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Win with Humor - Compete Outside the Box

ExcellenceSALES AND SERVICETHE MAGAZINE OF TEAM LEADERSHIPJULY 2012Ron KaufmanConsultantServiceStrategyBetterStorytellingServe UP SatisfactionTreat Complaints as Opportunitiesw w w . L e a d e r E x c e l . c o m


ExcellenceSales and ServiceVolume 12 Number 7 The Magazine of Team Leadership July 2012SERVICE/SATISFACTIONServe UP SatisfactionTake 10 tips for handling complaints.by Ron KaufmanSPIRIT AIRLINES RECENTLYflew into a big PR disaster.Sticking to a no-refundspolicy, the airline refused to refund theairfare of a passenger who had to cancelhis trip after finding out he has terminalcancer. The incident unearthedearlier cases of Spirit’s difficulty handlingcustomer complaints. CEO BenBaldanza hit “Reply All” on an emailfrom two customers who had missed aconcert due to a delayed flight.Essentially, he told his employees and(accidentally) the customers that SpiritAirlines didn’t owe the customers anythingand the customers would be backthe next time they wanted low airfare.Spirit Airlines has a policy—and theyare sticking to it. That’s how the companychooses to handle customer complaints.Unfortunately, that approachmight not be what’s best for business.As the Spirit Airlines case shows, stickingto your guns is rarely the best wayto handle customer complaints. Learn tohandle complaints so that your unhappycustomers become customers for life.When any company receives a complaint,it has two choices: 1) treat thecomplaining customer like he’s a painHELIO FRED GARCIABuilding Trust . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .3TERRINA TROY RISHELAttract Top Talent . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .4MIKE LIEBERMAN AND ERIC KEILESFire the Sales Team . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .4PHIL FERNANDEZSales Is from Mars . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .5DENNIS BOYLEExperiential Marketing . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .6HEIDI PAULCreate Shared Value . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .6REED K. HOLDENPrice Buzz Saw . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .7in the neck; 2) appreciate each complainingcustomer and use the complaintas an opportunity to improve.One complaining customer representsmany other customers who havethe same problem, but don’t complain.So, try to uplift them every time. Forevery person who complains to you,many don’t complain but go off and tellsomebody else, complain about youonline, and take their business elsewhere. Ifonly 1 out of 100 of your customerscomes to you with their complaint,shouldn’t you value that person times100, since he is representing all the otherpeople who never came to you? You shouldbe appreciative when someone takesthe time to give you a second chance.Here are 10 tips on using customercomplaints to uplift your service.1. Thank them for their complaint.CONTENTSJOHN TSCHOHLService Strategy . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .8STEVE NICHOLLSSocial Media Tips . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .8JEAN VAN RENSSELARCompelling E-Mail . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .9LARRY JACOBSONSales Lessons at Sea . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .10BRAD REMILLARDMotivate Talent . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .10THOR MULLER AND LANE BECKERPlanned Serendipity . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .11BRYAN A. PEARSONThe Loyalty Leap . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .12Give positive recognition by saying,“Thank you for reaching out.” Showappreciation for the complaining customer’stime, effort, communication,feedback, and suggestions. Rememberthat the customer didn’t have to cometo you—he could have simply takenhis business to your competitor. Whena customer gives you the opportunityto recover their service, be grateful.2. Don’t be defensive. It’s easy to getdefensive with angry customers. Theymay exaggerate situations, get confused,and lie about how things went down.It’s tempting to blow off the customeror say, “No! That’s not what happened.You’re wrong!” But getting defensiveor denying the problem will lead onlyto more problems. When customerscomplain, they feel wronged in someway. You don’t have to agree withwhat they say, but you have to agree tohear them out. Keep the conversationmoving in a positive direction.3. Acknowledge what’s important tothem. Find customers’ value dimension(what’s important to them). Even if youthink the complaint is unfair, there issomething they value that your companydidn’t deliver on. Embrace that value!The customer wants to feel right. Whenyou agree with the value dimension,you tell them they are right to value thisERIC J. ROMEROWin with Humor . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .12MICHAEL ROSENBAUMEmployee Service . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .13PATRICIA FRIPPBetter Storytelling . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .14TOM SANTSales Proposals . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .14LESLIE GROENEService Attitude . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .15BRYAN FLANAGANContacting Prospects . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .16ZIG ZIGLARGetting Up . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .16


thing. For example, if a customer says yourservice was slow, then that customer valuesspeed. You might say, “You deserve quick,efficient service.” Or if a customer says yourstaff was rude, you might say, “We agreethat you should be treated with courtesy andrespect.” When you validate what a customervalues, you aren’t agreeing with themthat your service is slow or your staff isrude. You’re saying, “We agree with you onwhat you value, and we want to deliver inthose areas.”The last thing customers with a complaintwant to hear you say is: You’re wrong. Theywant to hear that you understand them, appreciatethem, and agree with them on the importanceof the value they cite in their complaint.Your responses should make the customerfeel right. You don’t argue over the facts:rude staff, stiff policies, or slow service. Youactively agree on the importance of what theyvalue most. Customers are notalways right, but they’re alwaysimportant; you make them feelbetter by agreeing with themon the importance of the servicedimensions they value.4. Use judo, not boxing. Inboxing, you go after your opponent,trying to punch him tothe ground. In judo, you workwith someone else’s motions tocreate a desired result. You useanother person’s speed andenergy to spin him around andthen end up together on the same side. Whenyou show a customer you understand what theyvalue, you catch them off guard with your ownmovement. They don’t expect you to tell themthat they’re right. You’ve avoided a defensiveconfrontation and you can spin them andshow the customer that you’re now both onthe same side and you can work together.5. Apologize once, upfront. Every serviceprovider knows that the customer is notalways right. But the customer is always thecustomer. You don’t have to tell the customeryou were wrong, but you shouldapologize for the inconvenience or damagethey experienced. When you do so, youshow understanding and empathy for theirdiscomfort, displeasure, or inconvenience.6. Explain the company’s desire to improve.When you understand what the customervalues, show them things your company doesthat helps you perform well in that area. Forexample, if a customer complains that apackage was delivered late, you might say,“We understand that quick, on-time deliveryis important to you. We’re working now tofind a better solution.” Show you are sincereabout doing well in areas the customer values.You might say, “I’ll make sure everyone hearsyour story. We don’t want this to happen again.”When you express a desire to improve, yourebuild credibility with the customer.7. Educate your customer. Part of hearingthe customer out is answering any questionsand providing additional, useful information.If they ask a question that you can’t answer,tell them you’ll find out the answer and getback to them. And follow through. Contact thecustomer with the answers they requested.Even if they didn’t request an update, getback to them with one anyway. These arechances for you to say through your actions:We care about you. We value your business.8. Contain the problem. Suppose a familyis at a crowded theme park on a hot day. Theyoungest child starts to have a meltdown.Suddenly, a theme park staff member whisksthe family into a special air-conditionedroom with water and other beverages, an icecream machine, a bathroom, a comfortablesitting area. That’s how you contain a problem.Spirit Airlines could have educated a serviceprovider in uplifting service in respondingto the customer’s complaint.They might have said,“No matter what our rules orpolicies are, we see that yourcircumstance requires flexibility.We want to handle yourspecial situation carefully. Let’swork together to figure outwhat’s best. Thank you forreaching out.”9. Recover. Show customersyou care about them—even ifyou feel the company did everythingright—by making theman offer. Companies worry they’ll be takenadvantage of if they give vouchers, discounts,or freebies in their service recovery, but thatrarely happens. Offer the customer somethingas a gesture of goodwill or token of appreciation.Sears now has a team of specially educatedand empowered staff to handle recoveries.Once an issue goes to them, what they recommendis what gets done. Sears sees that arecovered customer can become a most loyaladvocate and ally.10. Give serial complainers an out. Somepeople love to complain, not so that they canbecome satisfied but because they are neversatisfied. With them, you must limit yourliability and isolate them from your brand.Give your constant complainers an out. Indealing with serial complainers, that’s the bestthing you can do.You and your customers are both on thesame side. Your customer wants the productor service you provide, and you want to giveit to them. When you treat complaints asopportunities to build loyalty, you create customersfor life and uplift your company inthe process.SSERon Kaufman is a popular keynote speaker and the author ofthe New York Times bestseller Uplifting Service (EvolvePublishing). www.UpliftingService.comACTION: Improve in handling customer complaints.Volume 12 Issue 7Sales & Service Excellence is publishedmonthly by Executive Excellence Publishing,LLC (dba Leadership Excellence),1806 North 1120 West, Provo, UT 84604.Editorial Purpose:Our mission is to promote personal andprofessional development based on constructivevalues, sound ethics, and timeless principles.Basic Annual Rate:$59 (12 issues)$119 two years (24 issues).Article Reprints:For reprints of 100 or more, pleasecontact the editorial department at1-801-375-4060 or emailCustomerService@LeaderExcel.com.Permission PDF: US $100Submissions and Correspondence:Please send any correspondence, articles,letters to the editor, and requests to reprint,republish, or excerpt articles to EditorialDepartment, Sales & Service Excellence,1806 North 1120 West, Provo, UT 84604 oremail Editorial@LeaderExcel.com.Customer Service/Circulation:For customer service, or information onproducts and services call 1-877-250-1983or email: CustomerService@LeaderExcel.com.Internet Address: www.LeaderExcel.comMarketing Offices:Leadership Excellence1806 N. 1120 W.Provo, UT 846041-877-250-19831-801-375-4060Sales & Service Excellence:Ken Shelton, CEO, Editor-in-ChiefSean Beck, Circulation ManagerContributing Editors: Debbie Allen, CurtisBingham, Tom Hopkins, Dave Kahle, RichardIlsley.Copyright © 2012 Executive ExcellencePublishing. No part of this publication may bereproduced or transmitted in any form withoutwritten permission from the publisher.Quotations must be credited.2 J U L Y 2 0 1 2 W W W .LEADEREXCEL.COM


