Tag Archive | "Sales"

CountertopResource.com Hires Countertop Industry Veteran Chad Thomas as Sales Director

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CountertopResource.com Hires Countertop Industry Veteran Chad Thomas as Sales Director

Posted on 30 January 2017 by cradmin

Chad Thomas, well known in the countertop/surfacing fabrication industry is CountertopResource's new Sales Directo

Chad Thomas, well known in the countertop/surfacing fabrication industry is CountertopResource.com’s new Sales Director

CountertopResource.com, the leader in information portals for the countertop industry and its subsidiaries, is pleased to announce that it has hired Chad Thomas as its Sales Director.

Thomas has more than 15 years of experience in the countertop and surfacing industry, having started at Integra Adhesives in 2001, where he was an integral part of its sales and product development. In 2010, he left Integra to found Gluewarehouse.com, a very successful e-commerce start-up, dedicated to the sale of adhesives and accessories for the surfacing industry.

Throughout his tenure in the industry, Thomas has developed friendships and a host of contacts with countertop and surfacing fabricators, as well as other product suppliers and the media. In his new role, he will be assisting suppliers and manufacturers of countertop and surfacing-related products to develop their audience through marketing with CountertopResource.com. Thomas will also handle sales of the marketing products related to CountertopResource.com’s companion website GreenSurfaceResource.com.

“CountertopResource.com and GreensurfaceResource.com are the industry’s best sites for countertop content,” commented Thomas on the new position. “I am excited about being part of the team. I’m really looking forward to reconnecting the relationships I’ve made over the years and making new ones as well.”

“With Chad’s in-depth knowledge of countertop fabrication, high level of respect for and from the industry and extensive contact base, we know he will be a great addition to the team of expert writers and researchers at both CountertopResource.com and GreenSurfaceResource.com,” said Brian Jones, Editor & Content Manager of the sites. “We expect Chad’s expertise to allow us to continue to grow the websites in new directions to better serve our audience with expanded content and new offerings.”

Thomas officially began the role on January 16 and can be reached for comment at cthomas@countertopresource.com or by phone at (360) 922-9191.

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How to Get More Done in Less Time, and Free Up More Time for Selling

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How to Get More Done in Less Time, and Free Up More Time for Selling

Posted on 12 January 2017 by CRadmin2

By Art Sobczak

Most of us would agree that we could sell more if we just had more time, or, realistically, better control of our time. After all, you can’t manage time any more than you can manage the weather. You can only control what you do with that time while on the phone–and off–to squeeze more productivity from every day.

Here are strategies and specific tactics to rid yourself of the feeling that you’re running in place, and instead, spend more time doing what you do best: selling.

Lists, Lists, Lists…

Like anything else productive, you must start with a plan.

  1. Don’t make a “to do” list at the beginning of the day. Make a “To Get Done” list. View your plans as something you’ll accomplish, not as an activity you’ll try to perform.
  1. According to author and certified management consultant Jeff Davidson, after preparing your “to get done today,” list, categorize the tasks under “urgent” and “not-so-urgent. Then, as unexpected hassles blindside you during the day, start a second list, the stuff you’ll get to tomorrow (after all, it’s normally the little fires that ignite during the day that steal our attention from even the best-intentioned plans, and upon close analysis, much of it truly can wait). Then, right before leaving, transfer today’s unfinished business to tomorrow’s list so you’re back to just one list.
  1. Do one more list. Harold Taylor, editor of Time Management Report, suggests that a “not to do” list is just as important as the others. Since managing time is a “zero-sum” activity, every item of secondary importance that you pinch from your schedule frees up that much more time to be invested in revenue-generating activities. Therefore, refuse to let yourself get caught in time-wasting meetings or committees that aren’t mandatory, and delegate clerical work whenever possible. Also, put this on your “not to do” list: don’t chase prospects who won’t commit to anything.

Ideas From the Experts

I asked an expert on the subject, Jeffrey Mayer, author of the book “Time Management for Dummies,” for some quick tips professionals can use.

  • Review your “Master To Do” list throughout the day. This ensures you don’t spend time looking at one pile after another, trying to decide what to tackle next, getting depressed in the process, and then saying “screw it” and getting up for another cup of coffee or a chat with your neighbor.
  • Do the important stuff first. That’s what you’re paid for. Make the bigger calls, work on the larger proposals, the more difficult projects … all early before the inevitable little annoyances begin chipping away at you.
  • Don’t let the arrival of e-mail messages, voice mail messages, or postal mail interrupt you. You know that when you’re engrossed in something you’re on a roll. Discipline yourself. And when you do review these interruptions, sort out the items that need immediate attention and add them to your Master To Get Done List. The others can be left for later. Or trashed.

Dan Wallace wrote an article in Home Office Computing called “Do Twice as Much in Half the Time.” I’ve excerpted and adapted the ideas that apply here.

  • Ask for the first appointment of the day. Whether it be a phone appointment, or in person, it’s the one least likely to start late.
  • Update your contact-management program and keep it current. Place a printout of your accounts/prospects by the phone and make manual corrections on the paper when you receive mail back or otherwise hear someone has moved on. Then, when you’re on terminal hold with someone, update them in the computer.
  • Rearrange your work space. Use the “near-far” rule. Keep things you use frequently at arm’s length, and things you don’t use often far out of the way. If piles are cluttering your desk, invest in some shelves.
  • If you’re right handed, place your phone on your left and keep a pad and pencil nearby. If you’re a lefty, do the opposite.
  • When you have a backlog on your voice mail, write or type the messages, and delete them. You won’t waste time scrolling through them the next time you check your system.
  • Use the lunch hour to return calls that require only a short answer, or when you’re posing a simple question. Many people will be away from their desks and you’ll reach voice mail.
  • Discourage interruptions. If you have an office, stick a sign on the door that says, “Important sales calls in progress.” Or, hang one on your cubicle that reads, “Door closed.”

More Tips

Here are even more tips I’ve accumulated over the years to help you more effectively control your time, and squeeze more production out of every day.

