Identify your personal SalesDogs "breed" so you can play to your strengths and experience "break-out" effectiveness.  

Keeping your existing clients happy is a vital part of your business.  If you want to establish stability in your cashflow you need to maintain your repeat customers.

The best way to do this is to train your staff on the proper way to handle complaints.  Handling a complaint is very similar to the process that we use for handling objections.

Here is an acronym to help you and your staff remember the process:

-L is for
. Don't take offense or get emotional when a customer comes to you with a complaint.  Simply stay calm and listen with a smile.

-A is for
.  Tell them that you are sorry for the inconvenience.  A can also stand for ask a question.  Make sure you clarify the problem before you address it.

-S is for
Solve the Problem
.  Quickly offer a solution.  You should offer your customer something enticing right away.  Don't be cheap or proud, never try to convince your customer that they are in the wrong.  It is well worth a short term loss in exchange for a long term loyal, promoter customer.

-T is for
Thank Them
.  Thank your customer for bringing the problem to your attention.  By doing so this customer has highlighted an area in your business that may be turning countless others silently away.

Remember that a person that complains really wants to like, and help you.  They may actually think the world of your business and have built it up to their friends only to find it fall short in some way, thus causing some minor embarrassment.  They want to be able to brag about you, the process above will give them reason again.

This process may seem like common sense to you but you might be surprised at how many of your employees don't know this.

Every person on your team should be trained in sales and customer service, not just your sales team or receptionists.  Your customers will likely come into contact with other members of your team, a maid, cook, or handyman for example, and will expect the same level of service that your front end has provided them with.

Also don't hesitate to give even your lowest level employees the ability to give a discount.  Having to fight through two levels of managers to get a free meal, or even just an apology, can be a very traumatic ordeal for your customer.

An excerpt from Blair Singer's Book, The ABC's of Building a Business Team That Wins.  

"Greatness doesn't happen by chance, nor does it occur in a vacuum.  Greatness comes from, first, a passion for what you do; and second, a clear understanding of what you can and want to be best at.

The third component involved in any great story about someone going from rags to riches, overcoming adversity, achieving success in any area of life is a personal Code of Honor, a set of personal rules and agreements that they are unwilling to compromise.

Do you have a Code of Honor for you?  What are your rules?  To what do you hold yourself accountable?  Who the heck are you?

You see, because when all the smoke clears, they can take away your money, your possessions, your friends and even your health, and what you are left with is your honor.

In those terms, what is your Code of Honor?  I have found that the most powerful people are not always found on the cover of Newsweek, Fortune Magazine or Sports Illustrated.

Sometimes they may be sitting in the office next door.  They are those who have decided in life to take a stand about who they are, what their standards are and who the want to be without regrets.

My suggestion is this:  If you haven't don so already, sit down and look at your financial life, your health, your relationships and your values, and create your code.  What are you willing to commit to for yourself and your family?  What do you stand for?"

Try this exercise.  Answer each of the following questions in the form of a list:

What am I most passionate about?

What can I be best at?

What do I want to be best at?

What do I stand for?

What do I want out of life?

How can I achieve my goals?

Who do I know that has what I want (or admire?)  Why do I admire them?

What do I see as unacceptable behaviors for successful people?

What do I dislike?  What would I like to avoid?

What are my necessities in life?

What should every person try at least once before they die?

Can you think of any more questions?  Use your answers to begin to form your personal code.  Once you have your code you will find a new level of focus and a more defined path to achieving your life goals.

For more about creating a Code of Honor please refer to Blair Singer's book, The ABC's of Building a Team That Wins or his Code of Honor Training Kit.

It is a common belief that in order to increase your profitability in business you have to eliminate, or improve in, your weak areas.  While this is definitely true in some cases (such as closing ratios) it is often a waste of time.

We are of course talking about improvement on a personal level here.  A company losing customers on the back end of its business could certainly benefit from keeping it's clients longer.

However if you personally are bad at keeping customers you should delegate them to somebody on your team that isn't.

Don't try to fix yourself, it's a waste of time and energy.  Just focus on what you do well (your role or niche) and try to increase the amount of times you do it.

The bottom line is that to be successful you have to figure out what is making you money and then focus on how you can improve or replicate those results.

