q

You are browsing the archive for Teamwork.

Delivering “good service” isn’t enough!

October 16, 2012 in Attitudes & Behaviours, Brand & Reputation, Competition, Customer Service, Marketing, Sales Driven Organisations, Sales Relationships, Sales Skills, Teamwork

I was impressed by a brief, but excellent ABC News Video on the impact of social media on a business’ reputation and brand, especially when things go wrong and that to reduce or eliminate any negative publicity issues to begin with starts with something rather old fashioned – delivering Service. This got Peter Finkelstein, our Sales Strategist and I musing about and the importance of good ‘ol fashioned customer service’ and what it really means today in a digital world.  Peter has proposed we adopt C.A.R.E. as our mantra. 

Here is what he has to say about C.A.R.E.:

Everyone knows that delivering good customer service is a fundamental building block. Here’s the challenge… If everyone knows about it, and most organisations are doing it (or at last trying to), then how can the delivery of “good service” be used as a differentiator? Or, is the question more likely to be: “How does one use service to create a competitive advantage?”

The reality is that delivering “good” service just isn’t good enough. In today’s competitive market, delivering good service is passé! To gain any advantage from service, companies will have to find ways to delight their customers. The best way to give sales a boost is to learn to live by the message hidden in the acronym C.A.R.E.

Everything going right

Companies need to dig very deep to find the competitive advantage

Following these fundamentals will help make C.A.R.E. a strong, lasting and profitable connection with customer….

1) Create a learning culture in the organisation. However long companies have been in the game and no matter the experience level of the customer-facing staff – sales, service and production – there’s always something else to learn about the products, services, customers, techniques, company and competition that will contribute to an improvement in both selling and customer support efforts. Stimulating a culture of innovation, where everything to do with customers is constantly challenged in order to find ways to improve information, ideas and strategies, helps develop the techniques that delight customers.

 2) Give away advice freely, but make sure it is good. Make it a goal to become a trusted adviser and business resource to customers. Most of the time, new and repeat customers and increased sales will follow. Customers should regard the company, and its sales and service people as people they can turn to for sound advice that helps them improve their own operations without worrying about having to pay for assistance.

 3) Map and communicate customer touch points on the value chain.  No one really likes surprises – let customers know what is going to happen to them when they work or partner with you.  What are the touch points in the relationship? What can the customer expect to happen and when?  If you are in any form of long term arrangement with your customers it helps that your salespeople clearly communicate these touch points up front and that the rest of your organization along that value chain knows their role in delivering your promise of value to your customers.

 4) Be consistent. The single most important aspect of brand equity (i.e. that magic ingredient that makes a brand strong and valuable) is consistency. Potential customers are always sizing the company and its customer-facing staff up. Credibility, achievements and even the delivery of outstanding service in the past can be obliterated in the blink of an eye by the failure to keep promises. It is now more important than ever that companies commit to and live by the mantra of professionalism – “Make promises you can keep and keep the promises you make…” Make sure you have the tools in place to monitor and measure turnaround and response times – because your customers do. Make sure that your actions match your words.

 5) Continuous Improvement. Customer centric organisations stay flexible and open to change. They follow the lead set by their customers in a segment. When buyers are informal they develop a culture of informality. When customers are businesslike they create a culture of unity by reflecting that characteristic. To be able to delight customers organisations have to size up the situation and circumstances in a segment and adapt their service delivery to a level higher than the expected. It is no longer good enough to have a standard service ethic. Whatever the current level of service is, that’s good enough for today. Tomorrow it has to be better.

6) Think resolution and closure. The constant goal of any customer-centric organisation should be to resolve any customer concerns or obstacles as quickly and as painlessly as possible. Provide customers with all the information they need to make an informed decision and reassure them why a decision to buy / support the organisation is a wise choice.

Companies need to incorporate that Customers Are Really Everything

Companies need to incorporate that
Customers Are Really Everything

In any customer interaction service is the backbone of success. Most customers will not buy the cheapest product or service if they have to pay a higher price for dealing with an insensitive, uncaring or unreliable service or sales person in an organisation. Incorporating the C.A.R.E. philosophy – Customers Are Really Everything – into the fabric of the organisation goes a long way to building the competitive advantage that rivals will find hard to emulate.

Remember everybody lives by selling something.

