The proper materials: Provide your employees with the equipment necessaryto make the sale in the modern business community.
Feb 1, 1998 12:00 PM
Business as usual is a thing of the past. To survive, every business mustchange. It is not a case of if we should change, but when. And when shouldbe answered with now. The former ways of doing things are too inefficient.You can send a one-page fax for less than a first-class stamp and get itthere immediately, something almost incomprehensible a few years ago.
The ’90s are the decade of service. Quality was the watchword of the ’80s,and though still important, service is how businesses are currentlymeasured, and your relationship with your customers should be paramount.Every company benefits from repeat business. Consequently, if a business isto succeed, you need to remember that you are in the ongoing relationshipbusiness. Customers come and go, but they return where they feel welcome.
Changing the way you provide service will, however, require making aparadigm shift in your thinking and action, and the time to do that is now.With a positive attitude, you can’t help but learn what you can use tochange your company. A sad fact is that 80% of all participants who attenda seminar on improving the way they do business leave the meeting and donothing. Be in the 20% who will, and you will change your business for thebetter. As part of making you company’s paradigm shift, here are some waysyou can change the way you sell, taken from How To Become A Master ofMarketing! 101 Secrets To A Six Figure Income (Security Press).
Three unasked questionsWe all make and receive telephone calls. It will not come as much of asurprise that when you take a call from someone you may not know, yougenerate three generally unasked questions as you listen to them talk inthe first few seconds:
1. Who is this person calling me?2. Why is this person calling me?3. How long will this call take?
It is only natural that you should plan to answer these questions wheneveryou call someone else.
For example, you may open a call by saying, “Good Morning, Pastor Smith. Wehaven’t met, but I was given your name by a mutual friend, Joe Armstrong. Iam John Williams of Quality Sound and Video Services here in Charlotte. Joementioned that you are planning to modernize your church’s audio system. IfI could take about three minutes of your time to ask you a couple ofquestions, I could determine whether there is a fit between what we do andwhere you need help. Is this a good time?”
Develop your own introduction or even use this one. It works well to startthe conversation on a positive note.
The first three minutesI meet hundreds of new people each year. The first contact is sometimes byphone. Interestingly, about once a month, I have a special experience withsomeone over the phone that prompts me to write myself a note that says”nice conversation.” So that others, especially those you meet in person,end up thinking “nice conversation” after talking with you, you should bepunctual, memorable (dress comparable to or slightly better than those youwill be meeting),clean, neat, well groomed and prepared (carry yourpersonal portfolio and a good pen). Give them your business card and offerto do something that comes up in the conversation, such as sending them anarticle or calling them with a name they need. Last, write everything down.
All of this is important because psychologists tell us that the impressionyou make in approximately the first three minutes will be critical togetting the sale. The prospect buys neither your product nor your service.Truly, the prospect does not even buy into your company. The prospect buysyou.
The golden ruleRecently, I saw an ad for a video and sound systems dealer who highlightedspecialized sound systems for churches and commercial businesses along withclosed-circuit television. The ad included this statement near the bottom,”We provide service the way we like to be treated.”
In most cases, we arrange what we do in a manner that pleases ourselves.Sounds like the golden rule, doesn’t it? Now for the shocker: the goldenrule does not work. It does not work in private life, business or evenchurch.
Let me explain. The golden rule as you and I learned it was, “Do untoothers as you would have them do unto you.” What is wrong with that? Simplyput, the word you, which is found in the rule twice, is the wrong word.Substitute the word you with the correct words they and them to arrive atthe real golden rule for the modem world: Do unto others as they would haveyou do unto them. What you want or need is not necessarily what they wantor need. That is the way we need to look at everything in our lives,including our business – through the eyes of the other person.
In business, we have been sending a mixed message involving the traditionalgolden rule and the adage that the customer is always right. Stop the mixedmessages. Everything in your business, including your marketing system,must be based on the modern golden rule. Use this idea and do the following:
Hold a staff meeting and use this article as a way to refocus your staff.Start by asking the salespeople if the old golden rule is valid in themodern business world. Then, ask if they should sell to potential clientsin the way that potential clients would like.
Get everyone in your organization to put the shoe on the other foot andquestion everything from the viewpoint of what the client or customer issaying. If they are not saying anything, ask them if there is anything thatcould be done better.
In this day and age, it is important to learn to tailor your business toprovide exactly what your customers need.
Price is one of those objections that is hard to overcome, but it can bedone. Try these ideas, and use them every time someone complains about yourprices. One method is to ask, “Are you or have you ever been in RotaryClub?” Rotarians have a rotary four-way test plaque on their walls, and oneof the questions is, “Is it fair to all concerned?” Point out that yourprices need to be fair to both you and your client. Your clients needvalue, but charging too little would not be fair to your company, and youwon’t be in business to service your client’s system in the future.
Another method is to point out that price is important to all partiesinvolved, and it needs to be fair to everyone. Explain that you made itcompany policy to set prices fairly so you would never have to make excusesfor poor quality.
Finally, carry a truth statement printed on a piece of paper with the wordsservice, quality and price in large type. When you pull out this page, tellyour client that he must choose to omit one item. All three items haveequal weight in the formula. A three-legged stool with only two legs fallsdown and is no good.