The following are some questions for self-evaluation:

Do I try to be someone I'm not when I'm in the sale process?  If so describe:

Do I have a false image in my mind of what it takes to be a great salesperson?  If so describe:

Based on the Sales Dogs Profile and other assessments, what attributes can I apply to sales?

What do I now understand about those things that I do well?

What do I NOT do well?

Who can I put on my team in order to help me "cover" my areas of weakness?

The better that you understand yourself the more potential for success you have.  Sit down with your team and assess your strengths and weaknesses.  Then make sure your team is structured properly for maximum efficiency.

For more on this topic please refer to our Eight Sales and Marketing Steps to Financial Freedom Training Kit.
At SalesPartners we highly recommend that you get
involved with local networking groups to help expand your business.   Networking group and local chamber lunches, dinners and events can greatly increase the number of referrals that you receive on a regular basis.   The following are basic networking tips that will help you maximize the efficiency of your networking experience:  
  • Don't blanket the event with business cards.  Each time you go to an event you want to make at the most 6 quality contacts.  The more time you spend with one person the more likely it is that they will become a client.
  • Don't say what you do until asked.  You should be more interested in the person you are talking to than your own business.  If you do this the person with whom you are talking will feel important to you.  We call this technique entering the client's world.  The unwritten rule of reciprocity states that if you ask someone what they do for a living they will return the favor.
  • Don't give a card until asked.  If you shove a card in someone's face it is likely to end up in their database of leads.  If you are looking for clients (rather than becoming one) you need the people you meet to want a business card.  Remember at these events you should spend 90% of your time talking about the people you meet and 10% on you and your business.  Again utilize the law of reciprocity - if you want someone to ask you for your business card, ask for theirs.
  • Focus on what makes you different.  When you do get a chance to talk about your business focus on the qualities that set you apart from your competitors.  Make sure to back your pitch with statistics.  Be concise, so that they know exactly what you do and more importantly what you can do for them.
The following are five questions that will help you get into your potential client's world.   
  1. What do you do?
  2. How did you get into that?
  3. What do you like most about it?
  4. How did you find out about this event?
  5. What other events do you go to?
Use these questions to get the ball rolling.  The rest is up to you.  Good luck.
Or rather misbehavior.  I can't tell you how many times I've seen this:  a manager berating and or talking down to a young (probably new and improperly trained) employee over some trite mishap that most likely doesn't have anything to do with the success of the business.   This happens most often for one or more of the following reasons:  

1.  The manager is bored.

2.  The manager is on a power trip.

3.  The manager wants to "look good" in front of others.

Do you notice a trend here?  When an employee messes up who's fault is it?  Most often the blame rests on the shoulders of the person responsible for training them, i.e. the manager.  Just as the business owner is responsible for the manager's actions.

Don't ever reprimand an employee in front of customers and staff.  This will only make you look bad and lower employee morale thus resulting in a lack of energy and respectively a loss in customer loyalty.  

If a staff member doesn't do something correctly, wait until they aren't busy and ask them to join you in private.  

Once you are in a private setting simply ask them why they did what they did.  There are really only three legitimate responses:

1.  I didn't know - Great!  This one is easy.  Simply take the time to explain what they did wrong and retrain.  Then go promptly to the person responsible for training them, pull them into private and repeat this process.  
2.  I didn't understand - OK.  Misunderstandings happen all the time.  No problem, spend some time with them and clarify the procedures.  Now this problem should not happen again.  If it does then corrective measures are warranted.
   3.  I didn't want to - Now we have a problem.  If someone cannot perform the duties that they are hired to perform for any reason (no matter how noble their intentions may be) then their services are no longer needed.  You may consider a write-up as a warning or even termination.  

Remember to be honest with yourself.  If an employee doesn't want to do something because it seems extreme or slightly immoral then they are in the right.  Ask yourself, "Would I do this?" "Is this really necessary?"

The best way to get your staff to do what you want is to lead and inspire them.  Encourage them, reward them, step into the fire with them.  If you have your staff's respect you will rarely have problems.  The best way to get respect is to extend them the same courtesy.
  For more on this topic refer to our Lead, Teach & Inspire training kit.