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

Posts tagged ‘LEADERSHIP’

How To Fail In Your Business

If you’re familiar with my Pinnacle Performance Training or have been reading my columns in Tire Review over the past few years than you know my focus is on success and creating the winning sales, customer service and workplace culture that differentiates and elevates businesses above and beyond its competitors.

In this article, I’m literally flipping that on its head and taking an opposing view of many of these proven success principles. Since 80% of all businesses are not performing at the level of the top 20%, its logical to assume that most businesses are closer to these positions than the minority that are succeeding at the highest level.

With that, here are six proven ways to lose customers and damage your business:

Don’t Prepare

When Ben Franklin said “By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail.” he was clearly misinformed.  You’ve been getting by all these years without proper preparation so why start now? Sure, your sales and service people “wing it” in their customer interactions and you’re no doubt losing sales to well-prepared competitors but that’s okay. It’s the way we roll around here; we’re born to be wild!

Besides, all that ‘preparation’ stuff takes time and time is in short supply around here. We may not have the time to properly prepare and do it right at the moment, yet we always seem to find the time to fix it later.

Focus on sales, not service

Business is really all about the numbers. All this mumbo jumbo about customers and enhancing their experience to create sales and loyalty to the brand is just a fad. What your business needs is sales today, not customers tomorrow!

You’re  also going to want to spend that marketing budget on advertising to drive more traffic in. Why invest in your existing customers’ experiences (to build loyalty, generate referrals and reap long-term gains) when you can spend much more money on advertising to attract new customers and make a few sales today? 

It’s probably a good idea to have a sales meeting and yell at the team for poor production. “Close more deals!” That should help. Better yet, you should hire a consulting firm to train your sales team to be more aggressive and pushy to sell more prospects. After all, making sales today is more important than building customer relationships for tomorrow, plus all that pesky repeat business and new business referrals it can create.

Focus on price, not value

Focusing on value means delivering more for customers money than your competition does. Consumer research confirms that, when a customer perceives additional value, they are willing to pay more for a business’s products and/or services.

The primary driver of a customers’ perception of value is the quality of the service provided them. To lose customers and damage your business you should absolutely avoid improving the quality of service to increase perceived value altogether. Instead, focus on coupons and aggressive discounting. People love coupons and discounts! As long as sales are coming in, who needs profits?

Since most shoppers consider products and services a commodity, and often want the cheapest available, you’ll also want to make sure your sales staff doesn’t communicate the value of your offerings. And, by all means, do away with any value-added services you may be offering. That will only enhance the customers perception of value and drive more profitable sales. Yuck. To fail effectively,  your sales staff should avoid value selling. Instead, discount early and often.

Fail To Deliver

There are a number of ways to fail to deliver and each one is proven to lose customers and damage your business!

Let’s start with quality work. Service businesses build their reputations on quality work, so you’ll want to stop doing any of that straight away. Of course, you should never ever do anything less than honest, but there are other ways to dramatically reduce quality. As an example, skip those post-sale quality assurance initiatives and you’ll be well positioned to have disgruntled customers come back to you with problems you missed and how they’ll gladly take their business to a competitor next time.

Customers value service providers that are responsive and proactive to their needs so, presto. Just flip that around and be unresponsive and reactive. If your business has the customer waiting while you’re performing their service, don’t provide any progress updates. Let the customer get up and come to the counter. If they’re not in-house, let them call you – ideally several times – to check on their service status.

No doubt you’re familiar with the popular phrase “under-promise and over-deliver”. This is another easy role reversal to now “over-promise and under-deliver”.

Here’s a great little gem of an actual account from a tire business that did a masterful job at this:

A customer walks up to the counter and asks how long it’s going to be to have their new tires installed. The employee responds, “We’ll have you in and out in about a half hour.” Customer replies, “Great, I’ll wait then,” and goes and sits in waiting area.

A half hour later, her vehicle is still parked in the lot with absolutely no explanation from any store employee. Another customer walks in and the first customer overhears the same empty “we’ll have you in and out in about a half hour” pledge. As soon as the second customer sits down in the waiting area, the first customer says, “They’re lying; I’ve been here over a half hour already and they haven’t even taken my car in yet.”

Later, that same customer posts a negative review on the Internet making a case that the entire business is dishonest. Not only will she never come back, but now she also told all of her friends and co-workers not to do business there. One incident of failing to deliver as promised has now produced dozens of potential customers lost. 

Be Inconsistent

When customers can count on consistently great service each time they do business with you, their confidence increases and they are far less likely to shop around for their service needs. However, when the customer’s experience is inconsistent – exceptional one visit and so-so or poor the next – his or her confidence is compromised and (as influenced by the perceived risk) they are far more likely to consider competing alternatives.

