It was such a beautiful morning! Every morning I tried to find something good to read before I start the day. Is this also one of your habits? Of course, my day wouldn’t be completed without sharing what I think is interesting. For today, it has something to do with conversation with client which you can also use in sales promotion. This article is written by Michael W. McLaughlin(@MWMcLaughlin) of MindShare Consulting. He states the significant of conversation in your business. It can help your business to grow or it can bring your business down. I will let you read the full article so I pasted it here.
What’s intriguing is that the consultants whose businesses do well whether times are good or bad aren’t always the ones with the best price, top industry position, or the longest track record of success. Yet, they still thrive.
So what sets these consultants apart from the rest? What you will find is that winning consultants prevail because they have higher quality conversations with their clients than their competitors do.
Not the Usual Mindless Chit-Chat
Most of the successful consultants I know are good communicators. After all, at its core, the consulting business is about conversations–with clients, colleagues, competitors, partners, and others.
Part of that is schmoozing, which is not unimportant in this business. But if you really want to up your game as a consultant, find ways to elevate the quality of the three substantive conversations you have with clients on a regular basis: diagnostic, sales, and consultative conversations.
Those are the interactions that build your credibility with clients and matter most to your business.
Diagnostic Conversations: Seeking Mutual Gain
Any consultant can listen to a client’s description of the situation and offer up a potential service solution. It’s not hard, given that most clients pre-qualify consultants before they talk to them. So clients know ahead of time who can help them with the pre-defined issue. The result: the consultant talks to the client, hears a familiar problem, and offers a predictable solution.
This approach to a sales opportunity may fit the bill in some cases. But in most competitive situations, you’ll find at least one consultant who doesn’t suggest the obvious solution to the client’s self-diagnosed problem. That consultant will ask more diagnostic questions, delve into the matter more deeply, and resist the urge to “solve” the problem immediately.
The inquisitive competitor withholds judgment, gets the facts, and identifies the client’s need–as opposed to just agreeing with what the client wants.
Before you try to sell anything, invest time and energy in diagnostic conversations to build trust, establish your credibility, and make sure that the client’s project would be mutually beneficial to you and the client.
Sales Conversations: Answering the Big Questions
Effective diagnostic conversations set the stage for productive sales conversations in three ways. First, they help you write a more compelling sales proposal that has greater clarity. You won’t have to rely on the typical boilerplate; you’ll have enough detailed information to write a highly-focused, thoughtful project plan.
Second, your sales discussions will include fewer assumptions and more certainty about how you would conduct the project. Assumption-free proposals and sales presentations inspire confidence and demonstrate your competence.
Finally, your client will experience what it’s like to work with you, providing an opportunity to answer the big questions about the personal chemistry between you and the client’s team, the rigor of your work style, and the depth of your expertise. Once the client can draw conclusions on those questions, the project should sell itself.
Your sales conversations, though, must follow this rule: clients want to hear about themselves, not you. So you have to answer the big questions about you by focusing on the client’s issue, the way you’ll approach that issue, and the value your client can expect. Sales presentations that are mostly a recitation of your qualifications won’t get or keep a client’s attention, and that puts your sale at risk.
Consultative Conversations: Staying Top of Mind
I once worked with a PR consultant who wanted to keep in touch after we finished our small project. Every now and then, I’d get an invitation to lunch or a request for a meeting to talk about an issue or two that he thought would interest me.
These conversations always went the same way: He’d show me some interesting research or suggest an intriguing idea. We’d talk about its relevance, and then he’d pitch a project to me. Every idea he brought to my attention had a price tag attached, even though we never discussed any potential projects before our “keep in touch” meetings. That consultant never worked for me again.
For many clients, what you do when you’re not working on a project with them (and there isn’t one looming) defines the on-going relationship. But it can be a challenge to keep past relationships current when you are not actively engaged on a specific assignment for a client.
Most consultants know exactly what they should do to maintain contact with past clients, but something holds them back. Why not pick up the phone and call your client? Why don’t you send that email? The most common concern I hear is that the client will think it’s a self-serving sales call, not an honest attempt to help a valued client.
The best way to avoid that dilemma is to talk to your clients about staying in touch before you finish projects. Usually, they want to hear from you, especially if you’ve done a good job for them. Just be sure that what you have to offer is useful–a new way to think about an old problem, or a trend that could change how the client does business, for example.
The point of keeping in touch isn’t to go for the client’s wallet each time you meet, as my former PR consultant did. Bring ideas without the expectation of gain. You want to stay top of mind, build your relationship, and demonstrate your commitment. Your client will remember that when it comes time to hire a consultant again.
Talk Is Cheap?
The saying “Talk is Cheap” may ring true for some businesses, but not consulting. To thrive, you need to master the basics, of course, including services marketing, sales, project delivery, and client relationship management. But your skills in these areas can’t be used to their best advantage unless you also master the three make or break conversations with clients.
To be a good communicator you must be prepared all the time. You should know what to say when client is asking you of something. When you are confident of your service, it would be very easy for you talk about it but you must not overdo it, you should talk in a casual manner or as natural as possible. It shouldn’t sound like pitching. Are you a good communicator?
All the best,
It’s another brand new day! Another day of sharing! What I’m going to share today is very light. It is just some motivation. It is about risk taking! In the sales industry, risk is always there. You don’t know if you are going to make a sale or not but you have to take the risk right? If not, you will never know if you can close that certain deal, especially if you are just standing there, thinking about the scenario all day. I have here a blog posted by Tim J.M. Rohrer of Sales Loudmouth which is “The American Spirit: Risk-taking”. Whether you are American or not, this blog can motivate you and therefore motivate sales.
