One way to Honourably Drop Your Price

Many Sales Mavens will tell you.  Don’t drop your price after bidding for business.  You give the impression your first price wasn’t your best.  It shows weakness, etc.

One approach is to explain the difference between Price and Value.  Another is to justify the different price.  But let’s face it, sometimes the client just wants to play the game.  Some people ‘refuse’ to pay full price.

I recently made a successful Mystery Shopping sale in exactly that situation.  I marginally dropped the price on one product (the more complex one), and dropped the other by about 10%.  I got the impression that the deal would be done if I got to the price.  I didn’t adopt any of the strategies above.

I can offer a slight discount if we can sign off immediately.  He said Yes, we shook hands, and spent the next hour and a half talking about implementation, and general stuff..

Be careful.  Tis does not always work.  There need to be certain conditions – beyond bravado.

1)      You must ‘know’ you are with the decision maker.

2)      You must be a finalist (not one of many suitors),

3)      You must be prepared (I knew he took advice on the details and that he wanted to talk price because his subordinate manager told me),

4)      You must feel massively confident (I was in the middle of a ‘purple patch’), and

5)      His personality was that of a ‘Pounder’ , so this suited the cut and thrust (my initial main contact though was a Nurturer).

If the conditions are right, go for the immediate close, and don’t be afraid to discount.  The immediate close has value to me, beyond the couple of bucks given away.

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Customers Ignite a New Era of CRM

What follows is the unedited version of my latest post at AllThingsDigital... The Altimeter Group today released a new report on Social CRM and while

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Customers Ignite a New Era of CRM

What follows is the unedited version of my latest post at AllThingsDigital The Altimeter Group today released a new report on Social CRM and while analysts release reports all the time, this is different. The report is free to read and share under Creative Commons and this is a big disruptor, one that reflects the socialization of information and the spirit of social media. The New Rules of Relationship Management The essence of the new report by Altimeter's R "Ray" Wang and Jeremiah Owyang is putting the customer first. While that seems like a simple principle, it's easier said then done. The case the duo make is rooted of course in social media and the self-actualization of personal influence. As the report notes in the beginning: Rapid adoption of social networking enables users to connect with individuals and communities who share mutual interests, increasingly leaving organizations out of the conversation. Simply hiring more people to keep up with social marketing, sales, and support will not be sufficient, as consumers and their new channels will always outnumber employees. As a result, companies need an organized approach using enterprise software that connects business units to the social web – giving them the opportunity to respond in near-real time, and in a coordinated fashion. And indeed, they're right. Social media didn't invent conversations, it simply amplified and connected them to audiences and the actions that are triggered as a result. With the right tools, and more importantly mindset and resolve, we can now uncover these incredibly valuable, insightful and prominent conversations where and when they happen. Listening is only the beginning however. As in anything, we need a little less conversation and a little more action. As the report notes, Social CRM does not replace existing CRM efforts, it complements it with an outbound extension to connect with the very social beacons that shape and steer perception - those previously untouched with inbound only infrastructures. Essentially the "s" in sCRM should be viewed as a verbas in socialize. Actions speak louder than words and thus, sCRM transforms words and intent into action. As the “Godfather of CRM,” Paul Greenberg notes, “We’ve moved from the transaction to the interaction with customers, though we haven’t eliminated the transaction – or the data associated with it Social CRM focuses on engaging the customer in a collaborative conversation in order to provide mutually beneficial value in a trusted and transparent business environment. Social CRM is the company’s response to the customer’s ownership of the conversation." The Socialization of an Entire Organization The social customer is only one part of the equation. As any listening program will reveal, conversations map specifically to departments within an organization and as such, all units affected by outside activity will socialize over time. This is why I believe that over time, we should focus less on the "C" of sCRM and focus our attention, energy and ingenuity on the aspects of SRM - social relationship management. The Social Web is distributing influence beyond the customer landscape, allocating authority amongst stakeholders, prospects, advocates, decision makers, and peers. SRM recognizes that whether someone recommended a product, purchased a product, or simply recognized it publicly, in the end, each makes an impact on behavior at varying levels. Therefore customers are now merely part of a larger equation that also balances vendors, experts, partners, and other authorities. In the realm of SRM, influence is distributed and it is recognizes wherever and however it takes shape. SRM is a doctrine aligned with a humanized business strategy and supporting technology infrastructure and platform. SRM recognizes that all people, no matter what system they use, are equal. It represents a wider scope of active listening and participation across the full spectrum of influence mapped to specific department representatives within the organization using various lenses for which to identify individuals where and how they interact. But we must begin somewhere and for many businesses, the evolution from CRM to sCRM is in fact, revolutionary. After months of study and interviews with over 100 organizations, Altimeter Group identified 18 use cases for Social CRM to help businesses assess, adapt, and create new programs and processes to socialize their brands. As the report notes, Social CRM programs start at the departmental level, but require corporate support to transform fiefdoms into united efforts.  The challenge lies in mobilizing and organizing resources around distributed conversations and building the connectors that link CRM systems to social networks. And, organizations must prioritize based on market demand and technology maturity. Customers have already migrated towards new channels and in the process, companies that are not in pursuit are quickly falling behind. Relationships between organizations and customers might be better defined simply as "relations" as the existing framework was traditionally optimized around the organization and not the customer. Traditional CRM projects have failed to grasp the complexities of the customer-company relationship. Though these CRM programs started out with the goal of providing a single customer view and 1:1 relationship management, early efforts quickly refocused on automation of front office tasks and improving management visibility across marketing, sales, service and support. Because these programs have often failed to support the front office worker’s needs to manage relationships, internal adoption halted as users grew to resent, and in some cases revolt, against CRM. To begin at the beginning, businesses  must deploy Social CRM for business value and not get caught up in the hype of Twitter and Facebook. We have to go where our customers seek, discover, and share information.  Alitimeter suggests focusing on bite-sized entry points as today's tight budgets, limited resources, and little time will ensure that companies get the most bang for the buck initially. In the report, each one of the 18 use cases brings definable metrics that should be incorporated in each Social CRM program. - Begin with the end in mind - Metrics should be aligned with an organization’s entry points - Quantify the baseline and determine the effort - Adjust ROI targets to align resources with efforts to move the needle - The goal – drive business value The 18 recommended use cases are organized in seven categories and in order of operations. As observed, most organizations start their initiatives by building out the “5 M’s” and deploying a customer insight program that matures with experience and earned intelligence. I previously discussed the maturation of social media infrastructure in business usually evolves in at least 1o stages. Social Customer Insights form the Foundation for All Social CRM Use Cases - Everything begins with listening 1. Social Customers Insights Social Marketing Seeks to Achieve Customer Advocacy 2. Social Marketing Insights 3. Rapid Social Marketing Response 4. Social Campaign Tracking 5. Social Event Management Social Sales Enables Seamless Lead Opportunities 6. Social Sales Insights 7. Rapid Social Sales Response 8. Proactive Social Lead Generation Social Support and Service Drives Sustainable Customer Satisfaction 9. Social Support Insights 10. Rapid Social Responsse 11. Peer-2-Peer (P2P) Unpaid Armies Social Innovation Streamlines Complex Ideation 12. Innovation Insights 13. Crowdsourced R&D Collaboration Reduced Organizational Friction and Stimulates Ecosystem 14. Collaboration Insights 15. Enterprise Collaboration 16. Extended Collaboration Seamless Customer Experience Sustains Advocacy Programs 17. Seamless Customer Experience 18. VIP Experience The Customer (R)evolution The methodologies, systems, and people that entwine CRM are unquestionably forcing a historical (r)evolution from the outside in. As customers earn prominence online and ultimately in the marketplaces they define, CRM is far more consequential to the prosperity and relevance of businesses, than perhaps ever before. This is about earning a prestigious position in the hearts, minds, and ultimately decisions of customers, prospects and those who effect their actions, today and tomorrow. Essentially, with the socialization of media and the redistribution of authority and influence, we are competing for the future simply by listening, responding, learning and adapting. The social customer is disrupting the balance of power and they're actively exerting their new found eminence within every social network and community that thrives off of shared experiences. The socialization of CRM is effectively measured by the dedication of resources and resolution the organization commits not just to social media, but to all existing channels where customers, influencers and prospects seek help. Divided we shareUnited we change. Social CRM: The New Rules of Relationship Management