  • Flush your account files. I’m astounded by the rubbish that resides in many reps’ follow-up files, some of it not even as valuable as garage sale leftovers. Read the skimpy account notes, and you see a long list of comments like, “Not ready now, check back in 6 weeks.” Simple math tells you that time you spend trying to push a two-ton rock up a hill would be better invested looking for someone you have a chance with. Set an objective for a decision of any type on your next contact with these people. Ask, “When do you feel you’ll move forward with a purchase?” You save time on your calls, and the results are more pleasing.
  • Know when and how to say “No.” I’ve seen far too many sales reps who feel obligated to jump through hoops at the request of prospects who want to pick their brain, or otherwise want obscure product information or other research done. And reps comply without even knowing if they’ll get something in return! Before investing inordinate amounts of time with prospects, be certain there’s a potential payoff. There’s nothing wrong with saying, “I’ll be happy to do this for you. I’m assuming you want it because this is something you’re interested in, and that we’ll be working together on a purchase?”
  • Help people get to the point. Those who just want to chit-chat with you are pick-pockets. You wouldn’t let them snatch a $20 bill off your desk, would you? That’s what they’re doing with your time. Regardless of whether they’re customers, peers, or vendors, politely help them explain the reason they’re talking to you: “So how can I assist you?”/”What can I do for you?”
  • Talk in the past tense. To signify the end of the call you can say, “It’s really been great speaking with you …” or, “I’m glad we had the chance to talk.”
  • Reschedule personal interruptions. When friends call to chat, let them know you’re busy, but still want to speak with them.

“Mike great to hear from you. I want to hear all about your vacation to North Dakota. I’ve got some business calls I need to make here, so what’s the best time tonight for me to call you back?”

  • Use “Power Blocking.” Set aside blocks of 45-minute time blocks for activities, and do nothing but that during those times. For example, you might have two blocks of prospecting, and three blocks for follow-up calls during the day. This helps you focus and avoid spraying your activity in all directions.
  • Take the “Why am I doing this?”-test. When engaged in a questionable activity … stuffing envelopes … writing a proposal to a marginal prospect, ask why you’re doing it. If you can’t honestly say it’s either making you or the company money (or saving money), don’t do it. Or delegate it.
  • Analyze and adjust your work hours. You might be physically present for eight hours, but how much work do you get done during that time? Perhaps by coming in a half-hour earlier each day, you can accomplish what would normally be two hours worth of work later in the day. That would be like squeezing out another ten hours worth of production per week!
  • Never write memos or E-mail again. Got something important (and is it really that important, anyway?) to say to someone internally? Say it as you walk by their desk. Or call them for goodness sakes! I know, I know, some situations require that you cover your behind with a written record, but most are just plain drains of your time.
  • Go public with your intentions. If you must do something for someone else, commit to completing it by a specific time. Saying, “I’ll have that price quote to you by 2:00,” forces you to get right on it and complete the task. It avoids procrastination.
  • Turn wait time into productive time. If you think it’s dumb to waste money, it’s even more asinine to waste time. After all, you’ll make more money. Even Bill Gates couldn’t buy more time. Think of all the places you wait … in traffic jams, at the airport, doctor appointments, mechanics, and so on. Always carry with you a file of reading or light paperwork you need to get done. Doing it during this idle wait time eases the frustration of waiting, employs that time productively, and frees up your work time for more important tasks.

And Finally, The Most Important Point of All …

No tips on time control will do any good unless you desire to be a lean time machine. Do you?

It’s simple: if you want to get more done, you will. And from that desire flows your plan … your monthly, weekly, daily, and hourly plans for accomplishment. There’s no magic here. It’s back to the basics. If you have that burning desire, implement these ideas and you’ll find yourself getting more done in less time, and selling more by phone.

About the Author

Art Sobczak gives real world, how-to, conversational ideas and techniques helping business-to-business salespeople use the phone more effectively to prospect, sell, service, and manage accounts without “rejection.” Art is author of numerous books, taped training programs, and publisher of the TELEPHONE SELLING REPORT sales tips newsletter. He’s also a speaker and trainer, providing high-content, one-hour to multiple-day customized speeches and seminars.

Copyright© 2017, Art Sobczak. All rights reserved. For information, contact FrogPond at email susie@FrogPond.com.

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Surviving Uncertainty in Today’s Market: 6 Secrets to Keeping Your Balance, Business and Humor

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Surviving Uncertainty in Today’s Market: 6 Secrets to Keeping Your Balance, Business and Humor

Posted on 15 December 2016 by CRadmin2

By Julie Escobar

What you may not realize is that uncertainty can be a good thing. It can force us out of our comfort zone and propel us to get creative, get resourceful and, most importantly, take action.

If you’re ready to loosen the grip of uncertainty on your career, then I invite you to adopt the following six secrets. Attitude is everything. Well, almost everything, anyway. Consider the study recently conducted by Harvard Business School, which reported the four key elements for success in life:

  1. Experience
  2. Knowledge
  3. Intelligence
  4. Attitude

Stop and think for a moment how you would answer that survey if polled. How would you rate each of these factors in order of importance? Harvard found that experience, knowledge and intelligence comprise only 7 percent of the elements for success. Attitude represented a whopping 93 percent. Imagine that! The most critical facet is also the one we have the MOST control over. So, take control. Rid yourself of the negative and empower yourself with the positive, and you’ll be well on your way to keeping uncertainty at bay.

Over-Prepare. What happens when you know for a fact that you are ready for anything? When you’ve done your homework, practiced, drilled, rehearsed, dotted every “i” and crossed every “t” on your to-do list? Over-preparing for your next job will fill you with the confidence and CERTAINTY you need to win. Our company president always teaches the importance of going those extra steps to be practiced and prepared. So much so, that even if someone were to wake you in the middle of the night from a sound sleep and asked you, “Will you cut your profit?” the words and mannerisms would flow from you naturally and effortlessly with your profit intact!

Market Statistics. There’s never been a more important time to know your numbers than right now. The people who succeed in today’s market are masters of information. They bring to the appointment table all the ammunition you need to prove the quality and prices of your products and services. This affords your clients peace of mind and satisfies two extraordinary essentials for surety and success: confidence and credentials.

Stick to a Schedule. Without it, it’s simply too easy to get off track and find yourself in a rut, and nothing can fuel uncertainty quite like a good old-fashioned rut. Put yourself on a clear, concise, tight schedule, which includes that all important, must-do prospecting time each day. A precise and practical approach to working ON your business not just IN your business will allow you to not just be more productive but also eliminate a great deal of stress in your days. Prioritize your to-do list and keep those “money” activities such as prospecting, presenting and closing on the top of that list.

