Archive for the ‘customer service’ Category

Keeping Your Best Sales People

May 11, 2011

What Are You Doing to Keep Your Best People?

A recent article in the Wall Street Journal reports that hiring by the nation’s small employers is starting to grow, and that large employer hiring is not far behind.  This will mean that as re-hiring accelerates, the competition for the best people will intensify.  Here’s the question:  “What are you and your company doing now to keep your people from leaving when they are offered attractive opportunities elsewhere?”

Various studies over the last few years have reported a number of interesting trends.  Among them:

1)  Youthful workers today like to earn good money, but the work environment is more important.  They want to “be part of things,” and have the freedom to collaborate with friendly team mates to achieve more.

2)  Marcus Buckingham and Curt Coffman of the Gallup Organization studied what “the world’s greatest managers do” and reported their results in the 1999 bestselling book, First Break all the Rules.  One of their conclusion that startled a lot of corporate executives was that “People do not leave companies; they leave their bosses.”

3)  One of the most effective ways to keep your best people is to create an environment in which they feel that they are personally growing in addition to professionally advancing.

4)  Effective coaching is one of the most cost effective ways to keep top people from leaving, and help managers focus on the factors that help the employee grow and the company prosper.

When I discuss “coaching” with clients and prospects, I learn that their view of coaching is more like a miniature performance review.  While there is a performance aspect to effective coaching, helping people grow personally and professionally requires a greater focus on behaviors that lead to the effective performance.  If I am not meeting my sales quota, my manager can talk to me about increasing my number of contacts.  But until she finds out what keeps me from picking up the phone, she cannot help me by simply telling me (or threatening me) to make more calls.

I believe there are two primary reasons managers do not coach their people.  One is that they do not think they have the time.  The real reason is that most do not know how to coach.  Reading a book, or attending a one-day class is not likely to change their coaching skill level.  At Integrity Solutions we have found that teaching a specific coaching process, coupled with weekly accountability and follow-up discussions with peers, led by a trained facilitator, removes obstacles and produces remarkable results.

One $2.8 billion credit union saw a 60% increase in closed loan referrals and a 5% increase in membership (customer base), when coaching was implemented.

A pharmaceutical manager reported that one rep reached 143% of quota “as a result of  coaching.”

For additional insights into the effectiveness of the right type of coaching in a selling environment, get the Integrity White Paper, “Balancing Accountability with Engagement.”

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The Importance of Listening to Your Customers and Prospects

September 4, 2009

https://integritysolutions.wordpress.com/wp-admin/post.php?action=edit&post=21&message=5&revision=23

Or “How to Save Money on a New Car”

This is really not about cars. It is about listening. Let me tell you about the time my friend, Dave, saved almost 25% on a new car. This happened in the early 1970’s, when you could buy a new full sized car for about $5,000. (Have I really been around that long?) Dave was the kind of guy who bought a new car and drove it until it died 10 or 15 years later. His wife needed a big, safe car to haul around their two small sons, so at the end of the model year, Dave made the rounds of the dealers to find a “deal” on last year’s model.

He was disappointed at the small discounts. The best deal he could find was about $4,300 dollars. Finally he stopped at a dealer whose salesperson said, “You are in luck. There was a new full-sized sedan on the truck that came in today, and it is last year’s model. We don’t know how it got there. The price is $3,500.”

Dave exclaimed incredulously, “$3,500?” He was surprised that the price was so much lower than other quotes he’d received. The sales person, however, took his exclamation as a sign of displeasure with a price that was too high. So the sales person said, “Okay, okay. I’ll throw in the undercoating for free.” That was worth another $350! So good ole’ Dave got a great deal on a brand new car.

Instead of commenting on what the sales person said, he simply repeated part of the price quote as a question. In Dave’s case this was an involuntary exclamation of surprise, but it was interpreted as a form of clarification. Unconsciously, Dave used a form of “active listening.”

When you actively listen in your selling interviews, you give customers a chance to further explain what they mean and help you understand whether you have a solution for them. We’re about to enter a long weekend. Practice “active listening” with family and friends. They will think you have become more charming and intelligent.