Paul Castain from the customer collective has written a great blog. I have added my two cents but essentially thanks Paul, brilliant thinking!!

Lachie and me in the hug lock!

1)    Surprise Them!: I order my shirts from Paul Frederick and they aren’t cheap. Every now and again, without warning, they will include a tie with my shirt order. I hate to admit this, but I’m like a little kid who just got the free prize from collecting cereal box tops! Gold star Paul Frederick! I’m a frequent guest at the Omni Hotel and they have the surprise thing down pretty well. One evening they sent fresh fruit up to my room, one morning it was some orange juice and bottled water. Here’s the point, it doesn’t have to be a million dollar, give away the store thing, just get in the habit of surprising your clients. It is the element of surprise that is so delightful here. It is beyond your expectations. Arrive to your clients with a box of donnuts for morning tea.

2)    Find A Way to “Wow” Them When You Screw Up: Everything you ever heard about Disney is true! I should know, I stayed there for 10 days with my family back in 2006. We went to a dinner show one night and the waitress was visibly hustling from table to table. Somewhere in the mix, she forgot my son’s lemonade. When she returned to our table, my son very respectfully called it to her attention. She immediately apologized (doesn’t that have a way of immediately diffusing a situation?) and said “Wait until you see how we fix things when we make mistakes at Disney” What happened next blew my mind. She returned with an entire pitcher of lemonade (complete with a very cool straw and glow cubes). So let me see if I get this. What was once a mistake has now turned into a “Wow”? Here’s the best part, I figure that between telling that story to everyone I’ve trained since then and mentioning it in my blog (twice) this story has reached over 15,000 people. I can see the Mastercard commercial now . . . Price for the lemonade: $2.00, Way Cool Straw & Glow Cubes: $2.00 Wowing a disappointed customer and getting word of mouth advertising from his blogaholic Dad . . . Priceless Baby! Everyone makes mistakes. Take away 1. Admit it. Be genuine. Turn around a bad situation and you could win a client and fans for life.

3)    Make Your Client Look Like A Rock Star To Their Boss: Think about it. Who doesn’t need some good press these days?  One of the best ways for you to do this is to proactively go to your client with ideas and resources. By the way, ideas and resources shouldn’t always require payment. This is one of the many ways you and I provide this thing everyone keeps regurgitating called “value”. Now if you are amongst the clueless who think everyone is already doing this, then make it a habit of asking this question in your Needs Analysis: “When was the last time your sales rep came to you (proactively) with an idea?” Get ready for a head tilt as they try to remember. One way you stay fresh with ideas is to carve out weekly thinking time to, well, think about your client’s business. Talking to the brainstorming queen, love it when I can give my clients extra value in terms of ideas.

4)    Be A Breath Of Fresh Air!: File this one under “I’m just sayin” but business folk can be wound way too tight these days. At times its just way too freakin serious. We’ve forgotten to put “laugh and lighten up” on our  To Do lists! Assignment: Go down to the card store and pick out a few funny greeting cards that you are going to send your clients. If you can’t find one, then at least pick up a cool thank you card and simply thank them for being your client. How about putting together a rock star kit for them complete with cool shades, a cd, an all access pass to your business along with a card that reads “You’re always a rock star to us!”

Sales Managers: Have a sales meeting in the near future and brainstorm ways for everyone to be that “Breath of Fresh Air” to your clients. Oh, and if you can’t think of anything, your competitor probably will.

Love the idea of thanking clients!

5)    Better Relationships Require Better Communication: Ridiculously obvious sales advice in 3,2,1 . . . The key to better communication is in asking better questions. Most sales reps make it through the Needs Analysis part of the process with barely a passing grade and then they stop asking thought provoking questions as if they are saying “But dude I already did that step” You have to continually ask the questions nobody else asks. Harvey Mackay has a cool questionnaire he calls “The Mackay 66”. It’s 66 questions that you should be able to answer about each one of your clients. Now, I admit that some of these questions might seem a bit much, but the point is to know your client better than anyone else. Love them. know them, surprise and delight them. Go the extra mile.

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