Master Your ABCs. In today’s market you must always be closing. Our market is quickly changing, shifting and making adjustments, and now is the time to help your customers make the right decisions rather than play the procrastination game. To close is to ask, and to ask is to list. Ask to accept. Ask to reduce. Ask to buy. Sound simple? It is. So go ahead – ASK!

More Is More. Times have changed. The cheese has moved. The economy is shifting. All of these are factors far beyond our control and all represent the change we are all feeling today. It’s all right though. That’s the nature of the beast. Nothing lasts – not the good or the bad – but certainly, how we react to change plays a large role in whether we survive, thrive or find ourselves looking for “a real job.”

The not-so-secret secret here is to do more. Be better. Get stronger at your skill sets. Master your dialogues. Do your homework. Start earlier and stay later when you have to. Readjust your calendars. Create more value for your customers. CONSISTENTLY stay in touch with your sphere of influence. Commit to learning, fine-tuning and crafting your presentations and your presence. Challenge yourself to step outside what “you’ve always done” and seek to go further than you’ve ever gone.

I found an interesting quote today by Ilya Prigogine, “The future is uncertain, but this uncertainty is at the very heart of human creativity.” What a great reminder that is for us to ignite our ingenuity. Tony Robbins tells us that one of the most defining factors that control and shape what we do and how well we succeed is not resources but resourcefulness. In other words, it’s not your broker, not your colleagues, not the market and certainly not the new stationary that determines your success or failure. It’s that deep down emotion that allows you to REALLY want something that powers your resourcefulness to make it happen.

Keep Your Humor. Finally, keep your sense of humor about you. If you truly implement these ideas, you are bound to feel some change, some growing pains and, uh-oh, some uncertainty. Roll with it. Laugh out loud with your friends and your family. Let your hair down, and gift yourself with the medicinal power of laughter. Whether you are a “Jack” or a “Jill” – all work and no play makes for a dull life and a sure case of burnout.

I hope you’ve picked up a secret or two to help you not just survive but truly thrive in this industry. By the way – they aren’t REALLY secrets, just reminders, so feel free to NOT keep them to yourself. Share with the people you care about, the new guy or girl who’s just starting out, that old-timer in the corner who can’t seem to get out of the rut and anyone else who could use a little “shot in the arm.”

One of the best ways to create abundance in your life, financially, emotionally, spiritually and in your career, is to share the wealth. The capacity in which you’ll find it boomeranging back to you is extraordinary.

About the Author

Julie Escobar
Copyright© 2016, Julie Escobar. All rights reserved. For information, contact FrogPond at susie@FrogPond.com.

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Laser Products Announces New Sales Managers & Territories

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Laser Products Announces New Sales Managers & Territories

Posted on 11 October 2016 by CRadmin3

laser-productsLaser Products Industries, a leader in digital templating, has experienced significant growth over the past few years. This growth prompted the company to add to its sales territories and staff in order to continue to offer the same quality of service.

Laser Products announced Aaron Alexander as the new Northwest Sales Manager. Alexander has spent the last two years as a sales manager for the fabric division. He has trained users to template highly complex jobs with ease and to streamline their production workflow. The past year he has also trained hundreds of customers in the stone division. Because of this experience, Alexander has the knowledge and dedication needed to carry on as a regional salesman.

Drew Thornton has also transitioned from the industrial fabrics division to the countertop division as the South Central Sales Manager. Thornton spent almost 20 years in the countertop fabrication industry, most of that time, selling laser templators for the company. Before making the switch to industrial fabrics, Thornton worked with countertop companies in the southeast United States and will now be servicing many of those customers again.

You may also be interested in this article about Laser Products’ partnership with Slabsmith

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Building a Sum Even Greater Than Its Parts: Why It’s Essential to Create a Cohesive Sales Team

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Building a Sum Even Greater Than Its Parts: Why It’s Essential to Create a Cohesive Sales Team

Posted on 28 July 2016 by cradmin

By Becky Wenner

“Coming together is a beginning, staying together is progress and working together is success.” Henry Ford, one of the great industrialists of the 20th century, said that about the importance of teamwork and of how it applies to businesses of all sizes.

Today’s economy is more diverse and more fiercely competitive than ever before, yet Ford’s insights still ring true today. Whether you are leading a small sales team, managing a large sales department or are part of a group of sales professionals, your personal success is going to hinge on building an ambitious, motivated team that can work together towards a common objective.

Even where sales targets are met individually, they are meant to be assigned to all members of a team. A team that meets and exceeds its combined targets is far more valuable than one where only a few succeed and the rest fail.

Work together for sales and against the corrosive effects of disunity. Infighting or squabbles with other departments isn’t just bad for morale, it also leads to lost business. Here at Engage Selling, we once worked with a company that had lost a quarter of a million dollar account because the sales and the engineering teams didn’t trust each other enough to communicate properly.

That’s a tough loss for any company. Worse still, it’s entirely preventable.

Ensure your group keeps meeting and exceeding their sales targets. Implement the following five tips on creating a cohesive sales team.

Choose people whose team skills even the balance.  When hiring sales professionals, be sure to look for people who demonstrate more than just a healthy competitive streak. They need to show they have team-oriented skills, too. These are not contradictory qualities. All proven sales people have the motivation and the tools to succeed on their own, but the truly exceptional ones are able to help others on their team succeed as well.

Open the communication channels in-house. Ensure you are communicating cross-departmentally on a regular basis. Bring in your engineering teams, your implementation teams and your customer service teams so you can have meetings that inform each group about what the others are doing in the common pursuit of serving the customer.

Eliminate ambiguity. Within your sales team, ensure everyone is clear about the sales structure and about how they are being paid. Sales teams can quickly become dysfunctional when staff is expected to perform well while dealing with unanswered questions (e.g., “Is that my lead or yours?” and “Do I get paid for this service I’m providing?”). Fill in the gray areas. Create well-defined sales agreements and compensation agreements.

Don’t compete against your own team. If you are a sales leader, make sure you are not selling directly to the customer. Some of the most dysfunctional sales teams I have coached got that way because the sales leader was competing directly against his own sales team. Your job is not to sell directly. It’s to help each sales person close more business.