The American Spirit: Risk-taking
By: Tim J.M. Rohrer
“Sometimes, when we reach for the stars, we fall short. But we must pick ourselves up again and press on despite the pain.” – Ronald Reagan
Instead of becoming an astronaut, McAuliffe became a wife, a mother of two and an educator. She was a teacher who, according to the NY Times, “emphasized the impact of ordinary people on history, saying they were as important to the historical record as kings, politicians or generals.” And so it became true that this ordinary American became part of our historical landscape – teaching lessons far beyond those available in her classroom or even those she had prepared for her space mission.
This is the year that Christa McAuliffe would have turned sixty-five years old. No doubt she would have been a beloved grandmother and a pillar of her community. I like to think she would have still lived in New Hampshire and I picture her reading to children who would be oblivious that the gentle lady reading books to them was also the namesake of the library in which they had gathered.
How do you find the story? Does the story inspire you in some ways to take risk? If you are always on the safe side and afraid to take risk, I’m telling you, you are not living your life. Do not put your dreams behind. No one says that reaching dreams is easy but it is not impossible. All you have to do is to take a risk and you would know. Are you a risk-taker?
How are your sales today? Is it growing day by day? Well, it should be and if it doesn’t…oh boy! You are on trouble. It is a good thing that I have read a blog from KathleenSteffey about Increasing Sales from Salesjournal (@salesjournal). This blog is about the article of Adarsh Thampy. The title of the article is Are You Using These 25 Sales Techniques to Increase Sales? This is a question that you should have to answer at the bottom of the article. Everything are all listed below so if you are struggling with your sales, try these 25 sales techniques!
Are You Using These 25 Sales Techniques to Increase Sales?
By Adarsh Thampy
Increase Sales: 25 Sales Techniques That Work
Strategy 1: Use Content Marketing
The key is not to call the decision maker. The key is to have the decision maker call you. -Jeffrey Gitomer
A few years back, when you had a product or service to sell what did you do to get the word out? You tried press releases, television ads, paper ads, cold calls, banner ads, display hoardings and any other means you could afford. Business went to those who had the largest marketing budgets.
Fast forward to present day, people are no longer paying attention to the thousands of marketing messages that they come across each and every single day. With internet usage on the rise and people becoming more aware, all of these traditional marketing approaches are weakening day-by-day.
People who embrace relationship marketing, has already understood the power of content marketing. As compared to traditional methods of marketing, content marketing means getting found by prospective customers rather than trying to push your product or service to the uninterested masses.
With content marketing, there are a host of benefits
- Pre-qualified leads
- Lower marketing costs
- Higher conversion rates
- Higher customer satisfaction
- Lower customer acquisition rates
You should embrace content marketing not just for the benefits. Although it takes time, it’s what works very well now, and probably the only marketing technique that will work in the future.
Strategy 2: Use Upsells Effectively
If you are not using upsells, you are leaving money on the table. How many times have you ordered fries just because the sales guy asked you “would you like fries to go along with it?” or perhaps you were given a discount on something when you already made a purchase?
Upsells are very effective to increase sales. Once they buy from you and are in a buying mood, it’s easier to close an additional and related sale.
Many people who run online businesses give 100% commission to their affiliates on their product. Once people buy this product, they are presented with an additional high end product as an upsell. This is how many people make most of their money selling info products online.
Strategy 3: Create a Product Which Has Demand
Supply always comes on the heels of demand. – Robert Collier
This is a no brainer. Understand what your customer really wants. Is there some product already in the market that delivers the solution to your prospective customer? If not, provide it!!!
If there is already a product or a solution, try to think of a better way to satisfy the needs of the customer. This can be in the form of a better quality product. You can even bring about a twist in the actual offering to make your product more attractive.
Strategy 4: Clever Pricing Is the Key
Even peace may be purchased at too high a price. -Benjamin Franklin
Most of us who are not born to sugar daddies do price comparison shopping.
You may have a wonderful product everyone needs. However, if you price it insanely high compared to your competitor, you are going to find it hard to make decent sales (unless you are Apple).
5 strategies to price your product
- Do market research and understand your competitor pricing. With this data in-hand, either develop a product with lot more features and charge more, or develop the same quality product and price it lower
- High price can provide a sense of “high quality” since people have a deep rooted notion that higher the price, better the quality. If you price high, be prepared to deliver what your customer expects to get
- Similar to point #2, a lower price can indicate inferior quality. The best way is to charge higher prices by providing more value to your customer
- Price of a product is directly proportional to “perceived value”. If you can make you product seem superior to your competitor, you can charge a premium over your competitor
- Price is again proportional to perceived brand value. If you have a brand value attached to your product, people will more readily pay a higher price for your products or service
Final Takeaway: Your product is worth what your customer is willing to pay for it.
Strategy 5: Run a Customer Reward Program
You really don’t need to be a fortune 500 company to run a rewards program. Just make it a simple program where people can get discounts for being a customer and satisfying certain simple criteria’s such as
- Being a customer for 1 year, they can enjoy 50% discount on the first bill of their second year as customer
- Collect points and redeem points for discounts, gifts, and so on
- 10% discount on your purchase if you shop for more than 100$
You get the idea.
Strategy 6: Advertising Is a Necessary Evil
A magazine is simply a device to induce people to read advertising. -James Collins
Many people take to advertising as a means to sell the product in any way possible. What the marketer does not take into consideration is that customers do not like to be deceived or being sold to. Advertise only the benefits the product/solution can give and never ever hype anything.
Only if your product lives up to its claims will people return to buy from you the next time.