Author: Sue Barrett, www.barrett.com.au 

Seeing with New Eyes

April 5, 2012 in Attitudes & Behaviours, Collaboration, Ethics & Values, Sustainability & Environment, Teamwork, Uncategorized

Joel Barker, a Futurist, has been a favourite thinker of mine for many years. His way of seeing the world with new eyes, his openness to possibility has inspired me to dream and explore the world. In times of unprecedented change we can be forgiven for feeling scared or worried. We can find ourselves looking backwards at the ‘good ‘ol days’ instead of forwards. We can feel closed to opportunity instead of seeing new possibilities as liberating.

Futurist painter Felix del Marle: Looping 1914

Rather than dwell on the past and become nostalgic I propose we breathe deeply and take a look into the future to see what is possible. As Marcel Proust once said “The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes but in having new eyes.”

Therefore over this holiday weekend I would like to share with you Joel Barker’s ‘The Star Thrower Story’.

Joel writes that this story was inspired by the writing of Loren Eiseley. He goes on to say that Eiseley was a very special person because he combined the best of two cultures. He was a scientist and a poet. And from those two perspectives he wrote insightfully and beautifully about the world and our role in it.

“Once upon a time, there was a wise man, much like Eiseley himself, who used to go to the ocean to do his writing. He had a habit of walking on the beach before he began his work. One day he was walking along the shore. As he looked down the beach, he saw a human figure moving like a dancer. He smiled to himself to think of someone who would dance to the day. So he began to walk faster to catch up. As he got closer, he saw that it was a young man and the young man wasn’t dancing, but instead he was reaching down to the shore, picking up something and very gently throwing it into the ocean.

As he got closer, he called out, “Good morning! What are you doing?”

The young man paused, looked up and replied “Throwing starfish into the ocean.”

“I guess I should have asked, Why are you throwing starfish into the ocean?”

“The sun is up and the tide is going out. And if I don’t throw them in they’ll die.”

“But young man, don’t you realize that there are miles and miles of beach and starfish all along it. You can’t possibly make a difference!”

make a difference

making a difference

The young man listened politely. Then bent down, picked up another starfish and threw it into the sea, past the breaking waves. “It made a difference for that one!”

His response surprised the man. He was upset. He didn’t know how to reply. So instead, he turned away and walked back to the cottage to begin his writings.

All day long as he wrote, the image of the young man haunted him. He tried to ignore it, but the vision persisted. Finally, late in the afternoon he realized that he the scientist, he the poet, had missed out on the essential nature of the young man’s actions. Because he realized that what the young man was doing was choosing not to be an observer in the universe and make a difference. He was embarrassed.

That night he went to bed troubled. When the morning came he awoke knowing that he had to do something. So he got up, put on his clothes, went to the beach and found the young man. And with him he spent the rest of the morning throwing starfish into the ocean. You see, what that young man’s actions represent is something that is special in each and everyone of us. We have all been gifted with the ability to make a difference. And if we can, like that young man, become aware of that gift, we gain through the strength of our vision the power to shape the future.’

In times when changes rife and you don’t feel you can contribute effectively, remember that every small action makes a difference to yours and our collective future.

And in Joel Barkers’ words: ‘And that is your challenge. And that is my challenge. We must each find our starfish. And if we throw our stars wisely and well, I have no question that the 21st century is going to be a wonderful place.’

Remember everybody lives by selling something.

Author: Sue Barrett, www.barrett.com.au

From Mass Marketing to Markets of One

March 30, 2012 in Attitudes & Behaviours, Collaboration, Communication, Marketing, Sales Skills, Social Sales, Teamwork

”Move over mass marketing welcome to fragmentation and segmentation” was voted by our readers as the third most important sales trend in Barrett’s 2012 Sales Trends Report. Market fragmentation and segmentation is well and truly taking over from Mass Marketing society’s staple way of communicating with buyers for over 50 years.

So what will this change look like for our businesses and our customers? Barrett is seeing the relationship between marketing and selling widen as each fights for supremacy in the digital communications era. With this widening gap, marketing will finally find a meaningful role and sales will be left to do what it does best – seek out and harvest opportunities.

digital communication explosion

digital communication explosion

Many marketing professionals have tried to take ownership of the digital communication explosion and claim the entire revolution as a marketing initiative, expecting that salespeople will continue to go about their job of generating business opportunities and closing deals.

Now, if marketing and sales can actually put their differences aside they’ll quickly see that they are two sides of the same coin. The two are simply using different media and marketing tools to achieve the same end result; more sales at better margins, from customers more demanding than ever before. How? Well here’s just one sample…

 

Pre-Sales…
Social and digital media can be used to identify prospects in different segments. These tools allow salespeople to approach selling on a targeted basis, rather than mass marketing techniques of the past. From a marketing point of view, the groups they once lauded as “segments” will be reduced to markets of one. For salespeople already familiar with markets of one, digital media can be used to more carefully to segment buyers so that the approach is more focused and more targeted. The result – less leg work and more sales time!

