Back to School Again

It happens every year around this time. The days get just a little bit shorter, the breezes just a little bit cooler, and the leaves on the trees start showing just a faint trace of….orange.  (See what I did there?)

Yes, it’s September, and that not only means fall is just around the corner, but the start of school is already HERE.  And if you remember anything about your own younger days starting a new school year, you’ll recall that the first thing on the teacher’s agenda was always a review…a little back-to-basics, if you will.

Well, let’s try that out here—it seems like a good time to trot out three of my favorite “basics” of sales and management. (Now pay attention, we’ll have a pop quiz later….)

Strategy: ABP–Always Be Planning!  

If there’s anything that I love to stress from my soapbox, it’s the importance of planning. And I don’t mean another big binder to stow up on top of the bookshelf with all the others—but effectively using practical planning tools and techniques, that can chart your course well before you make that first call.

No business runs itself—you may have enough clients right now to keep you more than busy enough, but without constant and consistent strategizing and responding to the marketplace, it won’t last. Don’t get so busy with the day-to-day that you neglect the month-to-month and the year-to-year—take time out to map out where you want to go before you start driving.

Sales: Two Ears, One Mouth

Yup, it’s basic math, but it’s amazing how human nature can sometimes create behavior that contradicts it.  The translation is simple: listen more than you talk. Of course, we all know you have marvelous goods and services to sell, incredible commodities that will be a boon to all of mankind.

But if you really want to turn that individual you’re talking to from a prospect into a legacy customer, you have to find out what THEY want. And I don’t mean which item from your catalogue—you’ve got to determine the true need they want to fill, in order to move their own lives and businesses forward. And you can only figure that out by listening.

Customer Experience: Call, Write, Text, or Tweet?

We’re lucky to be living in this fabulous age of instantaneous communication—you have the technology to talk to more people more efficiently than ever before.  But, to paraphrase Spiderman, with great variety comes great responsibility.

Meaning—it’s no longer safe to assume your customer wants to do business via phone, get catalogues via snail mail, get check-ins by phone, or get special deals by Tweet.  All of those may work fine, but in this age of media overload, each individual customer has a preferred way to communicate, a system that works for them. And if you want to build a successful relationship, you need to figure out what it is.

It’s not hard—just ask them. But figure it out sooner than later, or you’ll find yourself back in school—in Communication 101.

Grow Big or Go Home!