Entries in sales (27)

Customers don’t care about your goals.

So - why are you in business?

To make money right?

Sure you need Sales to exceed your expenses.  Everyone gets that.

Most people would also say you need goals.  I accept that too.

But here’s the problem.

Your customers don’t care about your goals.  And they couldn’t care less about your profits.

Customer Tug-of-War

You’re in a tug-of-war with customers.  They want you to make “less” profit by dropping your price.  You want the opposite.  You both dig in.

Go on, admit it.  Customers can really suck sometimes.  Everyone seems to be taking a bite out of you.

How do you reconcile this problem?

Some businesses try to ‘satisfy’ their customers - every customer.

You shouldn't sell customers anything and everything.  You only sell what your company was created to do. It’s called  authenticity, and customers love it.

If you’re a high end fashion brand and your customers come in asking for cheaper alternatives, will you go down the line to ‘satisfy’ them?  Or will you be authentic and stick with what you do? 

The starting point is knowing what your company was created to do, it’s purpose.

Ask yourself one question: “Why does my business exist?"

It’s a tough question because you can only define purpose in terms of how the outside world views your business.

It’s about one thing

It becomes a question of value.

You need to know what your business brings to the world, it’s value to the world.  It's not about what you ‘offer' the world.

When you think about the offer, you are thinking about yourself.

This is the tough part. You need to see value from the customer’s perspective, but start from what you want to do in the world.  

Poor Yahoo

Let’s look at Google and Yahoo as an example.

Yahoo started life as a search engine, even before Google.  And yet Google’s share price is now $597.78 and Yahoo at $39.59 at Sept 7, 2014.  Google is 15 times more valuable.

Let’s look at how they defined themselves 10 years ago.

Google in 2004 ~ We maintain the world’s largest online index of web sites and other content, and we make this information freely available to anyone with an Internet connection.

Yahoo in 2004 ~ is a leading provider of comprehensive Internet products and services to consumers and businesses through our worldwide network of online properties.

Google was focused on what it was; a search engine.  It maintains that focus.  

Yahoo wanted to be “leading” but didn’t lead.  They focused on what they offered.  Yahoo offered products and services. 

Big deal, so does everyone.  

Yahoo was looking for ways to make money and lost sight of why it was there in the first place.

Source: NASDAQ

You don’t have to be a financial whiz to know Google is doing better.

Your customers are selfish

Back to your customers.  

They only care about what you can do for them, not your goals.

They don’t even care about your Purpose.  They only care about their value.

You don’t define Purpose for customers.  Purpose is yours.  It’s your single point of clarity.  Home base.

Part of the problem is that all the fancy management words are confusing and seem too blend together.

Now, you might be thinking that purpose, mission, vision, goals, strategy and tactics are different words saying the same thing. 

They're not the same.  Purpose is often forgotten because it’s mixed up with Mission, Vision and Goals. You need to be clear on the difference.



VISION:  Outcome

GOALS: Specific targets

STRATEGY: Your choices

TACTICS: To-do list

And it all starts with Purpose. 

Next up, we’ll look at the 6 things that define a valid Purpose.

But for now.  Start thinking about your Purpose.

End note

Yahoo in 2014 changed dramatically ~ is a global technology company focused on making the world’s daily habits inspiring and entertaining. 

Google in 2014 just tightened some wording ~ Our mission is to organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful

Oprah can't afford a handbag?

So Oprah goes to a fancy Swiss Luxury shop Trois Pommes, asking to look at a "Jennifer" purse, designed by Tom Ford. Apparently that's fancy.  Well the $40,000 price tag would indicate it is.

Oprah's only problem was that she wasn't recognised, and the staff member said "You can't afford it".

Oprah asked again, and got the same response. So She didn't buy and let the whole world know.

Now Oprah is one thing, but would this happen to ordinary people like me or you?

The same thing happened to me once in Hawaii.  My father in-law gave me the money to buy a Rolex watch for him on my honeymoon.  I was 24 years old, came off the beach, and was wearing a singlet and sand on my feet.

Getting the store's attention and respect was tough.

An 'experienced' sales person would have 'known' not to waste their time with me and cut their losses.  But I ended up buying a watch elsewhere.