A consistent customer experience builds consumer confidence and strengthens a company’s brand, but where’s the fun in that? Be spontaneous and mix it up a bit instead. All those successful service businesses, hotels, restaurant chains and franchises with their fancy systems and processes, boring! Be hit or miss and send a clear message to customers that they likely will not receive the same level of service in the future. That should do wonders when it comes to losing customers and damaging your business!

Be Unremarkable

Consumer research has shown that approximately seven out of 10 customers leave a business because of indifference. They feel like “just another transaction” and have no emotional engagement with the business.

As your potential customers shop around with very little to distinguish one business from the next, they naturally default to the cheapest price for the product or service they’re seeking. Losing on price or discounting is perhaps the single biggest consequence businesses suffer for being unremarkable.

Of course, in sticking with our “losing customers and damaging your business” theme, you’ll want to follow the crowd, play it safe, stick to the norm and deliver ordinary, unremarkable customer experiences. Any remarkable efforts will only foster customer engagement and rave referrals, creating loyal customers and even more business.

And who needs that?

Steve 🙂

Also on LinkedIn @ How To Fail In Your Business

Persistence & Determination To Succeed

Last week Oracle’s Team USA accomplished the greatest comeback in America’s Cup history and one of the most dramatic in any sport. Trailing 8-1 to the challenger, Emirates Team New Zealand, and within one defeat of losing the Cup, Oracle pushed on and proceeded to win an unprecedented eight straight races to defend the trophy.

americas-cup-win

After completing their amazing victory, the managing director of Team New Zealand, Grant Dalton said, “They just got better and better”.

While USA’s skipper and crew certainly deserve recognition and high praise for making the on-the-fly boat configuration adjustments that reduced the drag and created the increased speed required to pull ahead, none of this would have been possible without their persistence and determination to succeed.

Down 8-1, it certainly would have been easier to concede defeat and forfeit the title. Fortunately, as is so often the case with true champions, they did not give in but rather relentlessly pursued their goal despite the seemingly overwhelming odds against them.

This lesson applies perfectly to Pinnacle Performance. As Calvin Coolidge said in his famous quote, “Nothing in this world can take the place of persistence”.

persistance

Onward & Upward!

Steve 🙂

Back To Business

Good Day,

Hope you had a good long weekend and you had a chance to recharge your batteries a bit.

With September upon us it’s time to end Summer vacation (even if only mental) and have a renewed focus on business.

Just as with the kids getting back to school, now is perfect time to start with a clean desk and re-focus on personal progress.

Like Home Depot… You Can Do It, I Can Help.

Here’s a Pinnacle Performance image quote that says plenty to motivate and inspire you to get back to business and succeed.

Never Quit

Make a Great Day!

Steve 🙂

Monday Morning Motivation: Branson On Success

Sir Richard Branson is a brilliant entrepreneur and true Pinnacle Performer.

Branson’s first business venture was The Student Magazine that he launched at the age of 16. In 1970, he established a mail-order record business by way of advertising in his magazine. In 1972, he opened a chain of record stores, Virgin Records, later transforming into Virgin Megastores. Branson’s Virgin brand experienced tremendous growth during the 1980s, as he formed Virgin Atlantic Airways and expanded his Virgin Records music label.

Today, Branson is one of the richest citizens on the planet, with a net worth in excess of $4 billion.

With all he has accomplished, there is plenty aspiring Pinnacle Performers can learn about success from Sir Richard. Much of that is summed up nicely on the graphic below.

Use these success principles as a guide to greater performance…

Branson On Success

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

See All Of Steve’s Pinnacle Performance Quotes > pinnacleperformancequotes.imgfave.com
Pinnacle Performance Quotes on Pinterest

Monday Morning Motivation: New Beginning

Hard to believe 2013 is now half-way to done. Time flies when you’re on the run!

This mid-year point is the perfect time to evaluate your sales performance year-to-date. Have you hit your performance goals thus far? Are you on track to achieve your 2013 goal? If not, why not? What do you need to do to get on track, elevate your performance and finish strong in the second half of the year now here?

My 25+ years of sales/sales management experience has revealed that under-performing salespeople are typically not getting themselves in front of enough qualified prospects or, if they are, they’re not as effective as they should (and could) be. Often it’s a combination of both deficiencies.

One thing is certain; you cannot change the past. You can, however, control your future. What you do (and how you do it) from this day forward will determine where you end up at the end of the year. It is your new beginning…

New Beginning

Vitallity Ability

Power Your StoryMake a Great Day!

Steve

Need help with what you do and how you do it to achieve and exceed your sales goals? Visit Sale Away LLC.

