Wednesday, 28 December 2011

What is your Sales Story?

What does your business do?

What problem do you solve for your customers?

Why does your business exist?

Your Sales Story is a precise description of what your organisation does. It describes the business the company is in. It is a definition of why your company exists currently. Each member of your sales organisation should be
able to verbally express your sales story.

lt should include:
–     Some history
–     Your Unique Sales Proposition
–     Your Strategic Competitive Advantage
–     An explicit reason why a customer should buy from you

Every sales person needs a great sales story.

Imagine that a sales person was meeting a potential customer for the first time. Typically they have a minute or two to introduce their business – the sales story for your business.

It is our experience that companies don’t often get this right. We can visit sales teams and ask them for the story, and get different answers from each team member. When you see teams that have it right – a consistent story – it
has a lot of power.

The scary thing here is that many sales employees have no story.

We strongly believe that every business should have, and everyone should know, a very powerful sales story.


Wednesday, 21 December 2011

Sales Training and Banks. Why not?

While in Brisbane this week, I met with an old friend that leads up a division of a major bank.

“How’s business?” I asked.
“Tough,” he replied. “We're being asked to sell, sell, sell Mike,” he quipped. 
So I asked how that was going.
“Not well,” he replied. “Nobody knows how to do it and we’ve had no training!”

He has since approached corporate HQ in Sydney and been told ‘No budget’ for training in sales.

To use an AFL football analogy, it’s like asking the Brisbane Lions to run out, Round 1 in the 2012 season with absolutely no preparation, coaching or development. Chances of winning – Zero!

Why is it these large corporate goliaths from the relative safety of corporate HQ and their mechanical spreadsheets, still refuse to acknowledge that ‘skills’, like selling, are not innate in humans? Especially bankers!


Monday, 19 December 2011

My 7 Best Books of 2011

Here is my reading list for this year. These fine books inspired me, saddened me and changed my thinking. What will you do with them in 2012?


Thriving by Michael Grose - An insight into the world of the developing child.

Tribes by Seth Godin - Read this with my daughter in Hong Kong, wonderful book.

Coaching Sales People into Sales Champions by Keith Rosen - One of the few good sales coaching books around.

Broken Windows Broken Business by Michael Levine - My number one for the year.

Checklist Manifesto by Atul Gawande - This book will make you think before entering hospital again.

Only 2 Seats Left by John Anderson - The wonderful story by John Anderson founder of Contiki.

And my biggest tip for the year?

Sales Cats by me!

Have a great Christmas and wonderful New Year.

Sell well in 2012.


Thursday, 15 December 2011

When the Red, Red, Robin of Customer Service Stops Bop, Bop, Bopping Along!

I've just spent a day in Brisbane coaching a Sales Cat in the field. This company sells into retail so I spent a lot of time in Northern Brisbane shopping centres. About 20 days out from Christmas, I had mixed expectations of the day. Kids, mums with babies in Santa’s arms did come to mind!

But something far more sinister became blatantly clear as the day rolled on. If retail selling and customer service continues down this path a much larger online Armageddon will result. 

Shop after shop, stocked to the ceiling, poorly laid out and lacking any good or helpful displays. Grumpy, dismissive staff, too busy to serve let alone notice you've entered their store. 

“Sale”, “Discount”, and “Reduced” signs of panic and desperation are everywhere, accompanied by the wails of “the internet and economic environment is to blame”… Bullshit!

Sure these factors are having an effect but they are not to blame. Not recognising the one clear sustainable competitive advantage of the bricks and mortar retail store – customer service – is crippling them more so.

In one day I observed many young, untrained staff doing ‘their job’. That’s right, their jobs! Stacking shelves, collecting orders, panicking and being busy. Rarely did I see anyone openly ‘engage’ customers to persuade, develop and encourage emotional or at least inspirational purchasing. 

Modern retailing requires them to do more than just their jobs. They have to ask questions, care, and be present in the moment. Be cheerful, energetic and most of all proud and enthusiastic about the brand’s store. Just give a !@#% would be a start!

While sitting at The Coffee Club I decided to prove a theory to my trainee. Across from us was a store named Robins Kitchen. 

“Let’s see what happens if I walk into that store shall we,” I said, and to his enjoyment, did!

I walked in, walked around and passed the counter twice!
Past four staff with no response!
I did another loop with still nothing!
I walked out and towards my now gasping with shock observer.
Robins Kitchen with its impressive store layout, cool products and Red Robin brand was not bopping along. It is heading for a very cold winter.

The point of my test.
If all you do is stack ‘stuff’ on shelves in one of Westfield’s halls and offer no service without any element of customer orientation or care the internet will win every time, without fail!

If all customers need to do is buy then the shoppers in us will stay home and purchase online. Shoppers want help, care, smiles, product knowledge, and guidance, to be engaged by well-trained and happy people. I hope Robins Kitchen reads this and adapts first!