This happens often, not just to Oprah, but to our own customers.

We judge them before they have bought anything.

In my Mystery Shopping business I see it all the time. 

  • Car dealers who "size up" their customers as soon as they walk in
  • Car dealers who"assume" the man is the buyer
  • Retailers everywhere who don't want to be rude and suggest an upsell.
  • Banks which assume all customers want to walk through all the financial details of a loan
  • Retailers who think the customer will only buy the cheapest, and that service is secondary.

The list goes on.

Sometimes Sales people have to unlearn what they "know", get out of their own heads, and other parts of their bodies, and just go with what they are dealt.

(See the full Oprah article as reported here)



How to find your natural customers

Most marketing books and gurus tell you the same things.

"Find a niche market"

"Find target markets"

That's all fine when you're starting a new business, or looking for NEW markets.  But what if you have an established business?

Your business already has a set group of customers.  Those customers already like something about you.

As Peter Burow of Neuropower puts it.  The people you find at a Tina Turner concert are Tina Turner fans.  They have a particular type of taste, and are a particular type of person.  You won't find the same group at a Beyonce concert.

Your business is the same.  There's a large group of people already naturally attracted.

You have natural followers and customers.  You're doing something that is attracting them.

  1. Find out who they are.
  2. Do more of what they want - because your business is naturally set up to do that.
  3. Find more people like that.

Easier said than done.

But easier than finding a new group, setting your business up in a new way, and then finding more of them.

Don't always look for greener grass.

I'm a buyer - Stop shuffling and sell me something.

I'm a painful customer.  As the owner of a Mystery Shopping company, I have a good idea of what retailers are looking for in staff.

So imagine my horror when I saw 5 staff in a camping store, all busy NOT helping customers.  I was shopping for a foldout camping bed.  My wife had already done the internet research but we had to test the comfort.

There was a staff member in the area we were approaching. As soon as he we entered, he left.  I watched him and he very busily moved around the store stocking and tidying shelves.  Another staff member was doing the same, and three were at the (same) cash register talking and putting stickers on stock.

In the meantime, the 15 customers in store were left unattended.

I may have bought that bed with some help, but the lack of attention gave them no chance.  Everyone was busy but the sale was lost.  I am a buyer looking for a seller.

I see this in my Mystery Shopping company all the time.  It's just more real when you see it for yourself.  And now the sad news.  They are a company who told me the don't need Mystery Shopping.  Really?

This behaviour can be fixed.  But first, quantify the problem.

Signed ***Frustrated***

We don't all like black jellybeans so don't ask stupid sales questions

Is there a particular colour jellybean you don't like.  I don't like green. So why is it that when I'm offerred a product I'm forced to eat the whole lot?

I see a lot of customer service and sales questionnaires in my Mystery Shopping company.

The tempatation for clients is to ask as many questions as possible. But sometimes those questions make no sense and can send you down the wrong, and very expensive path.

For example.  I recently saw a mobile phone questionnaire which asked if the Mystery Shopper was told about the email features, the internet browsing, and other features such as the talk-to text-feature.

The idea is that is these things should be mentioned in the sale, then it's a bad thing if not mentioned. The sales person is then trained (corrected) to ensure they mention all the features.

However, a good sales person does not have to mention all the features of a product to make a sale, especially if they have first evaluated the customer's needs.

Here are two examples where the questions are irrelevant.

  1. The customer walks in and says - I don't use internet or email on the phone, or
  2. The sales person sees the customer is uneasy, and simply shows them the phone they are using (as happenned with my wife).

Expecting a sales person to extol the virtues of every feature of a product is boring for the customer and does not connect. It also assumes the customer understands or cares about those features.

So in this situation, a good sales person will be chastised and forced to sell in a sub-optimal way because of a poorly designed sales process and therefore poor mystery shopping questionniare.

The fix: 

  1. Don't be so dogmatic with your staff, and
  2. Make sure they talk about Benefit, and then the Features which provide those benefits.

Oh and the same applies to car sales, whitegoods, TV's, PC's and Banking. Be aware wherever there is a list of product features.

Don't tell me there are green jellybeans in the packet, it won't help the sale.

See also:  Features and Benefits are not the same as Benefits and Features