Thursday, September 11, 2008

[B]Business Day Thursday: Success Demands Vigilance - 7 Ways To Be A Sales Vigilante

Good Morning Everybody,
I hope everybody liked yesterday's podcast. So how many of you have checked out all the back issues of Donnie's adventures? I have to say, it's easy to get hooked and they are pretty funny. Hey, and the up side to all this joking around, you still pick up a little bit of Photoshop along the way. OK, but now back to the business for today, I'm fired up - here we go...

Are you simply an order taker or an order maker? I heard that same question years ago and it really has stuck with me over the years. Too many of us are simply order takers in our own businesses. Too many of us get frustrated and angry with our lack of success in our businesses. Too many of us think we are trying to improve our sales process, but are we really functioning productively? What's happening here? Most of the time, it's a total lack of commitment to enhancing the sales process in our own studios.

OK, I know I'm sounding "fired-up" on this subject but please hear me out. What kind of answers do you give to these basic questions? When was the last time you read a good sales book? When was the last time you reviewed how an appoint went after the client left? When was the last time you even reviewed your own sales procedures? Do you see what I getting at here - it's about us taking responsibility for our own sales success and not blaming market conditions, the high price of gas, or frugal customers for our lack of success. The bottom line is this, we need to take responsibility for converting our own sales opportunities into solid results. To see my 7 Steps To Be A Sales Vigilante - hit the "Read more ..." below

Let me give you 7 steps to be a sales vigilante.
1. Hit right now and order a book on sales. We were at a local Kinko's yesterday picking up a few things for the convention. I hit the little book stand in the middle of the store, and there it was, one of the first sales books I ever read way back in the eighties - Joe Gerard's, "How To Sell Anything To Anybody." It was a great read then and still is today. I'm currently reading "The Ultimate Sales Machine" by Chet Holmes. LaDawn has even picked it up and started reading and highlighting her favorite parts. We then share these new ideas and how these new concepts might work into our small business. Folks, we have to read deeply if we want to start walking into the direction of sales success for our business.

2. After the client leaves, review the process of each sales meeting. What went right? What went wrong? Only by reviewing that meeting in detail will you be able to hone your presentations for better results in the future. In my Digital Wake Up Call tour a few years ago, LaDawn and I reviewed each and every presentation, discussed how the next evening's presentation could be improved upon and gave it a go the next evening. It worked, the tour was one of the best ever for that year and the audience appreciated our efforts. This concept was driven home to me again as I was browsing through one of the Las Vegas magazines in our hotel room yesterday. In this one particular article, it showed a picture of Carrot Top, one of the leading comedians performing in Las Vegas. The lead photograph showed Carrot Top sitting on the floor reviewing his performance for that evening. He wasn't just getting prepared for his next performance he was reviewing and making notes on how he could make it better for the next performance. Ladies and Gent's it's time we review our performance too, but only if we really want to strive to do better.

3. How often do you review and change or update your product offerings? We should be reviewing our product offerings often. Remember - what offerings worked last year may not work this year. Review the "sizzle factor" of each of your product offerings - pitch the "dogs" and create new winners. Man, right here on this blog, our readers offered 24 great ideas to add sizzle to your product line. Here is the article again right here in case you missed it.

4. Script your phone responses. When you receive a new telephone inquiry - do you respond? How does your staff respond?. Is it different for each caller? Well, it shouldn't be - it should be exactly the same. Role play with your wife, husband, partner, staff - cover all the scenarios and note all the responses that lead the caller to the best understanding of your product and service. By knowing exactly what you are going to say in that phone conversation - it's really your first opportunity for your product/service presentation. By being prepared you are doing your client and your studio a favor. They see your product/service thoroughly and informatively presented and you have a clear understanding of their wants and needs, too. Hey gang, scripting the phone call is a win/win for your business and your potential client.

5. How often, if at all, do you ask your client to review your product/service after it's been delivered. I believe 95% of us have no customer service feed back form. Folks, how can we know where we are going if we don't even know where we have been. I think the "customer service" survey is crucial in this day and age when service is everything to our new millennium clients. Make one up today and start using it today!

6. Welcome the experience with the difficult, demanding client - it is the only way you are going to sharpen your customer service "saw". We learn nothing from the client that loves our product or service. We need to welcome the challenge presented by the demanding difficult client. The client that challenges us to be patient and calm, to seek answers in solving their issues and concerns, and/or to reflect on our actions and attitudes. It's these clients that cause us to review products and services that indicate where we can "sharpen the saw" and do better. It's these clients that challenge us to think creatively in coming up with a solution that both solves the problem and still keeps them as our customer. Be sure to keep tract of the issues involves, the actions taken, and the resolutions resulting from these actions. Write it up and file it away for your next in-studio customer service training session.

7. Continue to monitor your studio, your staff's, and your own performance in the sales/customer service areas. Have regular training sessions reviewing the successful processes working in your studio and add to that new sales/customer service processes and techniques that fine tune your entire operation. If you follow this 7-Step Vigilante Sales Plan, you will finally be taking responsibility for your studio's success and doing more than about 90% of the competition in that department. The future is yours - so do it now!

End of Sales Rant #27

1 comment:

  1. Hi David,

    I really like your blog and keep reading it, especially those Business Days are simply AWESOME for me. I'm trying to start my own photography business and by reading these, it gives me hope. It, also answers a lot of my wondering toughs. Reading this post, I get the go and get it if you want it. But my stupid recording in my brain always tricks me and wins, that is for an order taker! My recording keeps telling me that I need all the right stuff, hardware, software, business card, web site, blog... Then I have to come in reality and money talks. I would really like to have more guidance into, where, and how to start it.

    Enough, you see you got me thinking and wondering. Now, I will try to plan how to be an order maker!