Advertising is essential to bring your product to the spot light. Make use of the advertising medium that best suits your product and the time it is released. Radio, television, print and internet are some of the mediums you can rely upon to advertise your business.
Never give your entire advertising contract to one firm. If you have a line of products, ensure that you give each product to a different agency and do a split test on who can produce the maximum benefits.
Strategy 7: Give Out Free Samples
It’s proven time and again that giving away free samples to your customers can help you increase sales. If you have a book for sale, make a chapter or two available for free. If you sell products, give small sample packets for users to try out. If you provide a service, offer a free initial consultation.
Once your prospective customer starts using your product or service, they will have increased confidence over their purchasing decision. This will lead to a faster sale.
Strategy 8: Reach Out To Your Customers
It’s not enough that you simply advertise your products. They only make the buyer more open to embracing the product. Once you test your product, reach out to your customers and ensure that they can buy the products with ease.
Strategy 9: Looks Definitely Matter
I almost always end up buying products based on the design. Whenever I go shopping with my family, I tend to pick products with nice illustrations.
If it looks like a school going kid made the cover I am almost certainly not going to buy that product. Include a touch of professionalism and also convey the meaning. This holds true especially for food related products.
What about Apple? Apple focused on the design and let everything evolve around it. The simple touch interface, sleek and highly usable design made Apple the most valued Tech Company that it is today.
Strategy 10: What’s In a Name or Is There Much More to It? (Hint: There is much more to a name than just being a “name”)
What’s in a name? That which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet -William Shakespeare
Always choose a product name your customer can pronounce easily and can remember without jumping through hoops. Take extra care to name the products in such a way that the name itself gives out the product details. The name you choose must proliferate into the mind of your target customers.
There is nothing wrong with choosing a unique name and trying to brand it. The minimum you have to do is make sure people can write it down correctly if you just pronounce it.
Do you think people who are not familiar with the car brand Chevrolet will correctly write it down if we simply pronounce it (Phonetic Pronunciation: shehv-ruh-LAY) and not spell it?
Strategy 11: Quality is King
Be a yardstick of quality. Some people aren’t used to an environment where excellence is expected – Steve Jobs
Never, ever compromise on the quality of your product. If your customer loses the trust on your brand, your business will collapse like a pack of cards.
Some people tend to sacrifice the quality to prevent price hikes. But, if needed increase the price and serve the same quality rather than producing a low quality product. You can also choose to serve less quantity for the same price.
If you plan to stick around with your business for a very long time, any compromise on quality will never get you even remotely close to your goals.
Strategy 12: Give Your Dealers a Reason to Sell
Nothing can be more devastating than dealers refusing to sell your products. It could be that they are getting better pricing from your competing brand or that they do not see a reason as to why they should push your product. Give them good commissions and always deliver on time. This way you can build a long lasting relationship with your dealers and they will push your products more.
In the online world, we come to affiliate marketing. Affiliates are the ones who sell our products for commissions.
In the information publishing business, you can expect to give up to 75 % of the commission to the affiliates. If you give them lower commissions, they will promote your competitor who offers them a better compensation. It’s always the rewards that motivate the affiliate.
Very few affiliates promote based on value. That’s the ugly truth online. So make sure you pay 50-75 % commissions for your info products to increase sales through affiliates. Some even give 100 % commissions to build a list of buyers.
If you sell a service or a software, figure out the maximum commission you can afford to pay your affiliates while not incurring a loss. I have seen software vendors and service providers offer commissions in the range 3%-25%.
Strategy 13: Set Up Production Centers in Different Parts of the Country
Always try to diversify when it comes to setting up a production center. It is always best to have various centers spread over a large geographical area. When you concentrate more employees in one region, problems are bound to come up.
Put on your thinking cap and decide the next site for setting up a production center.
When you have an online business, it is best to diversify your support staff. It is also good to have a local presence since people will trust you more. If you have a SEO company for example, it is easier to rope in US or UK clients if you have an office in the US or UK.
Strategy 14: Diversify Your Product Range
A lot of companies have chosen to downsize, and maybe that was the right thing for them. We chose a different path. Our belief was that if we kept putting great products in front of customers, they would continue to open their wallets- Steve Jobs
The trick is to increase your market share in other related markets. If you concentrate on one particular product then the risk of MNC’s coming and replacing you is huge. So always spread out your line of products.
If you produce ham, produce different frozen food items, not just ham. If you have field staff and you need to make the most of them, it is necessary that you have a range of products to sell. You won’t make enough profits to pay a decent wage to your field staff if you concentrate on just one product.
In the online world, to increase sales, diversification is essential. You may have one product that teaches how to build muscle. You needn’t have the info about how to build six pack abs in the same product. You can instead have two different products.
This strategy to make more sales will help you price the two different products competitively as well as make more money through upsells or cross promoting the products to the two buyer lists you have.
Strategy 15: Listening To Your Customers Does Wonders for Your Business
Find out what they require. Why do they use the current product if they use any? What could have made their job easier? Always have an eye for details for such things.
The reason why you should be listening to your customer to make more sales is because it helps you learn the customer’s language. Once you start interacting with them and understand their problems, you will learn to convey your product marketing message in a language your customer understands.
Strategy 16: Be Unique With a Great USP
A good voice isn’t so important. It’s more important to sound really unique – Stephen Malkmus
Whatever product you bring to the market, it must have a unique angle to it. If you produce normal pencils, make it unique. Maybe the pencil has additional features such as higher resistance to the writing lead breakage or a comfortable grip or something like that.
Have a simple, yet effective USP.
If you are selling a book online about “making money online”, make sure that you have something to differentiate yourself from the rest of the people out there. If you have an online store, what makes it unique? Free shipping or do you have same day delivery?
