Monday, March 31, 2014

SG Sales Guru: Not Every Customer is Innocent - Lesson in Service Recovery

In the service industry as well as the sales industry, the common refrain is that the customer is always right. While this is a good service culture to have, it only applies to innocent customers.

What do I mean by innocent customers? They are customers who are innocent victims of a service lapse. In this case, by all means go all out to make them happy even if it means going above and beyond the call of duty. With proper service recovery, these clients will be your biggest brand ambassadors.

Unfortunately, not all customers are innocent. There are customers who deliberately create conditions for service lapses so that they can milk the customer service agent for all they can. They know that every company wants to make their clients happy and will usually offer some form of compensation in the form of extra services to right a lapse. It is this attitude that makes companies vulnerable.

So what should you do? As a manager or even a customer service representative, do not always assume that the lapse is your fault. Stop briefly to think before offering service recovery compensation. The brief pause will save you a lot of headaches as these non-innocents will only keep coming back until they are called out.

So while it is good company policy to assume a customer is always right, it is also good policy to also first determine if the complaining customer is an innocent.

Saturday, March 22, 2014

SG Sales Guru: The Secret to Closing More Sales

Every sales professional wants to close more sales. Similar to the saying in golf where you "drive for show, but putt for the dough", in sales it does not matter how well or badly you did everything else, all that matters is whether you closed the sale. It is therefore not surprising that sales professionals are always looking for tips and tricks to close more sales.

At SG Sales Guru, we have a problem with this mentality as it implies that the buyer is a fool waiting to be tricked or conned into buying something he or she does not want. We have always advocated (and have taught in our sales training courses) that the sales professionals' role is to help the buyer see how the company's product or service solves a problem the buyer has and needs resolved. To do otherwise is contrary to the best interest of the buyer and hence prevents the building of a lasting business relationship.

We believe that if you put the buyers' best interest at the center of the sales process, closing will simply be a matter of asking "shall we start the paperwork". In short, the secret to closing more sales is simply putting the buyers' best interest first and, when that has been met, asking for the sale.

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Our sales training courses have helped increase the sales turnover of numerous Singapore SMEs by an average of 30%. To find out how we can help you sell more and sell better, email our Principal Consultant at Justin[a]cwfongandassociates.com.

Monday, March 17, 2014

Guest Blogger on www.ButchBellah.com

Our Sales Principal Trainer has been invited to guest blog on the topic of sales for www.ButchBellah.com.
 
leading management trainer in singapore sales
 
Butch Bellah is a Sales, Marketing & Business Coach and can put more than over  25-years of “hands on” experience in sales, marketing and advertising to work for YOU. He is a sales, leadership and personal development Coach and Speaker working to help businesses not only survive, but THRIVE in today’s economy.  Butch was recently named one of the Top 100 Sales Experts to follow on Twitter.  Butch has the expertise necessary to coach ANY business or salesperson.  In addition, he spent 10-years “on the road” as a professional stand up comic and calls that decade “the best sales training I ever received”.

Thursday, March 13, 2014

SG Sales Guru: Personal Selling Using Social Media

In developing our Social Media Marketing for Financial Advisors programme, one challenge SG Sales Guru deliberated at lengths with the team at SG Social Media Guru was how to "sell" via Facebook without being perceived as an obnoxious and pushy salesman. We all know the type. He, or she, will constantly be pushing his product at every opportunity, whether the situation is appropriate or inappropriate.
 
What the team at SG Social Media Guru emphasized was that the social norms for selling via Facebook (or on any other social media platform for that matter) is no different from the social norms for selling face-to-face. While Facebook allows you to share and communicate with many people simultaneous, this only makes communications more efficient. It does not change the way people feel towards you or change their expectations of what is appropriate. At the end of the day, people still interact with you on a personal, or one-to-one basis.
 
For example, if a friend shared an observation on Facebook and a few of his friends were having a discussion on his wall about it, jumping-in and steering the conversation to a point where you then sell your product or service is rude. This is no different from a situation where a group of friends are having a conversation and then you join in and started your sales pitch to everyone present.
 
In the same light, it is also inappropriate if a competitor has a blog and you use its comment feature to pitch a competing product. Again, this is no different from you standing in your competitor's place of business and handing out your business cards. This is something you would never do in the physical world, so what makes it different in the digital world?
 
As such, participants of SG Sales Guru's Social Media Marketing for Financial Advisors programme are taught the fine art of using social media to sell. One point we always caution our students is that social media amplifies both positive and negative behaviors. Thus, if you come across as a pushy or obnoxious salesman, this reputation will spread rapidly and you will very quickly lose your natural market.
 
The key lesson for anyone who wants to sell using social media is this ... "social norms for how people want to be sold do not change just because we are on Facebook. So sell as if you were selling in person."

Friday, March 7, 2014

SG Sales Guru: "Fake it till you make it?"

In sales, and in business, we know the adage of "faking it till you make it." After all, few clients want to be your first. Without a track record, clients feel uncertain that you can actually deliver on your promise and are unlikely to give you any business. It is thus not uncommon for new businesses and sales professionals to puff up your credentials to give the aura of being established. While I have nothing against this, I firmly believe that there is a "correct way" of doing this.

Here are 3 rules for you to follow:

1. Based on Truth. With the Internet, nothing is hidden. Any claims you make can easily be verified by a Google search. Prospective clients can accept a little exaggeration, but they cannot accept lies. Once the trust is lost, no sale or business is possible.

2. Relevant Accomplishment. When "faking" it, it is important to use credentials that are relevant. If you are selling a management service, don't tell the client that you were a Miss Singapore or Miss Universe. Any credential presented must aid in the client's buying decision, otherwise it will be considered as conceite.

3. Up-to-Date References. In the same light as relevance, there is an expiry date to some of your accomplishments. Don't cite a slew of awards or accomplishments from 10 years ago with little or none for last year or the year before. To the astute business owner, you will be pegged as a "has been" trying to make a comeback.

In short, it is okay, necessary and even accepted that people will "fake it till the make it." But faking in this context is not lying, but merely branding and positioning your company or yourself. Do it well and you will grow your business. Do it poorly and you just might never "make it."