Ralf Weiser's Blog – Shake Up Your Snow Globe! ©

Stop doing, shake your globe, ponder, dream, start reaching your full potential – live on purpose and do it with a smile!

Archive for the category “sales and marketing”

If you are in sales then you had better read this about making calls


If you are in sales then you had better read this about making calls 

Don’t miss the link at the end of the post – it’s a game changer.

The vast majority of sales folks still think that “cold” calls on new prospects is a necessary evil – it just comes with the territory of being a professional sales person. Wrong! That is absolutely incorrect unless you are part of a meat grinder called “call center” where your job consists of pestering unsuspecting professionals at work, or families at home during dinner. There is no such thing as a cold call unless you want to go in cold.

If you read or follow Jeffrey Gitomer you probably know about his philosophy of you creating so much value to existing customers in a way that you earn referrals and recommendations. To him there should not be anything like a cold call period. He abhors this concept altogether and often asserts that that practice is only for mediocre sales folks. How does one get enough prospects and then customers in the first place though?

This is where I believe the answer lies in calling prospects in a qualified manner such that you no longer go in stone cold. Preparation is everything:

  • Value preposition: Know what it is and how your prospects may benefit from it. Prior to taking off on any call do your homework. Do not go on ANY call, if you cannot figure out how you and your products/ services can be used and thus provide a significant value to your prospect.
  • Timing: Some customers have a better time to call on them than others. Take entrepreneurs for instance. Better time for most is after hours. They work hard and typically do their best work when they are alone and without interruptions. Calling them during the middle of the work day may not be the smartest thing to do.
  • Existing customers: When you go to existing customers speak with especially the front desk folks and any other “gate keepers”. Be genuine in treating them nicely when you try to get information about the people who work there and if and how you may be able to provide value to them. They will ultimately lead to other people and businesses. The next call will not be cold!
  • New prospects: Turn any call – even the ones that at first were not successful in securing an order – into a future asset for you. You are doing business with people and not businesses. That means every person you meet has the potential for you getting to know other people and perhaps even the prospects competitors you should be speaking with. Referrals and recommendations are fairly easy to get once you learn how to treat everyone with the same importance. It’s your mindset that makes the difference.

Why am I writing about this? I am so fascinated how many ice cold cold calls I receive. No preparation on the caller’s part – none. My least favorite are folks who call to ask me what it is I and our company does. Say what? Unless you are a friend or a customer I should not have to tell you that at this time and age anymore. The Internet is so jam packed with information about companies and people that this should not be an issue anymore.

Be proud being a sales person and turn ANY call into something that provides value and you will never have to worry about making quota. Do you want to read up on this? Check out Chuck Piola’s “Going in Cold – How to Turn in Strangers Into Clients and Getting Rich Doing it

Ralf

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Authentic leadership will help attain and retain our Millennial workforce – Discover how to get in front of the coming tsunami hitting our work places


Authentic leadership will help attain and retain our Millennial workforce – Discover how to get in front of the coming tsunami hitting our work places 

Aren’t you getting increasingly sick about the overused phrase authentic leadership? Sure, I have used it here and there too. It was not until I read a few posts online that extensively harped on it before I finally got confused what this really means. More importantly, how can you learn and be authentic?

Along with this phrase come a few more buzz words that are also non-descriptive. The leader ought to be authentic, she should provide contagious energy, she should be engaging the audience’s senses, she should be demonstrating vulnerability and perseverance, she should be exuding confidence, she should be personable, she should be believable, she should be a great listener, and have a load of charisma if at all possible.

Isn’t it hilarious how these adjectives are very descriptive and yet meaningless as they are not really all that exact? It is all subject to individual interpretation and yet every one of us kind of sort of knows what it is supposed to be about. It is hard to pick up on the underlying driver of being authentic and that is helping and serving others. Not so fast though, because first of all a leader must first manage to be heard in the first place.

In short all of the above describe a state of being. As such it proves the adage of all nonverbal communication driving more than half of what people see and ultimately what they HEAR. Roughly a third is your tone of voice and only a small amount of communication is through the actual words that you have chosen to convey your leadership.

It is something that one has to experience personally in order to really understand it and how to learn it and then practice it daily. So what we are talking about here is appealing to the senses of our counterparts: Tone of voice, demeanor, mannerisms, facial expression, gestures, choice of words, etc.

To demonstrate this I have picked two random videos of CEO’s; not just any CEO, but airline ones. Just about all airlines claim how they love their customers and employees and invite us to fly their friendly skies. How does Delta’s own Richard Anderson strike you (Click here for the video)? http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HrZmgIaO7Hc Now compare this to Southwest president Colleen Barrett (Click here to watch her in action)? http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7BZw_TDCfek

Fascinating, isn’t it? When you unravel why Colleen is fairing so much better you may have noticed the traits that let her stand out:

  • She is totally focused on others and not herself.
  • She shows vulnerability by being moved by the contributions of her team members.
  • She makes the speech all about them and not herself.
  • She makes eye contact with her team members.
  • How many things can you point out?

Why is she so much more believableauthentic – than Richard? At the bottom line it shrinks down to one thing for me and I am hoping that I have stirred your snow globe a little with this again: It’s her servitude. How willing are you to serve others before yourself? Fascinating isn’t it? Leadership really has nothing to do with you at all.