MANAGEMENT/TRUSTBuilding TrustCommunicate effectively.by Helio Fred GarciaTWO YEARS AGO BP CEOTony Hayward inadvertentlygot his wish when, inthe thick of the Deepwater Horizon disaster,he told the press, “I want my lifeback.” He was soon sacked. In the battlefor public opinion—for trust, support,the benefit of the doubt—Hayward lost.It was a massive failure of leadership. Andit began with a failure of communicationand a failure of discipline.Hayward’s blunder should be a wakeupcall to other leaders, to all whoseleadership responsibilities requireinspiring trust and confidence verbally.Whatever else leadership may be, itis experienced publicly. While it mayemanate from within, it is a public phenomenon.And however technicallyproficient you may be, if you don’tcommunicate effectively, you can’t leadwell. Communication has power. But aswith any form of power, if not harnessedeffectively it can backfire.After 33 years of helping leadersbuild trust, inspire loyalty, restore confidenceand lead effectively, I concludethat many leaders misunderstand communication.As a result, their companieslose competitive advantage; NGOs findit harder to fulfill their mission; religiousdenominations lose the trust andconfidence of their followers; nationsdiminish their ability to protect citizensand achieve national security goals.Most leaders think they’re alreadygood at communicating. They’ve beenspeaking since before they were oneyear old; reading since age four or five;writing since soon after that. Unlikeother disciplines that leaders have hadto master, they’ve been communicatingtheir whole lives. It seemed to be no bigdeal. Leaders often are unaware of theirown communication abilities.Many leaders suffer career-definingblunders when they don’t take communicationas seriously as they take otherelements of their jobs. Effective leaderssee communication as a critical professionalaptitude and work hard to get it right.Effective communication isn’t aboutpushing information to an audience. Itisn’t about facts, data, spin, what soundsgood or makes the speaker feel good.I define communication as an act ofwill directed toward a living entitythat reacts. Let’s parse this definition:• Communication is an act of will . . .Effective communication is intentional,goal-oriented, and strategic—not topof-mind,impulsive, or self-indulgent. Itisn’t just about what one says but aboutanything one does or is observed to do—any engagement with a stakeholder,including silence, inaction, and action.• directed toward a living entity . . .Stakeholders aren’t passive vesselswho simply absorb messages.Rather, they are living,breathing humanbeings who have theirown opinions, ideas,hopes, dreams, fears, prejudices,attention spans,and appetites for listening.It’s a mistake to assumethat audiences think andbehave just as we do. Mostdon’t. Understanding anaudience and its preconceptions,and barriers thatmight prevent them from acceptingwhat you are saying, is a key part ofeffective communication.• that reacts. This element is lost onmany leaders. The only reason toengage an audience is to change something,to provoke a reaction. Effectivecommunication provokes the desiredreaction; ineffective communicationisn’t noticed, confuses, or causes a differentreaction than the one desired.Tony Hayward certainly got his lifeback, but not in the manner he hoped.Your audiences will compare yourwords to your actions and prior words.The words set expectations; the actionsfulfill or betray those expectations.Trust arises when expectations are met,and lost when they are not.Effective communication requiresdiscipline, understanding the desiredreaction among the groups to whichyou communicate, which requiresknowing all you can about that group.And then it requires saying and doingall that is necessary—and only what isnecessary—to provoke that desiredreaction. And it also requires understandingthe predictable intended andunintended consequences of words,silence, inaction, and action.Communication isn’t about tellingour story. That’s undisciplined, selfindulgent,and often illusory. We can’tmove an audience if we don’t meet itwhere it is. But that means knowingwhere the audience is; what it caresabout, what it fears, what its expectationsare, and what it values.An audience is a living, breathingentity. It is a collection of humanbeings. Collectively, an audience tendsto care about certain things in certainways, and tends not to think at allabout the concerns of those trying toinfluence it. And at any given time anymember of any audience can be distracted,inattentive, unconcerned withothers’ concerns, and focused only onhis or her immediate interests.Influencing an audience requiresactive engagements that cause the audienceto take notice, inways we want them to.This requires knowingwhat the audience feels,thinks, is capable of, andcares about. And itrequires us to care aboutthose same things.Since the power of communicationis getting audiencesto listen, an effectivecommunicator never startswith What do we say? orHow do we tell our story?but rather focuses on the goal: What isthe goal? How will things be different whencommunication has taken place? Who is theaudience: What does the audience care aboutnow; what do we want the audience to careabout when we’re done; what prevents theaudience from caring about it? How shouldwe engage the audience so that it does care?What does the audience need to see us do,hear us say, or hear others say about us inorder to care about what we want it to careabout? How do we make that happen?Leaders must grasp the force thatwords (or silence) can provoke at a timewhen information is shared faster thanit can be controlled. All communicationmust be intentional, interactive, andintended to provoke a reaction. Leadersneed to build trust, inspire loyalty, andlead effectively through communication.Leaders are judged on the fulfillmentof expectations. Leaders must resistsaying what merely sounds good in themoment and creating a say-do gap.SSEHelio Fred Garcia is president of the crisis managementfirm Logos Consulting Group, adjunct professor of management,NYU Stern School of Business, coach, speakerand author of The Power of Communication (FT Press).tweets at @garciahf. www.thepowerofcommunication.net.ACTION: Close the say-do gap.SALES AND SERVICE EXCELLENCE J U L Y 2 0 1 2 3


MANAGEMENT/TALENTAttract Top TalentAvoid seven talent repellents.by Terrina Troy RishelDOES YOUR ORGANIZATIONattract and hire the besttalent? Exceptional professionalsalways have options. To avoidlosing great opportunities to attract thebest talent, consider seven points:• You have an inflexible hiring process.In many cases, highly seasoned professionalsare asked to consider joiningorganizations. They may be happy intheir current position. Asking top talentto submit their resume through thenormal channels might not be the bestapproach, especially since you are pursuingthem. When you have a seasonedprofessional interested, minimize theprocess so they become engaged.• You create a poor first impression.You should create a great first impression,as soon as a resume is submitted.How long does it take to get a response?When and what form does the responsecome? What’s the tone of it? Is themessage: What can you do for me? Toptalent use the HR process to assess ifan organization is giving lip service totheir mission statement and vision, orwalking-the-walk. Treating them as ifthey need you more than you need themlimits your chances of obtaining them.• You don’t do the little things you sayyou will. Even when top talent is pursuingthe opportunity, the hiring processdetermines how hard they pursueit. If the interviewer tells the applicant“I’ll call you in a couple of days,” itleaves a poor impression if weeks goby without contact. Talent will think, ifyou can’t do the little things, you probablywon’t do the big things either! Whenyou don’t do what you say you’ll do,this behavior speaks volumes about whatit will be like to work in a sub-par culture.People with choices don’t beg for positions—theyselect other opportunities.• Your HR staff is in competition witheach other. If you compensate your HRstaff like salespeople, they’ll hoard thebest resumes for positions assigned tothem. Top talent falls through cracks ifthe HR team won’t share contacts andresumes, the organization suffers fromthe loss of talent, and the organization’sreputation is impacted negatively. Ifthe perception is that it’s more importantfor the HR person to achieve theirgoals and bonuses, top talent won’t join.• Your hiring process needs updating.What message does your hiringprocess send? Do you ask people tofill out an application after they havesubmitted a resume, cover letter, andcreated a profile on your website? Doyou then ask them to take a personalitytest, math skills test, and aptitudetest before anyone speaks to them?Such screening repels top talent.They are not interested in jumpingthrough your hoops. They want tospeak to someone about the opportunitybefore being treated like students orinterns. They see these processes asmajor red flags.• Your hiring mentality is too narrow.Top talent often gets passed up becausethe job descriptions and hiring mentalityare too narrow. Recruiters tend to becreative in attracting exceptional talent.In many cases, it may be wise toMANAGEMENT/SALESFire the Sales TeamRenew sales/marketing strategy.by MikeLieberman &Eric KeilesTHE IDEA IS NOT SIMPLY TO FIRE YOURsales team, it is to then instantly hirethem back in the new roles. Surroundyour sales team with powerful, contentrichmarketing that drives qualifiedleads to your company,eliminating the need for telemarketing,cold calling, andthe dreaded hard sell. Youneed guides who help clientsmake the right purchase decisionand then wrap up thedetails of the deal. This newguided sales process is a matchwith the new buyer behavior.Separating your business from thecompetition starts with integrating yoursales and marketing. To create a companythat gets people talking, you need tostep outside of set patterns, think aboutyour business in new ways, and approachsales and marketing with a fresh perspectiveby embracing three big ideas:1. Buyer behavior has changed. Theinternet changed the way people makepurchasing decisions. Instead of castingas wide a net as possible, it’s time tobait your hook with the valuable information,resources and strong referralsthat your customers are hungry for.2. Train people in the guided salesprocess, since buyers don’t want to bego outside the industry to find someonewith leadership skills. You’re losingtop talent if your job descriptionsand hiring mentality are too narrow.• You don’t really want an entrepreneur.You want to attract entrepreneurialtalent because they are self-motivatedand creative. But many interviewersask: “Why would you want to workfor us?” The tone is one of suspicion.Entrepreneurs are averse to rules, hoopsand red tape. If you seek people withan entrepreneurial spirit, don’t chaseone off by questioning their motives—sell them on the chance to contributetheir skills to a worthy organization!When you inspire top talent, yougive yourself a chance to hire them! SSETerrina Troy Rishel is a business development consultant.Call 480-823-5023 or terrinarishel@yahoo.com.ACTION: Attract top talent to your team.sold. Retrain your sales force to act asconsultants, taking the time to understandeach prospective customer’spains, answering their questions andguiding them to appropriate solutions.3. Create the new Revenue Departmentby combining sales and marketing.Combine S&M into a single, cohesiveentity to ensure that every member ofyour team works together to reach revenuegoals. Both functions center on theprospect; and to convert prospects intocustomers, S&M need to orchestrate aseamless series of communicationsdirect to prospects. Today’s buyers optfor a deeper connection withcompanies. Transition prospectorsin your sales departmentto closers who bettermatch with the prospects’behavior. Stop trying to sellto educated buyers. Take thesethree action steps:1. Profile your buyer(s).Create a concrete description ofyour buyers. The more detailed yourprofile of your buyers, the more effectiveyour marketing.2. Map out their buying process. Dothey require a written quote, require anin-person visit, purchase products andservices at the same time? Identify allthe nuances of their purchase process.3. Overlay your marketing to thisprocess. How many times do you touchyour prospect? How many marketing tacticsdo you have running? To have a MarketingMachine, you need 10 uniquemarketing tactics working at once. SSEMike Lieberman and Eric Keiles are coauthors of FireYour Sales Team Today (Greenleaf), 617-202-4109.ACTION: Reexamine your marketing methods.4 J U L Y 2 0 1 2 W W W .LEADEREXCEL.COM