Strategy 17: Test Locally and Deploy Internationally
Make sure that you release your product to a local audience first. Test it and see how it fares. If you can’t make sales locally, there is not much chance that you will make huge sales on an international level. Choose your local test market in such a way that there is a demand for the product there.
If you have an email list of people who have subscribed for information from you, try selling them your product at a discounted price. Some people call it internal launch. See how well they receive it. Make tweaks and improve constantly. This way you can increase sales online.
Strategy 18: Reinvest Your Profits
How many millionaires do you know who have become wealthy by investing in savings accounts? I rest my case – Robert G. Allen
It’s always a good bet to reinvest what you get from your business into your business. Never try to spend your business income for unnecessary things (Do you really need a new couch or a fancy office?). You must always have a cash reserve in case you plan for expansions in the future.
In order to increase sales, you must have a good product. TO ensure that you have a good product, you need to invest in research and development. Use your business income to fuel the R&D process and not withdraw a huge salary for yourself.
Strategy 19: Be Professional
I recently went to a new doctor and noticed he was located in something called the Professional Building. I felt better right away. – George Carlin
As your business expands, it would be difficult to manage your business on your own. When required, make sure that you recruit people who can align themselves with your values and business goals.
Being an online business, not many can afford to hire a HR. So, handpick the people you want. If you want to increase sales, then you need a dedicated team to help you with your goals.
Strategy 20: See Your Employees as Your Co-Workers
Never try to be bossy. Always make your employees feel that you are a part of them. If you try to portray yourself as the boss and others as workers, it may affect their morale.
Most people, who have online businesses, hire work at home people or have a virtual team. In that case, make sure you don’t sound arrogant and always pay them on time.
Strategy 21: Your Employees Are Your Greatest Assets
In case of delayed payments, it must never occur to your employees that you are purposefully delaying payments. In case of dire situations, inform your employees beforehand that there will be a delay.
If you have field staff, give those people hands on training. You must make sure that they are well versed with answers to any questions your prospective customers might ask.
Try to bring up people within your team. This will greatly boost the confidence and morale of your employees. Employee people local to the place whenever possible and if you have outstation employees support them as much as you can.
The quality of your employees can have a direct effect on how well your product sells. If you have a great team, not only will you products be great, but your team will find and solve issues faster and innovate easier.
Strategy 22: Be Honest
Achievements on the golf course are not what matters, decency and honesty are what matter. – Tiger Woods
File your income tax correctly. If you are not well versed with accounting, hire someone who can do it for you. If you provide services, give a money back guarantee to your customers. If you cannot provide the service as described, never hesitate to make a refund (If possible, a no questions asked refund).
Strategy 23: Provide Unmatched After Sales Service
If you are not taking care of your customer, your competitor will. -Bob Hooey
This is one area which I see many businesses fail in. They market their product, sell to their customers, and then no news from their support team.
It is equally important that you provide support to your customers. Only happy customers result in repeat buys and quality referrals. Do not forget the fact that word of mouth is still the best mode of establishing a brand and increasing sales.
Strategy 24: Set Up an Incentive Program for Your Sales Team
What motivates your employees to sell more other than your monthly pay check? If you have no incentives, then when most people reach their sales quote, they won’t try to sell any more. After all, what’s in it for them to work harder just to make a few more sales?
Provide incentive to your sales team and you’ll see that your sales will mostly increase after setting up the incentive. It can be anything from getting featured for the month on your company website or extra pay. See what works with your employees and give them what they want.
Strategy 25: Keep Testing
Keep testing your products or service. Experiment with your ad copy, your price points, your website structure, promotions you are running and so on. Only after a lot of testing can you come up with the most effective way to increase sales.
If your business is web based, then make sure you use conversion optimization techniques to test and find out the most effective way to close the sale.
Strategy 26: Always Over Deliver
It really makes your customers smile when they get something extra. You want your customers to smile and be happy for them to come back to you.
When I do SEO consulting, if there are small jobs like helping customers with some technical aspects of their website, I do it for them without charging anything extra. Sometimes when they come to me with small tasks, I do it without taking payments. These small things has helped me retain my most loyal and highest paying customers.
What do you do to increase sales volume? Do you find any other sales techniques that should have been mentioned? What is your #1 sales technique that out performs all others? Let me know in the comments.
Now that everything was laid down in your hands..what are your next step? Are you going to apply these techniques? We know that knowledge without application is nothing. Have you used these techniques before or are you still using it? What are the outcomes? You are free to share what you think works and don’t work.
What’s up? Is everyone in the good mood this very moment? I stumble upon a short post from the ChangingMinds Blog and it makes me smile and I believe this will also set you into a good mood. What the author said in the blog is true. The post is simple but the meaning is deep. The mirror symbolizes a simple incentives marketing. You make people feel good and therefore they will keep on coming back to you and here is where the business started. Make profit by making people feel good. Here is the whole blog.
The flattering mirror
I went into a restaurant recently with my wife, who went to the bathroom and came back looking rather pleased. I asked her what was up and she told me there was a ‘nice mirror’ in the bathroom. She had looked at herself in it and somehow she seemed to look better than usual.
My wife always looks good and is not vain, and her observation stood out because she very seldom makes such comments. She is very observant, so clearly something was different. We chatted about what might be the cause and came up with thoughts, such as the possibility of less harsh lighting than usual (bathrooms are often quite stark), a slightly concave mirror (which would make people look a little thinner), and a slight ripple in the glass that softens the reflected image.