Celebrate success. Dysfunctional sales teams stay that way because all they hear is bad news or negative feedback. Granted, a sales person’s commission is a fine motivator on an individual level, but what I am talking about here is what you can do to show that money isn’t the only reward for hard work. Good sales professionals leave organizations when they feel they’re not being recognized. So celebrate big wins. Ensure that every team member feels like they are contributing. Ask for their opinions. Celebrate when a new hire wins a new customer. If customer service or engineering has also helped in that win, make sure you include them in the congratulations as well.

A happy, motivated sales team that knows how it is going to be paid and communicates throughout the organization is the team that’s going to help you meet and exceed your sales goals…year after year.

Copyright ©2012, Becky Wenner. All rights reserved. For information, contact FrogPond at susie@FrogPond.com.

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When Negotiating, Money Isn’t As Important As You Think

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When Negotiating, Money Isn’t As Important As You Think

Posted on 03 September 2015 by cradmin

By Roger Dawson

Let me tell you about my pet subject: When you’re selling your product or service, money is way down the list of things that are important to the other side.

People Want to Pay More, Not Less

After two decades of training salespeople, I have become convinced that price concerns salespeople more than it does the people to whom they sell. I’ll go even further than that – I think that customers who may be asking you to cut your price are secretly wishing that they could pay more for your product. Hear me out before you dismiss this as being imbecilic.

I was the merchandise manager at the Montgomery Ward store in Bakersfield, Calif., back in 1971. Although Bakersfield was not a large town, the store ranked 13th in volume in a chain of more than 600 stores. Why did it do so well? In my opinion, it was because head office left us alone and allowed us to sell to the needs of the local population.

The important element here is that you must give customers a reason for spending more money, but if you can do that, they want to spend more money, not less. I think that spending money is what Americans do best. We love to spend money. We spend $6 trillion a year in this country, and if we could walk into a store and find a salesclerk who knew anything about the merchandise, we’d spend $7 trillion a year. And that’s when we’re spending our own hard-earned, after-tax dollars.

What if you’re asking someone who works at a corporation to spend the company’s money? There’s only one thing better than spending your own money, and that’s spending someone else’s money. If that weren’t enough, remember that corporate expenditures are tax deductible, so Uncle Sam is going to pick up 40 percent of the bill.

So, I believe that we’ve had it all wrong for all these years. When we’re trying to sell something to somebody, he or she doesn’t want to spend less money; he or she wants to spend more. However, you do have to do two things:

  1. You must give buyers a reason for spending more.
  2. You must convince buyers that they could not have gotten a better deal than the one you’re offering.

That second point is where Power Negotiating comes in because everything I teach is designed to convince the other people that they won the negotiation and that they couldn’t have done better. Let’s face it, does what you pay for something really matter? If you’re going to buy a new automobile, does it matter if you spend $20,000 or $21,000? Not really, because you’ll soon forget what you paid for it, and the slight increase in payments is not going to affect your lifestyle. What really matters is the feeling that you got the best possible deal.

You don’t want to go to work the next morning and have everybody crowded around to admire your new car when somebody says, “My friend bought one of those, and he paid only $20,000. You should have gone to Main Street Auto Mall.” That’s what hurts – the feeling that you didn’t get the best deal.

The objection that every salesperson hears most is the price objection. “We’d love to do business with you, but your price is too high.”

Let me tell you something about that. It has nothing to do with your price. You could cut your prices 20 percent across the board and you’d still hear that objection. I trained the salespeople at the largest lawn mower factory in the world. You probably own one of their products because they manufacture most of the low-end, private-label lawn mowers that discount and chain stores sell. Nobody can undercut their production cost on lawn mowers. They have it down to such a science that if you bought one of their mowers at Home Depot and you tipped the kid who carries it to your car a dollar; the kid made more on the lawn mower than the factory did. That’s how slim their profit margins are. However, when I asked them to tell me the number one complaint they hear from the buyers at stores, guess what they told me? You got it. “Your prices are too high.”

Instead of letting this kind of thing work you up into a sweat, adopt the attitude that negotiating is a game. You learn the rules of the game, you practice, practice, practice until you get good at it, and then you go out there and play the game with all the gusto you can muster.

The next time you’re trying to get somebody to spend money remember that they really want to spend more money with you, not less. All you have to do is give them a reason and convince them that there’s no way they could get a better deal.

Things That Are More Important Than Money

A reporter at a press conference once asked Astronaut Neil Armstrong to relate his thoughts as Apollo 11 approached the moon. He said, “All I could think of was that I was up there in a spaceship built by the lowest bidder.” A cute line, but he was falling prey to a popular misconception that the government must do business with anybody who bids the lowest price. Of course, that’s not true, but it’s amazing how many people believe it.

I once found myself sitting next to a Pentagon procurement officer on a flight to the East Coast, and I raised this point with him. “All the time I hear that the government has to buy from the lowest bidder. Is that really true?”

“Heavens no,” he told me. “We’d really be in trouble if that were true. Cost is far from the top of the list of what’s important to us. We’re far more concerned with a company’s experience, the experience of the workers and the management team assigned to the product, and their ability to get the job done on time. The rules say that we should buy from the lowest bidder who we feel is capable of meeting our specifications. If we know that a particular supplier is the best one for us, we simply write the specifications to favor that supplier.”

So even with the federal government, price is far from the most important thing. When you’re dealing with a company that doesn’t have legal requirements to put out a request for bids, it’s far from the top of the list.

Just for the fun of it, review the following list of things that are probably more important than price to buyers.

