Steve Ferrante's High Performance Blog for Sales/Customer Service/Leadership Champs and Progressive Professionals!

Posts tagged ‘Customer Service Training’

Monday Morning Motivation: Success Track

Back in our school days (or school daze for some) there were specific academic achievements that needed to be accomplished to graduate from one grade to the next, from grade school to high-school, high-school to college and so forth. The track was all laid out and it was clear (to the non-dazed folks at least) what needed to be accomplished to move forward and succeed.

At some point, we entered the working world and all that changed. We had multiple tracks to choose from and the path to success became considerably more fuzzy.

Some people chose a less than desirable track. These folks can be found complaining about their job most days. Other folks were headed in the right direction but then, for various reasons, got side-tracked.  Both folks will find that if they continue heading in the wrong direction they’ll ultimately end up in the wrong place.

What you do today shapes your tomorrows. Where you end up then depends on what track you’re on now.

This principle applies to not only your long-term goals but also your short-term objectives. In sales, what you achieve in a given month will determine if you’re on track to meet your goal for the quarter. A successful quarter will put you on the right track for a successful year.

And, of course, a successful Monday will put you on track for a successful week!

Success Track

Make a Great Day!

Steve 🙂

Monday Morning Motivation: Go To Success

Here’s a simple, yet powerful, Monday Morning Motivation.

Quite often success comes to those who are proactive. Those Pinnacle Performers constantly seeking out new opportunities to learn and grow, develop new business, create new customer relationships and control their destiny.

The reactive types are waiting to be in the right place at the right time, waiting for the phone to ring, waiting for opportunity to knock, waiting for success to happen.

Don’t let that be you. Get up, get on your horse and as I often say…

Make a Great Day!

Steve 🙂

Go to Success

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Training & Performance: If You Can’t Measure It, You Can’t Manage It!

If You Don't Measure

How do we measure training? It’s a question I hear frequently from my prospective Pinnacle Performance clients. By that they mean, “we’ve budgeted X amount of dollars for sales and/or customer service training, how do we measure our results and ensure we receive a worthwhile return on our investment?”

That is a great question, one I would no doubt ask if it were I in their position.

An obvious answer is to track and record sales results, close rates, customer appointments and other key performance metrics prior to training and then compare them to the results after training. While that is certainly recommended and should be charted throughout the course of any training implementation, this method does little to let you know how you stand in real time.

The best way to measure the effectiveness of training and employee’s sales performance is to monitor activity at the point-of-sale.

There are two point-of-sale areas that business owners should be monitoring on a day-to-day basis; face-to-face and telephone interactions.

For an objective look at employee performance in face-to-face interactions, I highly recommend contracting the services of a professional mystery shopping company.  A high-caliber mystery shop company will use well-trained “secret shoppers” to provide you with an accurate picture of the customers perspective while conducting business with your company. Over my 10 years in the training industry, I have had experience with both very good and a few not-so-good mystery shop companies. If you’re looking for a recommendation, email me with your company website and contact info at steve@saleawayllc.com and I’ll provide my best choice for your consideration.

Then there’s the phone. As detailed in my Top 3 Reasons Why Phone Skills Training Is Most Important In Sales article, for business’s that sell both face-to-face and on-the-phone, phone skills is the most important area of employee development.

The best way to manage employee performance on the phone is to record and evaluate actual customer calls. While call-in mystery shops can be useful to establish a baseline and determine if employees are performing their selling fundamentals, these scripted interactions simply don’t have the spontaneity and challenge employees the way genuine customer calls do.

I am quite familiar with the companies that provide call recording services and have found none better than my resource partners at Convirza (formerly LogMyCalls). For ease of operation, recording and tracking capabilities, scorecard administration and reporting analytics their program is simply top notch and my recommendation for all my Pinnacle Performance clients.

BEEN THERE NOT DOING THAT

It’s important to note that many companies are already recording their customer calls. If so, you’re only halfway there. The other half – the more important half – is monitoring and evaluating those calls on how well employees are meeting, or not meeting, the established selling system.

