Archive for January, 2012

Let Your Fantasy Be Your Reality

Monday, January 23rd, 2012

“In the mind of the beginner there are many possibilities, and in the mind of the expert there are few.” -Suzuki Roshi

What would you do in your sales career if you did not have limitations? Everyone has self-imposed limitations. These limitations can stem from several strong forces – environment, childhood experiences, workplace profiling, etc. Never allow anyone to pigeonhole you into who you supposedly are or who you are not.

People in your work environment continually judge you as to what your strengths and weaknesses are, and what you can or cannot do. You must realize that all of these evaluations are subjective. Opinions of you are simply that, opinions. What someone thinks of you does not necessarily have to have anything to do with who you are. The opinion that matters most is your own.

You create your own reality. Who you believe you are is who you will become. You are who you decide to be at any given moment. You really don’t need anything that you might be telling yourself you need. I call this the “When – Then” syndrome. Example – When I get this, then I will do this.” Imagine your limitations are written on a dry erase board. Simply erase them and then take action.

You must continually feed your subconscious mind with the images and messages of who you want to be. Your subconscious does not reject any images or messages. Therefore, what you impress, you express. The dominant messages and images win out, good or bad. Write down what you desire. Write it again and again until you can see it in your mind’s eye. Picture your desires in present tense, as if they have already occurred. Don’t let anyone detract from your mission.

The Most Important Customer

Friday, January 13th, 2012

Customer service is false propaganda.

Before you think I am nuts, let me explain. The factory gives customer service surveys and dealerships give customer surveys. Everyone seems to talk about Customer Satisfaction Indexes. Measuring your success and failure is obviously important. However, is customer service really about numbers? In customer service, the most important customers are the one’s who hate you the most and the one’s who do business with you the most.

People like to have nice things said about them. Every business owner and their employees would like to feel like they give good customer service. We all love the customer testimonial letters that praise us. How much time do you spend with the customers who don’t like you? How much time do you spend trying to cultivate ongoing relationships and purchases from your best customers?

The customers who don’t like you have a story to tell that can’t be told in numbers. If you want to really find out what your marketplace feels about you, ask the people who work at the gas station, local hotels and anyone who does not know where you work. One hour in a local eatery or tavern may give you more solid information about your dealership than all the surveys ever concocted in history.

When you find people in your marketplace that don’t like you or have a negative perception of your business, you must dig deeper to find out why. Remember that perception is reality to your marketplace. Discussions with your people in your marketplace can lead to simple changes that can lead to massive improvements — “Small holes cause big fl at tires.”

On the other hand, the old phrase that the customer is always right is bunch of baloney. The customer is not always right. Some things that make people upset with you may not only be acceptable for you but part of a purposeful plan. You cannot and should not try to be all things to all people. Define who your marketplace target is and begin to work towards them. Speak directly to them and treat them in a way they want to be treated. There are riches in niches. Targeting your primary audience and your best customers will pay you handsomely.

Your marketplace should be divided into five categories: 1) Active customers 2) Inactive customers 3) Customers of your competitors that own your brand 4) Customers of similar brands 5) General audience.

Write down three ways you currently contact and reward your current customers in an ongoing and even automated manner (and, by the way, three ways is not nearly enough). There is rarely a saturation point to customer contacts and rewards. Do you have a VIP Program for your best customers? Ten to 20 percent of your customers will reward you more than the other 80 percent combined. Your goal should be to take customers that do business with you — let’s call these customers supporters — and convert them to Advocates, who continually buy and service with you and refer you to your marketplace.

Do you have a written, automated campaign to convert inactive customers — ones who buy from you but don’t service with you? Do you have a three-stage letter campaign planned for inactive customers? Do you have an automated campaign involving e-mail, postcards, regular letters, dimensional mail, voice broadcast, phone calls, appreciation dinners/gatherings, special inducements, etc.?

Any dealership can have an intensive and automated process that involves all the necessary media, volume and correct copywriting that utilizes emotional direct response marketing methods that are necessary to retain their customers, reward their best customers and learn from their lost customers.

You must make a commitment to spending resources on the most important thing of all — your most important customers.

Swim With a Dolphin

Thursday, January 5th, 2012

One idea to improve sales that most people don’t want to talk about is the ability to recharge your batteries. Salespeople who run on low batteries don’t perform as well as when they are charged up. Recently, I went with my family on a cruise and had a fantastic trip. We went scuba diving in Grand Turks and, during the dive, had three dolphins come up to us and play with us for most of the dive. The dive masters on the trip said it was a once in a lifetime experience to not only see the dolphins but to have them play with us for so long.

What if we had decided not to take the trip? What if our fears had kept us from becoming certified divers years ago? I have never left a vacation saying I should take less vacations. I have forgone vacations before because of business or other concerns. I think that’s shortsighted thinking. Vacations allow you to have those great experiences and recharge your batteries. You seem to have a different perspective after a vacation.

Have you ever skipped taking time off because of a lack of money or time? Consider the mindset that creates a perception of a lack of time or money. To replace a mindset of scarcity and lack, you must first take the time to step back, evaluate your thoughts and actions that have caused the scarcity and begin to change those thoughts and actions. Often, I think we all get so caught up in day to day actions and challenges that we lose our best perspective.

Proper rest is one of the key ingredients to good health. Proper rest includes the mind as well as the body. A few years ago, I made the choice to get one more hour of sleep a night. The difference in my vitality of mind and body was remarkable. Waking up with a clear mind and body can change your appearance and first perception of you by a customer. When you recharge your batteries, you allow your mind to give and receive answers it cannot do when you are tired.

So often our culture promotes the theory of hard work. I believe you don’t have to associate work with being hard. The connection that links up in your mind about work being hard and a grind can be counterproductive. Every salesperson will say there are times when they are on a roll and in the flow and everything they touch turns to gold. I don’t believe those times are accidental. I believe those periods of seemingly easy success are attributable to previous thought and actions. Those successful thoughts and actions are easier to achieve when you are rested and clear of anything blocking your mind or body.

Our culture tends to lend a great amount of macho to the theory of hard work. The theory of resting, thinking and recharging your batteries is looked at as weakness by many. In the last several years I have found the quality of work is more important than the endurance. Bad thoughts and actions done over a longer period of time can never be as productive as good thoughts and actions over a short period of time.

Parkinson’s Law theorizes that work fills up to the time allotted. The more time you allow, the more you find to do. The question is what are you really doing?

I would invite you today to analyze your time in one hour time slots and observe your most dominant thoughts and actions. Secondly, I would advise you to be very careful to look out for time wasters. Time wasters can be people, processes and normal activities you may not be paying attention to.

How much time do you spend answering cell phones, checking e-mail and doing redundant tasks? You might be amazed at what you find. Create a plan to eliminate the things from your life that are not productive and add to your stress. Never forget to recharge your batteries. Maybe even go swimming with the dolphins.