HOW TO RETAIN HAPPY, LOYAL, PAYING CUSTOMERS.

CUSTOMERSERVICEWe are all consumers. We have our favorite restaurants, body shops, gyms, clothing and even grocery stores. We expect and quite frankly, demand a certain level of customer service. If we do not experience it, we walk go someone who will.

What baffles me is that as business people we expect a certain level of service, but are we providing that same, or even better level of service in our own businesses? Recent surveys suggest we are not.

BEST TIME TO MAKE THE CALL

making the callI have been asked many times: “Joe, when is it the best time to make a cold call?”

Dr. James Oldroyd, from the Kellog School of Management in studying over a million cold calls from approximately 50 companies came up with a few observations:

  • Thursdays are the best day to call.
  • Friday is the worst day to call.
  • Between 8 am and 9 am are the best followed by 4 pm to 5 pm.
  • The worst time to call is between 1 pm and 2 pm.

With all due respect to Dr. Oldroyd, I am going to have to disagree for the following reasons:

  • How many industries were the 50 companies in? Was there a good cross section from high end IT products, to manufacturing machinery as well as simple commodity retail products?
  • Is the best day and time to call dependent on industry-specific organizations or even the level of the person that you may be attempting to connect with? By the way, if you are trying to connect with the purchasing agent, you are wasting your time. Therefore, stop it!
  • Was there consistency as to the objective/outcome for making the call.

I would like to provide a concept of the best time and day to place a call. What opportunities are you uncovering by not making the call? Go ahead take a minute to think of the answer. Right, there are no bad times or days to make calls. However, there are really bad times and days for not making the calls.

This goes also for special times of the year. I would like to share a personal story. Back in my corporate life my team and I were selling construction marking and measuring systems and commodity items. The summer months were thought of as a dead time as everyone had already purchased everything they needed and were being productive at work and further, had no time to talk to us. Generally speaking, September was the next time that everyone got a big rush of orders to get the projects done before the weather closed it down.

Summertime is where my team and I put the pedal to the metal for a couple of reasons:

  • First, everyone always runs out of something and as long as you are front of mind they will always call you first.
  • Secondly, because you were there during the summer and planted all the seeds, who do you think they are calling in September for the big fill in last push order?

We did exactly the same thing over the Christmas holiday period. When it came time to start up again, who do you think they called? Also, a lot of companies have leftover budgets that they need to spend at the end of the year, but how many of us fall into the trap of: “There is no business over Christmas.” Decembers were some of my highest months throughout my career.

You will never know the right day or time for your industry unless you actually make the call. However, make sure you are ready to make the call. If you waste their time and have no objective or goal for the call, all you will do is annoy a potential client. Is that something you really want to do?

We invite you to join The Action Suite to make sure you are prepared as you can be to make the call that has to be made in order to turn that prospect into a happy, loyal and satisfied client.

By the way, the answer to the question asked at the beginning is always: “Right now.”

DO YOU KNOW THEIR PROCESS?

desisionsThere are some of us that still recall the days before any technology hit the business world and that one of the selling points was that we would be able to increase the speed that business is done and further, we would become a paperless society.

Well, there seems to be a great spasm between what was promised and what actually is happening today. First, I submit to you the need for paper has actually increased, and secondly, while some functions have become extremely more streamlined such as inventory control, invoicing, and immediate communications with a paper trail, the decision-making process has increased.

COLD CALLING EMAIL TIPS

emailIsn’t technology grand? Yes, it is. Unless, if by using it you are getting ignored.

One of the most used tactics today in using technology is, using emails as a way of performing ‘cold calls’. Hands up of those of us who actually enjoy getting these emails? Okay, then what makes you think anyone would like to receive these emails from you?

CUSTOMER RETENTION OR ACQUISITION?

client retentionThe fundamental rule of business is to retain customers. It has also been proven by numerous studies it cost five times more to attract a new customer than to keep an existing one.

These studies go on to show only 18% of companies actually work on client retention.

There are many factors, other than the economical one already mentioned as to why you may want to switch your focus more into the retention side rather than the acquiring effort.

MAKE LAME QUESTIONS INTO GREAT ONES

LAME QUESTIONS“Aren’t we there to provide solutions?”

“Absolutely, but how can you provide the solution, if you don’t know what the challenge is.”

However, how many times do we go into a presentation with: “This, (insert product or service) will solve all of your challenges.”

Asking questions is a skill. Like any skill, it must be developed and then practiced. It is not only the question but the timing of the question. Doctors, police, hostage negotiators and interrogators practice questioning techniques consistently as part of their training. Business is no different; it is the question and the timing of those questions which will differentiate you from all others.