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One Thing You Can Do To Improve Staff Pride

So your staff are in a boring job. They work as a cashier or at fast food counter. Yes Yes Yes I know you know that staff are your most important resource - but the job is boring, underpaid and the staff hardly speak English. How do you get them to show pride?

As the boss, start by showing you are proud to employ them. I found this exact scenario at a KFC store in Western (working class) Sydney. Boring store, boring suburb, boring staff, hungry stomach. On the wall there was a poster board showing staff photos. It didn't have a heading, or anything written. I didn't know if it was a list of employees or employee of the month. Just random staff portraits. The photos were terrible, taken on a cheap camera, shot from a distance, with curling photo paper and gaps where people had left. Don't be half hearted about presentation, and especially photos. Here's what the store could do:

* Get a good backing board
* Have a header on top to explain the photos
* Show the Board in a prominent place
* Be corny and say "these are the people we are proud to have working here"
* Show the staff member names
* Take good photos

Naturally you can extend the analogy to uniforms, newsletters, lunch rooms, company outings or paying people on time. If you don't show pride in your staff they will never be proud to work for you - never. But if you show pride they have a chance. In one sentence here's what you should do:

Show the staff you are proud to have them working for you, and they will be proud to serve for you.

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One Thing You Can Do to Improve Staff Pride from Steven Di Pietro on Vimeo.

The Customer is NOT always right, but they always win the argument.

A customer walks into a Bar, sits on a beer for 5 minutes before tasting.  

The beer goes warm and they complain to the barman.  

The barman tells the customer it is their fault because the beer has been sitting there untouched for 5 minutes.  

The customer disagrees and says it was only one minute.  

The barman argues the point because he knows the customer is wrong. 

It doesn't matter; the customer wins the argument either because he can take his business elsewhere, or because he will disrupt other patrons.

The barman will look like a jerk and the other patrons walk away thinking the pub isn't friendly.

The customer is wrong, but you lose.

The Customer is NOT always right, but they win the argument from Steven Di Pietro on Vimeo.

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