Wednesday June 4, 2014

The Question That Will Close More Sales

I've been selling or leading sales teams for the last 12 or so years and without exception, sales are made or lost during discovery. 

Discovery is the process of gathering intel. Learning about your prospect. What is their pain, who actually makes the decision, what makes them feel good/look good to others, etc etc. 

We could easily put together a list of 100 great discovery questions (future post), but instead I want to focus on just one.

The most avoided question is often this:

What do you like about your current/former [service provider, vendor, solution]?

The tendency for most salespeople is to solely focus on the pain (which is important!) or to quickly go right into presentation mode. There's also often a fear that the vendor might identify something that you don't provide. Or maybe they mention a competitors strength, but something that's a weakness for your company. What if they say they like the fact they have no fees, and you actually have higher than average fees? 

All intel is good intel. If there are trade-offs to doing business with you, your customer is going to consider those trade-offs whether they tell you they are or not. It's so much better to acknowledge the trade-off, than to gloss over it or try to down-play it. You'll come across as more of a resource and trusted partner if you candidly outline the pros and cons of the deal.

It's also worth noting- no matter what the prospect likes about their current/past vendor, there's a reason why they're talking to you, giving you their time.

Most [smart]buyers are always on the lookout for the tradeoffs in a deal. And average salespeople are always trying to gloss over the tradeoffs. The best sales people get on the buyer's side, helping them consider all the pros and cons of the deal. It's a powerful trust-builder. 

In the end, who's the safer bet for the buyer? The vendor who enthusiastically perported to be all pro and no con? Or the vendor that candidly helped them weigh all the pros and cons of their offering? 



Chris Nordyke is an integrated marketer and strategy consultant. He works with owners and senior business leaders to transform and grow service companies via a unique holistic approach that drives referral business and client retention. Click here to schedule a complimentary consult with Chris.


Tuesday June 3, 2014

Micro-Impressions and The Home Remodeler

If a business goes to the extra effort and expense to show courtesy to those they aren't even doing business with, what does that tell me about what it's like to be there customer? 

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Tuesday May 20, 2014

Natural Grocers and Missed Opportunity

Natural Grocers (NG) opened a store near my home recently. They're kind of like a mini Whole Foods minus the high ceilings, hot deli and sushi bar. 

They had a pretty interesting launch strategy. Every couple weeks they sent out a large, bold postcard that could be redeemed for a *free* product. One time it was a 16oz bottle of Bronner's Hemp Soap, another week it was a lb of organic, grass-fed beef. Every time it was something of at least $8 or $10 in value. And I redeemed almost every one. 

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Tuesday April 1, 2014

Micro Disappointments and Starbucks

starbucks logo with mickey mouseI've had a couple experiences in the last few weeks that reflect an important, but subtle difference between the experience Starbucks offers, and that of a local coffee shop I've always frequented.



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Tuesday March 11, 2014

5 Questions for the "Local" Retailer

It used to be that the big box stores and online vendors purely offered superior price and convenience. The service was abysmal. A huge trade-off for many people.  

But that was 5 or 10 years ago. 

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Monday March 10, 2014

The $5 Discount "Gift"

I've gotten this exact same post card for the last probably 3 years running. So has my wife Cara. This small-town Chiropractor isn't alone though, I see this kind of "gift-giving" all the time, across all service and retail businesses. 

So I figure it's worth taking a few minutes and breaking this particular card down as a case study. I'll be excited to see your comments and insights below. 

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Thursday February 27, 2014

Sky High

Apologizing well is a key behavior for brand-builders to develop in their organization. When it comes to branding and marketing, it's no longer good enough to simply lure people through the door, brand-builders have to tightly manage the experience, clear through to fulfulliment and followup. 

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Tuesday February 25, 2014

Stoned Kale

A quick case study for you today: 

Stoned Kale

I met a colleague last week at a restaurant I love. One of those casual, but healthy dining concepts. He asked for a menu suggestion, so I recommended my favorite dish- one with lots of veggies, kale and local meat. 

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Monday February 17, 2014

Customer Experience No Longer Requires Entry-Level People

Great customer experience (CX) is a human event.

Great CX is rehearsed by people placing themselves in the same process or event and asking the question, "What do I feel, want, need, appreciate when I'm on the other side of the desk/phone? 

How do I create something special that I would appreciate?

Most companies though, settle for a more scripted, manageable approach.

The justifying self-talk that runs through manager's minds:"We have entry-level roles. It's too much to expect everyone to think on that level."

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Monday February 10, 2014

10 Ways Brands Can Build During Major Weather Events- Snowpocalypse 2014

Shoveling snow in front of business

So where's the opportunity for businesses in this? It depends on your orientation. If you're simply looking for ways to drive people through your doors and make sales during the storm event, this isn't for you. If you're looking for ways to deepen customer loyalty, attract new customers, rally your employees, generate authentic buzz about your brand, draw defector customers back, this is for you. Essentially, if you play to win the long game- there's opportunity in the midst of this chaos. 


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