Manufacturing still remains a vital part of the American economy. Many factors make America a great place for manufacturing: a large and nearby market, common language, good culture of business ethics, low cost fuel, strong design and engineering talent, robust distribution and logistics, reasonably low cost labor, and the overall trend to speed and faster turn-around time.
As such, manufacturing many products, when done best in class, can be done more cost-effectively in the U.S. than anywhere else.
But, how? How can we begin to improve our manufacturing plants to be the best that they can be?
In their book, A Complaint is a Gift: Recovering Customer Loyalty When Things Go Wrong, authors Janelle Barlow and Claus Moller discuss the inadequacies of customer service and the customer service departments at most companies.
The book begins with a quote from Confucius that sums up the mistake companies make when they do not listen to their customer complaints:
A person who commits a mistake and doesn’t correct it is committing another mistake.
Let’s face facts. Mistakes happen in companies, and people complain. But, we have to treat their complaints as gifts, listen to them, be responsive and speedily fix the mistakes. Or else somebody else will be servicing that customer.
A whole industry has sprung up around helping leaders and businesses get things done, make it happen, and be more successful. It is possible to spend thousands, even millions, of dollars getting advice from these consulting firms, gurus, and experts.
Much of this advice is complex and difficult to understand. While this might help the consulting firm polish its reputation as a thought leader, it does little to help us put the advice into action today, tomorrow, and the day after.
The book, World Class Selling, by Roy Chitwood (founder of the Track Selling sales process) is an effective and insightful sales book. It is well worth reading for both new and experienced salespeople alike.
Below I have summarized the key points from the book to give you a brief overview of the book. But, I do encourage you to pick up a copy, read, and learn.
What is selling?
- Uncovering a problem or discovering a need
- Offering a way to solve that problem or fill that need
- Persuading the prospect to buy or act now
Most companies still provide a tangible product or service. This means that companies need to have operations employing people to produce the product, deliver the product, or provide the service.
These operations are essential to great customer service and building business success. Without a strong operational capability, product will not be delivered, promises will not be kept, and the customer will not be satisfied.
So, what are the fundamentals that we, as leaders, need to keep front of mind, in order to drive operational success? Continue reading
Posted in Business Acumen, Improve / Turnaround, Perform / Execution
Tagged Business Transformation, Business Turnarounds, Consistent Execution, Customer Satisfaction, Do the Right Thing, Operational Excellence, Operational Improvement, Operations, Prioritization
This month, I thought to share some sales “fun facts” to get us all thinking of what we can do better to drive sales growth and success and move our companies forward.
Having the right people on your sales team is essential
- Four out of every five salespeople a customer meets are mediocre, incompetent, or downright ineffective.
- In a separate study, 69% of corporate buyers rated salespeople calling on them as “fair” to “poor.”
- As a result, customers are impatient and do not give salespeople any slack
- On average, a salesperson has only 12 minutes to establish credibility in an initial meeting.
I recently interviewed a professional buyer at a customer company who was looking to move into a sales role for our company. I asked how she would use her current experience as a buyer to be a better salesperson. Her response was a nice reminder of what good salespeople need to do every day.
- Be Attentive: This means making my problems your problem. I want to know that your salespeople really care about my problems and my issues more than about just getting the sale.
- Be Responsive: Give me what you promised. When you say you will get back to me, then get back to me. Don’t make me wait (respond quickly and respond even if only to say that you heard my request and are working on it).
- Be Proactive: If there is a problem, issue, or delay, then tell me about it before I find out and have to ask you.
- Focus on my needs: Listen to what I say. Listen in order to truly understand what I need. Then give me what I want and need. Do not give what you want to sell me; and do not give me what you think I may want.
- Be Friendly: Be “good people”; be friendly and nice to everyone on my team. Be easy to get along with. I do not want or need to have to defend my decision to buy from you in front of my colleagues who all think that you are a jerk.
Out of the approximately 300 salespeople this buyer deals with, only three salespeople (exactly 1% of the total) satisfy all five of these points.
Are our salespeople part of the 1% or are they part of the other 99%?