Whatever the cause, I wondered if it was deliberate and thought it a brilliantly simple way of creating happy customers. How many people have gone to the bathroom there and left with a warm glow, perhaps not realizing why, and then transferring the good feelings to the restaurant and the food? Of course the result would likely be them returning there and recommending it to others. And all because some smart person thought of a neat way to make customers feel good.
And what about mirror manufacturers? And home bathroom designers? You could sell such mirrors into many places. There’s a simple equation here: Making customers feel good = more business, more profit. Anyone with customers can consider at everything the customer does when connected in any way with the brand and think: How can I make them feel good here?
Does this post make you feel good? Do you know how to make people feel good about your product or services? This is very essential because our customers are our boss and they are the one who will keep us on the business. Love to hear your thoughts about it!
Do you know the right way to make your customers fall in love with your business? Customers are the heart of the business and one business cannot survive with them. It is essential that you win their heart! If you fall short in this aspect, this is the blog that you should read. Selling incentives is okay but it is not enough. The blog here that I am going to share is written by Brian Honigman (@BrianHonigman) from Kissmetrics. He is going to share 10 Ways to Make Customers Fall in Love with Your Business. Read it now and start applying it in your business!
10 Ways to Make Customers Fall in Love with Your Business
By Brian Honigman
Nurturing relationships with your customers is a crucial part of growing a successful business. In this age of automation and innovation, caring for your customers has never been more important.
At any moment, an unhappy customer can share their opinion with the masses through social media and the web and negatively affect your business. That’s why it’s even more important than ever to create an excellent experience for your customers to help develop your company’s relationship with them into love.
Walt Disney said it best, “Do what you do so well that they will want to see it again and bring their friends.” Creating love between your company and your customers can help scale positive word of mouth that’s absolutely priceless.
Creating a customer-focused culture of this nature is a business opportunity that should not be overlooked. Most businesses are failing when it comes to the customer experience, which is your opportunity to swoop in and enchant those same customers into falling for your company.
The data speaks for itself:
- Only 37% of brands received good or excellent customer experience index scores in 2012. Whereas, 64% of brands got a rating of “OK,” “poor,” or “very poor” from their customers. Source: Forrester Research
- As many as 89% of consumers began doing business with a competitor following a poor customer experience. Source: RightNow
- Up to 60% of consumers will pay more for a better customer experience.Source: Desk
- Average annual value of each customer relationship lost to a competitor or abandoned – $289. Source: Genesys Report
It’s quite clear that now is a good time to solidify your relationship with your customers in a meaningful way. Here are 10 ways to help make your customers fall in love with your business.
1. Treat your Customers Right – Genuinely Interact
Happy customers who get their issue resolved tell 4 to 6 people about their experience. So that’s a way to significantly influence the word of mouth about your business. Don’t act as a nameless or faceless business; genuinely talk with your customers as a person representing the business. Address your customers by name, and tell them your name at the very beginning of your interaction.
Talk to your customers as you would in person, not like you would in a press release. Examples of this are noticeable when it comes to customer service on social media where the genuine shine through and the others seem forced and uptight, which is the opposite of being “social.” American Express does this well onTwitter, ensuring all customer concerns are answered in a timely manner with a friendly and personal response, signed by the employee who’s doing the tweeting.
2. Don’t Come on Too Strong – Respect Your Customers
A third of consumers say they experience rude customer service at least once a month, and 58% of them tell their friends. This is exactly how word of mouth can work against your company’s reputation for the long term. It’s very important to be respectful of a customer’s mood when trying to resolve an issue they have with your company.
Keeping your patience is key to giving your customer the time to air out their issue. And, in turn, it creates the opportunity for you to help resolve the issue and make them comfortable. The more comfortable the customer is the more likely they’ll share valuable feedback that can help prevent similar issues from occurring again in the future.
3. Always Listen – Hear What Your Customers are Saying
At a time when it’s easy to have a two-way dialogue with your customers, it’s important to truly listen. When listening to your customers, take into account what changes your organization should make from this feedback, and then follow through. Your customers are the lifeblood of your organization, and not dealing with the reasonable requests could cause backlash.
Use the following methods to gather feedback from your customers:
- Focus Groups
- Point of Sale
- Customer Service
- Social Media
- Communities and Groups
- Email and Web Forms
4. Continue to Satisfy – Offer Ongoing Support and Specials
The #1 reason for customer attrition is dissatisfaction with customer service. Do everything in your power to provide excellent service to your customers on an ongoing basis. Respond quickly and enthusiastically, and be ready to present a special offer or discount with the hope of up-selling the customer to buy more.
There’s never any reason to slow down on satisfying your audience, especially when they’re chatting with you live over the phone. It’s important to note that 81% of companies with strong capabilities and competencies for delivering customer experience excellence are outperforming their competition. Take note, customer satisfaction is a key differentiator in a sea of other companies.
Besides offering support, ongoing specials will continue to help enchant and satisfy your customers for the long term. Create engaging multi-channel promotions centered around discounts, giveaways, sweepstakes, and contests. Distribute these offers via email, social media, print, in-store, and across your other marketing channels for full exposure, much like HairDazzle has done on Twitter above.
5. Treat a Customer Like a Valued Partner – Communication is Two Way
As previously mentioned, take your customer’s feedback seriously and act upon reasonable requests. What’s the point of listening if you’re not going to act on that feedback? Make sure it’s clear that you want your customer’s feedback and that your business truly values them as a partner.
If you’re looking for an example of how to show your customer that their opinion matters, look at what the Buffer app team is doing. Buffer app is a social media management tool that helps businesses and individuals schedule their content for the best times to share and get engagement. The Buffer blog features a variety of quality content focused on marketing, achieving happiness, and a monthly series known as the Happiness Report.
