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The Center for Sales Strategy Blog

You’ve Got the Appointment – Now What?

sales appointmentOne of the most difficult aspects of selling is getting the first appointment with a new prospect. That is a fact, but it shouldn’t be the only focus. Simply getting the appointment is not the goal; the goal is to get a good appointment.

Topics: customer satisfaction customer focus setting expectations sales performance Sales

Great Salespeople Make Their Customers The Star!

customer needsWhat if every time your prospect or customer felt like you were pushing your products, rather than focusing on his business, he transformed into a Hollywood Director and screamed, “Cut. Boring! Let’s talk about MY business!” Assessing your approach to sales, how many times do you think you’d hear that? 

Topics: customer satisfaction new business development Needs Analysis Sales

One Simple Question That Can Change Business Relationships

customer serviceAn article called “Tasting Menus” in the New York Times caught my attention last week. It was about a new concept sweeping fine dining restaurants in America—lengthy meals with many delightful menu choices. What intrigued me was not the description of the food or the menu—it was the care the restaurant staff took to make the diners feel like partners in an experience. 

Topics: customer satisfaction Sales

Does Your Site Need To Be Optimized For Mobile?

site optimized for mobileShowrooming. Most of us have done it—walked into a store, found an interesting product… then pulled out the smartphone to see if we can find the product cheaper online and make a purchase there instead of in the store. This trend is becoming more popular, and it is forcing retailers to boost their existing mobile presence and experience or be left behind.

Topics: customer satisfaction Digital websites mobile

11 Things Your Clients Won’t Say Out Loud

  1. client needsIf you anticipate my needs before I know I need them, I would love you (and buy from you) forever. I went to a hotel recently. It had make-up remover wipes. I had no idea that I needed make-up remover wipes… now I don’t know what I used to do without them. Wouldn’t it be great if your clients didn’t know how they got along without you? Start by anticipating their needs.
  2. I want to feel included in the process. Find ways for your client to make decisions that are guaranteed to provide a good outcome. For example, if red is the best color for creative, let your client choose from a few pre-selected shades of red.
  3. I want to feel smart even if my ideas are missing the boat. Sometimes people have a misguided focus on a path that won’t be the best use of their resources. Asking good questions initially, and asking follow up questions based on the client’s answers, provides a great opportunity to discover needs—as well as opportunities to respectfully redirect.
  4. I always like getting a great deal. Help your client figure out the best pathway to their desired outcome by first defining exactly what that outcome looks like. Making sure you’re addressing the core needs is the best start to providing quality solutions that get results.
  5. I love examples. Clients hear you telling them, but make sure you are also showing them how you can deliver. Do you have a success story to share? Share it… everywhere. Share someone else’s success story (with appropriate permissions of course) and apply some of the key concepts on your client’s challenges.
  6. If you tell me to ‘Google it’ I will scream. If you reference online material, make sure to give clients specific web addresses. Double check that hyperlinks in emails, presentations, etc. are working properly.
  7. I want to feel like we’re friends (but not BFFs). Building relationships with a buyer is important. Try to find the sweet spot between being an outsider and developing a friendship.
  8. I need to know you’ve got my back. Clients are putting their trust in you and expecting you to deliver. Keeping in touch with clients as key steps of the plan are implemented is a great way to ensure they’ll feel like they’re in good hands.
  9. I expect to always be your number one client. Keep yourself accessible to clients (via phone, email and also through LinkedIn). Respond in a timely manner, and be reassuring of client decisions with you.
  10. Don’t make me figure things out. There’s lots of ways to help clients understand new ideas or processes. Start by breaking up the information. Sometimes full sentences aren’t needed and bullet points are easier to digest. Understanding how your client learns is also helpful, as some people want to read more information and others may want to walk through each step over the phone.
  11. I like doing business with people who respect my time. We’re all busy. Use valid business reasons to add value to communication with your client. Also, keep ‘word fluff’ to a minimum. Tell clients everything they need to know in as few words as possible.

You’re a lot more likely to retain a client long-term if you deliver the specific value they’re seeking. Download the retention checklist and see how you're doing!

Topics: customer satisfaction setting expectations Sales

A Leading Cause of Death for Sales: Donuts

customer renewalsIt started innocently enough. You had a planning meeting with the client that you knew would take a better part of the morning, so you stopped at the donut shop on the way to the appointment. A couple of weeks later, you wanted to make-up for failing to return a phone call, so you grabbed a bag of bagels. And before you knew it, you were hooked on the stuff.

Topics: customer satisfaction customer focus Needs Analysis sales strategy sales performance Sales

Four Easy Ways to Lose That Sale for Good

lose a saleCrickets. That’s what I heard when I direct dialed a bunch of sales reps to inquire about pricing, timing, delivery and credit. Here I was, flush with cash (to pay in advance of services, as the new corporation had no credit), and a very large percentage of sales reps from all industries were lax or never even bothered to call back. They literally left cash on the ground. I couldn’t believe it. I was a "call-in" with ready money.

Topics: customer satisfaction setting expectations new business development Needs Analysis sales performance Sales

Standing Out in a Negation Nation

sales strategyOne of the industry newsletters I subscribe to comes from FICO (Fair Isaac Corporation), whose work is centered on lending and banking analytics. A recent issue warned against operational negation. That is, behavioral contradictions which can send the customer conflicting signals.

Topics: customer satisfaction setting expectations Needs Analysis Sales

6 Ways to Prevent the Sales Belly Flop

sales strategyThe belly flop… a dive with great potential that… well… flops. It’s the perfect metaphor for all the things that can go wrong after the sale. Over the last few months, I’ve watched too many big ideas fail—and not because the ideas were weak. These projects were brilliant, and they could have produced a nice profit. As a consumer, number one fan, and a marketer, I’m frustrated that these ideas fell flat before they ever had a chance to take off. I’m sure you’re wondering… if the concepts were so stellar, what went wrong? Two words: poor planning.

Topics: customer satisfaction Proposal setting expectations Sales

A New Sales Strategy: Over-promise!

customer satisfactionIt is a safe and generally smart practice for a salesperson to under-promise and shoot to over-deliver. So why would you ever want to vary from this “under-promise” strategy? If you want to keep growing personally and discover new ways to help clients, once in a while you need to stretch a little and promise something you don’t normally deliver, but feel quite confident you can get done. There is risk involved in this, but if you get it right, you’ll delight the client and add a new capability to your tool kit.

Topics: customer satisfaction sales strategy Sales