MARKETING/SALESSales Is from MarsAnd marketing is from Venus.by Phil FernandezTWENTY YEARS AGO, A NEWself-help book by JohnGray stormed the best-sellerlists. Men Are from Mars, Women Arefrom Venus. The book outlined ideasabout why it is such a struggle for somany men and women to meet eachother’s needs and develop more satisfyingpersonal relationships. Whetherthe result of biology or culture, Grayexplained, males and females oftenhave different communication stylesand modes of behavior. The failure torecognize and accept those differencesleads to resentment, conflict, and adysfunctional relationship. How doesthis theory apply to business?Picture this: marketing runs a promotionalcampaign and hands over astack of leads to sales. The sales teamdismisses them as poor quality andeither demands better leads or simplyignores them and continues cold-calling.Potential leads go cold, marketinglead generation budgets are squandered,sales misses their quota, andnobody is happy. Sound familiar?It’s a common scenario. Communicationproblems between marketing and salesare often so pervasive that their relationshipbecomes dysfunctional.Opposites Don’t Always AttractFrequent disagreements, competingobjectives, misaligned compensationsystems, and different work styles causemarketing and sales to behave like bickeringspouses. Their dysfunction mayexpress itself in petty grudges or exaggeratedclaims. “Sales never calls anyof our leads,” says marketing. “Thosemarketing leads are no good, whybother?” sales answers. “Our leads aregolden! We worked hard to generatethem,” replies marketing. “Go back toyour pretty colors and press releasesand leave us alone,” sales responds.Leaders are more than just the longsufferingobservers of this bickering;they’re often part of the problem. Theyoften manage to stoke the marketingand sales dysfunction. When CEOswant a revenue forecast, they intuitivelyask their head of sales without evenconsidering what the Chief MarketingOfficer might say. CFOs talk aboutsales as the revenue-producing part ofthe organization in terms like investingin salespeople. But when they refer tomarketing spending, they don’t talk interms of investments; instead, they referto costs, and questionable costs at that.None of this is news to seasonedmanagers. The strained relationshipbetween marketing and sales has beenaround forever. Until recently, thosestrains have mostly served as a sourceof eye-rolling and irritation, not as amajor drag on performance. But today,this dysfunction has metastasized tobecome the single greatest source oflost productivity andsquandered revenue in themodern corporation.A Better RelationshipIt’s not easy to encouragemarketing and sales tocommunicate better, letalone see eye-to-eye andcollaborate. But devotingtime to achieving this goalis imperative, and can be amajor competitive advantage, since sofew businesses get it right.Jim Dickie, Managing Partner withCSO Insights, a research/consultingfirm that helps companies improvemarketing and sales alignment, says:“I’m shocked at the number of companiesthat don’t have an agreed-upondefinition of what makes a lead salesready.The marketing team has its definitionof what is marketing-ready. Andsales has its own point of view on whatconstitutes a real opportunity. Butthere’s often a disconnect between theviews, and that carries forward intocontinuous conflict at the boundarybetween marketing and sales.”Here are four small steps you cantake that will point your marketingand sales teams in the right direction:• Focus on value delivered. Educatemarketing and sales team memberson each other’s contributions to yourcompany’s short- and long-term revenuegrowth. Hold regular, welldefinedmeetings where key marketingand sales executives identifyshared obstacles, develop commonrevenue objectives, and set strategiesfor overcoming barriers to growth.Case in point: Wes Wasson, SVP/CMOof Citrix Systems, comments that hisVP of Demand Generation also servesas part of the sales staff: “He is as mucha part of the sales team as my marketingteam. He attends all the sales meetingsand seamlessly integrates his workwith that of the sales group. And, heowns allocation of the worldwidedemand-generation budget, giving hima level of control over what ultimatelyhappens on the marketing side.”• Agree on lead quality. Have marketingand sales jointly decide what makes agood lead, and when that good lead is readyfor sales. These definitions are crucial, asthey’re often a sore spot in the marketing-salesrelationship. You must addressthem head-on in an atmosphere ofshared responsibility and opportunity.• Take each other to work. Try a “Takeyour colleague to work” initiative.Marketing could listen in on sales calls,and salespeople could participate inmeetings on marketingstrategy and creative development.Such collaborationrarely occurs! Joint meetingsand activities betweenmarketing and sales shouldbe standard procedure.• Take them out for a beer.People buy from people.Human relationships matter.While structured initiativescan improve thealignment between your marketing andsales teams, salespeople and marketingpeople are, in the end, just people. Andthe two don’t mix much. They might sitin different buildings, states or countries—orhave different personalitiesand don’t naturally socialize together.Encourage your marketing and salesteams to get to know each other. Salesmay be from Mars and marketing fromVenus, but magic happens when youmix them together.The key to healthy communicationand cross-functional cooperation is toembrace the strengths of both yourmarketing and sales teams. You’ll needto shift your practice away from linearlead hand-offs and focus instead onmutual and shared accountability for leadgeneration, nurturing, conversion, andcustomer loyalty. With a little work,your marketing and sales teams willcreate a collaborative, symbiotic relationshipthat will turbo-charge yourrevenue growth engine.SSEPhil Fernandez is President/CEO of Marketo, a globalleader in revenue performance management solutions,and author of Revenue Disruption (Wiley). Visitwww.marketo.com.ACTION: Embrace the strengths of each team.SALES AND SERVICE EXCELLENCE J U L Y 2 0 1 2 5


MARKETING/EXPERIENCEExperiential MarketingCreate a strong emotional connection.by Dennis BoyleTODAY CONSUMERS HAVEshort attention spans, andthat makes brand productcampaigns more difficult and expensive.Experiential marketing enables brandmanagers to connect with consumersin a way no other media can. It createsan emotional connection that buildsbrand loyalty and drives purchases.People interacting with other peoplein a real way creates an authentic andunique emotional connection that givesgenuine power to experiential marketingefforts. Brand managers must createprograms that effectively engageconsumers and then utilize social mediato amplify the impact to gain advantage.Most brand managers agree that theuniqueness of experiential marketing isits ability to create a true emotional connectionto people through live experiencesand then share them with manypeople through social media. They alsobelieve that emotional connections to abrand need to start in the real world tocreate true emotional connection.Most consumer brand managers planto increase their budgets and developeven more innovative marketing andoperating plans to capitalize on anoptimistic environment for real growthand ROI. Social media as well as eventdriveninfluencer marketing have becomea key aspect of marketing strategy.More marketing dollars are beingspent to maximize the ROI, whilebrand image spending is taking a backseat to selling product. The ultimatewinners are those brands that capitalizeon innovative experiential marketingopportunities and treat eachprospect as a unique customer.While social media greatly expandthe reach of programs, at its core experientialmarketing is a people-to-people experiencethat targets consumers wherethey live, work, play and shop. Thinkof social media as a magnifying glassheld up to the live event. Social mediamakes the image clearer, larger, so morepeople can view it at the same time.Over the last 15 years experientialmarketing has gone from a catchyname to a true marketing channel recognizedby brands for its power toengage in ways no other media can.Until now, its one true downside wasits inability to engage large numbers.PUBLIC RELATIONS/VALUECreate Shared ValueFocus on nutrition, sustainability.The social media marketing revolutioncan drive more people to join the conversation,express opinions, and sharetheir brand experiences. People areonly driven to do this if they havemade an emotional connection. Today’sconsumers are not interested in brandmessages but in telling the story of theirlives. Brands should enable consumersto tell those stories, since this is key tocreating long-lasting brand loyalty.Brand managers who hope to moveto the forefront of today’s event-drivendigital social media environment see theirexperiential marketing partners takingon a greater role as they seek ways tocost effectively combine social media withevent-driven consumer experiences. Clientsdemand that brand events entertain,communicate, motivate and exceed goals.Brand manager should ask sixquestions of every experiential marketingfirm: 1) How does your firm integratewith other agencies (brand agency,promotional agency, and PR agency) toensure a seamless integrated marketingapproach? 2) How does your firm use socialmedia to extend and strengthen your experientialprograms? 3) How do you utilizeinfluencer programs to meet program objectives?4) What role does content play inprograms your firm has designed and operated?5) What systems do you use to insureeffective communications? 6) What systems/metricsdo you use to insure achievingspecific objectives such as lift at retail, drivingtraffic and social media activation?Select a firm that creates events thateffectively engage consumers and then usesocial media to amplify the impact. SSEDennis Boyle has 30 years of consumer brand buildingexperience and works as EVP of Under the Radar experientialmarketing agency. Visit www.utrexp.com.ACTION: Experiment with experiential marketing.by Heidi PaulIN OUR CREATING SHAREDValue report, we at Nestlédetail new accomplishmentsin nutrition, sustainable business practices,and economic and communitydevelopment. Among the ways Nestlécreates shared value are by offeringquality products, working to improveour environmental efficiency,providing stable jobs that contributeto our economic vitality,and remaining activelyinvolved in our communities.Creating Shared Value isNestlé’s business strategybased on the belief that for abusiness to prosper long-term,it must create value for society andshareholders. In the U.S. the companycreates value by providing qualityproducts supported by expertise innutrition, health and wellness.In the U.S. Nestlé consists of fivebusinesses: Nestlé USA, Nestlé PurinaPetCare Company, Nestlé Waters N.A.,Nestlé Nutrition and Nestlé Professional.Last year, sales totaled $24 billion,and we now have seven billion-dollarbrands in the U.S.: Coffee-mate®Stouffer’s ® , Lean Cuisine ® , DiGiorno ® ,Nestlé ® PureLife ® , Gerber ® and Friskies ® .• Good food, good life. In 2011, Nestlébegan operations with Nestlé HealthScience S.A. and the Nestlé Institute ofHealth Sciences to pioneer sciencebasednutritional solutions with a focuson personalized healthcare. Nestlé is committedto reducing sodium in its productlines. Stouffer’s® is making recipechanges to decrease sodium by another10 percent without affecting taste. Newinitiatives from brands such as SkinnyCow offer low-calorie snacks whilestill serving satisfying portions.• Creating shared value for sustainablepractices. In the U.S. Nestlé hasgreatly reduced water and energy use,along with greenhouse gas emissions.Recovered wastewater from the Madison,FL Nestlé Pure Life factory is used tospray irrigate neighboring farm fields,saving 55 million gallons of waterfrom being withdrawn from thelocal aquifer.• Creating shared communityvalue. In the U.S., Nestlé haspartnered with the NEA tolaunch Healthy Steps for HealthyLives based on MyPlate, theUSDA’s new generation foodicon. This program provides a variety offun, easy-to-use activities that teach studentsabout nutrition and being healthy.Nestlé Waters N.A. partnered withKeep America Beautiful to launchRecycle-Bowl, a nationwide recyclingcompetition for students. AmeriCaresrecognized employees of Nestlé WatersN.A. for donating one million bottles ofwater to disaster survivors.To become the best Nutrition, Healthand Wellness company, Nestlé providesnutritious, healthy food for every memberof the family at every stage of life. SSEHeidi Paul is VP/Corporate Affairs, Nestlé Water N.A.Email Jane.Lazgin@waters.nestle.com, NestléUSA.com.ACTION: Create shared value for constituents.6 J U L Y 2 0 1 2 W W W .LEADEREXCEL.COM


