in sales to get me through a gap in employment led to the greatest business opportunity I've had so far. And I didn't plan it. It's helped me discover my interests, and taught me about real world business. Going down that road has led to other side streets, where I could use talents that I have that are connected to my interest in business. And I didn't plan that, either. Writing about sales was something I didn't start off saying I would do. I wanted to be a fiction writer. It turns out, though, that my best writing has been the work I've done in sharing my own experiences with others.

So, what about you? Are you embracing your unique path? Where do you think it will lead you next?

Thanks for stopping by...CC

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Sunday, March 25, 2012

What I know about cold calling...

I have to admit, on my list of favorite things, cold calling would not be at the top. I am by no means a cold calling queen or guru. However, I make business calls all the time. I am also in charge of cold calling clients to invite them back or tell them about our promotions. Some of these clients are people I have never spoken to, or who haven't been in for quite a while. In other words, they have gone cold. So, I decided to write a post to help those who have a hard time with it, because I've been there. And I've found that it gets much easier with practice, and by following a few simple guidelines...

Tip #1

In order to be successful at any type of presentation, you have to prepare. And cold calling is a type of presentation. Just look at it that way. You're doing an introduction at an attempt to establish future business. Prospects don't have time to talk to someone who doesn't have anything to say. They want you to get to the point of what you are looking to achieve for their business. And yes, this puts pressure on you. However, it's part of the process. You're building a relationship with someone who doesn't know you yet, and you have to know what you're talking about, and show that you genuinely want to help them.

Keep it brief

People are busy, and their lives are stressful. They'll usually have a limited amount of time to talk to you. Around five minutes, tops, unless they indicate otherwise. So fit your introduction and key points into your call in that amount of time. Don't be afraid to ask questions about what their needs are, or details of their business operations. And ask from a point of understanding and genuine caring. Be patient and kind. If the prospect wants to keep talking to you, they will. And that's usually a good sign.

Tip #3
Keep it simple and friendly

Unless you're in a board meeting, or talking to a prospect with a business degree, you want to keep your conversation in the simplest terms possible. Explain what you're offering them on a level that anyone who might be listening can understand. Prospects/clients have a tendency not to admit when they don't understand something, so if you go over their head, you could lose them before you start. As I said before, be patient and kind. Be energetic and passionate about what you're offering them. And expect a positive outcome.

Tip #4
Create value

Creating value is all about researching what your particular prospect/client's needs are. In this "getting to know you" stage, think of it as a perfect opportunity to ask questions that indicate your willingness to help your prospect. You need to make your call all about them, and what is best for them. And genuinely care about providing them with the best value for their dollar. Providing helpful tips to your prospect can only build trust and respect, and make them want to do business with you. In other words, genuinely act in a way that is helpful to them. In other words, don't be annoying. Every call you make should add value to their lives, and their business. If you don't think your call could possibly add value, then wait until another time when you have something better to offer them.

Tip #5
Make the call

This seems to be the toughest part for a lot of people. We dread things that we don't practice doing out of fear. Fear of what that person might say to us, or how they might react. Ninety-nine times out of a hundred, that fear is irrational. Yes, there are people who will not want to hear from you. It's happened to me, and it's happened to all of us. But you shouldn't let that stop you from making the next call. Maybe someone was rude when you called them. I've had a client get so upset that I sent her a thank you card, that she complained to my company! If you can believe that. There will always be people who don't appreciate your sincere gestures to reach out to them, which is their loss. Just move on to the next one, and make sure to send Christmas cards to the rude ones. Just kidding.

Thanks for stopping by...CC

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Being your own leader...

Leading your own life is as simple as it sounds...
YOU take the lead of YOUR life
Not let someone else lead you to a path you weren't meant to travel
Not let someone else decide your future
You become the leader of yourself
Your own voice of reason
Your own adviser
Not those that say they know better than you
Just because they say it doesn't make it true
You know what's best for you
Because it's your life
Take the lead of yourself

Thursday, March 8, 2012

It only takes one time...