In the case of my clients,  industry-specific scorecards are created to evaluate and measure every element of the Pinnacle Performance sales/customer service model as tailored for the business. Armed with the evaluation data, we can then pinpoint precisely where an employee is weak or missing key elements and provide the coaching to improve sales/customer service performance in real time!

As renowned management consultant Peter Drucker once said: “If you can’t measure it, you can’t manage it.” That is certainly true of sales/customer service training and there’s no better way than evaluating employees real-time performance at the point-of-sale.

For Details Visit > MEASURING TRAINING EFFECTIVENESS

Make a Great Day!

Steve 🙂

Steve Ferrante is the CEO & Trainer of Champions of Sale Away LLC., providing Pinnacle Performance Sales, Customer Service and Leadership training, speaking and professional development services to success-driven businesses throughout North America. For more information on Steve and Pinnacle Performance services for your team visit saleawayllc.com

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Top 3 Reasons Why Phone Skills Are Most Important In Sales

Phone Guy

As a professional sales/customer service trainer, I work with many businesses that sell (or have opportunities to sell) both face-to-face and on the phone. Of course, from a development perspective, both of these point-of-sale areas need to be addressed with an effective methodology and a process institutionalized to maximize selling opportunities.

But what area is more important, face-to-face or on-the-phone? I can attest with unwavering certainty, that for businesses where the same employees sell both ways, the phone is by far the more important of the two areas. In fact, I often paraphrase Sinatra’s famous line when speaking about telephone relations to my training clients: “If you can make it here, you can make it anywhere.” Why are phone skills most important?

Here are my Top 3 Reasons:

1) Resistance is Greater

Simply put, selling face-to-face is easier. When a prospective customer takes the time and effort to visit your store or office they have made a higher level commitment to buying from your business than they would have simply phoning in. More often than not a prospective customer’s visit is premeditated, they have determined in advance that you can provide what they need/want and arrive with the intent to buy.

That’s not to say that salespeople don’t lose face-to-face sales opportunities as this is a regular occurrence in companies where the salespeople are not well trained and/or don’t follow an effective sales process. It’s just easier as  face-to-face customers’ resistance is typically much less than the phone-in prospect that is often just ‘calling around’ for pricing and specifications.

2) Escape-ability is Higher

When a customer is face-to-face they cannot easily do anything but interact with you and other members of your team. When a customer phones the business expressing purchase consideration in your products and/or services it is extraordinarily easy for them to disconnect and call one of (or all of) your competitors at light speed if they are not effectively engaged.

Human nature plays a role here too. There’s an emotional element when two people interact face-to-face that doesn’t exist on the phone. Accordingly, it’s considerably easier to hang-up and end a phone interaction than it is to walk out on someone face-to-face.

Add in the fact that (to point #1) they took the time and effort to visit your location, most customers are far more willing to stay put and try to make a deal even if the interaction with their salesperson is less than a high quality experience. Contrast that to a phone interaction where if the caller is not engaged and/or doesn’t feel they’re receiving the best service to meet their needs they can swiftly move on to the next service provider with a few clicks.

3) Communication Deficit

While number one and two have a major impact, the single biggest reason phone skills training is most important in sales is in communication itself.

As you may know, there are 3 elements that compose communication; words, tonality and body language. In face-to-face interactions, salespeople have all of these communication tools at their disposal to maximize their selling capability. Conversely, on the phone, the single biggest component of communication, physiology (body language) is absent and the salesperson must rely only on what they say (words) and how they say them (tonality).

For these reasons, any business that has salespeople that sell both on the phone and face-to-face should emphasize phone skills training and development to offset the disadvantages and maximize their sales opportunities!

Printable PDF of this article > Top 3 Reasons Why Phone Skills are Most Important in Sales

Now that we’ve covered the importance of phone performance, what should you and your team be doing on the phone to maximize results? Plenty and much of it is covered in this Tire Review magazine cover story featuring yours truly > Phone Skills Drill

Have a look and, by all means contact me if your team needs help with phone skills to win more customers for your business 

Make a Great Day!