SALES/PRICINGPrice Buzz SawThere is a way out to win.by Reed K. HoldenONE BIG PROBLEM SALESPEOPLEface today is the procurementpricing buzz saw.It happens to even the best salesperson.They do all the right things—identifycustomer needs, develop the right relationship,and include discussions ofvalue with the decision maker. Theygain the “necessary” agreement andprepare to start the final paperwork.Then, suddenly, someone from procurementtakes over, stops returning calls,limits access to decision makers andthreatens to put the deal out to bidunless the price discounting starts.The process is relentless and sometimesbrutal. After all, procurement tacticshave been honed for the pastdecades to a precise and well-practicedattack on even the biggest and bestglobal firms. The list of those tactics islong and distinguished and they’re alldesigned to rattle salespeople and theirmanagers into giving bigger discounts.And they are working well.There seems to be no way out but togive the discount. Most of us do justthat. Sure, we try training salespeopleon relationship building and value sellingbut it has not made the difference.Negotiations are getting tougher andtougher and more customers seem to belearning how to play the game to winadditional discounts. So despite spendingbillions on sales training and customerinformation systems, the pricesstill plunge and the profits disappear.Some believe that shortly, things willreturn to the way they used to be. Buthere’s the real news: this is the newnormal of selling. In every companyand industry, procurement professionalsare gaining control of the purchasingprocess—worldwide—and it’scosting companies that sell high-valueproducts and services billions of dollarsof lost profits and wasted resources.To make matters worse, procurementprofessionals are working with seniorexecutives in their firms to help themgain discounts from even trusted highvaluevendors. Those executives havelearned the same tactics to garner discounts.Thinking they have a lock onthe relationship, vendors continue to beblindsided and surprised by the process.Fortunately, there is a way to dullthe pricing buzz saw. The solution restspartly with salespeople, and it will taketraining and practice for them to executethe skills needed to succeed in thegame being played with procurement.In fact, it’s best to think of that game asa game of poker. Procurement peoplehave learned to play that game. Theyare expert at the art of the bluff whileall we have done is encouraged salespeopleto fold their cards and give thediscount. To succeed, salespeople mustlearn the art of the bluff and sales executiveswill need to provide leadership asthey execute their poker-playing skillswith procurement people. After all, it isa negotiation, not surrender.The solution starts with trainingsalespeople to better assess customersituations. This goes beyond customerneeds and buying center and extendsto what the real customer agenda isbefore procurement takes over. Theseare the tells or indications of the gamebeing played. And they are indicationsof your position in that game.If it appears that the decision wasmade and you were the winner, chancesare that is it still true. The procurementpeople will still be inserted into thesales cycle and delay closing to bluffsalespeople to get bigger discounts. Toblunt that process, you need to learn tobluff back to put the pressure back onthe procurement people by standingyour ground, being confident in bothyour value and your prices. Finally,you must recognize that procurementpeople are measured on their ability to getadditional discounts as a cost savings tothe company. When those discountsaren’t forthcoming, it undermines theirpower and credibility. When you grantthe requested discount, you give morepower to procurement and guaranteethat the process will get worse. Thebuyer now expects a discount every time.Here are three strategies you can useto win the game:1. Know how your firm is different.Competitors will likely be used to helpdrive prices down (may be an idlethreat). When you have confidence inthe value of that difference, you bluntthe poker playing tactics.2. Play a waiting game. Delay is acommon tactic procurement people use.They know that you are under pressureto close business and meet quotas—thatpressure makes delay an effective tactic.Yet procurement people are often underpressure to get the deal done too andthey worry that delay tactics don’twork. When procurement delays, youneed to delay right back.3. Budget Bluff: procurement peopleoften go right to the heart of a negotiation—thebudget. They’ll say that theitem price or project will have a specificbudget that is (surprise) 30 to 50 percentbelow the proposal quote. You may try tolimit the damage by going for a smallerdiscount, but that’s still a discount andit sets a precedent. A better tactic is tobluff right back: agree with their budgetlimitation and take away some valuedfeatures or services so that they canmeet the budget limits. When you usethis give-get tactic, the procurementperson will come back and say theyneed those value services. Gain confidencein your skills and the value ofyour company so you don’t fall prey tothe tactics of poker-playing procurementprofessionals. Such confidence comeswith training, practice, and experience.Such confidence also comes fromleadership. Sales and firm executivesneed to provide the necessary leadershipso that salespeople feel comfortableand supported when they executethese tactics. Lack of leadership is oftena primary cause of poor sales negotiatingskills. In fact, procurement peopleoften try to get executives involved fortwo reasons: 1) they can provide largerdiscounts, and 2) they have a poorunderstanding of the elements of thegame (they’re often worse negotiators).If you’re tired or fearful of pricenegotiations, learn how to deal withthe procurement pricing buzz saw.Adopt a process that empowers youwith an understanding of the price anda defensible value proposition. Also,leadership has to learn the tactics sothey can support the sales process. SSEReed K. Holden is CEO of Holden Advisors andauthor of Negotiating with Backbone: Eight SalesStrategies to Defend Your Price and Value. Visitwww.holdenadvisors.com.ACTION: Confidence dulls the price buzz saw.SALES AND SERVICE EXCELLENCE J U L Y 2 0 1 2 7


SERVICE/STRATEGYService StrategyLearn from Bezos/Amazon.by John TschohlAMAZON CONTINUES TOoutperform most organizations.CEO Jeff Bezosunderstands speed, price, and technology.Everything in his company is builtaround customer service. In 1995, hestarted with two employees; they nowhave 56,000 employees and 164 millioncustomers. In 2011 sales increased 41percent to $48 billion. Their stock is up397 percent in the last five years. Jeff’snet worth is over $19 billion, and this48 year-old is one of the 30 richest menin the world. He built Amazon on ano-frills approach—being frugal andpassing the savings on to the customer.In their Annual Report, Bezos said, “Wefocus relentlessly on our customers . . .the principal competitive factors in ourretail business include selection, priceand convenience, including fast andreliable fulfillment to improve the shoppingexperience. We dramatically loweredprices, further increasing customervalue. Repeat purchases and word ofmouth contribute to make Amazon.comthe market leader in online bookselling.”Bezos periodically leaves one seatopen at a conference table and tells allattendees to consider that seat occupiedby “the most important person”in the room—their customer. Bezos hasa relentless focus on the customer experience.He understands the power ofword-of-mouth advertising. He has agreat grasp of price and is more interestedin value than short-term profits.Customer LoyaltyService recovery is a key element ofcustomer service. And yet many people—from frontline employees to seniorexecutives—don’t understand servicerecovery. If you don’t understand it,you can’t provide it.Service recovery is all about turninga negative situation into a positive oneand sending the customer home thinkinghe has just done business with thegreatest company. Word-of-mouth advertisingis the most powerful—and it costsyou nothing. Before making a purchasingdecision, most of us ask friendsand coworkers for referrals. What theysay influences us since they are peoplewe know; we trust their opinions. Whenthey have a good customer experience,they recommend the service provider.People who don’t have their problemsresolved to their satisfaction tell anyonewho will listen about their negativeexperience, often via social networking.How you handle mistakes can makethe difference between earning customerloyalty and driving the customer away.When a customer comes to you with acomplaint, take these four steps:1. Act quickly. Do all you can tosolve the customer’s problem on thespot. When you send that problem toa supervisor, the customer becomesfrustrated. That frustration escalateswith every delay in reaching a solution.If you can’t solve the problemwithin minutes, you’re in trouble.2. Take responsibility. Don’t getdefensive and take the complaint personally.And don’t challenge the customer.Instead, be empathetic. Offer aMARKETING/SOCIALby Steve NichollsMEDIASocial Media TipsAchieve your desired results.TODAY YOU NEED A SOCIALmedia strategy that communicatesinternally andexternally to clients or potential clients.Take these 10 social media tips:1. Be the architect. Create a vision ofwhat social media looks like for the organizationso everyone knowstheir part and what they’retrying to achieve. Create acommon language so everyonecan participate in discussions.2. Create the model, bringeveryone together. Develop amodel of how to bring socialmedia to the entire organization.The social media program may reside inmarketing, but to maximize resultsyou need buy-in from everyone.3. Define the business goals. Createsocial media goals that help achieve thebusiness goals—for instance, to increasethe repeat customer percentage in orderto increase revenue by a certain percent.4. Conquer the inside first. Socialmedia can create diversified channelsof communication among internal staffand external customers and suppliersand can be used for formal (company)and informal (employee) communication.It also allows the company to reach outbeyond geographical limits, providingan alternative to face-to-face meetings.5. Expand reach in online communities.Social media can create access tosincere apology. You might say, “I amso sorry. I understand why you’re upset.Let me see what I can do for you.”3. Make an empowered decision.Know the boundaries of your authorityso you can solve problems and complaints.Make it clear to the customerthat solving her problem is your priority.4. Compensate the customer. Whenyou offer the customer some compensation,it makes her feel valued; it makesher think he just did business with agreat company. It increases his loyaltyto you and the organization. And itcreates positive word-of-mouth advertising.Satisfying your customers to ensurethat they return to you.SSEJohn Tschohl, the service strategist, is president of theService Quality Institute and author of more than 26customer-service training programs. Visitwww.johntschohl.com.ACTION: Excel at service recovery.online communities and your targetmarkets: it increases brand awareness,builds trust, taps into global and localmarkets, increases visible market presence,generates leads, helps to havehigher rankings on search engines andincreases search engine optimization (SEO).6. Improve international communication.Social media makes it easier foremployees to work together across departments,geographical boundaries,and management levels, resulting inbetter relationships and productivity.7. Collect intelligence effectively.Content generated by the online communitybecomes business intelligencethat helps you gaininsight on your customers,products, services, competitors,industry, and otheraspects of interest. Collect theintelligence and learn!8. Be interactive, hold onlinecontests. Social media can generatereal value. Cisco held a competitionto generate billion-dollar ideas.9. Keep the culture in mind. Themore open the culture, the more socialmedia will flourish. A more closed culturewill seek to control social mediaand fail. Social media projects are craftedaccording to your type of culture.10. Have a step-by-step formula. Thesocial media model should consider howto integrate the existing conditions butalso adopt a staged approach—both tokeep in perspective business goals asthe project moves forward, and to alleviateany risk along the way. SSESteve Nicholls is the author of Social Media in Businessand has implemented advanced Internet applications.Email steve@socialmediainbusiness.com.ACTION: Use social media effectively.8 J U L Y 2 0 1 2 W W W .LEADEREXCEL.COM