To achieve what someone else said you could not do
To get back up and try again
To try, and finally succeed
To make a difference
To leave a great impression
To try something you didn't think you ever would
To make a difference in another person's life
To pick yourself up, and try another way that works
To climb to your destiny
To make it all the way to the top of the mountain

Thanks for stopping by...CC

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Who is your real bread and butter?


I'm talking about the icing on the cake, the sprinkles on the sundae, or the sprig of parsley on your dinner plate. Know what I mean? Okay, it's a metaphor for something else. The customers that make smaller purchases. Oh, Okay:D!

Have you ever stopped to consider how valuable these customers really are? It's important, because these are customers whose importance we sometimes overlook. We sometimes hold more value for the customers we think will provide us with bigger sales, and pay more attention to them. They're the ice cream part of the sundae, metaphorically speaking. But have you ever stopped to think that maybe they are your customers because of those that provided the sprinkles?

Here's an example of an actual customer of mine. Her name is Charlene. Charlene regularly shops with me, and doesn't really spend that much money with me. Usually around $20 each time for a couple of items that are her favored brands. She comes in about twice a month, and we'll chat for a little while. We've established a great relationship, exchanging hair tips, she tells me how to make fabulous recipes, etc. In other words, we're girlfriends.

I didn't expect this to happen, but I'm grateful for at least several of these relationships with my clients that have somehow crossed over into friendship. At least on some level. So here's another area Charlene has been valuable in helping build new business. She brings in her friends. She has another friend, Becky, who has just become a client of mine, and we've also established a great relationship. Becky also knows a lot of people, who I'm sure know more people. These are all possible referrals to be gained from knowing one key person.

Get where I'm going with all of this? What started off as a $20 purchase, has turned into regular visits, and referrals. That could amount to tens of thousands of dollars to my company's and my own benefit. Not to mention Charlene's, and Charlene's friends. Everybody wins. And the reason why this has happened is because I appreciated Charlene's business. And her friendship. I valued her as a person, and that's why she brought her friend in to see me. Because she trusted me. At the same time, I appreciate my clients who come in regularly, and simply because they want to see me. What an honor! And I think they also know how valuable they always are to me.

Thanks for stopping by...CC

Friday, February 24, 2012

Easing the pain: CRM epic part 2

Pain and agony?

It looks like when you say, "CRM", a lot of emotions can come up. I've even heard a couple of salespeople describe it as excruciating. Excruciating? Okay, let's not get overly dramatic here. Excruciating is when someone impales you, rips your skin off, or cuts off your limbs. I don't think we should use that same kind of language to describe using a database.

It could possibly describe the way it makes you feel when you think to use it. As in, the idea of using a CRM system, i.e., beginning to use it, is extremely uncomfortable? Could that be a more realistic way to describe using it? I think so. Yes, it's uncomfortable to use a CRM. Initially. It took me a good two years before I even got used to the idea of using it, or even felt like I really wanted to use it. And that's when I saw its benefit. When I made the decision to be proficient at using my company's CRM system.

Making your own outline

I understand there are some CRM systems that outline the entire sales cycle. Luckily, I don't have that type of CRM. My company's CRM is a simple system. Some of my associates say it's not user friendly, but I don't think that's accurate. I think it's easier to use than other CRM systems, but it just takes practice. And a decision to use it. You can't just stand there and stare at it, expecting to get results. Looking at your CRM is a start, but you need to learn to use the links, schedule appointments, look up your customer's information, etc.

In other words, don't be afraid to push buttons. That's how you learn. An outline of a sales cycle is only an outline. It doesn't mean you have to be exactly on target through every day, every hour, or do everything exactly the way it's outlined for you. It's just a guide. If you don't agree with it, make your own. But don't stop using the CRM because of that. There are other uses you can get out of it if you decide to focus on more positive aspects of CRM.

