How to handle your Customer’s 911 calls

A customer calls and leaves a message. There is an issue with what you sold them and they are definitely NOT happy.

What do you do?

  1. Do you ignore the call and hope the situation solves itself?
  2. Do wait a few hours for them to cool off before you return the call?
  3. Do you pick up the phone and call the customer immediately?
Firefighter in action
“In times of trouble, there are those who run away from the fire, and there are those run toward the fire to put it out.” – Richard Elmes
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If you work in any customer service or sales role, the best answer would be number 3.
It is when your customer has an issue, that they need you the most.
  1.  If you run away, the customer will come to the realization that you only care about your commissions from the sale and not the “solution” you sold them on. When you deal with the issue head on, you are communicating that you are there to help. You care about their success. And you want to make things better.
  2. Delaying making contact tells the customer that they are not your priority. And all customers want to feel like a priority.
    If you are tied up in a meeting or with another customer, sending a quick email or text message acknowledging that you received their message and that you will get back to them later (and state the time) will signal to your angry customer that help is on its way. This will help calm them down a bit. But this feeling only lasts a short time, and disappears completely if you fail to call them at the time you stated.
  3. When you run into the fire, by getting back to them quickly, that response time tells your customers that you care. This is the first step in handling Customer 911 calls. Yes, they may yell, scream or jump up and down, but they will still appreciate your efforts, when you prove to them that you will support your solution, and put out the fire and ultimately removing their stress.
Remember, when a customer calls us to complain about an issue, they are giving us a gift.
They are giving us the gift of fixing the issue.
They are giving us the gift of a second chance to make things right (And possibly earn the next sale).

5 Proven Strategies to Earn a Prospect’s Trust

5 Proven Strategies to Earn a Prospect’s Trust by Kelley Robertson

5 Proven Strategies to Earn a Prospect’s Trust by Kelley Robertson

These 5 excellent strategies were found on Kelley Robertson’s blog. Enjoy!

5 Proven Strategies to Earn a Prospect’s Trust

Earning a prospect or customer’s trust and respect is something that top sales people consistently manage to achieve. Learn 5 strategies to earn that trust…

Here are five ways to earn a prospect’s trust…

  1. Respect their time

Every person you call upon is busy, just like you are. Demonstrate that you respect their time by asking, “Is this still a good time to talk?” or “We scheduled 60 minutes for today’s meeting; does that still work for you?”

  1. Call or show up on time

Sounds simple, doesn’t it? Yet, I’m constantly surprised how many times a customer or prospect says, “Thanks for calling on time.” Surprisingly, many sales people fail to connect with prospects when they say they will.

  1. Offer a solution that is relevant

Before you start making suggestions or talking about your product, service or solution, make sure you have a comprehensive understanding of their situation, their problem, and the payoff of correcting or solving that issue(s).

To see the remaining 2 strategies, click here

Is it a pitch or a presentation?

There was an interesting conversation this morning on Facebook between three excellent professional speakers (I would highly recommend each one of them) about the difference between sales pitches and sales presentations.

Prospects hate being pitched to

Kelley Robertson

 http://www.kelleyrobertson.com/

It’s a sales presentation, not a pitch!! Pet peeve of mine!!

Kit Grant http://kitgrant.com/

How well you do it is more important than what you call it. Companies who start calling customers guests under the premise that this somehow creates better service are kidding no one except themselves. I don’t mind being “pitched” if it’s done well.

 Kelley Robertson

Point taken, Kit. However, in my opinion the vast majority of sales people “pitch” with very little effectiveness.

Kit Grant

You got that right.

Richard Elmes http://www.richardelmes.com

I think the key thing is the intended benefactor.

If your intent is for you to benefit… its a sales pitch.

If your focus is on how your prospect will benefit… its a sales presentation.

If they feel like you are pitching to them then you create a lose-lose situation.

If they feel like you are presenting solutions then you create a win-win situation.

Kelley Robertson

Great perspective Richard!
So next time you are offering your solution focus on how your prospect will benefit because they will know the difference.
If you want to learn how to turn your sales pitch into an effective customer-focused presentation that will secure more sales, contact me @ 519-820-6207 or richard@richardelmes.com

What is your top concern in managing a sales team?

Brent Mellow (Helping businesses improve their results with salesforce.com and the Force.com cloud platform.) asked the following question on LinkedIn:

What is your top concern in managing a sales team?

Here is my response:

Hi Brent,

My top concern in managing a sales team is always getting the team to  effectively maximize their selling time.

