The Sales Evangelist (Customer Experience)

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Syndication

Creating Great Customer Experiences To Close More Deals

 

Creating great customer experiences to close more deals is often a neglected sales strategy by many. That shouldn’t be the case. 

Dan Cockerell grew up in the hospitality industry. He went to Boston University and worked at Disney World for a summer. He officially joined the Walt Disney Company as a parking attendant in 1991 after finishing college. After 26 years and 19 jobs at Walt Disney, he decided to leave to start  his own consulting company. 

Most of the employees in Disney who are working as executives in the operation started in the frontline roles to understand the customer experiences at the ground level. 

The beginning of Disneyland

Walt Disney was ahead of his time. He was an animator and he wanted to create a 3D world where people could escape reality and step into movies. He wanted to create happiness together as a family. This was his original thought for building Disneyland in 1955. He kept the business clean, he was nice to people, and he valued them. People kept coming back because of the Midwestern values set by the company. 

Dan understood then that people are looking for experiences. Even millennials these days are looking for experiences rather than buying objects that lose their value over time. Experience, on the other hand, gains value over time. Disney had a great business model: to make emotional connections with people and have a great product and service to offer them simultaneously. 

The immense popularity of Disney parks stems from its ability to create experiences. 

Creating great customer experiences to close more deals

Disney did a lot of research and measurements to help the company improve. They have round table discussions, group discussions, and surveys. They pulled out a group one year and made a survey on what makes them different and why people keep coming back to Disney World. The Disney team had their expected answers, including the fireworks, the hotels, the attractions, the food, the characters, and others. 

There are four things, however, that Disney and salespeople have in common. 

Disney makes people feel special

They translated that to the cast members and they had a common purpose which is to create happiness for guests. Their team always looks for ways to make their guests feel special every day. It’s challenging when you have 50 million guests coming to the park every year. 

The same is true in sales: salespeople need to make their potential clients and existing clients feel special. Often times, it’s the simple things like sending them notes on their birthdays or when there’s something big to celebrate in their company. You have to invest in time with them. 

Disney treats people as individuals

Connect with people individually and make exceptions depending on one’s situation. As salespeople, you also need to treat people as individuals. Don’t quote them because the policy won’t work for some of them. Figure out a way to make exceptions according to their needs to make them feel like individuals. 

Creating great customer experiences to close more deals doesn’t have to be expensive. It takes attention to detail in order to connect with people. You just have to hire people who are keen on taking interest in people.

 A team needs a good leader or role model. Show your people that you are approachable and you want to help them with their sales problems as much as possible. Talk to them and be with them. Seeing their role model in action motivates them to do better in creating great customer experience to close more deals. 

Get down with the best practices you can as an organization no matter how small these gestures are to make your potential and existing clients feel special. Think of the ways you can give your clients great experiences. 

Disney respects everyone 

Respect is basic. People who come to Walt Disney are treated equally regardless of where they are staying. Guests who pay $99 a night and guests who pay $1,200 a night are given the same amount of respect. Disney isn’t looking at the color of the skin, the language people speak, and where they came from. Everyone must feel welcome without prejudice. 

Salespeople must show respect to all clients regardless of color, language, or policy they are going to get. Even when, as a leader, you aren’t particularly fond of the organization you are in, you still have to take personal pride in your profession. 

When you treat your team professionally, they’ll also respond professionally. 

When the clients’ experience fails, it isn’t the fault of the sales rep but that of the leader. You might have hired them in an environment they shouldn’t be in, you might not have  trained them, you might have failed to give them feedback, and/or acknowledged them enough. 

Leaders create the environment for their people then their people go and operate in that environment. #SalesQuote

Be knowledgeable 

Salespeople need to know the product inside out and really believe in it. It’s a lot easier to sell to clients when they hear the excitement in your voice. A good salesperson also needs to bring the product to the next level by implementing it to the needs of the clients’ company. Explain how your product or services would cater to the needs of their company. 

We don’t know the answer to every question so when the client asks you something that you have zero idea what the answer is, be honest. Dial-up a person who has the answer or read more. Don’t just give them bad information to save face. 

Close more deals

Four things are laid out in creating great customer experiences to close more deals. 