 

During the Sale
Salespeople use the digital highway to keep in touch with prospects and keep them focussed. The buyer receives constant reminders of the value the salesperson can deliver. It needs to be admitting that mass marketing is out. Marketers should now be treating each buyer as an individual and use digital tools to expand the footprint and gather information. Better yet, marketing professionals can use digital media to capture share of mind and promote their message at lower cost and with more certainty, purely because they’re sending the right message to a segment of the market that is ready to receive it.

 

Post Sales
Selling should use the data to help clients integrate their solutions and maximise return on investment. They can also use the medium to capture and retain share of mind as buyers familiarise themselves with the value of any purchase. Marketing can join in the battle for share of mind by staying socially in touch with customers at low cost and with high frequency.

 

custom made engraved guitar

custom made engraved guitar

So, the upshot is simple. As customers become increasingly aware of their uniqueness they will shift away from mass marketing, looking for customised solutions that suit their business and life style. In fact, they already are. Salespeople can use the digital media to learn more about their customers’ expectations, as opposed to their needs, and use this data to help their customers get a better solution that is more meaningful.

So instead of creating a chasm of difference, sales and marketing teams need to work together even more closely now and take their listening skills to a whole new level. Smart companies will tune in to where buyers are electing to spend time and money. Ready or not, new consumer markets will emerge demanding different ways of doing business.

This means sales teams must be more targeted in their sales planning and prospecting efforts – no more scatter gun approach. Marketing teams should stop producing catch-all marketing materials that ignore buyer preferences and attitudes at their peril. Leaders will need to start looking at their strategy‘s evaluation measures and start measuring marketing and sales teams on the same measures. 2012 requires a distinct shift in attention from an internal company ‘me’ focus to an external buyer and seller ‘we’ focus or expect to perish.

Remember everybody lives by selling something.

Author: Sue Barrett, www.barrett.com.au

Make 2012 The Best Year Yet – Put Yourself First!

December 21, 2011 in Assessments, Attitudes & Behaviours, Coaching, Communication, Success, Teamwork

As we all come sailing in from the rather stormy seas of 2011 for a brief rest in a safe harbour we can chose to look back and reflect on what has happened in 2011; the challenges, mistakes, triumphs and lessons learned. Although reflection is very important we must not forget to take time to rest, relax and recharge before we look forward and dream about the future and what it holds for us.

help-in-pile-of-crumbled-paper

Overwhelmed

2011 may have left you feeling overwhelmed running from one task to the other never stopping to rest and recoup. If you can take time to just forget the business world for a while and instead just ‘be in the moment’ enjoying your time with friends and family and getting some well deserved R&R you will be in a position to put your best foot forward in 2012. If you’re not taking leave you may find the quietness that can accompany this time of the year can give you space to reflect, recoup and recharge for 2012.

Either way, why not consider giving yourself a gift for Christmas this year.

Pick up and play that musical instrument you’ve been meaning to play, do that yoga class, go for a swim at your local pool or enjoy the rush of the waves at a nearby surf beach, take an early morning walk in the park, have a picnic in a beautiful botanical garden, ski down a snow covered mountain, ride a horse, paint a picture and don’t forget everyone is an artist, tell jokes to each other and laugh out loud for real, forge a new friendship, rekindle an old friendship, hug someone you love and tell them how much they mean to you, give and receive 20 hugs a day and see what happens, get a massage or two, drink clean water, take a nap under a tree on a warm day, look into a flower and really see what is in there, do some gardening and pretend the weeding is removing all the debris from your year, be still and listen to the sounds of nature, go for ride on the Puffing Billy sitting on the ledge with your legs hanging out and remember what it is like being a child again, hold hands with your partner/ children/ friend/ parent/ sibling, say ‘I love you’ to as many people as you can and especially to yourself.

walk on the beach

walk on the beach

Taking time out to rest and relax is good for our brain and allows us to gain a clear perspective on things, especially those things that are important to us.

Whatever you choose to do, we would just like to say thank you for your loyal readership, support and your endorsement of Barrett. Your support of our philosophy that ‘selling is everybody’s business and everybody lives by selling something‘ is wonderful and we’re seeing a growing body of support across individuals and businesses as they make the transition into the new century.

We have connected with many people over this year, some only via this blog and other publications as well as Twitter, Linkedin and Facebook, and others in much more personal ways via our coaching, training, consulting, assessments, public speaking, events, etc. However we have connected with each other we hope that we’ve listened to you and exchanged something of value and that in some small way you’re better at the things that matter to you for having met us.