This report highlights how the Buffer team is managing customer support each month by what worked well, what didn’t work well, what they plan to work on for the future, and finally, a request for feedback from their customers. This is a lesson for all businesses on how to be completely transparent and actively allow your customers to partake in improving your product for the future. Focusing on your customer to this degree is a major way to strengthen their trust, loyalty, and overall love for your company.
6. Build Trust – Alert Customers to Large Scale Changes, Good or Bad
It takes 12 positive service experiences to make up for 1 negative experience. This is how sensitive trust is between a business and its customers. No matter your size, keep your customers in the know when it comes to positive and negatives changes to your products and services that affect them. It’s crucial to tread lightly when making changes to your products and services because your customers have become accustomed to what you’ve already got.
Here’s an example of what not to do.
Recently, Instagram updated its terms of service but neglected to be clear about the changes that would be made to the social network. The wording was confusing, and therefore, the company’s intentions were not clear. Their users immediately voiced concern across the web about these changes. Most of this feedback was outrage and many left the service or threatened to leave, like power user National Geographic. Instagram quickly responded to the outrage andreversed their decision to update their terms of service. In the end, the situation was handled well in terms of the cleanup; but now, due to the poor communication around their terms of service, Instagram has lost the trust of their audience, which is hard to regain.
Here’s what to do to gain trust:
- Heavily research whether changes to your company could alter public perception.
- Be methodical in how you communicate the changes to your product and services.
- Tell your customers when you’ve made a change, you’ve screwed up, or you’ve done something right. A healthy mix will give your customers a transparent look into your company that can’t be forged.
- Find value in the feedback about your company changes.
7. Be Transparent – Honesty is Crucial When it comes to Mistakes
Being transparent in the digital age is a must. Much like the principles discussed above, transparency is a critical factor in building trust, satisfaction, and love from your customers. What does it mean to be transparent?
- Transparency means that you are not afraid of feedback.
- Transparency means that you have nothing to hide.
- Transparency means your employees’ personal and work persona blur.
- Transparency means you like to have conversations with your customers.
8. Follow Through on Your Word – Follow Up on Promises
Your word is your bond. Following up on your promises helps show the transparency of your business, while helping to build a feeling of trust and dependability with your audience.
Manage the expectations of your customers to ensure realistic goals are set and can be met. By remaining consistent in your messaging, your customers will learn what they should expect from you in the future.
F.W. Nichol said it best, “When you get right down to the root of the meaning of the word “succeed,” you find that it simply means to follow through.”
9. Recognize Responsibility – The Customer is Always Right
No matter the circumstance, the customer is always right. This is a rule to guide your business through its growth, from customer service to user experience to product development. To help set this in motion, create a customer service policy to show your customers they are always right. Organize this policy into three parts:
- Highlight phrases for your company to use that’ll make your customers happy. Again, consistency and a personal touch go a long way.
- Never let your customers forget your business by following up effectively. Keep it personal by following up on special occasions and consistently writing handwritten follow-up notes.
- Define how to deal with unsatisfied customers with action steps to ensure there is a thorough process for all employees to follow to resolve a customer issue, ideally turning unhappy customers into your strongest advocates.
10. Always Say “Thank You” – Kindness and Gratitude will Take You Far
Last, but certainly not least, always say “Thank you.” As many as 3 out of 4 customers say they have spent more with a company because of a history of positive experiences. Kindness and gratitude for a customer’s business is an undeniable way to further enchant them for the long term.
Craft every thank you sent out from your company to be specific to the customer, relevancy is key. Be as appreciative as possible to your customers for taking the time to go through the process of resolving their issue. Finally, follow up with a good old fashioned “Thank you.”
Take a look at these 10 golden rules of customer relationship managementvisualized.
I believe that the above mention ways are effective and very easy to apply. Customer as the core of every business should be left happy and satisfied.
As a salesperson or owner of the business what are your ways to make your customer happy? Share your strategy with us!
All the best,
Every day we talk about different things that can help our business grow. As I am studying, I also make it a habit to share things I’ve learned to like-minded people like you and to help everyone in the business. It is such a great feeling when you are learning with others. The topic that we have today has something to do with improving your email support. We want to make our customers happy, not only by giving them sales rewards but also by attending to their concern as fast as possible. This spells excellent service! Here are the 3 Easy Ways to Improve Your Company’s Email Support by Gregory Ciotti of Buffer (@bufferapp).
3 Easy Ways to Improve Your Company’s Email Support
By Gregory Ciotti
“When it comes to creating customer happiness, better service is the answer…”
Hands up: how many times have you heard that and thought, “Yawn…”
We’ve all heard the same trite advice before.
Although WOWing your customers time and time again (like Buffer continues to do) is important in creating a business people love, the “customer evangelists” out there are always talking fluff, and very rarely address the far less sparkling side of implementation.
That’s because it’s easy to talk the talk… but what about putting it in to practice?
The post you are about to read isn’t your typical take on customer service, because it actually digs into how you can improve your email support system with some very easy steps to take advantage of the most popular communication platform on the web.
(That’s right, email still > social media)
Let’s dig in…
10 Types of Email Support Questions
There are a huge number of questions you can get hit with when doing email support, and you should know how to respond to the most common of them.
Before you begin the rest of the post, be sure to read this free guide from Support Ops on the most common email support questions and how you can amaze each and every customer who asks them.
You can also download the PDF for free right here.
The author, Chase Clemons, is a customer support expert an handles support for the 37 Signals team, so you should definitely pay attention!
Now, let’s get in to the 3 changes you can make today to improve your email support…
Step 1 — Improve First Contact
Have you ever sent a message to a company and had doubts of whether or not it actually went through?