Appointment scheduling and tracking

It's great for scheduling appointments, and tracking your interactions with a client. And yes, you really want to focus on using it to enhance your interactions with that particular prospect/client. While you're interacting with your client, your time is for them. And that's when you focus on making that customer as delighted as possible. But you'll know so much more about them, and it'll be easier to interact with them because of how you've learned about them through CRM.

Use it for you

One of the reasons I decided to learn how to be proficient at CRM was so that I could teach other people how to use it. I also decided to do that for me. So I could become more valuable to my company. It is definitely a great way to set yourself apart from everyone else. Most salespeople don't want to use it, so when you find a salesperson who is not only willing to use it, but also likes using it, that sets them apart. If you are looking for any type of leadership position, it's a great thing to learn. Your company will rely on you more, because they know you can teach others how to use it. It saves them time and money, and makes you look good at the same time.

Customer satisfaction

The number one reason we use a CRM system is to enhance customer satisfaction. Bottom line. You want your customers to be happy. And happier than they would have been if you had just done things the same way as before. That personal interaction is always most important. There's a difference now, though. It'll be with a little help from something you didn't want to know, but are now glad you did.

Thanks for stopping by...CC

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Cara's list of lists...

12 Reasons to love a hand written note...

1) You can make it like a tweet (140 characters or less)
2) It's charming
3) It reminds people of Grandma
4) It's a bit old-fashioned (yet cool at the same time)
5) It lets the recipient know you cared enough to write (no kidding!)
6) It says something about your personality, i.e., stickers or stamps or other style indicators
7) It makes you stand out (in a good way)
8) People get to see that you can actually write
9) They get to see that you also have messy hand-writing, making you more approachable.
10) It's sappy and sentimental
11) It can't get deleted from their inbox, and they'll feel guilty if they think about throwing it away
12) It helps you keep in touch with prospects, clients, and loved ones:D

Thanks for stopping by...CC

Thursday, February 9, 2012

The not so dreaded CRM...

We use it, too

Inside sales has changed. Even in the last couple of years, it's become a lot more sophisticated. We're using a lot of the same tools and systems as outside sales people. Tools such as the CRM, for instance.

It's not a phone book

Do you know any of the people in your local white pages? Probably very few of them, if any. Why? Because they're not a part of your life. Their names might seem familiar, but there are too many of them to tell one from the other. This is exactly what you don't want with CRM. These are not just names in a phone book. They're your clients. They're part of your community. They matter to you. The worst thing you can do is treat your CRM as a list of names of people you don't really know or care about. Take time to get to know these people. They are in your CRM for a reason. You made them your clients, and they've worked with you for a reason. You've already established a relationship. Make it count!

Ten customers a day

The goal should be to call or send thank you cards to at least ten customers a day. And not just to call them. To really interact with them. To establish a great relationship as a foundation for future business.

Leave it open

My CRM is open throughout the day. I like to toggle back and forth between computer screens, and check several simultaneously. It's easy when you get used to it. Anybody can do it. It just takes practice, and a mindset of making it a priority.

The best time to use it

I've found the best time to take advantage of CRM, and what it has to offer is the very first hour of the work day. You're fresh, and you're just getting started. Do it then. It's the best thing to start off the day, because later it might get hectic. It's great to do at least five thank you notes, along with at least five calls first thing. And work on your customer list for the next day at the same time.

Take notes

This one is huge! I'm a stickler for taking notes. I'm constantly taking notes about each client in my CRM to remember their preferences, and to understand their life style. Yes, I use it every day, all day. And it's worked for me, because there's only so much I can remember on my own. I use it to study my customers, and it really helps when I'm ready to call them so I'll know exactly what to say to them.

