For lack of a better term, let’s refer to these business concerns as the Big Five. Together, when executed properly, they can spell success for you and your organization.
About Sales: Too much focus on the sales presentation causes sellers to talk rather than listen—but it is the listening that reveals the customer’s concerns that can more easily lead to a sale. Apply the 80/20 rule to sales presentations. Have your customer do 80% of the talking to your 20%.
More About Selling: Offer your service to personal contacts when you believe it is truly in their best interest. Describe your service just once, and make it clear you do not expect them to use your services for the sake of the relationship. The sale should strengthen the relationship, not damage it.
About Marketing: Successful marketing starts after the sale is made. (What did he just say?) Once the sale is completed many customers suddenly feel they’re not getting the same attention they got when the sales person wanted their business. While marketing to new customers is a sound business practice, maintaining current customers is even better business.
About Customer Service: Your task is not to change a customer’s mind, but to understand them. Projecting opinions and making assumptions about what your customers want prevents you from meeting your customers’ true needs.
About Teamwork: Getting the job done in the days, weeks, months, and years ahead is going to be the result of more than individual effort. With the competition becoming more intense, winning organizations are going to have to implement a synergistic approach to growing their businesses. Synergism is when one and one equals three… that is, when the sum of the parts creates a more powerful organization then when the individual parts act alone. Teamwork is sure to become the battle cry in the years ahead.
But what if you are a one-man band? You still have a “team.” In your case the team consists of your preferred suppliers.
About Better Communication: To ensure accuracy in a conversation repeat in your own words what the other person just said. Repeating the message will indicate your genuine interest in the speaker’s message and will confirm that both of you understand the details of the spoken word.
Of course it should go without saying to hold eye contact and to respect the person’s personal “space.” And, don’t ever interrupt the speaker in mid thought. Then pause a second or two before responding.
There you have it. The Big Five. Now go out and practice these skills.
Mike Marchev is a down-to-earth motivating sales trainer, author and business coach who specializes in the travel industry. For a complimentary copy of Mike’s 12-Word Marketing Plan send him an email at firstname.lastname@example.org with the number “12” in the Subject Box. His daily column is made possible by AmaWaterways.