Marketing, sales and service training

Marketing is a service. Sales is a service. And service... well, service is a service too.

I see marketing, sales and service as three integral legs on a stool – each serving to support the customer.  Marketing serves by helping potential customers learn why they should consider your product, company or organization, by articulating what differentiates and distinguishes you in ways that address their needs, wishes and concerns.  Sales serves by helping potential clients buy or invest in solutions that best meet their needs, wishes and concerns – whether that means dealing with you, or another provider that you recommend. Service is the all-encompassing factor that drives customer loyalty, the elusive end goal of all efforts to identify and satisfy customer needs and wishes. Loyalty, in turn, drives word of mouth (and ‘word of mouse’) advertising, and repeat and referral business – still the world’s Number One strategies for building business – after all these years.

Marketing Strategy Workshops

In our marketing strategy workshops – typically a full day in length, and usually conducted offsite to minimize distractions – we start out by identifying exactly where you are now (in terms of sales), and where you need or want to get to over the next six, twelve or twenty four months. Once we’ve decided on a goal, we ‘reverse engineer’ it, by brainstorming steps that will get you to that destination.

The 1-2-3 Method of Marketing Planning

We use a simple approach to planning, based on just three questions:

  1.  What have you got?                               (What differentiates and distinguishes you)
  2.  Who cares?                                              (Who needs or wants what you offer, badly enough to pay for it?)
  3.  How can you connect with them?       (In the most effective and inexpensive ways?)

We Use an ‘Organic Marketing’ Approach

Wouldn’t it be nice if you could build your business without the toxic stress of old-fashioned selling – and without spending money on the expensive fertilizer of paid advertising? It can be done – using an approach that I describe as ‘organic marketing.’

Organic marketing involves building your business primarily “with and through your customers and networks” (on land and online). It’s based on doing everything humanly possible to ensure your clients are completely satisfied – then turning those delighted customers into active ‘sales ambassadors.’ You do this by using a variety of strategies that include a ‘Customer Touch Program;’ a ‘Surprise Thank You’ program to reward referrals and introductions, along with ‘Education-based Marketing’ and ‘Event-based Marketing’ programs, and several other customer-centered initiatives that proactively ensure a constant (and ever-growing) flow of repeat and referral business.  In terms of brand awareness and business promotion, we explore paid advertising that may be relevant, but our main focus is on fast-acting, lower-cost guerrilla marketing.

Your takeaway: Detailed plans of action.

Our workshops are fast moving, mind-opening events that produce a set of detailed, personalized and time-lined plans of action that set out ‘who’ commits to do ‘what’ by ‘when’ in executing your new marketing strategy – an action plan that we build and develop throughout the day.  Every program is customized to address your needs and wishes, and we welcome you to talk with us about a workshop for your company.

Sales: Workshops and Training

I describe sales as one of the ‘helping professions,’ like health care. Effective selling requires skills in interviewing, listening, informing and solution finding – not unlike the practices of a good doctor, nurse or counselor. For this reason we stress interpersonal communication skills and personal professionalism in our sales workshops and training programs.

Feedback from participants almost always mentions the practical aspects of our training as well. We focus on ideas, skills and techniques your salespeople can put to work immediately. We also appreciate the feedback we receive about the originality of our sales building ideas. Our purpose is to equip your people with new ideas, new skills and new techniques that can help them generate more leads; shorten the sales cycle; raise their sales closing ratio – and develop trust relationships that drive customer loyalty and repeat and referral business. Here are some of the content highlights offered in our training:

  • How to free up more time for sales generating activity
  • How to overcome ‘sales resistance’ in others and ‘sales reluctance’ in yourself.
  • How to increase the number of referrals and introductions you receive from customers and network sources – so that more of your prospective customers are ‘pre-qualified’ and ready to buy
  • How to turn telephone inquiries into appointments and sales, systematically
  • How to use ‘Daily Sales Networking’ to generate leads and build sales rapidly
  • How to build and run a ‘Lead Machine’ – networking with providers in other industries who sell to the same people or companies that you do
  • How to ‘reduce’ the number of quotes and proposals you prepare (for prospects who are not ready to buy)
  • How to increase conversion ratios (ratio of ‘qualified’ leads to quotes; closing ratio of quotes to completed sales) so that more of your qualified prospects become customers
  • How to compose voicemail and email messages ‘that get returned’
  • How to work ‘with’ gatekeepers and call screeners – and get through to decision-makers
  • How to follow through ‘effectively’ after a sales call or meeting – and after quoting – so you don’t lose touch with your prospect
  • How to prevent ‘sticker shock’ by building budget estimates ‘with’ your customers instead of on your own
  • How to respond when qualified prospects say they ‘have to think about it,’ so you can rescue these sales systematically
  • How to anticipate, plan for, and respond to even the most difficult objections
  • How to recognize and act on ‘buying signals,’ and test the sale with a ‘trial close’
  • How to rescue sales that seem lost when prospects stop returning your calls and emails
  • How to close sales at the earliest possible opportunity – so prospects who are ready, willing and able to buy don’t slip into the hands of competitors
  • How to close sales easily and naturally, using the most effective technique in the world of selling
  • Personal branding: How to position yourself as a ‘trusted advisor’ rather than the usual ‘salesperson’
  • Personal professionalism: How to manage the way you make, and follow-through on, every commitment – to your internal customers as well as the customers you work with – so you can be trusted to do what you say you are going to do

Our sales training clients are businesses, large and small, that need or want significant and rapid growth in sales . Using strategies and techniques honed in our turnaround work with companies in trouble, we typically help clients achieve one year growth in sales between 20 and 100%.  Please note that there is no charge for an exploratory consultation, and we welcome your inquiries.

Service: Workshops and Training

I believe that exceptional customer service provides the last sustainable competitive advantage in business. This is so because everything else we do can be copied by competitors, while genuinely exceptional service can’t be duplicated. It can be seen, heard and felt – but unlike product innovations and advertising approaches, it can’t be copied.

Why? Because it comes from the commitment of everyone in an organization to treat customers as your most valuable asset.  Exceptional service is also elusive because it takes everything we’ve got as human beings.  It takes vision, leadership, ‘genuine’ teamwork, and the personal engagement of every last team member in endlessly looking for ways to serve more effectively. It takes rigorous attention to product quality, production efficiency, and service protocols. It also takes training in creative thinking; collaborative problem solving, conflict prevention and resolution, reaction and anger management, and interpersonal communication.

The realization that so many skills are involved prompted me to undergo training in conflict resolution and interpersonal communication some years ago – I needed formal training in order to coach my clients. Without coaching and practice in these skills, ‘service excellence’ all too often means nothing more than lip service – empty platitudes about a company’s commitment to customers – when the actual customer experience is thoroughly unexceptional.

In companies that practice customer service planning (in marketing language this is now called, ‘customer experience engineering’) – companies, like Nordstrom for example – complaints are seen and treated as ‘opportunities.’ Leaders and team members are trained to respond effectively and systematically. There is no blame game – just a real commitment to resolve the immediate problem (almost always in the customer’s favor); learn from the experience, and correct that part of their system that allowed the problem to occur.

If you’re thinking of a service training program for your company or organization, please request a complimentary meeting to talk about your challenges and goals. We’d love to serve you.