She is going through great lengths making the event to be for her team members and not all about herself. That is so different with Richard. He sits in the middle of everyone’s attention and when you really listen to the customer conversation with him, even that sounds fake and forced.

Did I mention that this makes your more successful too? You have not heard about how greatly successful and admirable Delta Airlines is, right? There is a reason why they are where they are and why Southwest is such an admired and overall successful brand.

Surprising, isn’t it? Being an authentic leader boils down to serving others with your brain, heart, and soul; then it will become organic and long term sustainable. Parking your ego will be the first and most important step you can take. Don’t you like the simplicity of this concept?

Beware of Millennials looking for work places that provide a reason for them spending all of their time working there. The more you embrace the concept of progressively embracing authentic leadership (serving others before yourself), the greater the chance you will attain and retain this wonderfully talented workforce.

Ralf

Learn what you need to deliver if you want to grow your company


Learn what you need to deliver if you want to grow your company 

One thing that I keep communicating at work is that our real product is TRUST – not some machines or services that leave our facility every day. Whatever the finished product is, customers expect great quality, pricing, delivery and service as a given. How else can you differentiate yourself then? It is your organization and how the customer can expect to experience your company as a trustworthy partner that will not jeopardize his job or his organization. He needs to get a quote on time just as well as a timely and accurately sent invoice. When problems arise there had better be a live person in product or customer support answering the phone.

Trust is based on delivering a pattern of predictable outcome at EVERY level of the organization. How do you generate trust? One key item is commitment management. Foster an environment that teaches your employees how to request, negotiate and communicate task requests. Are the conditions of satisfaction (who, when, what, how?) known and communicated well enough? Part of a request is the commitment of the performer to carry out the task and the commitment of the customer to provide the details that will lead to a satisfactory completion of the task. Important is the continuous and detailed communication process during this phase. This is true for internal and external customer-performer relationships. Repeat these few steps and you will spoil every customer because mastering this will propel you far over the average customer service experience in the industry. Even though we live in a service driven society, the average customer service experience leaves room for lots of improvement.

The concept of creating and building trust is simple. It is much tougher to deliver on it. Master it and you will become the industry leader by delivering convincingly to one customer at a time.

Ralf

Death by meeting part IV (and how you and the meeting can be resuscitated)


Death by meeting part IV (and how you and the meeting can be resuscitated) 

Meetings. Sometimes I think I the conference room is my office. How often do you feel that way, or have you been in more meetings than the workweek has hours?

Seriously, many meetings just keep on running on and on with little to nothing show for at the end of it in terms of getting tangible results. When folks get an even fuzzier picture at the end of the meeting than what they went in with, you will have some very unhappy campers to deal with sooner or later.

It does not need to be this way. Preparation is the key word in making a difference. Have you ever painted anything like a room or piece of furniture? If so, you may appreciate when I say that +75% of the total work going into this is the prep work leading up to it. The actual painting job takes a fraction of time. This is no different with meeting prep work. Properly executed this can save you many a nerves and of course time, money and frustration. Please also see the meeting planner free for you to use in the download area.

  1. Sit on a mental rock and ponder why you need to have a meeting in the first place. If you can avoid it, do not have it. Have personal conversations instead and make good use of your capability walking the four corners of your business.
    1. A good reason to have a meeting is when you get more than 3 people e-mailing each other discussing a point and consensus does not emerge.
    2. Have a meeting immediately if this banter goes on more than two business days.
    3. Have it immediately if there is more than just 1 department or stake holder involved.
  2. Clarify what kind of a communication you want to have. Is it a communication for interpretation? Communication for clarity? Communication for action? Communication for exploration?
  3. Identify the goal of the meeting. What is the desired outcome?
  4. Define location, attendees, time scheduled to start and stop. Make sure to book your rooms well in advance and all the props that you need.
  5. Who should attend? Err on the minimalistic side. More than five people at a time make for really slow meetings. Pay attention who of your people are visual, auditory, or kinesthetic. Make sure everyone is being considered.
  6. When you start the meeting make sure to start on time and end on time. Neat trick starting on time is to make the last person to arrive at the meeting the scribe. You will have some hilarious antics going on when you do this, but it has proven extremely effective.
  7. Define the roles of facilitator, scribe, and time keeper. Time keeper, no time to tread lightly on this; make certain that the time limits are kept.
  8. Plan out the topics that will be discussed. Upon starting the meetings give every team member a chance adding topics, or of course eliminating any.
  9. Sometimes it may be necessary having side bar meetings leading up the meeting that you are planning. When the topic is too vague, scope creep set in, or there are too many people in the main meeting, prevent major headaches this way.
  10. Scribe: Keep copious notes. For the technical savvy folks amongst you, use a version of the Meeting Planner on the Download page in your MS One Note folder and share it with the team members.
  11. At the end of the meeting go over the captured action items. Make absolutely, positively certain to doing this. Identify the responsible person to deliver results and by when.
  12. End on time. If you have a pattern of going over all the time, have a few meetings standing up. Trust me it helps keeping a fast pace and not to start rambling through the meeting agenda. If you must go over one hour time then plan on a 90 max meeting time before walking around, and get a bit of fresh air.

Nothing is worse than having a meeting for the sake of having a meeting. If need be, speak with you supervisor and take a break at no more than 90 minutes max meeting time.

Ralf

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