SALES/EMAILCompelling E-MailCraft subject lines and messages.by Jean Van RensselarTHE SUBJECT LINE IS KEY INdriving digital marketingresults. You can spendhours composing an informative emailfor clients/prospects, but it’s a waste oftime if no one reads it. Whether theemail is opened on a desktop or a mobiledevice, a compelling subject line is thekey—and it boils down to a basic formula.You have 85 characters in the subjectline, and yet the average email subjectline is only 45 characters. What awaste! The old thinking was that youwant the subject line to be short andsnappy. The new thinking is that, aslong as you put the most importantinformation at the beginning, use up asmany of those 85 characters as you can(same goes for the email message).So instead of: Subject Line: The BestCloud Solution or Subject Line: We’reOffering an Industry-Leading Cloud Solutionwith Excellent ROI, go with SubjectLine: Excellent ROI on Cloud Solution—Our Industry-Leading Access Software.You actually have two lines—notone. In addition to the subject line, youhave the From line, which you canconfigure how you want. Most companiesuse the From line to clearly identifythe sender opting for the companyname or sender’s given name.People are more likely to open emailsthat have a personal name—if theyrecognize the name. If not, the emailscreams SPAM, and they won’t open it.So, don’t send an email with only yourgiven name in the From line. And if youonly include the company name in theFrom line, it will also hurt the openrate. Put your name first, without atitle, followed by the company name.You only have about 40 visible charactersto do this. So include your full firstname, use only the initial of your lastname, abbreviate the company namewhere possible by eliminating spacesand shortening or eliminating commonwords, and add some short ad copy.The From line is another line wherethere’s a lot of unused space. Use morethan half of the From line, and put themost important info first and then useup as many characters as possible. Sothis is your formula for the From line:Personal name + Company name + Ad.The Subject LineThe subject line should coordinatewith the From line (don’t mention thecompany name again in the subjectline). The length of the visible subjectline is about 85 characters, so you needto be straightforward and brief, avoidcertain words, and convey three messages:1) a clear feature or benefit; 2)ease of access; and 3) immediate value.• Offer a clear feature or benefit. Knowthe demographics of your email listand offer a feature or benefit that thepeople on the list care about. You’llhave to summarize the feature/benefitin a word or two. If torn betweenmentioning a feature orbenefit, mention the featureif the benefit is obvious. Ifnot, mention the benefit.• Promise ease. Busy peopleare more likely to opensomething they’re interestedin if it looks like it cutsto the chase. You do thisthree ways. 1) Include aword such as quick or easy;2) include a small number,“4 ways to . . .” 3) if you have room,include both, “4 Quick Ways to . . .” Ifyou say it’s quick or easy, it better be.• Promise immediate value. Onlypromise 10 Tips for Reducing PackagingCosts if you include those tips in thebody of the message, in an attachment,or one link away. If there’s room,include the words, Here’s How or justHere at the end of the subject line. Don’tprovide a link to info that requires thereader to register, wait for confirmation,and then go back to the link. Itannoys readers. Even worse is askingpeople to pay $95 for a white paper orsign up for a $300 course. If there’s acost, imply it in the subject line.• Be straightforward. Do not makepromises in the subject line about theemail message that aren’t true. No onewill ever open your emails again. So,use the subject line for telling, ratherthan selling what’s in the message.• Avoid certain words. Avoid thesethree words/phrases: Help, Percent off,Reminder. And avoid other words thatconvey the same sentiments. Forexample, Don’t Forget is the same asReminder. Why? The click throughrates on subject lines with those wordsand sentiments are low (perhapsbecause Help and Reminder imply workand Percent off is always too good to betrue) unless someone opts in.Other subject line words and phraseswill trigger a spam filter: The recipient’sname, Information you requested,Guarantee, Special Promotion, Winner,Free. The list is long. You’ve been erasingemails messages for years and likelyknow what these words are.• Send a test email/post to yourselffirst. Don’t copy words from a documentand paste them into the subjectline (the characters can mistranslate insending). Always type in the subjectline. Don’t use all caps, exclamationmarks, or imperatives such as Must,Now, Always, Never, Immediately, Orelse. Approach your email subject lineand message with the sincere desire tomake people’s lives better and easier.Here are some good subject lines:From a gift supplier: Cut Company GiftSelection Hassle in Half WithThese 3 Tips (64characters).From a law office: 5-MinuteSummary of the New E-DiscoveryLaw Attached—WhatYou Really Need to Know (82characters). From a bearingmanufacturer: Prolong CouplingLife—3 Quick Ways toReduce Maintenance ExpenseHere. (70 characters)So, here’s your formula:Main Idea (and as fits) Small Number +Feature/Benefit + Ease + Immediate Value.Optimizing the subject line andemail message for mobile. Take this astep further and optimize your subjectlines and email message for mobiledevices, including smart phones andtablets. You don’t need to shorten thesubject line, the From line or the emailmessage—just frontload the key info.You want the most relevant info at thestart of subject and From lines and thetop of email messages (and Web pages).For the email message, summarizethe key info in one paragraph at thetop; on the next line add a call to action;and then one line of contact info (nospaces between any lines in this top section).Add a space, then add in the fulltext, and follow that with complete contactinfo.It looks like this: Summary (about 50words), Call to Action (Call or emailnow), Name and Phone # (they alreadyhave your email address), Full text,Contact info.SSEJean Van Rensselar is owner of Smart PR Communications.Jean@SmartPRCommunications.com or 630-363-8081.ACTION: Craft compelling subject lines.SALES AND SERVICE EXCELLENCE J U L Y 2 0 1 2 9


SALES/LESSONSSales Lessons at SeaPlot your course for success.ing planning, and enormous tenacity.You must study the winds, currents,tides, and try to predict through thisresearch what will affect the voyage.There’s equipment to install, learnabout, and repair; and these studiesnever end. The setbacks that come fromweather, equipment failures, and theemotional highs and lows of spendingday after day at sea are enough totake the wind out of your sails—andkeep you close to your home port.Similarly, a longer-term sale is madewith inquiry, patience, and perseverance.Certain sales can take months toclose the deal. Study your prospectand calculate how your product canhelp them reach their goals.4. Patience is a virtue in selling. Itmight take hundreds of contacts beforefinding one prospect who needs yourservices, and then it could take monthsMANAGEMENT/MOTIVATIONMotivate TalentUse these six proven ways.by Larry JacobsonIMAGINE YOU’RE STANDING ATthe wheel of your sailboat.You untie the lines, back outof the slip, motor up the channel, andhead out to sea. What direction do youhead? The compass offers you 360 choices;and if you don’t choose, the windand current will take you at their will.Plotting a course requires having adestination in mind, and then you haveto steer for that heading. Planning tosell to a prospect requires the samepre-planning. Without plotting yourcourse, the forces of sales will carryyou where they will and chances arethat won’t be where you want to go.When planning a voyage, preparationis key. Before leaving the dock ormaking a sales call or presentation, askyourself five questions: 1) Do I havethe necessary skills, do I know whowill do what tasks, and do I have theright equipment? 2) What obstacles amI likely to encounter, and am I preparedto deal with them? 3) Do I havean alternate plan in case of hazards?4) Am I equipped with the time, manpowerand materials to persevere forlonger than expected? 5) Am I focusedon the destination so that no matterwhat happens, I will achieve the goal?When crossing a 3,000-mile ocean,one degree off course can make you missyour landfall by hundreds of miles. Beforeyou set on your sales journey, followthese five guidelines to ensure success.1. Practice. Before venturing out ona presentation to that big prospect youhope to win as a client, practice yourpresentation over and over again untilyou know it cold. If you’re presentingas a team, know who will handle whatportions of the presentation. Assignroles and plan the timing. Be sure yourequipment including projector andpresentation copies are in good orderand are not in checked luggage.2. Prepare. Are you ready for questionsand objections from the prospect?Sure, you may have reviewed whatyou think are appropriate questionsand objections, but have you looked atit from their point of view? They’ll askquestions you haven’t thought ofbecause they’re looking at things froma different point of view.3. Persevere. Crossing an ocean in asmall boat requires research, painstakbyBrad RemillardMOTIVATING YOUR TOP TALentis key to retainingthem, and yet motivation isa low priority for most managers.How do you motivate top talent toachieve company goals? The answer isculture. To keep top talent motivated,focus on six areas:1. Cultivate a performancebasedculture. In tough timesthere must be clearly definedgoals, and these must be clear toyour top talent. They must havequantifiable objectives thatmotivate them, so whenreached, they feel a sense ofaccomplishment. Providing specifictime-based goals with achievableresults clarifies exactly what is expected.Your best talent will embrace the goalsand not stop until they reach the goal.2. Create a team culture. Can youdefine your company’s culture? Doeseveryone define it the same way? If not,work on it. Once the culture is welldefined, do the behaviors match theculture? Do all managers model thisculture day-to-day in how the deal withemployees, customers, and vendors?3. Show respect/express appreciation.Small things can make a big differencewith top talent. Respecting their contributions,listening to them, includingthem in decision making, asking fortheir thoughts and ideas all make themto get an appointment. Consider it apassage across an ocean and persevereto reach your desired destination.5. Tenacious salespeople usually winin the end. When selling, keep your finalgoal in mind and know the processesyou’re using to achieve it. If a changethrows you off of your plans, if a competitorundercuts your price, or the prospectpostpones the purchase, stick withit. Come back to the course you plottedat first and persevere. Try again. AsWinston Churchill said, “Success is notfinal, failure is not fatal, it’s the courageto continue on that counts.”Use these lessons learned at sea toconquer fear and stay the course. SSELarry Jacobson is a speaker, executive coach andauthor of the award-winning best seller, The BoyBehind the Gate. Visit www.LarryJacobson.com, emailLarry@LarryJacobson.com or call 510-500-4566.ACTION: Prepare and persevere in sales.feel respected and appreciated. Create aculture that respects your top talent sothey feel appreciated.4. Provide consistent feedback. Thisincludes regular and structured one-ononefeedback sessions where you focus onthem—giving them feedback, encouragingthem, listening to their needs(even if you can’t meet them), taking aninterest in their career, and building ashared bond. This makes them feeltheir manager cares about them as aperson, not just an employee.5. Praise progress and performance.You might say: “Thanks, I appreciatethe pride you take in your work.” Praisegoes a long way to motivatepeople. When people aredoing more than expected,demonstrating appreciationwill be returned when theeconomy turns and they don’thave to be working there anylonger.6. Encourage education andgrowth. Top talent insists on learningand getting better to prepare for futureopportunities. They don’t like to limittheir growth potential. Ensure theygrow and become more valuableemployees by enabling them to takeadditional classes, lead a project, accepta challenging new opportunity, serveon a cross-functional team, or take anon-line class.Practice these six ways to motivate toptalent. They’ll increase their productivity—andthat’s the best ROI. SSEBrad Remillard is a speaker, trainer, co-founder ofIMPACT HIRING SOLUTIONS and co-author of,You’re NOT the Person I Hired: A CEO’s Guide to HiringTop Talent. Visit www.bradremillard.com.ACTION: Practice these six ways to motivate.10 J U L Y 2 0 1 2 W W W .LEADEREXCEL.COM