Steve 🙂

Steve Ferrante is the CEO & Trainer of Champions of Sale Away LLC., providing Pinnacle Performance Sales, Customer Service and Winning Team Culture training, speaking and professional development services to success-driven businesses throughout North America. For more information on Steve and Pinnacle Performance services for your team visit saleawayllc.com

Got PRIDE?

P.R.I.D.E. is an acronym for Personal Responsibility In Delivering Excellence!

The-quality-of-a-persons-life

My Pinnacle Performance sales, customer service and winning team culture training is driven by research of world-class organizations; market leaders, customer service champs and many companies that are also considered to be the best places to work in the world. What did these businesses do to achieve their market superiority? What are the best practices and principles that guide and motivate their culture, engage and influence their customers, and deliver high-performance results? And, most importantly, how do you apply these winning elements in your organization?

As I pinball around North America training organizations on Pinnacle Performance we learn (and work to adopt and institutionalize) the answers to those questions. Answers that would take far more time than we have here and now.

However, there is something you can (and very much should) do now that will have a substantial positive impact on your organizations performance. That’s something is practicing PRIDE in all that your organization does.

I want to be clear here… Most executives already believe they have PRIDE. If you’re an owner or senior manager then it’s safe to say that you’re likely committed to delivering excellence in your organization. That’s not the problem.

The problem is that results for an organization are rarely the result of the senior executives efforts alone. By and large results originate from the employees that meet, greet and interact with customers (and potential customers) at the point-of-sale.  It is here that PRIDE is most vulnerable and often falters.

Let me give you an example… One of the companies I cover in training is a leading gourmet retailer. I’m intentionally leaving out their name here but they are a very popular, recognizable brand that most likely has a store location a short distance from where you are now. Their sales/customer service model for employees is a fairly straightforward 3 principles: Connect, Discover, Respond. This is how employees are trained and what they should be doing on a customer-by-customer basis to deliver the best results for the customer and, ultimately, the business.

The reality is that this model, and every other training model, only works when the employees that need to carry it out have true PRIDE. When I teach about the gourmet retailer, countless trainees think or say “I’ve been there… that didn’t happen to me”. That is true and the answer as to why often goes back to the employees lack of PRIDE.

Doesn’t training teach PRIDE? Good question.. In short, no. As the first letter implies, PRIDE is something personal. It is fostered by effective leadership and enriched by a winning team culture environment and should certainly be reinforced in training.

Here’s another example…

A popular restaurant chain (again, leaving name out intentionally) with locations through-out North America trains their staff that when greeting a party seated at their table they should 1) squat down to eye level or sit at table if a seat is available and 2) ask if guests have eaten at the restaurant before so they can welcome appropriately. I have likely personally dined at this establishment over 50 times in the past 10 years alone and have only seen this simple 2-step act maybe 1/3 of the time. I’d bet that percentage is pretty accurate for all guest greetings across the chain. Again, ALL staff is trained that way, not 1/3. The simple answer for the discrepancy is PRIDE. Many employees that attend training (and ultimately work for a business) are tourists, they’re just along for the ride and really don’t care what the company wants. The most important thing to these disengaged folks when they attend training is “what time is lunch?” and “when do we get out of here?”  

Your organization may be preaching and teaching world-class practices and principles but if the employees are simply going through the motions and don’t buy-in and commit to practicing PRIDE then results will suffer.

PRIDE is the executable of Pinnacle Performance. To maximize results, all employees must practice PRIDE every day in all customer interactions. 

Show Your PRIDE! Print this poster and display where your team can see it daily > Champions PRIDE Poster

Make a Great Day!

Steve 🙂

Steve Ferrante is the CEO & Trainer of Champions of Sale Away LLC., providing Pinnacle Performance Sales, Customer Service and Winning Team Culture training, speaking and professional development services to success-driven businesses throughout North America. For more information on Steve and Pinnacle Performance services visit saleawayllc.com. Steve can be reached @ steve@saleawayllc.com

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