A Measure of Relationship Value

For everyone, everywhere

I once had a customer who was a bit of a maverick in his marketplace and in the industry. He has since passed away, but Chuck Forcey was a character. When he was in the military, he flew planes and was on an elite fighter team…and he brought his irreverent ways with him.

Fortunately, he had a commander who was tougher and more focused than Chuck was and while he respected and appreciated what Chuck brought to the team, he refused to let the team be defined by one of its members. To address a particularly aberrant behavior, the commander pulled Chuck aside and told him: “You are a valued member of this team…and you will have a place on this team as long as your contribution exceeds your aggravation…and not a moment longer.” I LOVE that measure of relationships … and don’t we all use something like that, even if it’s not as clearly stated? Think about it as you evaluate design project clients, hire new associates, work for rogue employers…and maybe closer to home, too.

A new thought for a new year.

Now, go sell something.

oxo,

Jody

Jody Smiling Photo copy

Customer Service Cancellations

 

For everyone, everywhere
As you might be doing at the start of the new year, I am scouring my expenses looking at what is nice versus necessary and can be cut. As an avid reader, my news subscriptions paper-business-finance-document-previewstarted to add up and I considered how much I read of each publication and I decided to cancel my digital subscriptions to both The Wall Street Journal and The Washington Post. The latter could be done via their website and it was a simple process to execute, followed by a confirming email from them within minutes asking why I was leaving – which I answered, and another email within 24 hours, saying they were sorry to see me go.
The former made the cancellation process more difficult for me, the customer. In order to cancel WSJ, I had to call a phone number and speak to someone who wanted to know why I was leaving. I said I didn’t read the publication enough to warrant a subscription. He asked “What does enough mean?” to which I responded, “Hardly ever”. He then asked if he cut the subscription cost in half, would it approximate how much I read it? I said yes, and he said, “Let’s do that then”. He proceeded to cancel my most recent payment and to start another subscription at 50% of what I was paying.
What a difference. At first, I was bugged by WSJ who didn’t make it easy for me to take action…but the experience was not problematic. And, while they lost 50% revenue, they kept a customer…something that the Post didn’t do.
It raises the question…where are you losing customers with a policy that intends the best but may not deliver it?
Now, go sell something.
oxo,
Jody
Jody Smiling Photo copy

Ask Questions vs. Just Answer Them

For sales professionals, everywhere.

When I roleplay/practice with salespeople and play the part of the salesperson as a way of demonstrating the behavior I want them to follow, I am very conscious of my intention and behavior in the interaction: I am focused on what they are saying, use voice and body match, listen deeply and reframe their words and recreate their emotion, and ask more questions in response to what they say. These are all teachable actions and they all require repeated practice.
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The last one – ask more questions in response to what they say – is a critical skill to adopt and repeat. When I observe salespeople in role play or on the floor, I see that they TELL the customer something in response to what they say instead of telling and asking another question.
For example:
Customer: “Is this solid wood?”
Salesperson: “Yes it is.” ADD” Can you tell me what’s important to you about solid wood?”
I also find this step is lacking when discussing money. Example:
Customer: “Is $1500 the price for this sofa?”
Salesperson: “Yes.” ADD: “Will that price work for you?”
Know what you need to know and ask until you get it…including Asking for the Sale.
Now, go sell something.
oxo,
Jody
Jody Smiling Photo copy