Monday Morning Motivation

Time for a little Monday Morning Motivation…

How will you be better this week than last?

inspire-others-9

Onward & Upward!

OffToGreatPlaces

Make a Great Day!

Steve

Things Turn Out Best For The People Who Make The Best Of The Way Things Turn Out

Good Day Pinnacle Performers,

Welcome to May! Hope this post finds you doing extraordinarily well.

We have arrived at the last in the series of John Wooden Maxims:

“Things turn out best for the people who make the best of the way things turn out.”

Excerpt from Wooden: A Lifetime of Observations and Reflections on and Off the Court:

“Why is it so much easier to complain about the things we do not have than to make the most of and appreciate the things we do have?”

This quote ties directly into the Maxim as many folks don’t make the most of the way things turns out, instead focusing on and complaining about what is missing and/or wrong with the situation.

This is a lesson I personally lived out in my professional selling efforts. When I started in business management consulting sales, I was assigned a territory that was considered to be “saturated”, having gone through many years with many different sales reps before me calling on what was, by and large, the same prospective client base.  At the same time, there were brand new “virgin” territories in other areas of the Eastern U.S. that afforded the sales reps there opportunities to get in front of potential clients for the very first time. In a new territory, it was not uncommon for the salesperson who worked there to receive (from the company’s inside sales effort) twice the number of appointments in any given week.

It would have been quite easy to focus on those negatives; I can’t sell because the territory is saturated, I can’t sell because the prospects I’m seeing have seen us 14 times already,  I can’t sell because I’m getting half the appointments, etc.

Instead I chose (with some effective mentoring at the time) to focus on what I did have and could control. If I had less opportunities and the opportunities themselves would potentially be of lower quality, well then I needed to be all that much better with the opportunities I did have or I would surely fail.  I’m happy to report that was not the case…

Over my 10 years with the company, I maintained the highest batting average (sales to presentation ratio) and ended my tenure with the highest generated revenue totals in the company’s history.

One thing is certain. You will have challenges. You will have obstacles. In order to succeed you must build a mental bridge and get over them. What John Wooden said is true:

Thing Turn Out Best - John Wooden

Make a Great Day!

Steve 🙂

It’s What You Learn After You Know It All That Counts

Good Day Pinnacle Performers,

Time marches on and with it we have arrived at the next John Wooden Maxim: It’s what you learn after you know it all that counts.

Wooden On Learning

This popular Wooden maxim is the first quote I reference with new trainees. While select students are novice, inexperienced lads and ladies, most folks enter training with at least several years of experience, up to seasoned veterans with 10+ years on-the-job.

Many of these experienced folks enter new training with a know it all already mentality, seemingly close-minded to new ideas. Obviously this is not the most favorable attitude when it comes to learning anything.

Fortunately, the vast majority of participants in my Pinnacle Performance training do come around. Usually at some point during our first time together they realize they actually didn’t know this or that and, now that they do, they’re better for it.

“Always be learning, acquiring knowledge, and seeking wisdom with a sense that you are immortal and that you will need much knowledge and wisdom for that long journey ahead. Know that when you are through learning, you are through.” – John Wooden

The reality is you can’t learn anything if you already know everything.

You Can't Learn Anything, If You Already Know Everything

Those know it all types aren’t particularly interested in moving forward and growing, contending that if they don’t know it by now then they never will.

Pinnacle Performers maintain an open-mind and pro-actively seek out new learning opportunities and ideas that can help them further their skill set and performance.

Looking to learn more? Visit Steve’s Recommended Reading

Make a Great Day!

Steve

Make Each Day Your Masterpiece!

Good Day Pinnacle Performers,

Here’s your first inspirational maxim from John Wooden, The Greatest Coach.

“Make Each Day Your Masterpiece” is all about the here and now. You only get one shot at maximizing today for tomorrow it’s gone.

John Wooden taught his players to do the best you can each and every day. What you do (or don’t do) to prepare and improve today will shape and create your future success (or lack thereof).

Excerpt from the great book, Wooden: A Lifetime of Observations and Reflections on and Off the Court:

“Too often we get distracted by what is outside our control. You can’t do anything about yesterday. The door to the past has been shut and the key thrown away. You can do nothing about tomorrow. It is yet to come. However, tomorrow is in large part determined by what you do today. So make today a masterpiece. You have control over that.”

This ties very well into the Pinnacle Performance principle I cover in client training: Small changes over a consistent period of time equal BIG results. By applying yourself to be a little better in your behaviors and execution each day, you will become a lot better over time.

It starts today…

Make Masterpiece Wooden

Make a Great Day!

Steve 🙂

Tag Cloud