  • Make people feel special
  • Treat people as individuals
  • Respect everyone
  • Be knowledgeable

Pick one from these four ways and start doing it to change your sales game. Do this one bite at a time. 

“Creating Great Customer Experiences To Close More Deals” episode resources

Connect with Dan by visiting his website, DanCockerell.com. He has his email there and his phone number. 

If you have sales questions, concerns, and great stories to share, don’t hesitate to connect with Donald via LinkedIn, Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook

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Direct download: TSE_1195.mp3
Category:Customer Experience -- posted at: 12:00am EDT

So often, as sales reps, we neglect to realize that the customer journey starts with the prospect experience.

Sean McDade, PhD, is the founder and CEO of PeopleMetrics; a software and services company that helps organizations measure and create a better customer experience by listening to their customers and prospects.  Sean is also the author of “Listen or Die: 40 Lessons that turn Customer Feedback into Gold,” a book about how to listen to your customers, clients and prospects in order to create a better experience for them.

CUSTOMER EXPERIENCE

Any time that a company interacts with a customer or prospect, they are providing a customer experience. It could be a digital experience on a website, an in-person experience through a meeting with a sales rep, or customer experiences via contact centers or online chats.

A great company is one that consciously manages those interactions to create positive experiences for their customers.

As a sales rep, the experience you give to your prospects is very important. The prospect’s interaction with a sales rep sets the tone for the experience he can expect as a customer.

This is especially true if you are selling B2B products, software, professional services, or any high-end consumer products that a prospect is likely to spend significant dollars on to purchase.

A sales rep can increase the value in the sales process by answering questions in detail, by solving problems, and by reducing pain for the prospect.

The metric used to measure customer experience is substantially higher for sales reps who add value over those who do not.

When a prospect feels that he was lied to, or misled, at the beginning, it is difficult to recover. The great sales reps are the ones who set the tone for a great customer or client experience over the long-term.

As for the sales reps who are not setting a positive tone – Sean believes they are creating the very real possibility that the client will churn in the future instead.

MARKETING VS SALES

Marketing sets the brand promise. They set the expectations but it is up to the sales reps to bring it to life.

The prospects will remember their conversations with sales reps long after they’ve forgotten the marketing campaign. The sales rep has more credibility and is more effective, as a result, in setting a positive – or negative – tone with the prospect.

POSITIVE PROSPECT EXPERIENCE

PeopleMetrics measures various attributes by sending a survey to each prospect to determine the experiences that the reps create.

In this way, Sean has found the prospects always feel that value has been added to their experience whenever a sales rep is able to provide these five things:

  • Be prepared. A great sales rep is one who is super-prepared. They know the prospect inside and out; the reps don’t ask questions that are easily found online, for example.
  • Be comfortable answering questions. A great sales rep understands their prospect’s situation and can suggest solutions.
  • Be a good listener. A great sales rep listens more than he talks and will really understand the needs of the prospect as a result.
  • Be knowledgeable about your product. Be able to answer questions beyond what is already available online.
  • Be proactive. Be timely and follow-up.
 

Referrals are key, especially in the B2B market.  At that level, buyers actually seek out referrals from other buyers before making big decisions.

THE CONSULTATIVE SALE REP

As sales reps, we sometimes feel as though we are simply taking orders when, in truth, we should aim to be more of a consultant for the buyer. The company we work for should be one that values the consultative element: providing training, experience, and hands-on opportunities for the sales reps to really learn the product well.

As an example, Sean has a great rep at his company who is generally tasked with opening doors by understanding the prospect’s needs, identifying problems, and introducing solutions. On his own time, the rep learned the product inside and out to the point where he can now read the reports the analysts write for similar-type prospects. He knows the industry, the language, and the company so well that he is extremely credible as a result.  The value that the company placed on his training continues to pay off.

Unfortunately, a lot of smaller companies are unable to provide training, so it is up to the rep to become consultative through proactive measures. Learn as much as you can about the product and the industry and talk to account managers who are servicing similar products, etc.

LEARNING YOUR CUSTOMER

As sales reps, we don’t need our buyers to know all about our business. Rather, we need to learn as much as possible about theirs. We need to be able to help them see their blind spots and identify their weaknesses so that we can create a great prospect experience by providing solutions.