  • The conviction that they are getting the best deal you’re willing to offer.
  • The quality of the product or service. This is an interesting one because I frequently hear from salespeople that they sell an item that has become a commodity, and it doesn’t matter which source the buyer uses and that the buyer wants only the lowest price. Baloney. If that were true 90 percent of companies supplying such products or services would be out of business. If that were true, the only company that could exist in the market place would be the one offering the lowest price, and that’s a nonsensical proposition.
  • The terms that you offer. Many companies make more on the financing of their product than they do the sale of the product. I recently leased a top-of-the-line luxury automobile and became convinced that making the car was only a small part of what this company did. The real money was in financing the lease or the purchase.
  • The delivery schedule that you offer. Can you get it to them when they need it and be counted upon to keep on doing that? Do you offer a just-in-time delivery system?
  • The guarantees that you offer and, in general, how well you stand behind what you do. I once paid several hundred dollars to buy a product from a Sharper Image store. After a few months, a part on it broke, and I called their 800 number to see if they would take care of the problem. After listening to me only long enough to understand what the problem was, the operator said, “If you’ll give me your address, I’ll FedEx a replacement part to you.” No other questions were asked. When a company stands behind what it does to that extent, am I really going to worry about whether they have the lowest price or not? Of course not.
  • Building a working partnership with you and your company. The old adversarial relationship between vendor and customers is disappearing as astute companies realize the value of developing a mutually beneficial partnership with their suppliers.
  • Credit. A line of credit with your company may be more important than price, especially to new builders where cash flow is cyclical, and you could take up the slack during the lean months.
  • Your staff. When the contract calls for something to be made or a service to be performed, other factors may be more important than price: The quality of the workers that you will assign to the job. The level of management that you will assign to oversee the work. The ability and willingness to tailor your product and installation to their needs.
  • The respect that you will give them. Many times, a company will move from a large vendor to a smaller one because they want to be a substantial part of the vendor’s business to have more leverage.
  • Peace of mind. AT&T keeps my telephone business although they are more expensive than Sprint and MCI and have never pretended that they aren’t. I stay with them because the service has been trouble-free and simple to use for many years, and I have more important things concerning me than switching long distance companies to save a few pennies a call.
  • Reliability. Can they trust that the quality of your product and service will stay high?

Finding Out How Much a Seller Will Take

Now let’s look at some techniques to find out the seller’s lowest price. When you are buying, the negotiating range of the seller ranges from the wish price (what they’re hoping you’ll pay) all the way down to the walk-away price (at anything less that this they will not sell at all). The same is true in reverse with the buyer. How do we uncover the seller’s walk-away price? Let’s say that your neighbor is asking $15,000 for his pick-up truck. Here are some techniques you can use to uncover his lowest price.

  • Ask. That may seem incredibly naive, but if the buyer is not a good negotiator, he or she may just tell you what’s on their mind.
  • Drop out of contention, but say you have a friend who might be interested. You might say, “Thanks for showing it to me but it’s really not what I’m looking for. However, I do have a friend who’s looking for something like this, but he doesn’t have much money. What’s the very least you’d take?”
  • Nibble for a finder’s fee. “If my friend did buy it from you, would you give me a $500 finder’s fee?”
  • Have other people make super-low offers to lower the expectation of the seller. This is unethical of course, but I’ll tell you about it so that you will recognize it when it’s used against you. If the seller has high hopes of getting $15,000 for his truck, your offer of $10,000 may sound like an insult. However if he’s had only two offers so far, one for $7,000 and the other for $8,000, when you come along and offer him $10,000, he may jump at it.
  • Make a low offer subject to the approval of a higher authority. “My buddy and I are going in on this so I’ll have to run this by him, but would you take $10,000?”

Now let’s look at some techniques that a seller could use to find out how much a buyer is willing to pay. Let’s say that you sell switches to computer manufacturers. Here are some techniques you could use:

  • Raise their top offer by hypothesizing what your higher authority might be willing to do. Perhaps they buy similar switches now for $1.50 and you’re asking $2.00. You might say, “We both agree we have a better quality product. If I could get my boss down to $1.75, would that work for you?”
  • Determine their quality standards by offering a stripped down version. “We may be able to get down below $1.50 if you don’t care about copper contacts. Would that work for you?” In this way, you probably get them to acknowledge that price isn’t their only concern. They do care about quality.
  • Establish the most they can afford by offering a higher quality version. “We can add an exciting new feature to the switch, but it would put the cost in the $2.50 range.” If the buyer shows some interest in the feature, you know that they could pay more. If he or she says, “I don’t care if it’s diamond plated. We can’t go over $1.75,” you know that fitting the product to a price bracket is a critical issue.
  • Remove yourself as a possible vendor. This disarms the buyer and may cause him to reveal some information that he wouldn’t if they thought you were still in the game. You say, “Joe, we love doing business with you, but this item is just not for us. Let’s get together on something else later.” Having disarmed Joe in this way, a little later, you can say, “I’m sorry we couldn’t work with on the switches, but just between you and me what do you realistically think you can buy them for?”

As you can see from all we’ve talked about here, there’s a lot to be said about the subject of price. Power Negotiators know not to exacerbate the price problem by assuming that price is uppermost in the other person’s mind. Also it is ludicrous to say that what you sell is a commodity, and you have to sell for less than your competitor’s price for you to get the sale.

About the Author

Roger Dawson, CSP, CPAE is one of North America’s top negotiating experts and a leading sales and management speaker. He is the author of “Secrets of Power Negotiating,” which is one of the biggest selling audio programs ever published. His latest book, Secrets of Power Persuasion for Salespeople, is now in bookstores and is a must read for all salespeople.

Copyright© 2015, Roger Dawson. All rights reserved. For information, contact FrogPond at susie@FrogPond.com.

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The Best Stuff Vs. The Right Stuff: What Quality Has To Do With Getting Full Price, Rate or Fee

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The Best Stuff Vs. The Right Stuff: What Quality Has To Do With Getting Full Price, Rate or Fee

Posted on 03 June 2015 by cradmin

By Bill Brooks

“But I Can’t Sell on Quality … Ours Aren’t Really the Best on the Market.”

Most salespeople believe that quality means “best,” but quality does not really mean best. Quality means conformance to standards and expectations – your prospect’s standards and expectations. Quality means the right stuff – not the best stuff. Quality is the correct stuff for your prospect’s requirements and needs, not the best stuff made.

For example, what is a quality tire for your car? The only way to answer that question is to ask another question or a series of questions:  What are you going to use the car for? Are you going to race it? Or drive to work in the snow? Go out and buy the best racing slicks you can get, put them on your power-traction wheels and see how fast you can accelerate in six inches of snow. Or put racing slicks on your front wheels and see how fast you can stop on wet pavement while going downhill. You might say that you bought the “best tires money could buy,” but you’ll be disappointed in their performance under those conditions.

Avoiding the “Your Price Is Too High” Objection

If you want to avoid the “your price is too high,” conversation with prospects, you’d better have “the right stuff.” Selling certainly includes telling your prospects that your offering is the correct product (and why it’s the right stuff) for them. But if your offering is not the right stuff – if you’re selling high-quality walnut wood and your customer only needs cheap plywood, for example – the only way you’ll get your customer to buy the wrong stuff is to cut your price.