SERVICE/CUSTOMERSPlanned SerendipityPut it to work for your business.by Thor Mullerand Lane BeckerIT’S A COMMON CLICHÉ: THE ENRAGEDcustomer, held hostage by a computerizedphone tree, red in the face andscreaming at the automated voice foistedon them by their service provider,begging for a real person to get on theline. Yet the image has staying powerbecause there’s a maddening truth toit: most companies do everything theycan to keep customers at bay, ofteninstituting various customer deflectionsolutions, like the ubiquitous phonetree, intended to keep customers frominteracting with employees.Why would managers want to incitethis negative response? Few intend tocreate such strife via their customerservice practices. Most would muchprefer to delight their customers, asfrustrated customers often lead to lossof future sales (especially if the situationenters the social media fray).Rather, our unfortunate current situationis the natural outcome of wellintentioneddecisions about the bestway to manage a thriving business.A focus on responsiveness is a hallmarkof many new businesses, but asthey grow they start to formally segmentresponsibilities. Customer servicebecomes one department among many.While this segmentation allows thebusiness to scale its growth, it tends tocut employees off from the customers.Cost is also a factor. Each new customercomes with a service cost. This isless of an issue early, when these costsare part of building the business, but inconjunction with scale, they can becomesignificant. And since they almostalways come after the customer haspaid, these costs are rarely seen as anythingbut a loss to be minimized.Yet there are hidden costs to customerdeflection—companies cutthemselves off from all the immensevalue and knowledge their customershave. Our customers are our lifeline—paying attention to them helps usanticipate how our market will change,ensuring that our thriving businesstoday will stay a thriving businesstomorrow. We can never predict whattimely, serendipitous piece of informationfrom a customer could potentiallylead us in a new direction.There is an alternative. If we can reconnectour workforce with our customersin a way that doesn’t squeezeour resources, we make more roomfor serendipity—and the valuable possibilitiesit holds—along the way. Wecall this serendipity-friendly approachexercising the skill of permeability—theability to engage with your customersthroughout their product or serviceexperience, and to weave the insightsgenerated by these interactions andengagement into the dailypractice of your business.Like a sponge, which continuallyingests and expelswater in order to hold itsshape, permeability letsnew ideas flow in when wecarefully open ourselves upto the wide world thatexists outside. Permeabilityis a skill that every employeecan and should learn, notjust the customer service team. Itenables us to get at our customer’s insightsreliably. Any one of them couldbe the spark that leads to the next productbreakthrough or marketing coup.We’ve seen companies hone the skillof permeability with Get Satisfaction, theWeb-based customer community platformwe developed to support this approachto interacting with customers.• Pampers. Pampers makes baby-careitems, and cultivates an engaged customercommunity around their products.Every decision related to a babycan feel like life or death to a parent.This makes Pampers parents the kind ofcustomer a brand manager at Proctor& Gamble would refer to as high engagement:likely to spend time researchingall available options before making apurchase. Pampers markets to its customersby giving them the space andopportunity to have a conversationwith each other. On the Pampers GetSatisfaction community site, parentsask questions of each other, like howto get a teething baby to sleep throughthe night. Even employees who aren’tparticipating can see and benefit fromthe conversations happening online.• Whole Foods. Whole Foods is theleading organic grocery chain in the U.S.Its customers are also highly engagedconsumers. Teresa, a Whole Foodsemployee, responded to a questionabout bottled water by explaining howtheir bottled water program works. Herresponse, 500 words long, addressesnot only the various sources WholeFoods gets water from, but also delvesinto issues around filtration processes.The community platform allowed herto monitor concerns and choose to getinvolved when she came across a questionshe had knowledge about. Developingthe skill of permeability doesn’tjust allow knowledge to flow into yourorganization—it also allows it to betterflow out. The opportunity to share withcustomers that want to hear it can bepowerfully motivating for employees,bridging the distance between youremployees and customers.• Timbuk2. Timbuk2’s mission is makingbike messenger bags.Their focus is vital to theirsuccess, but can also createproblems, as they can missopportunities as a result oftunnel vision. Timbuk2 hasa type of customer they didn’tused to think about—the skate-punk mom, whogoes to Burning Man butalso buys organic groceries.She loves her Timbuk2 bags,but has kids and needs a diaper bag,too. When one mom asked in the communitywhether Timbuk2 would evermake a diaper bag, the initial responsewas negative. But as the communityexplored the topic, the group perspectiveevolved. The discussion showedthat Timbuk2 moms knew what theywanted, because many had hackedtheir messenger bags to turn them intodiaper bags. In response, Timbuk2 createda diaper bag hack kit on their site,making space for these moms to showoff their own diaper bag hacks.Once you embrace a new approachto talking to your customers, a newworld of benefits opens up. Openingyour business to connect with yourcustomers opens you up to your customers’intelligence, inventiveness, creativity,and excitement. These qualitiescome from customers who choose toengage with your product or serviceand want to share that experience backwith you. Who knows what insightswill serendipitously arise as a result? SSEThor Muller and Lane Becker are cofounders of GetSatisfaction and coauthors of Get Lucky (Jossey-Bass).Visit www.getsatisfaction.com.ACTION: Open yourself up to customers.SALES AND SERVICE EXCELLENCE J U L Y 2 0 1 2 11


SERVICE/LOYALTYThe Loyalty LeapAre you ready to make it?by Bryan A. PearsonCUSTOMER DATA CAN INFORMdecisions that make thedifference between simplyretaining your customers for now anddeveloping long-term emotional loyalty.Don’t be casual about putting the customerat the center of your purpose.Organizations can be sorted intothree categories of readiness: 1) CustomerCasual; 2) Customer Close; or 3) CustomerCommitted. To learn which categoryyour organization is in and how it drivesyour strategy, take this quiz:• Is your customers’ transactionaldata used as a filter to making decisionsin all areas of the business?a) every area uses transactional data indecision-making; b) most groups usethe data, though a few do not; c) only afew groups use data; most of the organizationdoesn’t; or d) we don’t usecustomer data for decision-making.• What portion of your collectedtransactional data is analyzed andused to bring value to your customers?a) we actively review all transactionaldata and assess opportunities for use;b) we review most data; some is not;c) some is used, most is not; or d) verylittle of the data is analyzed or used.• How relevant are your communications/promotionsto your most loyaland valuable customers? a) we knowexactly who they are and look to providea customized experience by leveragingdata; b) we know who they areand target them with generic promotionsand discounts; c) we have arough profile and try to target themwith promotions; or d) we don’t knowwho our most valuable customers are.• Does your company work to gain theloyalty of frontline employees? Do youhave ongoing training programs, andalso give them the freedom to improvethe customer experience in their area.• Is repeat business your definition ofcustomer loyalty? a) we measure it,but also use other measures to evaluateloyalty; b) it is our primary means ofmeasuring loyalty; c) it is our onlymeans of measuring loyalty; or d) wecannot measure repeat business.• How much customer data does yourcompany believe it should collect? Aslittle or as much as possible?• Do you agree customer satisfactionis an accurate measure of customerloyalty? Do you look at both satisfactionand engagement to measure loyalty?• Do you collect and use spatial info?This refers to the physical location orneighborhood, in which the customerlives, his or her travel routes and theplaces where he or she does business.• Do you collect and use temporalinfo? This means timing but can alsoreflect a big lifestyle shift such as a newbaby, move or career change. Thesechanges also can be small (home renovationproject or family reunion).• Do you collect and use individualinfo? This reflects consumers’ uniquepersonal interests, passions and values.• Do you collect and use cultural/cohort information? This means anyongoing activities that regularly groupSALES/HUMORWin with HumorIt’s the social catalyst at work.by Eric J. RomeroHUMOR CAN CHANGE Adull organization toone where people like comingto work. Humor boosts group cohesiveness,communication, socialization,leadership effectiveness, creativity, andstress reduction. Yet many managersdismiss it as irrelevant at work. This isnonsense! Humor is highlyrelevant at work. Today’sworkforce is different. Theyexpect work to be fun andenjoyable. Humor can helpmanagers create an enjoyableenvironment and contribute toemployee retention. Humor is akey element in the culture ofSouthwest Airlines, Google,Ben & Jerry’s and Zappos—unconventionalcompanies that beat competition.Humor is essential to most relationshipsthat we cherish. You enjoy beingwith your best friends because you canshare laughs together. At work, humorcan create a positive culture conduciveto social interaction. Where humor is discouraged,work is dehumanized. Whywould any manager want to do that?In fact, given the importance of theservice and sales teams, helping peoplework well together is crucial. Leadersneed ways to bring people together—humor does that in an enjoyable way.Using humor is far cheaper thanother approaches for bringing peopletogether (retreats, parties).people together. This includes standarddemographics and lifestyle choices.• Are data-analytics talent and databasetechnology treated as strategicimperatives? Do you champion theminternally and invest heavily to ensuremarket leadership?The new normal involves customerswho jealously guard their privacy, yetalso demand that all their unique needsbe met. You need to deliver on thedesire for relevant connections that fulfillcustomer needs. You make the loyaltyleap by understanding your customers’needs, respecting their privacy, and havingthe tools to accomplish all this. SSEBryan Pearson is CEO of LoyaltyOne and author ofThe Loyalty Leap: Turning Customer Information intoCustomer Intimacy (Portfolio). Visit www.loyalty.com.ACTION: Make the loyalty leap.How to Use HumorTo have fun at work, try these ideas:• Joke about your faults or mistakes.• Have fun costumes or funniest catchphrase competitions.• Give funny names to things; meetingrooms, nicknames, or teams.• Have a roast of top leaders (a panelof people make jokes about someone).• Occasionally play fun games.• Create a fun room where people canplay games or just goof-off.• Take and share funny pictures of work.• Create funny songs or rhymes aboutteams, people, events, or competition.• Tell funny stories of events at work;embellish/exaggerate for added humor.• Watch a funny TV show(The Office) or movie (Airplane).Since humor can causeproblems or go too far, setsome reasonable limits. Avoidusing humor to intentionallyupset or hurt people; avoidethnic, gender and similartypes of humor (since usingsuch humor could be construedas harassment); avoid humorthat distracts people from their work.The benefits of using humor are farmore than just fun—it’s good business.Since humor is part of being human, itshould not be discouraged at work. Tothe contrary, it should be encouraged sothat people can enjoy its many benefits.Humor is a key part of an unconventionalculture and competitive advantage.It helps people work better together,resulting in better communication, leadership,teamwork, and creativity! SSEEric J. Romero, Ph.D., is an Unconventional LeadershipConsultant and Speaker who helps managers beatthe competition. He is the author of Compete Outsidethe Box. Visit www.CompeteOutsideTheBox.com.ACTION: Add appropriate humor to your work.12 J U L Y 2 0 1 2 W W W .LEADEREXCEL.COM


