In the sales business, we hold the key to tons of information from customers. While it may be something as simple as their name, address, and phone number, it’s amazing what can be done with that information if it gets in the wrong hands. Sales companies also often store all kinds of other information – credit or debit card numbers, social security numbers, and so much more.
By now, surely we’ve all heard about Target’s information compromise issue. If you tuned out of the news for the holidays, anyone who used a debit or credit card at Target from Black Friday until just before Christmas likely had their information gathered by hackers. Banks are cancelling and re-issuing cards by the millions, and Target is trying to do damage control by offering free credit monitoring for a year to anyone who was affected.
Now, could Target have done anything more to prevent this major breach from happening? Maybe. But there are some valuable lessons to be learned about keeping your customers’ data safe. If nothing else, the Target issue is helping us to see how exactly consumers are affected when their data is misused. It can cause problems in nearly every aspect of their lives.
I looked around to see if my wife, kids, or colleagues at work might be watching. I thought perhaps this was staged to watch the springs pop out of my head.
I understand not everyone enjoys their work. I understand small talk clichés. But no one should complain about work to their customer or suggest to a customer that they’d like to be doing anything other than helping them. Ever. [...Continue Reading...]
Bill Walshe Chief executive officer, Viceroy Hotel Group
“I leave a suitcase containing a toiletries bag, a change of business clothes, and a set of workout gear at a hotel in each destination I travel to frequently. I arrange it with the concierge, who knows me. Keeping what I need at my destination saves me hours of standing around luggage carousels, as well as trying to cram everything into a carry-on.”
Elizabeth Gilbert Author of Eat, Pray, Love and The Signature of All Things
“I use an iPhone app called CheckList. It’s exactly what it implies: a simple checklist of everything I need to do, pack, or arrange before I go off traveling. The checklist now has 98 items on it, ranging from “mascara” to “speech notes” to “change outgoing voice mail,” and I’m not allowed to leave the house till every single item is checked off. I honestly don’t know how I used to prepare without it. Oh, wait, I do know: I just used to forget stuff and then panic at the airport.”
Stephen Stagner President and CEO, Mattress Firm
“A night of tossing and turning can ruin a trip, which is why I bring clothespins or clips so I can secure the hotel curtains and keep unwanted light out. And of course, I research hotels in advance to ensure they have good reviews on beds.”
At a recent client meeting we discussed the need to create a Board of Directors. It is a difficult task to find the right individuals and more difficult for an entrepreneur to accept what a good board can provide. Another spin is creating a “Client Advisory Board”. This is easier to develop and can actually provide real value to your business as well as your sales process. Both topics are covered below. What are your thoughts? Experiences with these kinds of boards?
Our research shows that accountability — or, more accurately, the lack of accountability — is among the top challenges that partner-company executive’s face. We’ve also found that many partners are too close to their own organizations to have genuine insight into their own businesses, their marketplaces or their industries. Client Advisory Boards and Business Advisory Boards can help provide better visibility for both those blind spots.
How you think of yourself as a sales rep will translate into how you communicate to your prospect. That is a universal truth for all things, if you believe something will happen it probably will, i.e., the self fulfilling prophecy. If you see prospects being annoyed at your calls, they will be. Example: if you believe your cold call is a nuisance, you will project that through your voice gestures, your choice of words, and your overall interaction with your prospect. Reps that assume their call is unwanted, often open up with statements like “am I calling at a bad time?” or “is it okay to talk for a minute?” Or end their introduction with a question inflection–like “Hi Barbara, this is Bill Smitherton over at Imagintech?” Sending that subconscious message of “do you know who we are? you don’t huh?” Those kinds of statements immediately create a class distinction of “you don’t know me, you are better than me, your time is worth more, will you please talk to me….” They will also say to themselves “execs never call back, no reason to leave a voice-mail.” Or, “execs don’t take cold calls, I never call without a warm intro.”
I do a lot of troubleshooting for sales teams, and one thing I continually see is the biggest obstacle to success is the belief systems reps have about engaging with prospects. How we think about things forms the way we DO them, so sometimes what is needed is not coaching but changing a mindset.
Most would agree that questions are the most powerful weapon; a seller has at their disposal. Yet it is interesting to see how many will either not use them at all, or to their full advantage. As with any weapon, practice is key, not just on the battlefield, but off the field as well, the better you become at the technique the better the outcome for both you and your buyer.
But day after day you see sellers come to play with either the wrong questions, dull questions or just plain stupid questions. [...Continue Reading...]