2012 holds a lot in store for us all and we need to have our reserves fully stocked for the journey ahead. We also need to promise ourselves to make sure that we make regular time for these lovely activities throughout the year ahead because they nourish us and keep us connected to what is important and this is our cherished relationships with each other. If we take care of ourselves we’re able to listen more effectively and exchange something of value with each other more often, and wouldn’t that be nice?

At Barrett we’re preparing for a phenomenal year in 2012 and are very excited about what we have in store for you all. I would also like to thank my fantastic team at Barrett and our Partners who are really committed to our vision to positively transform the culture, capability and continuous learning of leaders and teams by developing sales driven organisations that are equipped for the 21st Century.

So season’s greetings to you, your families and teams and may 2012 be the best year ever for us all.

Remember everybody lives by selling something.

Author: Sue Barrett, MD of www.barrett.com.au

Why selling is now a team sport

March 17, 2011 in Collaboration, Communication, Customer Service, Marketing, Procurement, Sales Relationships, Sales Training, Teamwork

Subjected to marketing and sales monologues for the better part of 40 years in the form of blanket advertising, product brochures and ‘your call is important to us’ busy signals, customers have taken the lead and are way ahead of us when it comes to having sales and marketing dialogues. Far more informed and sophisticated, and posting blogs, Facebook ‘Likes’, Tweets and reTweets, customers are engaging in their own sales and marketing dialogues about our products, our sales people, our promise, our customer service proposition and our brands, and they are affecting how we are perceived and valued in the market place.

At its very best, customers can be our finest sales team, advocating our products, services, people and brand with their endorsements. Customers can drive more sales and business to our door or, in this day and age, our online shopping carts. By contrast, the impact of their disapproval of our brand, products, customer service and sales people can be swift and devastating, sending people away in droves with their digital complaints and jibes in cyberspace.

It is apparent that Marketing is no longer in complete control of the brand and how it is represented in the market place – customers are taking our messages, tuning and translating them to suit their own needs while some tech savvy people are even manipulating brand images, emails, websites, Facebook pages and Tweets to their own advantage to potentially misrepresent companies, brands and products for good or for bad. Marketing is no longer static, one way or bullet proof.

Coupled with this, Selling has now become a social enterprise where everyone (employees, customers, suppliers, communities, etc.) can be, and often is, involved in the sales and customer service processes, and in some instances, the procurement process. Smart sales people are using their advocates to engage with their prospects and customers, encouraging and influencing them along the buyer’s journey. Linkedin in the B2B space, Facebook in the B2C space, and in some instances the B2B space, along with Twitter are rich in group conversations which need to be listened and responded to, monitored and used as signposts for new innovations, satisfaction levels and collaboration.

It’s like the Wild West and this new age of selling and marketing is really challenging the way businesses control and represent their image, values and reputation. Like pioneers forging new frontiers, Sales and Marketing teams need to rethink their strategies and start working together if they are going to effectively influence and communicate with their valued customers and advocates. It’s now time for Sales and Marketing to collaborate. For too long, too many organisations have had a standoff between sales and marketing: an ‘Us versus Them’ finger pointing culture of one-up-man-ship to the detriment of customers and businesses alike.

Sales and marketing need a new partnership.

  • Is everyone in your business on the same page or are your sales and marketing teams still operating in silos?
  • Do you really speak to and actively engage with your customers and relevant communities or is marketing still producing marketing material that is too product centric and the sales team still engaging in product monologues?
  • Are your sales people trained in the fundamentals of marketing skills and strategies?
  • Are your marketing people trained in the fundamentals of selling skills and strategies?

Get everyone in the same room

Why not involve your marketing team in your next sales training program or at the very least get the sales and marketing teams together for 1 day and discuss what needs to happen to ensure you are all on the same team and working for the betterment of all. Look at your key messages, advertising strategies, discussions groups, websites, social media, product mix, direct and emerging competitors, and your everyday public presence.

Why not go one step further and include all your staff in the discussions: get your customer service, finance, production/operations, IT and procurement teams in the same room and map your customers’ buying journeys. Explore how everyone in your business can affect your brand, customer experiences, sales results and overall business performance.

One thing is clear: Successful selling now requires new and more meaningful collaboration between sales, marketing, customer service, operations, finance, IT, customers, suppliers and communities. We’re all in it together.

Remember everybody lives by selling something.
Author: Sue Barrett, Sales Training at Barrett at barrett.com.au

Switch to our mobile site