During my interactions with a client, I am going back to CRM and taking notes on what they say to me. You'd be amazed how much all of those notes will come in handy when you call a client. Invaluable. It's like an essay about that particular person. They'll be amazed at how well you remember things! This is a major part of CRM that doesn't get enough attention. Note taking in CRM is extremely valuable. Take advantage of it.

Take it for what it's worth

No, CRM isn't going to be your major money maker. It should be used to help exceed expectations. Meeting your sales goals should be done outside of CRM. That's not what it's for. It's for going over expectations that have already been met. You want to be good at what you do, and you probably are. But if you want to be an amazing sales person, you have to use it every day. Even if you don't like it, you still have to learn to like it.

Using the tool

The more you use it, the more it grows on you. And you get used to using it. That's the key to making it work.   It becomes more and more valuable to you the more you store information in it. Then you realize how important it really is. Your CRM is there to help you through every step of the sales cycle, if you'd only use it.

Thanks for stopping by...CC

Friday, February 3, 2012

Customer service "wow" factor...

Turning woes into wows

Sometimes, a customer will have a "bad" experience. In their minds, it's very bad, and they might never want to come back to your company. Wait a minute. But they're telling you this, so think of it as an opportunity to put your company, and your customer's experience in a different light. You might need to apologize for something you didn't even do. Get used to it. You are the front line, first face they'll see. And you are the face of your company. Apologize.

Ask them what you can do to help them right now. How you can make it better for them, as long as their request is reasonable. And why not? They might have decided to never come back had it not been for you putting out that fire, but now they've decided to give your company another shot. And next time, they'll be coming back to see you. Not only that, but they're going to tell their friends about how you helped them when they were upset, and seemed to make everything better for them. Bottom line? You've probably gained at least three to five clients from that one. Because you set yourself apart from those who gave mediocre service. And you showed that you cared about them.

That personal touch

I call it the personality touch. You add your personality, and color the conversation with information the customer can use, that is also entertaining. Nobody wants to buy from someone who is not fun! If you show you're having fun, and actually engage with them, they will tell you everything you need to know to help them. First engage, get to know each other as humans, then work out what they're looking for. In that order. They'll want to stay with you so much longer, because you took the time to care. And they won't want to leave at the end of the sale. That is what sets average salespeople apart from outstanding salespeople.

Artificial doesn't cut it

Have you ever walked up to someone you knew was going to try to sell you right away? And what happened? You wanted to get away from them as quickly as possible, right? They said hello to you with that Cheshire Cat grin, and you knew you'd walked into trouble. Because it wasn't real. Their smile, and their pitch just didn't feel right. Because you can't fake caring. Or an actual smile. It's as simple as that. Even your eyes will give you away when you're forcing a smile, compared with when you're genuinely smiling. The only way to make it look real is make sure it is real. Even if the customer is talking about something you don't really care about. Take the time to think how you would feel if that was you. You'd want you to care. When you shift your mindset this way, it forces you to really listen. And makes you a better person, as well as a better salesperson.

Get to the point please

We all have an agenda. Your customer has an agenda, and that's why they're asking for your help. You are there to assist them in getting their point across. You are there to listen, and assess their needs in a timely and efficient manner. One of the main things customers need from you is not to waste their time. Your friends and colleagues need this from you, too. But especially your clients. So give them what they're paying you for. Do a great job for them, and in a more than reasonable amount of time. It's another sign of caring. And they'll love you for it.

Give them value

Value is about a complete experience. Did you help your client find products or services that met all of their needs, and fell within their price range? Did you provide friendly guidance for them in making their decisions? Did you redirect them when you saw they could possibly be making the wrong choice? All of these factors add up to a whole experience. They create value for the customer. But mainly, it is you that creates value for them. By the service you provide, and by genuinely caring about helping them meet and exceed their needs. You don't want to just be good. You want to go beyond set expectations. To make them value you by showing that you value them. And having them look back fondly on the experience they had with you every time they use your products. That's real value.

Thanks for stopping by...CC