Nothing annoys a buyer more than having to answer questions simply to bring a sales rep up to speed, especially when it is something the sales rep should already understand. Instead, if you can offer the buyer insight into the many ways that your product can reduce their pain, or further them in their careers, you are already ahead of the game. You’ve got the inside track.

It reminds me of a story where a sales rep friend of mine was shadowing a more established rep. The established sales rep, however, was also a really cocky and arrogant guy who didn’t feel the need to do any research on his prospects before a call. He was confident that his knowledge of the product would be sufficient to land the sale.

Long story short: Because the sales rep failed to take the time to research an acronym that he had seen on the prospect’s website, the sales rep misused the acronym and was unable to recover. It was a horrible experience that could have been prevented with a little research.

THE STATISTICS

PeopleMetrics researched 800 B2B buyers and discovered some fascinating reasons as to why they buy or don’t buy.

  • Seventy-eight percent of B2B buyers actively seek recommendations from their trusted colleagues as their first step toward a purchase. They rarely look online or make a choice based solely on an interaction with a sales rep.
  • Seventy-six percent of the time, the recommended company wins the contract. The losing providers, on the other hand, are almost never recommended.
  • Furthermore, the sales rep makes a huge difference as to whether or not a company is recommended. Sixty-one percent of B2B buyers that bought something report that the sales rep provided high value: he was consultative and he was prepared. He provided a positive prospect experience.
  • And here’s the kicker: the sales rep that provided the high-value experience for the B2B buyer got bigger contracts – up to $100,000 more within the 800 buyers.

THE CHAMPION CYCLE

Seventy percent of B2B buyers who experience a high-value meeting recommended the provider to others. It is a cycle that goes around and around and around. It all comes down to the experience that the sales reps have with the prospects.

Sean highly recommends reaching out to your prospects after interactions with your reps. Ask them what they did well and what they could do better. At PeopleMetrics, the survey takes less than a minute and they regularly see a 75% response rate.  

Was the meeting valuable? Was the rep prepared?

And most importantly – do you have any concerns related to moving forward? This is a beautiful question because, as sales reps, we waste a lot of time chasing leads that are going nowhere. This question offers a non-confrontational way for a prospect to let us know if our product is not a good fit. Then we can focus our efforts on prospects who are.

E-COURAGE

The survey is sent to every decision maker in the group who attended the meeting.  Sean does not recommend, however, having the sales manager call the prospect with the same survey questions as it is unlikely they will provide completely truthful answers.

People are more likely to provide honest feedback via digital means than in person.

THE NET PROMOTER QUESTION

“How likely would you be to recommend our product or services to a colleague?”

Sean is working with a company that is taking this one step further. Their sales reps call and thank every single customer who provided a 9, or 10. This simple act has resulted in even more referrals!

The mindset of most sales leaders is very hard-charging, or maybe marketing owns the customer experience side of things. Once the sales leader recognizes customer experience as a revenue-generating opportunity, he is more likely to implement it.

Sean recalls a client who left a meeting feeling very confident that he had landed the sale only to receive lukewarm feedback.  As a result, he was able to get on the phone and determine where a misunderstanding had occurred. He was able to turn it around and make the sale.

PeopleMetrics

Valuable prospect experiences can be easily and systematically incorporated in very low stress ways. At PeopleMetrics, they are super passionate about the prospect and customer experience.  Their software automatically sends the survey to your prospects. Once prospects complete the survey, the company sends an email alert of results along with recommendations on how best to proceed.

PeopleMetrics also provides the ability to focus on which reps are doing well, and which ones might need more assistance. It is a complete solution for improving the prospect/customer experience by helping companies listen to their clients.

The prospect experience is the key to delivering a great customer experience that can hopefully last a lifetime.

Take the guesswork out of it.  Know how your sales reps are interacting with your prospects.

“CUSTOMER JOURNEY STARTS WITH THE PROSPECT EXPERIENCE” EPISODE RESOURCES

You can reach out to Sean via email at Sean.mcdade@peoplemetrics.com , or find him on Twitter @smcdade. Learn more about the company at Www.peoplemetrics.com.

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Direct download: TSE_1028.mp3
Category:Customer Experience -- posted at: 12:00pm EDT

When you’re working to stand out from the pack, there are 3 simple things you can do to offer exceptional customer experiences.

