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Archive for March, 2007

Pure Profit: Four Secrets of Successful Sales Diversification

Posted By Michael Roby | Saturday, March 31st, 2007

What a week! Seven [tag]speaking engagements[/tag] in five cities in Washington, California, and Texas, with five flights provided for an exciting but tiring trip. When my wife picked me up at the airport last night, the last thing I wanted to do was dine out. However, she had had a long week as well. She was prepared to have a quiet dinner at home, but I surprised her by suggesting we go out for dinner.

Jensen’s Café in Burnsville, MN is a wonderful breakfast and lunch restaurant, open from 7 AM to 2:30 PM. The Jensen’s are third generation restaurateurs, with another store called Jensen’s Supper Club in Eagan, MN. On my flight home I read in a magazine that they were diversifying their business by using the Jensen’s Café location to launch Jensen’s Wine & Dine, which uses the same facilities and opens at 4:30 PM. They have an entirely different crew that comes in to provide a warm, upscale, but reasonably priced dining experience with fine wines, an excellent menu, and an entirely different feel than you would find if you showed up earlier in the day for breakfast or lunch.

What does this have to do with sales? Jensen’s is growing their business using four principles of successful diversification. To be successful we must focus on what we do best, but when we become successful, we can diversify our business, and add exponential growth to our bottom line. To diversify your [tag]sales business[/tag] you can use the same strategies, which are:

  1. Stay in your area of experience and expertise
  2. If possible, use existing business assets and resources
  3. Provide better service to and more profitability from existing [tag]customer relationships[/tag], and/or…
  4. Use diversification to expand your customer base

Don’t forget to focus on the profitability of expanding your offerings; it has to make sense from a business perspective. Once you have established yourself and become a solid presence in your marketplace, offering additional products and services allows you to increase your profitability and take advantage of scale. Take a look at what you can offer that will build on and strengthen your existing business. Build a plan to grow…and execute your [tag]sales plan[/tag]!

Bon appetite… and good selling!

Customer Surveys: Let Your Clients and Prospects Help You Grow Your Business

Posted By Michael Roby | Sunday, March 25th, 2007

Many firms use surveys as a way to gauge different aspects of their business. It makes sense for [tag]salespeople[/tag] to survey customers as well, even if their company already has a survey process. The first objective of corporate surveying is to improve the company. Smart firms know that helping their salespeople will ultimately help the company, but there may be some information that YOU want to know that isn’t being covered in the corporate survey.

Here are some examples of questions that will help you grow your business:

  • “Do you feel I listened to YOU to determine the solution to best fit your needs?” Sometimes we spend too much time talking, and not enough time listening. Jaime Calva, a master salesman with TSC, a company in the corporate retirement plan business, says, “Telling isn’t selling!” Jaime has been selling for over 50 years! Enough said.
  • “If a family member, friend, or business associate asked you about [Your Services] and wanted to know who you used, would you mention my name to them?” If they say “Yes,” call them and thank them, and then tell them to whom you wish to be referred!
  • “May I use your comments with people / companies that I call upon?” Testimonials sell! And how beneficial will it be to be able to tell prospects that a large number of your clients…and use the number…are willing to refer you!
  • “What could I do to serve you better?” Sometimes you will get answers that might surprise you; in fact you might find out problems you didn’t know you had!

Another reason to survey your clients is to find out their hobbies and interests. If you find out you have a large number of clients that have the similar interests, you can send them articles or information on those topics. This becomes an additional way to develop deeper relationships with your clients and prospects. It shows that you CARE about their business and about THEM.

To get the maximum feedback from as many clients as possible, build in an incentive if they complete the survey. For example, give away a gift certificate or a choice from several types of gift cards. Consider offering discounts on a particular type of product or service from your company; you can do that at cost! Also, this is a great way to allow customers to sample new items, or experience a new service that could lead to future sales.

This may sound a little cumbersome. To make customer surveys easy, take a look at a company called SurveyMonkey. This firm offers internet-based survey tools at a nominal cost. A basic subscription is FREE, and a professional subscription is about $20/month, and includes up to 1000 responses per month. SurveyMonkey is easy to set up and effective.

A little effort in developing a meaningful survey will tell you a great deal about the people that are your business…your customers! This knowledge will help you grow your business and provide better [tag]customer service[/tag], and your customers will tell you how to do it.

Good selling!

Paying Attention To Customers BEFORE They Come Into Your Business

Posted By Michael Roby | Wednesday, March 21st, 2007

Today was busy. I had two meetings, and a luncheon. In addition, I had to prepare a speech for a meeting in California next week. And there was the ever present list of phone calls to make. Two calls were priority. One call was to work out the details of a very large [tag]strategic planning[/tag] contract and the second concerned a speech to a bankers’ association. In addition, I needed to go pick up a new suit from my clothier, Bill’s Toggery in Shakopee, Minnesota.

During the drive to Bill’s, a third generation business, I was on my cell phone non-stop. As I pulled into the parking lot, I was in the middle of one call. I sat in front of the store for 15 – 20 minutes in a detailed discussion, scribbling notes as I listened. I saw somebody walk out of the store, and it was Keith Galles. Keith has almost 45 years experience in the men’s clothing business. His service is always first class. Keith knows me; he knows a do a tremendous amount of business on the phone, and looking out the window of the store, he could tell I was engaged!

I was talking away, and he walked up with a suit bag, raised his finger to his lips to signal me that no conversation was necessary. He smiled, hung the bag up in my car, and mouthed the words, “Good luck!” With that he walked back into the store. He KNEW I was busy; I am ALWAYS busy. That small act of knowing his customer and giving that little bit of extra service to help me on my way are the types of things that keep me coming back.

Keith is a pro. He can SELL. And he always takes care of his customers. Do you give your clients that kind of [tag]exceptional service[/tag]? Do you pay attention to the little things, and follow through on your good intentions? Little things make a difference if you are in the service business…and who isn’t?

Good selling!