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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