Roy's Blog: January 2010
January 19, 2010
The 8 Step BE DiFFERENT Strategy Creation Process
BD #1 - HOW BIG do you want to be? Set your growth & financial goals FIRST. They drive your strategy.
BD #2 - WHO do you want to SERVE? Choose your target customers that will satisfy your HOW BIG goals.
BD #3 - HOW will you compete and WIN? Construct the ‘only’ statement to separate yourself from the pack.
BD #4 - Create your Strategic Game Plan with the previous 3 questions. This will serve you well as your strategy elevator speech.
BD #5 - Set the critical few objectives that will achieve 80% of your Strategic Game Plan.
BD #6 - Assign accountability for each Objective. Who does what by when. If no one is accountable nothing gets done.
BD #7 - Be insane about Execution. Assign a Strategy Hawk to drive implementation of your strategy.
BD #8 - Monitor, review, learn and adjust from the execution of your plan.Evolve your plan into succeeding. Plan on the run.
January 16, 2010
Some sales people use a potential customer as an audience to try and impress with their product knowledge and what they believe to be their scintillating interpersonal skills. They talk, and talk, and talk about their product pausing every now and then to appreciate the wisdom of what they have just uttered.
This 1-way deluge of information on an individual is painful reminder that sales people have healthy egos and they love to be in the transmit mode a great deal of time.
As I have said in other blogs, BE DiFFERENT Sales is a relationship-building event which is impossible to conduct in the face of a sales monologue.
Salespeople need to be terrific Listeners; asking the right questions to expose the needs and more importantly the secrets of their prospective buyer. It really doesn’t matter what the sales agenda is; the objective is to ask questions, Listen and learn in order to come up with the best solution possible.
Here’s how to create a BE DiFFERENT Sales Listening Team:
- recruit people with a background of listening achievement. You can always train them on product knowledge; look for those who Listen innately.
- train them with Listening skills. You can’t hold them accountable for Listening if you don’t teach them how you want it done.
- build Listening into their performance management plan. If Listening is not part of how you want the job done, it won’t happen.
- pay for Listening in their compensation plan. Make Listening a healthy part of their bonus pay. Start at 40% and increase it every year.
- measure Listening performance and engage the customer in the process. Create a Listening Report Card with 6 key behaviors you want sales to consistently demonstrate with customers. Have the customer complete the Report Card to rate their salesperson’s performance.
- measure Sales Listening Performance monthly. Review results with each salesperson. Develop an action plan to address shortfalls.
- honor the Brilliant Listeners. Shout out those who do it well and who receive accolades from their customers. This tells the organization that Listening matters and gives others a picture of how it is done.
- establish an annual Sales Listening Award to honor those who Listening consistently.
There you have it. BE DiFFERENT Sales Listening 101. Have a go at it and reap the rewards.
January 10, 2010
So, here’s the situation: your price is $26.25 and our competitor’s price for the same product is $23.00. What options do you have to compete?
Your first choice is to reduce your price; this is the most common reaction. The problem is that unless you can reduce your costs of supplying the product all you do is reduce your margins. And, you have to prepare for another potential round of price reductions if your competitor decides to further reduce their prices.
I am not a fan of competing on price. It can be easily copied by your competition and it generally eats into your profits. It is NOT a BE DiFFERENT approach.
Your second choice is to add value to more than fill the $3.25 price gap. This is the BE DiFFERENT Practice that will not only set you apart from your competitors but will also give you the opportunity to enhance your margins. In addition, it makes it more difficult for your competition to copy your move. VALUE differences are tough to copy; price is easy.
Here’s a personal example of how this works. Lets say you are an author and your on-line book price is $3.25 higher than your competition. Matching the competition is really not an option as your cost structure is too high. You don’t have scale and scope advantages like the big on-line book sellers. To compete, the only choice you have is to add value to your on-line offering that they can’t match.
So you might decide to add two value components to differentiate your Offer:
- sign every copy of the book sold
- offer a 30 minute conversation with anyone who buys your book on any topic that interests the purchaser
Hard to copy. Adding real value. DiFFERENT.
Force yourself to look at adding value whenever you are confronted with a price difference. Resist the temptation to take the easy way out and drop your drawers on price. It generally doesn’t work and gives the illusion of an effective response.
Ask ‘What real value can I add to fill the price gap?’
January 4, 2010
There are still retailers out there that refuse to offer a refund when you return an article to them; rather they insist you get an in-store credit that can be used at a future date.
Why do retailers do it?
- To deter people from returning product. Which actually translates into ‘We really don’t care whether the garment meets your needs. You bought it. You keep it.’
- To prevent a short term cash flow problem. They don’t give the customer their money back. They take on a future liability when (and if) an article is eventually purchased.
This is a classic Dumb Rule as its impact on the business actually destroys customer value in the long run:
- The customer is annoyed because they have the hassle of returning the product.
- They are further annoyed because they can’t get a refund.
- They are further annoyed because in all probability they are unable to find a suitable replacement for their original purchase in the store at the same time the return is made.
- They reluctantly take the in-store credit and promptly tell others how upset they are and how rotten the service is at this retail outlet.
- They are really upset over the fact they have to go elsewhere and purchase another product.
- They will have to essentially pay twice for what they want at least until they use the credit at some time in the future.
- They leave; come back to use the credit and never return.
The retailer removes any possibility of repeat business and with it the longer term revenue annuity stream.
As well their serving customers reputation goes in the tank.
How can this be good for them? It can’t.
Fortunately this type of Rule is used less and less as businesses wake up to the fact that the customer drives the business and if they don’t treat people they way they want to be treated the organization will pay the ultimate price.