Trick or Treat…Which Are You? How Do You Know?

Trick or Treat?

Last Sunday night our neighborhood echoed with the sounds of children clamoring that famous Halloween question. Most of the little princesses, ninja turtles, space creatures, muscle men, rock stars and of course, hobo’s were very courteous and appreciative. However, hidden behind a very few of the costumed little creatures were evil little pranksters. As always, there is a minority that try to take the fun out of anything. Whatever the devilish behavior, stealing the smaller children’s candy, smashing pumpkins (not the musical group) and the mild acts of vandalism… it all comes from hidden behind those masked revelers.

Ask yourself this question: When it comes to dealing with our Dealership, is it a trick or a treat?

Do you and your organization hide behind the mask of good advertising and PR work, then give poor customer service once the deal is consummated? Is there a disconnect between what you say you are as a dealership and what you really are? Do the people on your team truly live by the brand or mission statement that is proudly displayed and emphsized in your advertising?

If there is a major incongruence between what the marketing and PR says about your dealership and what your customers see, hear and feel about your store, customers will quite likely feel they are being…tricked. When what you say matches your behaviors, in other words, when you walk the talk, customers are much more likely to become ambassadors and help build relationships for you and your sales and service team.

A great way to see if you are treating your customers the way you say you want to, periodically take a diagonal slice of your organization, including a few loyal customers, and perform a SWOT analysis of your dealership from the consumers point of view. Encourage open, honest input and stress the importance of accurate feedback. You might want to enlist an outside facilitator to help with this initiative. Build on your stores strengths, work on the weaknesses, leverage opportunities, and concentrate on the threats your deaerlship may be facing.

Discover what your customers think…is it a treat to buy from you or do they often feel tricked? Performing a SWOT analysis will help you find out what your customers are clamoring about.

Are you a trick or a treat?

10 Key Behaviors to Build Relationships

Based on the interactions between the newly wedded couple, I couldn’t help but place the odds of their “marital bliss” lasting more than 2 years at much less than 50/50.
Now look, I’m a relationship expert in selling…not marriage. That being said, I do believe that the same behaviors or traits that build strong relationships with co-workers, communities and customers, will also work with couples.
With the help of literally thousands of small business owners and dealership personnel, I have identified these as the top 10 behaviors that help create and maintain healthy strong relationships. These are listed in no particular order of importance:
1. Care for the other’s well-being
This actually is number one
2. Be reliable, do what you say you will do
Follow through is so important
3. Collaborate toward mutual success or “win-win”
Try to fully understand their needs and goals
4. Generate a feeling of fairness
Being fair isn’t enough…they must feel it
5. Maintain a friendly-respectful mindset
Throughout the selling cycle…be nice
6. Give and take without a “balance sheet”
But don’t “give away the store”
7. Display a genuine, but appropriate, commitment to the relationship
Think long term
8. Engender open and honest communication
Never lie or stretch the truth
9. Be empathetic…not sympathetic
Remember it’s all about them
10. Always believe “Relationships are more important than the deal”
Many people who didn’t get this…aren’t around anymore
As I watched the wedding events unfold, it was apparent that the young newlyweds didn’t “score” to well in the aforementioned behaviors. How do you rate in these relationship building attributes? How well do your sales team members score? I’ll bet your strongest sales team members embody these skills very well.
Do you think these behaviors would build strong relationships?
They do, and they lead to a healthier and less stressful life. Oh and by the way, they lead to…more sales!

Are You a “Walter Cronkite” of Sales?

This past Friday, Walter Cronkite passed away at the age of 92. For decades, he has been recognized as the most trusted person in the world. What an honor to bestow on a person and how it must have made him feel.

Research continues to show that trust is the most significant selling competency for professional sales people. Furthermore, sales professionals that are most proficient at gaining their customers trust are most adept at generating higher sales revenue.

Here at The CPO Institute, we believe trust can be built on what we call the “Attitude of Caring.” The “Attitude” is based on three crucial components:

Caring about them-

Professional sales people ask the right questions, listen to the answers and truly care about the client and their needs. Demonstrating how much you care for and are knowledgeable about your clients specific business will earn your their trust and loyalty.

Caring about your company-

Nothing will undermine trust more rapidly than “selling out” your own company. NEVER discount or dismiss the importance of the rest of your organization. Accept responsibility and help make the necessary changes to enhance customer satisfaction. Giving away the store or bashing other departments will weaken the foundation of the very trust you are seeking. One of the best ways to build trust is to be knowledgeable of your industry and your company.

Caring about the order-

Getting the order is simply the first step in building trust.

Now they trust you enough to place the order. This is where trust is truly built. Follow-up on the order, make sure the customer gets what they expect, show how you and your company is actually concerned about them and deliver everything you promised.

All too often, trust never develops in a sales relationship because once the order is written the sales person begins to focus on the next sale.

Sales Professionals truly live with an “Attitude of Caring” and continuously build trust in their customer relationships. Sales Professionals that build trusting relationships with their clients generate greater sales revenue.

Wouldn’t it be great to be considered the Walter Cronkite of your industry, company or marketplace?

“Most trusted!”

Be You Own Chief Performance Officer and visit The CPO Institute today.

Tell Them Who You Are?

NOTE* The names have been changed to protect the…innocent.

Another call with the infamous “Unknown” on the screen!

Since several of my clients block their number on outgoing calls, I must answer the call with my usual professional, pleasant greeting. But in all honesty, somewhere deep inside me is a little voice saying “Screw ‘em if they don’t want to identify themselves.”