I’ve had this happen many times with contact forms and other entry points for sending an email, and it is a very poor case of non-verbal website communication.
Each time someone emails you asking for help, you need to let them know that you’ve got their email. It takes away the anxiety of…
“Did they get my email? Should I send it again?!”
You can do this with easily:
- Have better on-site confirmation: If you are letting your customers contact you via a web form, make sure something obvious (that stands out on the webpage) pops up that confirms a customer’s message has been sent. (ie, a simple, “Alright! Your message has successfully been sent.”)
- Use non-robotic follow up emails: Use an autoresponder to give customers a confirmation email that their message has been received… but don’t be so freaking robotic!
Here’s an example of a bad follow-up email (it’s a real email, the company will not be named out of mercy! ):
A few things…
- Have you ever heard of the word, “Thanks”? It goes a long way in making people feel appreciated.
- Your “correspondence” with a customer? Are you the Duke of York? Tone down the formality and make it feel like a conversation.
- When I see the phrase “your ticket number,” I cringe. I hate dealing with tickets. Let customers know that they can contact by replying to the email. If they can’t, you should set it up so that they can, it’s much more convenient.
- Ah, the faceless “App Team #8103“… I much rather know that “Steve” will get back to me when he can. If your support team is large, use the head support member’s name, at least then I fee like a real person is on the case.
With those changes made, you can come up with a much better follow-up:
Step 2 — Streamline Your Customer Feedback
Let me take a shot in the dark here… a huge majority of the feedback that you receive from customers comes to you via email.
Email just seems to be the medium that dominates both support and feedback, yet some companies just can’t seem to grasp that they need better feedback systems for their customers to use.
Right now I’m going to show you a dead simple strategy that will allow you to keep track of feature requests via email quickly and accurately, and that has even helped my team improve our overall email response rates by 340%.
Tactic #1 — Keep the team informed in real-time
One app that our team simply can’t live without is Campfire.
Although we rely on it heavily for team-wide communication, we also recently revealed how we decided to set up a separate “room” for all incoming support queries:
Since many help desk apps integrate nicely with Campfire, any and all feature quests or other dilemmas can be view-able to your team as soon as they hit your inbox.
This is a huge part of how we were able to improve our response time by over 340%.
September 1 – October 13:
October 13 – October 27:
That’s not the end of this story, however.
Tactic #2 — Allow all team members to organize feedback
This is where we get to the ninja stuff.
To manage feature requests and other feedback suggestions, we use a simple board system with the Trello app to keep things in order.
Trello allows you to create both “boards” and “cards” to keep tabs on any project you’re working on. For us, it serves as a collaborative way to keep product ideas, features, and other feedback organized and easily referenced.
Here’s just a peak at a simple board setup you can use:
Dividing things like feature requests into boards like Next Up (those that have been approved + are on deck to do), Roadmap (those that have been approved but can be done later), and Ideas(customer requests that haven’t been approved) keeps things organized for your team.
I no longer have to wonder, “Will we be implementing this feature?” because I can just check the board to see if the customer’s request has already been asked before.
Tactic #3 — Divide boards up for easy navigation
While boards allow you to divvy up sections nicely, they essentially serve as “File Folders” like you have on you’re computer, and will be useless unless you fill them up with stuff!
On Trello, you can create “cards” within particular boards, so you can divide a board like “Product Roadmap” into other easily browsed topics like Apps/Bugs, and create cards for each instance:
With this system, you can easily organize a card around a feature that multiple customers have asked for.
In fact, when a feature request and corresponding card is in place, we add emails of those customers who asked for the feature, so that they can be the first to know when it’s live:
(Emails blocked out for privacy)
You’ll also notice that each card comes with a “Specs” section that elaborates what exactly the feature request is, and how it will be implemented (if you have any team members not experienced with product development, this is a must).
With this system in place, your team will know exactly what features have already been requested, which are being worked on, and who wants to hear about them first.
Step 3 — Responding to Unhappy Customers
Dealing with unhappy customers is unfortunate, but it is one of the must have customer service skills for all employees who interact with customers.
There will likely be two reasons unhappy customers will reach out to you…
- They are having problems: Most unhappy customers are those who are having problems with your product or service. They are likely confused, frustrated, upset about something… or all of the above. Remember to keep your cool, and view it as an opportunity to win a customer back.
- They are done with your service: These customers want to cancel, and there is usually nothing you can do to bring them back at this point. The key here is to just get them out as smoothly as possible, don’t elongate the process or beg them to return.
Let’s take a look at good and bad examples of both.
Situation #1 — A customer is confused/unhappy with your product
Unhappy customers can be both within and out of your control: you can’t handle the way someone is going to act, but you can handle the way you respond to it.
Needless to say, no matter what you do, sometimes you’ll get customers that are unhappy for no good reason.
The reason matters not, just make sure you aren’t handling complaints like this:
A couple of things:
- Say you’re sorry: Don’t get passive agressive with things like “I’m sorry you are having problems,” simply apologize personally. It may not be your fault, but don’t risk making customers angier with a bad opening line.
- Get specific and enthusiastic: Find out what they don’t like about your product/service, find out what they do like and how they are currently using it. Show that you are unhappy that theyare unhappy, and affirm their belief that someone on your team is just as upset about this situation as they are!
With a bit of adjustment, you can be on your way to a simple, yet far superior response:
Situation #2 — A customer wants a refund
Hey, it happens, you can’t make everybody happy!
As noted above, if a customer is looking for a refund or to cancel their account with you, it’s past the “Event Horizon” of getting them back, you’re only job now is to make their departure as easy as possible to ensure no more friction.
