risk vs reward see-saw

Risk & Assumption: Making An Ass Out Of U and Me

Gee Ranasinha Sales

“Assumption” and “risk” often go hand-in-hand. It’s like yin and yang, or whether the glass is half full or half empty. Salespeople are taught of the dangers of assuming something in business. To “assume” something, they’re told, makes an “ass” out of “u” and “me”. By assuming a particular intent, outcome, situation or interaction you are creating an illusion for yourself that you regard as fact. As a result, you are ignoring the potential risks associated with such a decision. I talk with many business owners who think that they have a handle on their customers’ wants. Not from research, mind you. Not from from actually talking with customers and prospects, or from observing how changes in the industry and technology may influence buying behavioral trends. But from what they would call their “gut instinct” – and what I call “risk-prone assumption”. These companies rely on assumption to build their business. “My customers liked it when I made a red version of my widget – surely they’re going to love it if I make a blue one, right?” Products or services get designed and launched. Expenditure is made – directly or indirectly – on marketing, promotion, human resources, service, support, …

Sri Lankan Curry

Cold Calling Over a Ruby Murray

Gee Ranasinha Marketing, Sales

Every couple of months or so I get together with a couple of ex-colleagues for what’s become known as a “Ruby Night” “Ruby”, short for “Ruby Murray”, is Cockney rhyming-slang for “curry”. After much research we’ve now found a fantastic Indian restaurant in the centre of Strasbourg that is happy to serve us what we all agree to be the absolutely hottest Lamb Curry this side of Mumbai. It’s magma-level, mouth-numbingly, sweat and tear-inducingly hot. In other words, it’s just how we like it. No pain, no gain… At the last Ruby Night the three of us got into a particularly heated discussion. I’m not talking about the meal (even though the chef on that particular night seemed to have a mission to defeat us in terms of how hot he could make the curry. Boy, was it a scorcher). I’m talking about Cold Calling. Cold calling, for those who’ve never been in Sales, is the soul-destroying process of calling-up people that you think could be sales prospects for whatever it is that you’re selling. I suppose you could think of it as the pre-internet version of spam. Every once in a while you’d get someone who’d take the call, …

non-trustworthy-looking person

Maintaining Credibility In The Eyes Of Your Customer

Gee Ranasinha Communications, Sales

Imagine that you’re in a sales situation with a potential client. The deal could be highly lucrative. Things are going well – you’ve done your research, they like your offering…but they also like the offering of one of your biggest competitors. From your perspective, it’s anyone’s guess as to who’s going to get the deal. Then something happens. The prospective customer shows your pricing proposal to the other company – or forwards them one of your emails, asking them for their take on it. What just happened? You lost the sale. For whatever reason your credibility, in the eyes of your customer, has been compromised. For all intents and purposes you’re no longer in the running. Of course you’re never going to hear that from your customer directly: they’ll continue to go through the motions of the sales process right up until they make the purchase – with the other company. There are 1001 reasons why you may lose the credibility of your customers. Maybe it’s the overly-pushy salesperson who needs to be the center of attention, dominate the conversation, or make it abundantly clear that they’ve been there and done that and (in the words of Stevie Wonder) you …

cheerleaders

Do you have Followers, Fans or Evangelists?

Gee Ranasinha Communications, Marketing, Sales, Social Media

In order for your business to understand more about why customers buy from you today, and hopefully continue to buy from you tomorrow, you need to understand more about customer loyalty. Loyal customers can be broken down into three very distinct groups: Let’s call them Followers, Fans, and Evangelists. A successful and growing brand needs all three types of customer in order to thrive. “Followers” are the ones who buy your product or service no matter what. Times can be good, times can be bad, but they’re going to stick with what they know – and they know you. Followers are generally creatures of habit. It’s stressful for them to contemplate changing (after the initial stress of finding a suitable provider – i.e. you – in the first place). So rather than go through the hassle, the Follower will stay with you. However, note a Follower is only with you because it’s convenient – for them. Yes, they’ll continue to buy from you. They’re choosing you for their own reasons. Supposing things change with your business (as they always do). Supposing you get to a point where you’re forced to raise your prices. Perhaps the raw material costs have gone up, or …

bell push

Start With “Employee Service” and “Customer Service” Will Follow

Gee Ranasinha Customer Service, Marketing, Sales

There’s an interesting article on The Harvard Business Review about how management at Ritz-Carlton hotels look at their employees. We all expect a certain level of customer service when staying at all but the most modest of hotels. As a result, you would think that it would be difficult to excel at service if you’re in an industry that’s all about customer experience. Time after time, year after year, Ritz Carlton are one of the few companies that “get it.” Just about any company you care to mention will talk about how much they value the importance of customer service. However, there are precious few that talk about how they value their employees in the same way. Here’s just one example: “Every employee of every Ritz hotel has the right to spend up to $2,000 a day per guest to resolve any problem that arises. It’s a powerful expression of trust in employees, as well as a gift of empowerment and autonomy. It’s also vastly better for guests. How many times have you been told over the years, “I’ll have to go to my manager about that”? For too long and for too often businesses have underestimated their most valuable …