“Hello, this is TJ Wisner.” “Hi TJ, this is Shirley from Your Solutions, glad I caught you. Hope all is good…just wanted to get back to you with that quote on….”

When she was finished I told her how surprised I was that her number was blocked.

Here (paraphrased) is what she said: Well, we don’t want to broadcast our number because some clients might recognize it when we call them and they may never answer.

Here is what I said: “And you want me to do business with you? Why would they not want to take a call from you?” Unfortunately, for the company, Shirley’s explanation wasn’t very convincing.

Great customer relationships are based on trust. If a company can’t trust their clients to take their telephone calls, that is a symptom that cannot be overlooked.

After thinking about it, this is what I wish my phone could be programmed to tell people upon receiving a call from me: “Hi there, TJ Wisner here to help you improve you or your organizations overall performance…how can I help?” Okay, I know, it’s a bit long but I’m proud of it and want them to know.

If you don’t want to tell them who you are…they probably don’t care who you are.

Want to improve your Customer Service…Don’t Just Do It! BYOCPO

Coffee Grounds and Door Knobs

Customer service from two perspectives:

“Needing” to replace the door knobs and deadbolts (and I use the word need VERY loosely) we went to our local “big-box” supply store and purchased the sets we selected. Upon returning home, we scheduled an appointment to have them installed the following weekend. Coincidentally, we decided to try a new brand of coffee. Like most people and businesses, we need to review our spending habits and spending that kind of money on a nationally branded “small-box” coffee seemed questionable. After percolating through the Internet, we decided on Joe’s Coffee House and ordered one pound each of three different flavored beans.

When the installer began his task, upon opening the first hermetically sealed package he found the door knob had been dented and suggested an exchange be made. Off I ran to the “Big-box” store for the knob swap. The clerk looked at the damaged knob and asked what happened. After showing her the intact packaging and my theory that the knob had likely been damaged in the production stage, she reluctantly instructed me to “go ahead and get another one.” When I returned with a new package, another employee was looking at the knob and wanted to hear my story again…NOT HAPPY!
They said: “Your all set!” and literally turned away…I left.
Knobs and dead bolts installed. A mistake had been made and they made it right, but not at all happy with customer service.

The delivery driver rang the doorbell, oh boy! What new thing(s) are arriving from our friendly band of Ethernet merchants? Our coffee already? Sweet! However, upon opening the package, we discovered they had sent us ground coffee instead of the beans we had ordered. We NEVER buy ground coffee beans! We called Joe’s, told them what happened. They expressed how sorry they were for the error, without placing blame, then promptly sent us three packages of coffee beans. Furthermore, do to the inconvenience and cost to return, they instructed us to keep the ground beans as well.
HAPPY! Noel made us feel like valued customers and accepted the “blame” without making any excuses. A mistake was made and they made it right. Not only are we happy with the customer service, we love the coffee and will continue to drink their coffee from now on.

In customer service, mistakes happen. Accept responsibility, make it right, and make sure you have done enough to satisfy the customer. It will go a long way in making loyal, enthusiastic customers who not only use your products or services, but tell others to use them as well.

Want some great coffee, Rum Cake, or other goodies? Check out Joe’s Coffee House or call them a 1-866-853-1200 Tell them TJ sent you. Thanks Joe’s!

You be the Judge!

Are you tiring of the business news these days; layoffs, closings, mismanagement, bailouts and ludicrous executive bonuses? Me too! No matter where you look, television, newspapers, magazines, the internet, even my new technological tool-Twitter, people are talking about negative stuff.

****NEWS FLASH****

There are good things happening! Want to know how to hear about them? Be a Judge!

Over the past few months, I have served as a distinguished judge for the 3rd Annual Stevie Awardfor Sales and Customer Service. “Stevie” is short for Stephen, which is Greek for “Crowned.” This is an international competition which recognizes excellence in disciplines that are crucial to business success. While not every nominee is outstanding, they are all very good at what they do. As I reviewed nominations, it was difficult to assign ratings because they were all so positive and productive. The winners of this award will be announced at a gala event at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas on February 9th. Unfortunately, I cannot be there.

Here is the deal! Volunteer to be a judge for anything. Look around for opportunities to serve, call your local Chamber or other civic groups. In these contests, only the best should get to the judging round (except on American Idol) and it is refreshing to see all the good, positive things people do. As a judge for the Stevies, it was inspiring to read the profiles of highly effective and productive sales teams and leaders and their strategies to deliver outstanding Customer Service.

If you want to see good, positive things…be a judge!

Customer Service Starts with Hello!

Here in the wintry white (and very cold) north, walking in the mall is what we do at this time of the year.
As a sales and customer service geek, I’m always in observation mode to recognize outstanding customer service behaviors. This morning however, I was reminded of how important an simple smile and hello is to  providing good customer service.
At about the three mile mark, Janet, the sales person in the Flint, MI.  Kay Jewelers, was the first associate to smile and say hello to me. Now keep in mind, I walk around with a smile on my face and a pleasant greeting to all that make eye contact with me. After I passed the store I realized my early morning trail had taken me past well over a hundred sales associates, store managers and owners, and Janet was the first to say hello and offer a smile.
I turned around, entered Janet’s store and complimented and congratulated her for being the first to give me any indication that she was there to offer great customer service. Janet, thanks for reminding me how important a simple hello and a smile are to providing great customer service.

Remember, great customer service and living life are very important, so “Don’t Just Do It!”