By spending more time in front of the right customers. (Those “A” clients who are most likely to buy our solution) Instead of wasting valuable selling time on administrivia and unproductive (and unprofitable) prospecting.

Also Paul Green (Member at UK Business Advisors Limited) added the following information on how salespeople spend their time.

A recent survey indicated that a poor salesperson spend their time as follows:

Active Selling 10%
Prospecting 10%
Problem Solving 14%
Downtime 17%
Travel Time 18%
Administration 31%

A good salesperson should ideally be allocating their time as per below:

Active Selling 35%
Prospecting 25%
Problem Solving 15%
Downtime 10%
Travel Time 10%
Administration 5%

If you would like to discover how to effectively maximize your sales team’s valuable selling time.

Call me @ 519-820-6207 and ask about my full-day training program titled: Prospecting Profitably

How to stand out from your competition? Become an Expert!

Customers don’t want to be sold anything. But they love to be helped by experts.

By positioning yourself as an expert in your industry, you can enter that promise land where instead of approaching your prospects, they will approach you. Already pre-qualified with:

  1. a need
  2. and the thought in their head that you are uniquely qualified to satisfy that need.

Instead of you trying to sell them on your solution, they will be selling you on providing that solution.

So, how do you become an expert?

Check out my next post to find out.

How do you manage the complex sale? Selling into the Family

Have you ever had a situation where you met with your customer, you built rapport, you determined their needs and they seemed to be excited in your solution, but you still didn’t get the sale?

If so, you are not alone.

Many sales professionals have come across the same situation, only to walk away scratching their heads.

Selling big-ticket items or services into large organizations can be extremely tricky.

According to Warren Evans, http://www.wevans.com/ Futurist and Service Excellence guru, “The Buyer is Dead”. He says this because in today’s complex world of selling it is rare that you only have one buyer. In fact, there are usually many buyers that can influence the sale.

The different types of buyers are commonly know as the Economic Buyer, the User Buyer, the Technical Buyer, the Gatekeeper and the Coach.

Think of it as as guy trying to not only win the hand of marriage of his sweetheart, but also winning the right to be part of her family.

Here is who the players are in making this complex sale:

The User Buyer: In business, this is the person who is actually going to use the products or services you are offering. (In smaller sales the user buyer is usually the economic buyer as well.) In dating this person would be your sweetheart. She has the power to say, “Yes”, pending Mom’s approval. She also has the power to kill the deal and say “No” as any time.

The Technical Buyer: In business, the Technical Buyer is the resident expert, who may get his/her nose bent out of shape and feel threatened. In dating this person would be the Dad. He has some technical knowledge of the services you may be providing and he would be looking to make sure that you have a legitimate, viable solution. Dad has the power to say, “No”, and may be able to influence the Economic Buyer’s decision, but the Technical Buyer doesn’t usually have the authority to say “Yes”.

The Economic Buyer: In business, this is the person who signs the cheques. The person who needs to sign off on the deal and the person who ultimately makes the decision. In dating this would be the Mom. She hold the purse strings in the family. She has the power to say “Yes” and influence her daughters decision. But she also has the power to say, “No”. (note to all of the men who believe that Dad should be the Economic Buyer, just remember that according to Eve Popcorn  http://www.faithpopcorn.com/ in her book “Evolution”, over 80% of all buying decisions are made by women. And I am reminded of a t-shirt I once say that read in big letters, “I am the head of the household” and in small print it said, “And I have my wife’s permission to say so”)

Gatekeepers: In business this is usually the receptionist or Executive Assistant. Their job is maximize the the other buyers time.  To learn more about working with gatekeepers visit http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mEWiyx3-CP4&feature=user to view my video. In dating, this could be the big brother or sister of your sweetheart. They can’t say, “Yes”, but they have the power to say, “No” by keeping you away from meeting the other buyers who have the power to say, “Yes.”

The Coach: In business, this could be anyone who has inside knowledge of that organization and its players. In dating this could be a friend of the family or even a family member that is on your side. This person is extreemly valuable because they can help you navigate the tricky waters and help you avoid any mines that lie beneath the surface that if tripped, will blow the deal right out of the water. The coach is the person who can tell you that big brother is a Van Halen fan and if you talk to him about that band, you will get on his good side. They can also tell you that Dad is a big baseball fan and if you talk about his favourite team, you can get on his good side. Or that Mom grows prize winning roses and if you make a fuss over how beautiful they are, she will like you more.

Each one of these buyers are important and you need to sell to all of them. Neglect one and they can kill the deal. Recognizing and selling to all of them will help you get the complex deal done, whether you are putting together a multi-million dollar deal, or winning a hand in marriage.