10 Keys to a Better Sales & Marketing Team

The best companies don’t hire sales employees and put them at a desk to “sell”.  The new “sales department” employees must first understand the overall company mission and processes by which the mission is achieved.

Keys to a Better Sales & Marketing Team

I believe that… “You can’t sell what you don’t know”. Click To Tweet

The best sales people are those that have actually done the job and come from the rank and file employees that make, service or deliver the products.  They are the backbone of any company and the ones to deliver the dream presented by the sales team.

10 Keys to a Better Sales & Marketing Team

1. Understand Your Goals

It is much easier to promote/market/sell your business and its products and services when there is a clear understanding of what you can actually provide and how your product can benefit the customer.

2. Feedback From Your Customers

Proper feedback will help determine what they desire and provide a measure of satisfaction and adherence to product specifications, capabilities and performance.

3. Marketing is Like the Bait on the Fisherman’s Hook.

That’s only the advertisement and the beginning of the journey.  The good fisherman is the customer service/support team and will quickly know if the marketing (bait) is successful. But he still must “sink the hook” and make the sale later.

4. Pre-Qualify

How do you expect to sell “the right” product or service to (more…)

Here’s The Top Reason Training Your Employees Doesn’t Work

…plus 6.5 reasons to NOT train your staff

Ah, the ever-present argument about the proper training of your employees…well, you’ll get no argument from me. Training is the key to a well-motivated, knowledgeable and efficient staff. But is THAT all what’s needed, just training?

Training Your Employees

Here are some benefits of training:

  • Training bolsters employee confidence which is then noticed by the customers = perceived better service = more $$$
  • Training can identify areas where revenue is “left on the table” and not captured.
  • A well trained staff allows management to focus on other aspects of the business and not micromanage the staff

Throughout my years in the hospitality industry I’ve sat through more “service culture” and customer service training sessions than I care to remember.

We discussed how to create a memorable experience for the customer (guest), how to empathize, how to diffuse an irate customer and when to offer compensation for poor service. We spoke about the customer’s expectations and how to match and exceed them. Another well-worn topic is employee morale and how important it is and its direct correlation to the service provided. All worthwhile topics.

But, we rarely spoke about the “elephant” in the room…

All the training in the world won’t work if the underlying issues are not resolved & removed. Click To Tweet

I once had a boss tell me, “you need to do more training, then they’ll get better. We’ll just fire those that don’t improve, it’s simple!” Great attitude boss…wonder why service is poor! (more…)

You Need to Use These 9 Business Building Hacks Today

Location, location, location. Is that all you need for a successful business? I doubt it. You need to use these 9 business building hacks today. Maybe there’s more to it than just location…

Business Building Hacks

Understand Who is The Most Important

The needs of the customer must always come before your own. They are the foundation of your business, any business. Forget the customer at your peril.

Hire For Personality First, Teach The Skills Second

In today’s “customer experience” world, you must have employees with an abundance of soft skills. You can always train for “hard skills”; specific knowledge of a software program, mechanical prowess or understanding of the law and corporate policy.

But, team building, empathy, self motivation, time management, communication skills and plain old common sense must be inherent in those you hire.

Don’t Put Short-Term Profits Ahead of a Long-Term Goal

Building a solid foundation for long term success is easier said than done but what other choice do you have? You didn’t start your business only to have it end in failure 3 years later and (more…)

If You Make These 3 Stupid Mistakes Your Business Will Hate You Tomorrow

…how the bagel store forgot their bread and butter

When you take unacceptable risk, you have to be prepared to face the consequence. – Carly Fiorina, past CEO of Hewlett Packard, presidential candidate 2016.

Your Business Will Hate You Tomorrow

Being ready isn’t enough; you have to be prepared for a promotion or any other significant change – Pat Riley, Hall of Fame basketball coach, named one of the 10 Greatest Coaches in the NBA history.

Hope is an expensive commodity. It makes better sense to be prepared. – Thucydides, 5th century Greek historian.

Why do I start this article off with these quotes? To show the importance of preparation and how it doesn’t matter what industry or place in time you are in;

Preparation is a required constant. Click To Tweet

I stopped by my local bagel store last weekend and wasn’t expecting to see there was already a line of patrons inside. They looked as hungry as I was. But something wasn’t right. The line didn’t move, there was a constant murmur from the people and the workers seemed stressed.

What’s going on?

(more…)

Your Customers Don’t Deserve To Be Treated This Way

…is THIS the best you can do?

It was the attitude I disliked the most.  Why do they feel this way?  Where did they get their lack of thoughtfulness?  Why don’t they care about the customer?  These kids have no work ethic anymore, I just don’t understand…

Customers Don't Deserve To Be Treated This Way

Those in a position to hire face it every day.  Potential employees who in years past wouldn’t receive the time of day from a hiring manager now line up and “expect” a coveted customer-facing position at your company. Do they deserve it?  What have they done to make you believe your customer would be better off with him or her assisting in the sale?  Should you give him a chance?