In other words, don’t do this:
A few things…
- More work?: They are trying to cancel their account and you are asking them to go back and complete more steps? Leave on friction-less terms — do it for them and let them know that you’ve taken care of everything.
- Let there be no doubt: Inform the customer that they will be getting a refund and can expect it shortly. This puts the whole situation to bed with no more worries for the customer.
With these tweaks, you should have something much more appropriate:
Now I’m turning things over to you!
Here’s what to do next:
- Let me know in the comments what you thought of these methods for improving your email support. Are you going to implement any of them yourself?
- If you haven’t already, head on over and download Chase’s full e-book on Writing Better Support Emails, you’ll be glad you did (and so will your customers!).
Thank you for reading, I’ll see you down in the comments!
Email Support system is very important to any companies. It is not because your product is not good to create unhappy customers but there are just customers that aren’t sure how to handle your product and need your assistance. The blog just shows the proper way of handling customer concerns. You should see to it that they feel important and that you are ready to help them. This way, people doesn’t have negative things to say about your product or services. How do you attend your customer’s concern? Make me happy by writing down your thoughts!
I have read a blog today that I thought would be a good topic for a sales debate. It is about referral practices. The author Paul McCord (@paul_mccord) states in the blog that referrals will lead your business into risk. I know that some of you automatically raise your left eyebrow at this statement. We use to get referrals to increase sales but he says that this could happen if the client isn’t well experienced in the industry. The usual problem will occur once they keep on referring yet not doing their part well. Judge the blog itself by reading it completely. I am sharing everything he had written below.
Building Your Business on Referrals Pt. 2: Asking for Referrals is Bad Practice
By Paul McCord
OK, I know, you’ve been told your entire life as a salesperson that you have to ask for referrals and that if you don’t you’ll fail. But if you’re like most sellers you’ve asked and on occasion get a name and phone number of someone that turns into a new client, but most of the time the names and numbers you get are about as targeted as taking a dart and throwing blindly at the phone book.
The above situation is so common that a great many sellers simply stop asking, thinking that referrals are nothing more than sales mythology, while others, thinking they are the cause of the failure to generate significant numbers of quality referrals, continue to ask with little success and a growing sense of frustration and failure.
The reality isn’t that generating quality referrals are nothing more than a myth or that the seller himself is the root cause of referral generation failure.
Referral generation fails primarily because of the way most sellers have been taught to seek referrals. The seller isn’t the problem; the strategy they’ve been taught is at fault.
How have most of us been taught to get referrals?
For the most part out referral training consists of nothing more than “do a good job for your client and ask for referrals with a question such as, ‘Mr. Prospect, do you know anyone else who I might be able to help as I’ve helped you,’ or ‘Ms. Prospect, do you know of anyone who might benefit from my products or services?’
Certainly on occasion the training may be a bit more in-depth—one trainer might encourage sellers to ask the question early in the sale while another stresses the need to ask only after the sale has been completed, or one trainer might use slightly different phraseology or might encourage the seller to ask for a specific number of referrals, but the essence of the training is the same—do a good job and ask for referrals.
The problem is the process taught causes more problems than it solves.
First, the good news—the traditional referral training solves a major problem—it encourages the seller to seek referrals. Although the success ratio is typically very low, it does produce the occasional prospect that turns into a client.
Now the bad news—it fritters away one of the most valuable business generation resources a seller has—the potential quality referrals from a satisfied client.
Let’s take a look at the primary problems the traditional referral “method” creates:
- The Referral Question Comes Out of the Blue: Most clients are not comfortable when put on the spot to give referrals. When we ask for a referral we may be thinking that we’re asking a small favor but most clients take the request far more seriously. When a client gives a referral they believe they are putting their reputation on the line, something most don’t do lightly. Clients need time to become comfortable with the idea of giving referrals. If we really want quality referrals, we have to allow our client the time to become comfortable with the idea of giving us referrals before we ask.
- We Don’t Give Our Client the Opportunity to Give Quality Referrals: When we follow the traditional training of “do a good job and ask for referrals” we literally stand in front of our client (or are holding on the phone) expecting them to pop off the names of great prospects for us. We are asking them to go through their mental file cabinet and come up with great referrals in the course of 10 or 15 seconds. That is simply an unrealistic expectation on our part and we usually get what we deserve when we put a client in that position—little to nothing of value.
- Our Client Doesn’t Know Who a Great Prospect for Us Is: Not only do we expect our client to be able to give great referrals just off the top of their head, we expect them to know exactly who we can help when much of the time our client hasn’t had the opportunity to fully appreciate what we’ve done for them, much less know what all of our capabilities are and who is really a top prospect for us. We’re asking our client to do the impossible—know our business as well as we know it.
- It Ignores Human Nature: The traditional referral request is one-sided and offers the client no reason to give referrals. There are, obviously, clients who will give referrals even when there is nothing in it for them, but human nature being what it is, the referral request can be far more successful if it can be shown that it benefits the client as well as the seller.
- It Makes the Client do the Work: Rather than making it easy for our clients to give us great referrals, we make it as difficult as possible by asking them to do something they are ill prepared–and often not inclined–to do. Giving high quality referrals should be so easy for our client that literally all they have to do is say “yes.”
Although referral generation as traditionally taught is laden with self-defeating issues, referral generation when practiced properly can be a highly successful business generation tool—one that can literally be the cornerstone of a successful business.
I know that some of you if not all ask for a referral to our clients but after reading this blog, how does it change your perspective? Are you still going to ask for it or not? What is your experience in asking for a referral? You can agree or disagree, your comments are expected below!