If they’re building fine furniture, they might buy your walnut. But if they’re putting in subflooring, they won’t:  They don’t need it, don’t want it and can’t afford it. The only way you’ll sell them high-quality walnut for subflooring is to cut your price.

If you don’t have the right stuff for your customer – the quality of products or services that conform to his or her standards and expectations – you have a problem. You will never get full price, rate or fee for products or services if you try to sell your prospect the wrong stuff for the specific project he or she needs it for. You’ll be selling high quality walnut at the price of plywood!

“But I Sell a Commodity – and People Buy Commodities Solely on Price.”

Many salespeople feel that they’re in a commodity business, and they believe because of that, they absolutely must sell on price, but nothing is further from the truth. Selling a commodity doesn’t mean that you automatically must sell it on price.

A commodity, by definition, is any item that cannot be easily distinguished from others in the marketplace – something that is in direct competition with a large number of other extremely similar products or services. For example, suppose we have two water glasses for sale that are identical in terms of size, shape, appearance, etc. If we tell you one sells for two pennies and the other sells for one penny (and you’re buying water glasses – not wine glasses), which one are you going to buy? You’re going to buy the one-penny glass, of course, because all other things being equal, people buy on price, right?

But that’s just not true. Other things are seldom, if ever, really equal. What if you don’t like the salesperson who is selling you the glass? What if the glass won’t be shipped to you until next month? What if the vendor only has eight glasses, and you need 12?

It is the salesperson’s job to make sure the customer knows all of the following:

  1. Other things are not equal.
  2. He or she should buy the salesperson’s (higher priced) item because it’s actually a better deal.
  3. It’s a better deal because it provides value: the service is better, the delivery is better, the salesperson is better and so on.

The product or service itself may be nearly identical to others in the marketplace, but all the things involved in getting the product or service to the customer differentiate one fabricator from all the others.

There is ample evidence that even when the product is equal to another – identical product – people don’t always buy on price. Think of your neighborhood convenience store. Typically, just about every item you’ll find in a convenience store is more expensive than it is in a grocery store. The very fact that convenience stores exist proves that people will pay more for the exact same product (as long as there is some valuable differentiation – in this case, convenience).

Milk is sometimes as much as double the price at a convenience store. But If you get a craving for some cookies in the cupboard at 11:00 at night, but you don’t have any milk, chances are very good that instead of driving all the way to your grocery store, you’re just going to run up to the convenience store, pay more for the milk and get home so you can have cookies and milk while you watch The Tonight Show.

The Final Word

As a salesperson, you MUST differentiate your company’s products and services from your competitor’s somehow, someway. That is what selling is all about. Otherwise, a computer could answer the phone and direct the customer to a price quote on the web, and all orders could be filled digitally as well.

Think about the last time a prospect told you they could get the same product or service at a lower price. Was it really the exact same thing? What were the differences between your product and the others? The way you deliver it? The service you offer?

The facts are, other things are never equal – and even if the product or service is nearly identical to another, prospects rarely buy only on price. Remember, consumers and commercial buyers say they buy on price because they’re trying to get you to cut your price, but their behavior belies their words!

Your goal with every prospect should be to find out what his or her standards and expectations are – and which of your products or services can best meet them. That way, you’ll get the price, rate or fee you ask for, and you’ll have customers who perceive you as a high-quality salesperson.

About the Author

Bill Brooks, CSP, CPAE, CMC, CPCM, former CEO of a $300 million corporation and two-time sales award winner from an international sales force of 8,000, Bill has real-world expertise. Bill has spoken or consulted in more than 300 different industries while being engaged by at least 150 clients an astonishing six times each.

Copyright© 2015, Bill Brooks. All right reserved. For information, contact FrogPond at susie@FrogPond.com.

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18 Ways to Get More Business

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18 Ways to Get More Business

Posted on 15 December 2014 by cradmin

by Paul Lemberg

In our modern business climate, most of us welcome all the help we can get in increasing sales through traditional methods, but you can also put some extra money in your pocket through alternative revenue sources. One of the secrets to increasing profit is to try something you aren’t already doing that has low overhead in terms of both cost and resources. Following are 18 ways you can bring in additional business and strengthen your bottom line. However, it should be noted that these are not long-term business strategies. These are short-term to medium-term tactics designed to put cash in your bank account within the next 30 to 90 days.

1.  Hire a salesperson. Or, if you already have salespeople, hire another one. You may not be able to pay them a salary, so make it a position that is based completely on commission, and make the commission generous. And of course, pay their expenses. This will work best if you have a sales process in place and some kind of systemized knowledge that will bring them up to speed quickly.

2.  Get some sales training. The Sandler Selling System is great for simple sales. Mike Bosworth’s Customer Centric Selling is great for complex sales. Of course there are many others, and any good sales training program will get your sales off whatever dime you are stuck on.

3.  Start a referral program. This doesn’t mean simply ask for referrals, but do it routinely. Do it systematically. Have a method to ask, and have a method to reward people who do refer.

4.  Add products to your back end. The costliest part of business is getting new customers. Why not maximize your investment and sell those customers additional products and services?

5.  Bundle specific services into a productized form. Give them a name. Make the price fixed. Typically, the productizing and fixed price enables you to sell at higher prices than you had previously set.

6.  Raise your prices. Most people undervalue what they do and charge way too little for it. And many others discount from their list prices at the drop of a hat. Stop discounting, but if you must, always get something in exchange. Think tradeoffs. And raise your rates for both services and products.

7.  Establish joint ventures. Find people who have something you need, like products or customers, and trade with them. Pool your resources. Pool your time. Create something larger than either of you alone. Turn it into a win-win situation.

8. Form strategic alliances. How does this differ from the joint ventures mentioned above? Strategic alliance partners are only involved in one aspect of your business – in other words, they may source leads or products. A joint venture partner is a deeper involvement. You’ll work more closely on a wider range of aspects.

9. Charge referral fees. You probably make these referrals anyway. Now get paid for them.

10. Join affiliate programs. This is simply the systemized approach to referral fees, and on the Internet, this is THE way to do business. In many cases, all you need to do is place a small add or link on your website. Your viewers will do the rest.

