Thursday, 26 April 2012

A University Degree for Sales Managers?

I often ask of the sales managers I meet what 'Sales Management course' they completed at university.

The answer is always "What?" or "Ummmmmmmm, the boss taught me. He was a gun!"

It's a loaded question of course, and a little bit mischievous I admit, however it raises a great point or two.

Sales Orientation
So many sales managers progress from high performing sales into sales management which in many cases, produce poor results. It's not because they are inept, the orientation is all wrong. You have to be independent and focused to be in sales, just ask a sales man!

In sales management you have to be 'them and us' focused. It's no longer about you but about the collaborative result, the team effectiveness and your ability to coach.

The Foundations of Sales Leadership
In the absence of a proper science the sales scientists at Banjar have agreed on 7 core principles sales managers must get right!
  • Recruiting – Recruit the right attitudes, behaviors and then skills for selling
  • Sales strategy – Build a simple sales strategy
  • Coaching and mentoring – Be prepared to jump in the car monthly to coach
  • Strategic direction – Continuously develop the sales direction in front of the team
  • Negotiation – Negotiate with the team to make sure they get it
  • Managing – Manage the teams effectiveness, reports and performance
  • Leadership – Your role as a sales manager does not automatically make you a leader, it simply makes you the boss. Leadership differs in that it's not about bossing people around it's behaving in a way that makes sales people follow you no matter what.
We'd love to know if you are practicing some, many or none of these principles and what success or downfalls you've encountered. Which ones work the best to bring about change and which are the hardest to manage?


Wednesday, 18 April 2012

Customer Service Online

There has been plenty of talk recently, and in some cases tears, about online business taking custom away from the retail store. But here's something to consider. How long will the party last if these online retailers fail to deliver on customer service?

If like many, you are an online purchaser, chances are the customer service experience has been either poor or non existent. There are notable exceptions, but they are rare.

The big danger nowadays is that the ticked off shopper can instantaneously tell hundreds, sometimes thousands, of their online friends an inflamed account of their experience, worsened by the fact that it is near impossible to have it disappear.

The flip side is to make the customer experience exceptional. It's the simple things that make a difference so start there. Here are some suggestions.

Address concerns and complaints with personal phone calls and people who can speak firsthand about orders. Don't put people on hold 'forever', it's incredibly annoying. And don't transfer them around departments, get them to the right person sooner. Keep customers up-to-date with their orders and address them by name with all correspondence. Make sure your contact details are current, easily located, and that there are people on the other end who are available to help.

Good customer service does not need to cost the earth but it can pay you back ten fold in more ways than one.


Wednesday, 11 April 2012

12 Days and Still Smiling!

A few weeks ago in WA, I ventured into the heart of Northbridge to find somewhere to eat. Lots of options but not much that raised my interest until I stumbled on Aisuru Sushi.

With it's bright new interior and clearly definable prescence on the corner of James Street, I sensed something special and I was not disappointed.

As I opened the door, staff members looked and smiled at me, the customer entering their domain. "Welcome," the chef smiled from behind the counter. 

I sat down and was immediately greeted by a cheerful waitress who said "Thank you for joining us and welcome to Aisuru." She explained the menu and left me to read on. As I sat I was also welcomed by a clean-cut almost lawyer-like young man who clearly had some involvement in the restaurant.

I choose my meal and had it reviewed on a iPad right in front of me, pictures and all!

After one of the best Japanese meals I have ever had, I got up to pay. At the cash register of this beautiful establishment I was once again greeted by my professional host.

"How was your meal?" he asked. "Exceptional," I said. It was here the real story unfolded.

Ken Wong, the son of a Hong Kong restaurant family is a trained and qualified lawyer and up until 12 months ago was practicing in Perth. He decided one day to leave his life as a lawyer behind, and peruse his passion and heritage for fine dining. His first restaurant had been open only 12 days and I have no doubt it will be a roaring success.

After a great chat I thanked all the staff who wished me all the best and a big please come back smile.

What we can learn from Ken's journey so far?

What ever you're doing now, if you are not a 100% passionate and committed to it get out and find the passion. The most successful people in the world have one common thread, unwavering passion for what they do.

Smiles work! Get your people happy, engaging and smiling. Hire smile attitudes not sad ones.

Despite all the wonderful fit out, the incredible food and the position, it will be the attitude of Ken and his staff over time that will mean long term success and awards.

Well done Ken you are a sales cat and a star!


Wednesday, 4 April 2012

Customer service excellence, a muffin and a sticky note works!

In early March I travelled around Australia delivering the 'AVBA On The Move seminar series—Selling Is Not A Dirty Word' program.

Throughout the journey I made some interesting observations.

While in Northbridge, Western Australia, I stayed in a hotel which demonstrated how easily you can go from Hero to Zero in customer service.

Upon checkout, and after settling my account, I was informed there was a bar charge for three local beers that night. $27 – I was shocked! Not because of the price, I could buy a slab of imported beer for the same amount, or because of the sign at reception advertising 'Take a 6-Pack to Your Room for $20.' No, I was unimpressed at the sour face and angry defense at my query on the price. I reluctantly paid and told them they should remove the confusing advertising sign.

Raving Fan scale down to minus 2 on this hotel.

Composing myself we began the seminar at the same hotel. During the morning break I collected myself a cup of tea and a muffin which, unfortunately, I had not had time to touch.

As we broke for lunch the staff began refreshing the room. I commented to one as he took the muffin away that I am sorry I did not get to eat it as the session had been so busy. He asked me "Can I get you a fresh one?" "No, no," I said "It's OK."

Upon returning from lunch, there on my table was a cling wrapped muffin and a sticky note which read "Enjoy" and a smily face. Ahhhh... my faith in exceptional customer service in Australia was reignited.

Raving Fan scale now a high 8.

Was that simple act in the induction manual? No. Was that random act of kindness discussed in the staff meeting? No.

It was a choice of attitude in a human being to do better and go beyond text book process and basic service.

No matter what you build, how well you paint it, how far you promote it, your strategic advantage will always come down to how well your people smile, engage, go over and beyond on the little things that matter, like a muffin and a sticky note.

Well done Andrew at All Seasons Northbridge.