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Strategies for Value-Added Selling and Service
by Bob 'Idea Man' Hooey

 


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A "Secret" note for Business Owners and Sales Managers

Strategies for Value-Added Selling and Service

by Bob 'Idea Man' Hooey

Selling is a tough game and not a game for the faint at heart. The more successful selling professionals have learned to focus on value rather than price to gain a better result and begin a mutually profitable long term relationship with their clients. Here are a few thoughts and observations on the aspect of Value-added Selling and Service.

Customer satisfaction is ‘relative’ to your actual or perceived performance and their expectations.

Customer satisfaction is a very subjective thing to measure. It really is a matter of perception and experience. If you meet or exceed the ‘unsaid – unwritten’ expectations of your customers their perception will be a positive one. Fail to meet these expectations, and you will find them less than satisfied or un-happy with you.

One method to make sure you meet or beat these ‘unsaid —unwritten’ expectations is to do your homework or research. Often, within an industry there are certain ‘unwritten but still valid’ expectations, which serve as the norm. Make sure you know what they are and use them as the bottom line in your service and performance. If you would succeed in gaining their repeat business and loyalty, make sure you go well past the ‘normal’ expectations.

There is some business you don’t want - but you do want every opportunity to explore the potential to doing business.

When you first start selling or start a business you may want to deal with everyone. This works for the short-term, but is not a good strategy over the long term. Hard as it seems, you need to fire some clients if the business they bring in is not profitable to you or your company. Studies have shown that on average, 80% of your business will be generated from 20% of your customers. Yet, many ineffective sales staff still invest their time in those clients which often bring the lowest return on their investment.

Point to Ponder:

"Values determine our needs. Needs determine our goals."
Earl Nightingale

Additionally, trying to be ‘all things to all people’ is a sure-fire way to work yourself sick and go broke. You cannot effectively sell, service, or supply everyone. You need to decide early on “what business you are in”, and what you can provide 'profitably' to your customers. You can’t service them, if you’re no longer in business. Selling and its built in customer service is a long-term investment in your business.

• Not all customers are valid targets for a value-added effort.

As you develop your selling efforts, decide which customers you can service profitably. Profit is not a bad word – it is the lifeline of your business. It is the differential between having a ‘job’ or hobby, and a professional selling career. It also allows you to be there when they need you the next time!

As you become increasingly clear on what business you are in, and what you can profitably provide in the market place, you will be able to better target and serve your customers.

Selling when you are not able to do so profitably or service in a cost effective way will lead to a loss of potential to build your business. You can’t invest your profits in expanding your business, if you haven’t earned any.

• Price is less important when the relationship between the buyer and the seller is stronger. In fact this can give you a 10-15% edge on pricing.

Think about your own shopping or buying experiences:

• Other than for convenience or disposable goods, where do you shop on a regular basis? Why? What is the difference?
• Would you drive clear across town to save a few dollars?
• How often would you continue to deal with that company or sales person even if they are a bit higher in price? Why is that?

When the value of the product and its support and service are evident, and there is a strong relationship built on understanding and trust, people tend to be more loyal and continue dealing with you.

Ask yourself?

• Would you agree that often it is the way you are treated that makes a big difference?
• Would you also agree that often it is the small details than make the difference?
• How can you develop this type of relationship with your customers?
• What would have to change to make it work in your situation?

One final question:

How can you apply the lessons learned from your own shopping experience in better taking care of your potential and existing customers?


© 2007 Bob ‘Idea Man’ Hooey www.ideaman.net All rights Reserved. Used with permission of the author.

Bob ‘Idea Man’ Hooey is a productivity strategist and creativity catalyst who regularly writes for North American Consumer and Trade Journals, on-line magazines and company intranets. He is the author of 10 books including 2 on selling; and the 48th person in the history of Toastmasters International to earn their coveted professional level Accredited Speaker designation. He is a professional member of the Canadian Association of Professional Speakers and the International Federation for Professional Speakers. Visit his website for additional articles like this one: www.ideaman.net

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2/12/08


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