11. Sell a subscription to your service. Maybe a countertop maintenance program? Lock in the revenue and accelerate the payments. Then give your customers special bonuses or super service for being subscribers or members.

12. Create bundles out of all your existing products. Put things together and offer special pricing. This may lower your per-unit revenue, but it will increase average transaction size as well as total revenue.

13. Set up a Rolodex routine. This means going through your Rolodex or contact list, name-by-name, and calling everyone who looks promising. For something. For selling, for networking, for referrals or even just for a “how are you doing.”

14. Conduct a survey. Ask your client base questions. This process will yield great information about your market, and it will always bring you unexpected business.

15. Offer your services or products at a silent or charity auction. While this won’t bring in money immediately, it will almost always expand your client base.

16. Offer to let key influencers give away some of your time or product samples. Real estate agents, designers, cabinet shops, flooring centers, etc.

17. Focus your market. Many people try to cover too much ground. By becoming a noted expert in a tightly defined market niche, you can increase the power of all your marketing efforts, bringing in more business for each marketing dollar you spend.

18. Shift into an adjacent market. Sometimes your market niche is exhausted, and sometimes your customers are simply maxed out on spending. A shift into an adjacent market niche can bring you all kinds of new business.

About the Author

Paul Lemberg’s clients call him “the unreasonable consultant” because he helps them see the unnecessary limits they place upon themselves and encourages, cajoles and, at times, beats them over the head to take bold, sometimes uncomfortable and often unreasonable, actions to reach their critical business goals. He is CEO of Axcelus Consulting, a systematic business acceleration program helping entrepreneurs and executives rapidly create faster-growing, profitable and sustainable businesses. He also wrote a book:  Be Unreasonable (McGraw-Hill, 2007). Lembergis available for keynote and executive retreats and can be reached via www.paullemberg.com. His blog can be found at www.be-unreasonable.com.

Copyright© 2014, Paul Lemberg. All right reserved. For information, contact FrogPond at email susie@FrogPond.com.

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How Does Your Website Make Me Feel?

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How Does Your Website Make Me Feel?

Posted on 14 November 2014 by cradmin

by Phillipa Gamse

When people think about the Internet, they think about technology. When people hear that I am a website strategy expert, they see me as a “techy type.”

But for me, the most intriguing aspect of online business isn’t about the technology. It’s about human connections and how you can create these in a virtual environment.

It’s commonly understood that “people buy emotionally, not intellectually.” Even when people think they’re making a rational decision, powerful subconscious factors come into play. To sell effectively, we’re told to anticipate our customers’ needs, to demonstrate that we “feel their pain” and to respond to clues in their body language and tone of voice.

In the real world we do this very well. And we know that if we can have a direct, in-person conversation, there’s a pretty good chance that we’ll close the sale or keep a happy customer.

For the online visitor, your website is the next best thing to that in-person conversation with you, your colleagues or employees. And because so many people are researching products and services on the Web, it’s critical that your site has maximum impact in persuading them to take the next step with you.

So how does your website connect emotionally with your visitors? Do they feel listened to, understood and appreciated by your Internet presence? Are you instinctively meeting their real needs? Do your existing customers feel supported and valued when interacting with you online?

Or are you failing to evoke the crucial emotional responses which can significantly enhance your response rates, sales and ongoing return on your Web investment?

The Critical Emotions for Website Success

I’ve been working with client Web strategies in a wide range of industries since 1995. Based on this experience, I’ve identified some key emotions that you need to evoke in your online visitors to create and sustain a profitable relationship.

How well your website does this can have a major effect on the visceral, instinctive reactions of your visitors and their propensity to buy from or connect with you.

In total, I have 20 criteria for emotional connectedness that I suggest for any website. That’s too many to discuss in this article, but let’s look at a few highlights:

Do I Feel Recognized?
When we first meet in a business setting, we’re introduced or we introduce ourselves with some statement about what we do and why we should connect with each other.

When we talk with customers or prospects, it’s important to show very quickly that we understand their issues and needs and that we have ideas and solutions to address these.

The most important task for your home page is to accomplish this initial introduction. You’ve heard the 10-second rule about how long a visitor will stay on a site that doesn’t engage them.

So, does your home page really tell me what you do? Does it speak to me in specific terms that make very clear what services you provide and what type of customers or clients you work with? Does it use language that I’ll understand even if I don’t know the jargon of your industry or specialization?

Sounds Simple?
There are astounding numbers of websites that fail to provide basic information on the home page.

If your goal is to get the customer to visit your store, does your home page clearly show your location, and how to get there? Every time you force the visitor to make a decision, such as, “Do I click on the Contact Us page to find their address?” you open up the possibility that they’ll make the wrong choice (from your viewpoint), or worse still, they’ll just leave.

And is it clear to me whether you can – or would want to – help me? Are you geared towards commercial “bulk” buyers or consumers or both? Do you operate regionally or only in your immediate location? Will your visitors know what you mean by generic terms or should you be more specific as to what you offer?

Do I Feel Engaged?
As we continue our real-world conversation, we start to find common points of interest, whether personal or professional. We begin to feel that we can relate with each other, and this helps to build our business relationship.

So your website has to make the visitor feel drawn in – that they want to know more about your business, your products and your services – but again, from the viewpoint of their needs and interests. And you have to give the visitor a clear sense that you want to find those points of connection and to learn more about them.

If the visitor doesn’t feel invited in, if they feel left to themselves to find their way around – if they’re overwhelmed, confused, or simply not interested in your site, they’ll leave.

Does your site present a bewildering array of manufacturers, products or options without any guidance as to selecting from these? Think about the conversation that you’d have with a customer in your store or on the phone. You’d find out what they were looking for, and then, you’d ask a number of questions to help them find the right solution for their needs.

So how can you mirror this process online? You could offer a “Help Me” page that guides visitors through some Frequently Asked Questions or other choices and provides links to recommended products based on their answers. You could incorporate an interactive chat facility with a customer service agent during office hours or access to a searchable knowledge base.

Do I Feel Convinced?
If the visitor is seeing your business for the first time, they need to be comfortable that you are who you say you are and that you can deliver what you promise.

One of the most important elements in establishing this part of the connection is to show the “faces” of your business. Have you noticed how many websites don’t name any of their owners or the people that customers will interact with? It’s much easier to have a conversation when I know who I’m talking to!