We will see later how important this decision will become. (more…)

11 Industry Experts Discuss “What’s More Important: Customer First or Profit First?”

Businesses across the land champion their great service and the positive experience given to their throngs of loyal customers. They tout the benefits of their product and how they tend to the specific needs, wants and desires of their customers.

Customer First or Profit First

But as time passes many forget their original stated intent and lean more toward reducing payroll, lowering operational/product costs and finally to increasing profit as their primary goal.

Recently I had the pleasure of interviewing many leaders in the business world and customer service industry.  Whether a best-selling author, keynote speaker, top sales trainer or customer service guru they were gracious enough to share their view on this one (1) question:

As an organization gets larger there is a tendency for the mindset to change from “the customer comes first” to “higher profits and lower payroll first”.  What are the causes of this change and how do you keep this from happening?

(more…)

Surprises Await When You Pretend To Be Your Own Customer

...how else will you REALLY know what's going on?

Stop complaining about your customers. “They’re too demanding; always have something negative to say and they look for discounts”.  Well, have you ever tried to be your own customer?

pretend to be your own customer

According to an American Express 2011 Survey, 3 in 5 Americans (59%) would try a new brand or company for a better service experience.  In other words:

Customer loyalty goes out the window when the service and experience is poor. Click To Tweet

What does your business do to measure the customer experience and satisfaction?

Sure, there are many companies that can assist you with their “time tested” product and strategies that measure customer engagement.  They will recommend countless ways to overcome any negative impact.  But there is a quicker, cheaper and in my opinion much better way to measure the customer experience.

Pretend to be your own customer every once and awhile.

Stop looking at your flow charts or profit & loss statements.  They don’t tell you what or where the issues are, only the revenue lost because of your mistakes.

Get out of your office and (more…)

Outsmart Your Competition With These 3 Essential Skills

Big Frankie comes into your restaurant.  You know the type, big guy, hands like a baseball mitt, a loud voice and brags about almost everything.  Big Frankie is always the star of the show wherever he goes and wants you to know it.

outsmart-your-competition-with-these-3-essential-skills

Tonight he comes in with a few of his buddies.  It’s show time…

You greet Frankie and his friends at the door and, since he’s a regular, he calls you by your name.  So far so good, hey Big Frankie’s a cool guy.  Frankie is trying to impress the boys so he wants to order for them all.  When one of his buddies didn’t like what Frankie ordered he asks you “hey Steve, what do you recommend?”

First sign of trouble, but you’ve got this. You know just what to recommend to one of your new buddies.  You make what seems to be a great suggestion,

I’m not that crazy with that dish either.  I highly recommend the 28oz porterhouse steak. 

It melts in your mouth and is my favorite thing that we make; you can’t go wrong with a Porterhouse”.  You even recommend your favorite bottle of red wine to go with it.

You just made Big Frankie’s friend very happy.  He says, “That sounds great Steve; I’ll take the steak and bring us a couple bottles of that wine you mentioned, thanks man”.   Score, you walk away thinking you did a great job and all is well.  You can count your big tip already…but Big Frankie is not happy. (more…)

Should You Really Wait For The Perfect Employee?

…or does it even matter?

After your star performer quit and left you high and dry you insisted on keeping that manager position open for three weeks.  Face it; your pride got the best of you. “How dare he walk out like that? Besides, we didn’t need him anyway”. Boy, how wrong you were.

the perfect employee

No emails went out about why he left and there was no mention to the middle managers of what happened.  The employees are all asking questions.  But you didn’t care; you just wanted to erase him from the scene…

Now, after your self-imposed and ego-inspired funk subsided, it’s back to reality. You need to fill that spot.

“He got paid too much anyway, now’s the time to save a few thousand bucks. Let’s call that headhunter we used to use, and tell him to get me some people to interview by week’s end.  I don’t need the “perfect employee”; just get me some bodies here quick!”

Wait a minute.  Your star performed just quit and you don’t think you should look for a “perfect employee” to fill his spot?  That’s your ego talking again.

Who cares why he quit, that’s a conversation for another day. You must (more…)

How to Manage Like a Great Movie Director

...and not like a kindergarten teacher

Read this script and memorize each line.  You must get into the character and feel his pain, study his emotions. What makes him tick?  Let’s do it again.  Those were the words of the movie director.  It was a far cry from the kindergarten teacher…

How to Manage Like a Great Movie Director

“Now children, we are going to have free time.  Each of you will be able to do whatever you want until class is over” said the teacher.

Business is like that too.

Some rule with a heavy hand where expectations and quality are high.  Adaptability is rampant to suit the client’s wishes/needs.  You do “take after take” and don’t stop until it’s perfect.

Profits soar at these companies.

Others, like the kindergarten class, are much less formal.  Business flows as needed and management is less structured.  And the bosses want to be a “friend” to their subordinates.

I doubt their profits soar…

Any great business must run like a movie set where each employee is an actor with a specific role to play.  They must follow a script – not “scripted” words but scripted actions designed to produce the best product or service.

You must (more…)