SERVICE/SUSTAINABILITYEmployee ServiceIt’s key to sustainability.by Michael RosenbaumONE BY ONE, THE MEN IN THEDiscount Tire T-shirtswill describe what they seewhen they look up the corporate ladder—they see themselves. From store managersto regional VPs and operationsexecutives, it’s a parade of people whostarted their careers busting tires and, atthe top, is chief tire buster Bruce Halle.Halle was a poor kid and poorer student,overwhelmed at times by a badtemper and lacking most traits of ayoung man to watch. Today, his $3 billionDiscount Tire Company operates 820stores, and Halle is ranked 96 on theForbes list of 400 richest Americans.His journey provides key insightsinto the most complex mission of anyleader: attracting and motivating followers.Discount Tire’s success—commandinga 10 percent market sharewhile operating retail stores in only halfof the states—demonstrates the measurableimpact of Halle’s simple approach.Discount Tire sells a commodity productin a saturated market. Customerswho visited Halle’s first shop in 1960could obtain the same or better tires attwo other stores within 300 feet of hisfacility. The situation isn’t much differenttoday. People can buy tires anywhereand many retailers will matchcompetitors’ offers automatically.In this environment, competitiveadvantage must come from a source otherthan product selection and pricing. Early inhis career, Halle focused on simplethings like clean bathrooms, then a rarityin the automotive business, and freemounting of snow tires. Instinctively, heemphasized the customer experience asmuch as the product, which led to success.As Halle expanded to new storesand new states, he faced the same challengesas any founder. How could heobtain the same results in other storeswhen he wasn’t the guy greeting customersand enhancing their experience?According to S. Robson Walton,chairman of Walmart Stores, Inc., theanswer lies in finding the right followers.As Walton writes in his foreword to SixTires, No Plan, “the founder must enlistlikeminded employees—true believers—toboth adopt and fulfill the mis-sion. Employees must be convinced, notcompelled, to sign on to the founder’svision and values, to operate in a waythat resembles or replicates his style.Employees must become missionariesfor the personal brand of the founder.”Halle’s personal brand, establishedthe day he opened his first store in AnnArbor, was value-driven and customerfriendly. Early in the company’s development,Halle extended this brand bysimply finding other guys like himself—men who were willing to work hardand smile while doing it, men whoappreciated that their success flowedfrom making the customer happy.While these early recruits thoughtHalle was a man to follow, they did notsee him as much different from themand believed they could find success atDiscount Tire as he had. Halle offeredand delivered recruits a roadmap to follow.Today, the prototypical store manageror operating executive at Discount Tire isan average Joe who had few expectationsin life, never thought of a tirestore as the place to build a career, andshowed up one day for no other reasonthan to put food on the table. The typicalemployee starting out at DiscountTire will have much in common withHalle when he founded the company.Finding the right match for employeesis only one step in the process of creatingfollowers for Halle. More importantare the practices he implements tobuild loyalty among his teammates.For example, Halle never hires a storemanager from outside the company.The waiting list for store manager slotsis long, and the company bench strengthdeep, so there’s no need to raid the competition.Even stronger as an incentiveis the loyalty among employees.The same holds true in the uppermanagement, where the vice chairman,CEO, president, and other operatingexecutives can trace their careers to theback of a tire store. The leader/followerrelationship is a shared faith, and Halle’semployees know he is committed tokeeping that faith. “If I were to bringsomeone in at a high level without havingworked in the stores, I may as wellslap every store manager in the face—and I would never do that,” Halle says.Halle has built the company aroundits employees, not around the productor customer. While Discount Tire getshigh marks for customer satisfaction,the path to those metrics flows throughemployee motivation. Among the toolsHalle employs to build that motivation:• When a store reaches $200,000 inmonthly sales, Halle sends the companyjet to take all full-time employeesand significant others on a day-trip.• When the cost of living increaseddramatically in one region, Halle boostedpay rates to close the gap. Similarly,when local economic conditions precludestrong financial performance,Halle has paid bonuses to workers whohad not earned them—at least, on paper.• Frequently, employees promotedbeyond their capability are reassigned.Each example here is relatively smallin a company with 800 stores and thousandsof employees. The long-termimpact of these investments is similarlyminor on the income statement. Thepower of these examples can’t be overstated,however. Employee loyalty andcommitment flow from corporate legendsabout Halle’s loyalty to his people.In turn, Halle expects his managersto follow the same model with employees.The role of managers is to replicate andperpetuate Halle’s leadership style.When they face a challenge, they ask,What would Bruce do? The answer, Hallewould say, is to pay it forward.“We’re creating jobs for many wonderfulpeople,” Halle reminds his executives.Halle sees kindness as a trust to bepassed on to the next person in line. Themore kindnesses one receives, the greaterthe responsibility to pay it forward.The message is received clearly bythe people who thrive at Discount Tire.They see their personal path to success intheir role as followers—emulating theleaders’ practices and becoming leaders,paying forward to their own employees.The result is what many see as a selfperpetuatingand productive culture atDiscount Tire, with 18-year-old parttimerschoosing to follow the octogenariantire salesman who started it all. SSEMichael Rosenbaum is a business consultant and authorof Six Tires, No Plan (Greenleaf) the biography of DiscountTire founder Bruce Halle. Visit www.q5works.com.ACTION: Excel in employee service.SALES AND SERVICE EXCELLENCE J U L Y 2 0 1 2 13


SALES/STORIESBetter StorytellingUse these three techniques.by Patricia FrippEVERYBODY LOVES A GOODstory. Stories are how welearn values and history. Insales, stories help us explain the complexand differentiate us from our competition.Wise leaders, managers, andsalespeople develop an arsenal of greatstories and good examples. To putyour best foot forward, gain powerful,persuasive presentation skills.Steve Ball of Microsoft was in chargeof finding the right music to be the bootupsound for the Vista operating system.He brought in three professionals withHollywood experience—for six secondsof sound! Steve explained, “Part of thesound was used in our email program.That translated into this sound beingheard more than any other music everheard, including the Beatles.”The musician chosen was Robert Fripp,guitarist/founder of King Crimson.Steve noted, “All the artists created asound that would have worked. However,Robert told the best story of howhis music best represented Vista.”Sometimes, the most unlikely peopletell great stories. Often a coworker willhave you in stitches as she regales youwith tales of what happened taking thebus to work. Then the CFO walks in, andhalfway through his story everyonesays, “It’s time to get back to work!”Why is it so few have the skill?When someone tells a rambling storythat seems to go nowhere, you are leftwondering “What was the point?” Toturn simple stories into examples thatwill be remembered and frequentlyrepeated, use these three methods.1. Think chronologically. When didyour story happen? Where’s your storyset? From whose eyes is the audienceseeing the story? Stories work bestwhen told in the order they happen; itis easier for you and the audience toremember it. While you develop yourexample, add as many details as youcan remember. After you have youroutline, take the advice of AlfredHitchcock: “A movie is like life with allthe dull parts left out.” Meaning cutanything that is irrelevant or boring.Classic movie formulas that can helpyou are: “A day in the life,” “Somethinghappened . . .” “And the result of that is. . .” “And the result of that is . . .”2. Use shorter sentences or phrases.Ron Arden, speech coach and director,told me “The written word for the eye,the spoken word is for the rhythm.”When we read it is easy to look backand read a paragraph again. When wespeak we need to keep the audiencewith us. Present information in shortersegments than you would write.3. Consider each sentence a scene.Present information in the way theaudience sees the message. When puttingtogether a story, consider each sentencea scene as it would be in a screenplay. Try writing your notes down thepage, line-by-line, rather than in paragraphs;it will be much easier for youto internalize. The audience will betransported to a different time andplace and emotionally connect more.Putting it together. One sales professionalwho impressed people bySALES/PROPOSALSSales ProposalsWhy do customers want them?by Tom SantEVEN WHEN YOUR SOLUTIONis a great fit, the value isclear, and the customerknows you can and will deliver, theymight still ask for a proposal. If you aredealing with a government agency, therules governing procurement likelymandate proposals. By-passingthose regulations to sole sourcea contract is difficult. And inthe commercial world, buyersmight insist on getting proposalsfor one of three commonreasons:1. Compare vendors, offers,or prices. Even if you are theonly vendor, you might be asked for aproposal so that your recommendations,pricing, and evidence can be comparedto a competitor’s. Buyingproducts or services can be tough whenthe decision maker must deal with anarray of options, conflicting claims, andlittle knowledge of the area. By askingfor a proposal or issuing a formal RFP,the decision-maker can compare andcontrast responses.• Your job is to emphasize your differentiatorsand how they add value. Showcustomers that they’ll get the resultsthey value most by choosing you basedon capabilities, features or other factorsthat differentiate you from competition.2. Clarify complex information. If yousell something complex, your prospectsusing these three ideas is Mark, a SalesManager who was preparing to moderatea panel at a National Sales Meetingand was nervous. He’d tried to understandnew products, clients, and products,and his mission in the speech wasto encourage people to embrace newjobs and move fast to get up to speed. Yet,Mark had no idea how to set the tone.He remembered a story from lastyear’s sales meeting, how his wife camein for the weekend. They went to seeDavid Copperfield, and he made herdisappear. Using the three tips, Markcreated a short, meaningful story thatset the right tone for the panel andearned rave reviews.SSEPatricia Fripp, CSP, CPAE, is a Hall of Fame speaker,executive coach, sales skills trainer, and keynote speaker.Visit www.Fripp.com, 415-753-6556, twitter@PFripp,or PFripp@ix.netcom.com.ACTION: Tell stories better to sell more.may not understand it. Many productsand services involve new technology,complicated processes, or elaboratefinancial arrangements. Your customersmay think that they need to understandevery aspect of the deal before they canmake a decision. If they don’t understandwhat you’re talking about, they’lllikely request a proposal. A proposalgives customers a chance to read, analyze,ponder, get help, and understand.• Your job is to offer an overview upfront. The executive summary shouldfocus on the customer, not your technologyor history. Show understanding ofthe customer’s business, whatthey need, and why. Then recommenda solution that linksto their needs and how you’lladdress them.3. Add objectivity to thebuying process. Clients oftenissue RFPs and set elaboratescoring tables, weight variousparts of the proposal, and then assignpoints to each of your answers. To addobjectivity, they may divide the priceyou quote by the number of points youreceive to determine which vendor hasthe best dollar/point ratio.• Your job is to write a proposal thatis easy to recommend. Avoid lapsinginto marketing fluff and vague claims.Be specific. Link your recommendationsto what the customer cares about.Writing proposals is a strategic part ofyour sales process—a chance to set yourselfapart and win business. SSETom Sant is CEO of Hyde Park Partners and author ofPersuasive Business Proposals, The Giants of Sales, andThe Language of Success. Call 805-782-9290.ACTION: Create winning proposals.14 J U L Y 2 0 1 2 W W W .LEADEREXCEL.COM