Customer testimonials and other third-party endorsements are critical elements in establishing trust – they say far more about you than your own marketing statements. How many sites have we all seen that trumpet “nationally recognized” or “premier provider”? Prove it!

Include client quotes and success stories right across your site where they’re front and center as visitors are engaged in your content. If you win an award, tell the visitor what that means for them in terms of how you were evaluated.

Do I Feel Motivated?
Towards the end of our real-world conversation, we’ll hopefully close a sale, or we’ll talk about some next steps or we might say, “Let’s stay in touch.” To do that with our online visitor, we need to persuade them to buy something or to tell us who they are and give us permission to reconnect with them.

Too many Web pages tail off with no call to action or directions about where to go next. If you don’t issue a clear invitation, you again leave it to the visitor to work out what to do – and you run a big risk of losing them.

So at every point on every page where the visitor might be thinking “Tell me more” or “How do I get this?” provide a clickable link to the next step, to your shopping cart, to your newsletter subscription page or to whatever you want them to do. Don’t wait until the end of the page – they may never get there! Look for the emotional “tipping points” on every page where they’re ready to talk more with you and grab them in the moment!

Diluting the Connection

Of course, it’s all too easy to undo all the good feelings that we create by frustrating or annoying the visitor or simply by giving them a dead end.

One of my favorite bugbears is the site search engine that allows me to enter my query and then tells me “No results found. Please try again with different search terms.”

How is that supposed to make me feel? What was wrong with my keywords or my parameters if the search page allowed me to select them? Am I being stupid? Or do you really not want to help me?

Your visitor is clearly looking for something, and has taken a step towards connecting with you. So how about a results page that lets them know that you can’t immediately answer their question, but offer a link to your contact form so that they can send a question or some tips or suggestions on how to find more information.

The ultimate customer service feature is an opportunity to interact with a live assistant – if your site offers this utility, the search results page is a perfect place to maximize its visibility.

So How “Emotionally Connected” Is Your Website?
I hope that I’ve sparked your curiosity enough to take a fresh look at your website.

Think about specifically why visitors are coming to your site, what might be on their minds and review your copy and navigation accordingly. Think about new customers and existing ones, employees, media – everyone who might have a reason to visit. Are you doing everything that you can to create an “emotionally connected” experience for everyone?

The right mix will gain you significantly higher time spent on your site, more calls from pre-qualified leads, more signed contracts, happier repeat customers, attention from new markets, offers of strategic alliances and collaborations and insights into creating successful new products and services.

About the Author

Philippa Gamse helps her clients develop e-business strategies and maximize their use of technology to gain sustainable competitive edge. She has extensive corporate experience both in Europe and the U.S., ideally positioning her to interpret our increasingly global market place. She brings to her clients and audiences a continuously growing body of knowledge about emerging technologies, their integration with existing “real-world” strategies, and their effect on marketing, public relations and customer service techniques.

Copyright© Philippa Gamse. All right reserved. For information contact FrogPond at email susie@FrogPond.com.

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Creating a Positive Countertop Buying Experience

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Creating a Positive Countertop Buying Experience

Posted on 20 January 2014 by CRadmin2

Although this story pertains to automobiles, its lesson spans through every industry, including countertop fabrication. Pay attention to your customers’ reactions and to what they say so that it is possible to create a positive buying experience for them.

A former salesperson for Cadillac recalls that a few years ago, his dealership began to study its customer-buying experience in great detail. The customers talked about how uncomfortable they were when buying a car. They felt cheap and as if the dealer was taking advantage of them in the negotiations. Apparently, the proverbial used-car-salesman approach was well earned.

Customers typically felt as though the negotiations were not honest and above board. They would make an offer, and the salesperson would disappear to check with the sales manager to see if the customer offer could possibly be accepted. The customers believed that the salesperson was actually in the break room having a cigarette, making them sweat. The bottom line was that the customers believed these negotiations were insincere, and no matter what eventually happened, the customer felt badly about the experience. This research was later corroborated by a study conducted by J. D. Power about the buying experience.

When GM decided to create Saturn, the intent was to create a new customer experience. GM had not performed particularly well in the small car market. To compete with the Japanese, top management decided to locate Saturn in Tennessee, away from Detroit and all that was typical of GM. Many of the leaders assigned to Saturn were from Cadillac and were aware of the research concerning the purchasing experience. They set out to create, as they said in advertising, a decidedly different customer buying experience.

Saturn management listened carefully to customers. For starters, executives decided that there would be one price, and it would not be negotiable. In that way, the buyer need not worry that someone else was getting a better deal. The hard sell approach was dropped. Customers were encouraged to look over the cars and ask questions, but the intent was to let the customers and cars interact on their own, without the salesperson being involved until needed or unless there was a question.

This approach was founded upon serious retraining on the part of the sales staff. They were taught what tactics and sales strategies would create the best sales experience for the customers. The Saturn ad campaigns echoed the sales strategy. They highlighted the sales experience as being different, fair and fun. They showed salespeople driving hundreds of miles to show a car to a customer in a remote location. The message from Saturn was clear: We want you to have a pleasant sales experience, and you will love your car! Saturn executives had listened and heard their target market asking for change in how cars were sold.

The entire sales experience was designed to relieve the customer anxiety about the purchase price and the purchase decision. Saturn was the first new car division for a U.S. automotive manufacturer since Ford introduced the Edsel in the late 1950s. Saturn leaders had been given a chance to design their sales process and customer experience from a clean sheet of paper. They listened well and reinforced the message in their ads. The focus was on having a great sales experience as much as it was about the innovative qualities of the car. In a very real sense, they were selling the customer buying experience. And the reward was an almost cult-like following.

We all know the end of the story – Saturn closed its doors in 2009, but as Sean McAlindin,  of the Center for Automotive Research, explained in this article that appeared in the Christian Science Monitor, it wasn’t the philosophy that failed them but rather the backlash from other divisions of GM that Saturn was taking their business (along with the hard-hitting recession). Ultimately, the philosophy worked too well, causing internal backlash!

In the countertop industry, where many businesses rely heavily on customer referrals and word-of-mouth advertising, creating a positive buying experience is even more critical. What have you done to improve your sales process for the customer?

Article Source: Articlelogy.com

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