In this day and age, it is easier now that ever before to stand out by offering a great experience because so many others, quite frankly, are not.

We can get almost anything we want quickly and easily. That focus on speed, however, eventually causes the quality of the customer experience to decline. Think about it. So many organizations focus on speed in order to beat their competition or to attain the numbers, that they neglect to put their customers first.

While it is certainly possible to have both, it takes effort.

The bar has been set low today. When we focus on the speed at which we deliver our product or service, or focus only on finding and getting new customers, we neglect the people we already have.  

THE BUCKET ANALOGY

We neglect the people we already have that are easier to sell to … the ones who can give us referrals … the ones we can upsell ….We neglect them and waste our time running back and forth, here and there, instead.

It is the bucket analogy all over again. We work hard to fill our buckets by bringing people in only to have them fall straight out the holes in the bottom. We need to be sure to plug those holes so that our hard work doesn’t drain away.

One of the things we can do to show love and care and respect to our current customers is to woo them, right from the start, with a great experience.

What happens too often is that we knock on doors, blast emails, and get their attention with great marketing messages. We sell them on a dream or a vision, and we deliver our product quickly.

But we neglect to consider our client’s experience.

EXCEPTIONAL CUSTOMER EXPERIENCES

YOUR CLIENT’S NAME

Dale Carnegie once said that “a person’s name is to him/her, the sweetest and most important sound in any language.” It’s true.  We can be in a large crowd but if someone calls our name, we immediately turn around. We want to know who knows us.

Using your client’s name in conversations creates a more personalized experience. It is as simple as “What can I help you with today, Amanda?” I know for sure, that if you are going to call my company or connect with me, I will respond much better if you use my name.

Be sure to address your client the way he prefers to be addressed. For example, does he sign his emails as ‘Dave’ or ‘David’? If you aren’t sure, just ask. The simple task of asking about something that is important to him shows that you care.  

HOW YOUR CLIENTS MAKE MONEY

If you plan to teach them how to save money, or how to bring in more money, you best know how they already do it.

This is why it is important to study how various industries work and operate. If your client is a nursing home, for example, a simple google search can help you understand if the client makes more money via patient stays or from insurance payments or Medicare payments.

Having a basic understanding makes the conversation so much easier. When the client knows that you understand the challenges he faces, he’s more likely to listen to your solutions.

PERSONALIZED INTERACTIONS

Send a thank you note at the very end of your conversation, even if it is the first meeting.

“Dave, it was amazing to connect with you last week” or “I look forward to talking to you again soon, Amanda.” It doesn’t have to be elaborate or lengthy. In fact, what you say in the note isn’t as important as the fact that you took the time to send one.

It is great to send an email as well, but a thank you note demonstrates a higher level of care. It gives an added touch.

Additionally, the thank you note will be delivered 3 or 4 days after your conversation. It serves as a nice reminder of the conversation, and it helps you stand out.

You can also personalize your presentations. Use your client’s logo and tagline in every presentation you make for them. It is another added touch that shows you care and that you are willing to take the extra step. It will help you stand out significantly over your competition.

If you can combine these 3 simple things that offer exceptional customer experience with the delivery of amazing speed, you are going to be totally fine. I’m sure of it.

“EXCEPTIONAL CUSTOMER EXPERIENCES” EPISODE RESOURCES

This episode is brought to you in part by our TSE Certified Sales Training Program, which teaches you to improve your sales skills, find more customers, build stronger value, and close more deals.

The next semester begins in March.

This episode is also brought to you in part by mailtag.io, a Chrome browser extension for Gmail that allows you to track and schedule your emails. It’s super easy, it’s helpful, and I recommend that you try it out.

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Audio provided by Free SFX and Bensound.

Direct download: TSE_1027.mp3
Category:Customer Experience -- posted at: 4:01pm EDT

Today’s snippet taken from one of our sessions over at the TSE Hustler’s League is all about creating an experience early in the sales process for your customers. Asking Hard Questions You have to be willing to ask hard questions. These may not be the easiest questions to ask but once you do, they’d give […]

The post TSE 655: TSE Hustler’s League-“Create & Experience” appeared first on The Sales Evangelist.

Direct download: TSE_655.mp3
Category:Customer Experience -- posted at: 8:50pm EDT

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