SERVICE/ATTITUDEService AttitudeIt affects client actions.by Leslie GroeneAS A SALES COACH, I’Malways evaluating acompany’s sales and servicepersonnel. I often wonder, Do they treatall of their customers like that? Why didthey say that? Do they have any clue whatconclusion I come to when I hear that?On one recent trip, I boarded a onehourflight at 9:30 a.m. out of the LosAngeles area. Once in the air, I requestedcoffee and was told by the flightattendant that they no longer servedcoffee on short flights after 9:30 a.m.(new policy). I was disappointed that Icould no longer get coffee, but I wasmore displeased with the flight attendant’sdismissive attitude and demeanor.Upon my return home, I realizedthat I had left a small but expensivetravel case behind at the hotel. I calledand was transferred to the hotel securitydepartment. They said that they didhave the case and would send it to me.I received it via registered mail a fewdays later with all of the contentsintact. I sent a letter to the manager ofthe hotel to express my thanks to hisstaff for not only turning in the casebut sending it to me promptly.There will always be revenue attritionin any company—sometimes throughno fault of your own—but other timesit is directly linked to your customerservice. Do you know your attritionpercentage and why you have attritionwithin your current customer base?Become aware of how your service andattitude affects your clients! Here arefive stats about clients and what drivesthem away: 1) it takes 6 to 10 timesmore to attract a new customer than itdoes to keep an old one; 2) 96 percentof unhappy customers don’t complain—theyjust stop doing businesswith you; 3) 91 percent of those whodon’t complain will share the negativestory with at least nine other people(and 13 percent will tell more than 20other people about their experience);4) the average unhappy customer willremember the incident for 23 years;5) the happy customer will talk aboutthe pleasant experience for 18 months;and 6) for every complaint heard, theaverage company has 25 other customerswith the same problem.One way to minimize declining revenueis to call the client and see howthey experienced your team and servicelevel. Ask them if you met their expectationsand how you could improve thebuyer/seller relationship. I suggest to myclients that they personally check in withtheir top 50 customers regularly to keeprelationships strong and ensure thatthey’re providing the best possible service.This personal touchalso enables you to learnwhat market changes areoccurring within yourclients’ industries.Customer service is aseries of activities designed toenhance customer satisfaction—thefeeling that a productor service has met thecustomer expectation.Note four rules of customerservice:1. Honesty is the best policy—integrity.Be honest; own up to mistakes. Tellwhat you’ll do to change or prevent thesame mistake from happening again.Don’t think that a mea culpa will getyou off the hook. Make and implementa plan to fix the problem!2. Break glass in case of fire—responsetime. The best tact is to quickly get onthe phone with the customer to explainyour company’s mistake. Don’t rely onemail if it can be done quickly one onone. When communicating to a largecustomer base, email is the fastest andmost effective way to notify customersthat you are aware of the problem.Frequent updates if there is a protractedissue and a brief overview of how you’llprevent it from happening again willgive your customers confidence thatyou are aware of the customer impact.3. Keep it real—set a realistic expectation.Customers who are promisedsomething that isn’t delivered as promisedare far more frustrated. Under promiseand over deliver. This may take somearm wrestling with other departmentswho want to take a feature or productto market before it is ready. Set theexpectations correctly internally as towhat the fallout may be so everyoneunderstands the impact to customersatisfaction and customer retention.4. Show respect. Everyone in yourcompany should love your customers.Without them, you have no company.This doesn’t mean you won’t have difficultcustomers who will push the limitsand try everyone’s patience. But if youdon’t have a company philosophy torespect and appreciate your customers,the opposite tone will infect customerinteractions from all departments. Alldepartments, customer facing or not,should care about customer satisfaction.Retain Best CustomersHere are four reminders to reinforceways to retain your customers so you canincrease your revenue.1. Know your product. Know whatproducts/service you are offering backto front. Be an expert. It is okay to say“I don’t know,” but followup with “let me find out”or “my friend knows!”Whatever the situation,don’t leave your customerwith an unanswered question.2. Body language/communication.Most of thecommunication that werelay to others is donethrough body language. Ifwe have a negative bodylanguage when we interact with othersit can show our lack of care. Two of themost important parts of positive bodylanguage are smiling and eye contact.Make sure to look your customers in theeye. It shows that we are listening tothem, not at them. And then of coursesmiling is just more inviting than someonewho has a blank look on their face.3. Anticipate customers needs. Nothingsurprises your customer more than anemployee going the extra mile to helpthem. Always look for ways to serveyour customer more than they expect.In doing so it helps them to know thatyou care and it will leave them with theFeel Good Factor that we are searchingfor. Warren Buffett said it best: “It takes20 years to build a reputation and five minutesto ruin it. If you think about that,you’ll do things differently.” Stay focusedon your client’s satisfaction and rememberthat our main focus needs to be retainingand attracting new customers.4. Be a good sport and treat othersfairly in competitive bidding situations.Your industry is a small world—so befair with others, even competitors, andtreat them the way you would want tobe treated. After all, by next year, youmight want to work with them. It’s theright thing to do—and it’s good business! SSELeslie Groene is author of Picture Yourself & the LifeYou Want. Visit www.groeneconsulting.com.ACTION: Apply these rules of customer service.SALES AND SERVICE EXCELLENCE J U L Y 2 0 1 2 15


SALES/PROSPECTINGContacting ProspectsUse the General Benefit Strategy.by Bryan FlanaganWHEN YOU CONTACT PROSpects,prepare what tosay in advance. You’ll gainmore confidence and competence whenyou dial the phone, and you’ll makemore calls and generate more activity.At this point, you don’t know theprospect well enough to state a specificbenefit. So, you need a general benefitstrategy (GBS) as a compelling reasonto meet. The more you know aboutyour prospect, the stronger your benefitstatement will be. For example, ifyou discover he is opening new offices,use this information in your GBS.The GBS consists of four steps:1) introduce yourself; 2) briefly describethe problem(s) you solve; 3) communicatea compelling value-advantage-benefit;and 4) state the purpose of your call.Here’s one GBS Example: “Mrs.Watts, this is Nancy with AcmeAdvertising. We’re a local advertisingfirm specializing in solving businessproblems caused by marketing challenges.We’ve assisted businesses suchas yours in profitably promoting themselves.I’d like to schedule an appointmentso we could explore the benefitsyou can receive from our services.”Here’s another example: “I’m EdSamson with Protection Services. Wespecialize in solving problems causedby data security issues. We assist insurancecompanies in getting confidentialmaterial off of their property and off oftheir minds. I’d like to meet with youand discuss the value you can receive.”The GBS is flexible—you can reviseit to best fit your needs and your salesculture. You may rearrange or combinesteps: “I’m Kathy Smith. I work withwomen in small business. They findvalue in our business planning as wellas managing their personal wealth. Thepurpose of my call is to schedule a timeto discuss how we could work togetherto achieve your financial goals.When is a convenient time to meet?”Now, create your own GBS: Introduceyourself; briefly describe the typeproblems(s) you solve; communicate acompelling value-advantage-benefit;and state the purpose of your call. Youmight have more than one GBS sinceyou may find various types of prospects.So, have various strategies. Update theGBS as needed to keep it fresh.Professionalism in SalesYou can be less than perfect, but neverless than professional in sales. Since salespros must be persuasive and convincing,we must be professional and ethical atall times. Assure them that thoseinvestments will reap a positive returnby exhibiting trustworthiness on eachclient interaction. Trust is about meetingexpectations over time. How do youbuild trust in interactions with clients?Do you have a process in achievingthis, or hope for the best? A process isbetter—hope is not a tactic.To show professionalism, take theattention off of you and place it on theprospect and his or her needs, issues,and concerns. Ask quality questions,listen effectively, and search for theprospect’s point of view. After youSALES/POSITIVITYGetting UpIt’s a choice you make.by Zig ZiglarYOU HAVE WATCHED MOVIESand laughed or cried.Your tears and laughter arebrought about because somethingshown on the screen enters your mind,affects your emotions, and produces thetears or laughter.You can always do something aboutyour emotions, whether youare up or down—and thechoice is yours. Most peoplewho are up don’t want to doanything to get down, but,surprisingly enough, everyonewho is down, does notnecessarily want to get up.Maybe there is some truth inthe old saw that “miseryloves company” or that some peopleenjoy having pity parties. At least theyseem unwilling to take positive actionsto cure the doom and gloom feelingwhich they have.My question is, why would somepeople elect not to change their gloomystate of mind? It has to do with selfesteem.Those who feel good aboutthemselves, even when they are in afoul mood, feel they deserve to feel betterand take positive action to accomplishthat objective. Those with poorself-esteem tend to maintain that foulmood by pursuing their negative thinking,which produces the feeling.One cure for overcoming gloomyfeelings is offered by Karl Menninger.leave a sales interview, ask yourself: do Iknow more about the prospect or does theprospect know more about me? Seek toknow more about the prospect.Prospects don’t demand perfect—justeffective. So, make effective sales calls.The prospect doesn’t want to see youstruggle to ask the perfect question, toconduct the perfect presentation, or touse the perfect closing technique. Yourprospect wants a professional who willlisten to his or her needs and solve hisor her problems. Selling is somethingyou do with prospects, not to them. Ifyour intent is to serve, develop effectiveand professional ways to serve. SSEBryan Flanagan is author of So, You’re New to Sales andSales Ambassador/Premiere Sales Trainer at Ziglar, Inc.ACTION: Try using the general benefit strategy.He stated that when you are down, ifyou will seek out someone else whohas a problem and get involved in helpingthem solve theirs, you quickly forgetyour own. So the solution is simple.When you’re in a blue mood, helpsomeone else solve their problem. Bothof you will feel better!Positive Is BetterWe are most influenced by the opinionof the most important person in ourlives. As we grow up, our parents arethe most important people in our lives.Unfortunately, too many times parentstake the negative route instead of thepositive one, and the results frequentlyare disastrous. Bill Glass,who has conducted revivalsin over 350 prisons inAmerica, says that 90 percentof the people who are incarceratedsay their parents constantlyharped on the negative, oftensaying things like, “You’llnever amount to anything.”Negative statements manymanagers verbalize is, “Can’t you doanything right?” “You always mess up!Can’t you learn how to close a sale?”The solution is to change from thenegative to the positive. Failure is anevent, not a person. A colleague mightmake a mistake, but the person is not themistake. Correct the mistake, and teachthe person a better way to behave orperform. Concentrate on positive actionsand good behavior before reviewing errorsand talking about the right answers.When you emphasize the positive,you’ll see more positive behavior! SSEZig Ziglar is known as America’s motivator. He is theauthor of 30 books. Check out his latest book, Born toWin. Visit www.zigziglar.com.ACTION: Cultivate and express your positivity.16 J U L Y 2 0 1 2 W W W .LEADEREXCEL.COM


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