May 2013 Archives

As a speaker on sales and service, I'm learning, and rather quickly, that one of the fastest growing segments to retailers are women. Hello? Are you surprised? I am. I'm surprised it's taken this long to realize that.

Automotive industry. Fastest growing segment? Women!

Gun industry. Fastest growing segment? Women!

Heating and cooling industry. Fastest growing segment? Right. Women!

The list goes on.

What I'm concerned about for these industries is how they're handling the situation. I've experienced how retail handles selling to women, as well as having watched it from the sidelines and it's not that great. I'm sure there are lots of folks talking on the topic. Sadly they're not getting to the right audience.

Let's talk SELLING TO WOMEN!

Can you name me the three TOP needs for a woman while shopping? We're talking first glance; interpersonal skills. Go on. I'll wait.

Don't wanna play the game? Okay, I'll fill in the blanks.

Here are the top 3 skills a woman needs when she walks into your place of business

1. Immediate eye contact.

2. A big smile where she can see your teeth. Not a grin. SHOW YOUR TEETH!

3. A firm handshake coming or going. Not a fish handshake; NOT a herring type limp, drab, slimy handshake. We can take the same kind you give your 'brother.' Please don't go breaking our hands though. Just remember a firm handshake.

I can assure you if you start off with those three you're ahead of the game.

And if it's a phone call, you need number 2 bigger and bigger because, right, no eye contact, no hand shake available.

So replace those two items with the following: strong listening skills and intelligent questions. Based on our surveys, here are a few more things to pay attention to when selling to women.

* Women buy emotionally men buy logically

* Don't talk down to a woman

* Don't assume she isn't aware or familiar with your products. ASK, "how familiar are you with...?

* When a woman comes into the store with a male, don't assume he is the decision maker. Talk with both. Include her.

* If I have kids with me and you don't have a spot for them (play area) whose fault is that?

* Have you ignored your retail setting? Is it clean? How are the bathrooms? Is there anything 'female oriented' or are all the publications "Field & Stream? Huh?

* I have a name and it's not sweetheart, honey or darling. Please use my name.

Naturally there's more to "Selling To Women" Had to jot these top hits to you fast.

Best wishes and good luck!

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Reprinted with permission of Telephone Doctor Customer Service Training. Nancy Friedman is a featured speaker at franchise, association & corporate meetings. She has appeared on OPRAH, Today Show, CNN, FOX News, Good Morning America, CBS This Morning & many others. For more information, call 314-291-1012 or visit www.nancyfriedman.com.

For almost 25 years, I have been selling franchises - usually for capital intensive projects.

I have always used a sales process, instead of relying upon magical phrases like: "Be Your Own Boss", or "In Business for Yourself but not by Yourself." To the sophisticated probable purchaser, these and similar phrases are trite.

There are six benefits to having a sales process - benefits for any sized franchise.

1. Consistent: With a specific and focussed sales process, a sales force can be taught, manage and coached to excellence.  Your sales process has to provide a consistent and professional face to the probable purchaser.  A sales process does that.

2. Repeatable: Standardized delivery to consumers is the heart of franchising.  Standardized delivery of your marketing message to the probable purchaser is equally important.

3.  Less Work: A sales process will eliminate inquiries early on. You will stop wasting time & start closing more deals by working with less inquiries and more probable purchasers.

4. Accurate Item 20 Projections: Sales is an optimistic profession.  Too optimistic.  A salesman will give a highly optimistic opinion of which deals will close and when.  Just look at the item 20's in any FDD - how many projected openings year to the next turn into locations opened?  Not many.  A sales process helps the franchisor project gross royalties better.  And all planning starts from accurate numbers.

5. Manageable: A sales process has clearly defined steps -ones that could be outlined with a decision tree.  If you pay attention to what is happening in the sales process, it is easy for the sales manager to monitor that staff's progress to their quota or targets.

6.  Teachable: Because a sales process breaks down the complex sale into a series of steps, it is easier to learn.  New sales staff can progress through the complex sale without getting overwhelmed.

Finally, a franchise sale process has to lead a probable purchaser through the questions that are important to the purchaser and not on what you believe are the great features of your system!

How to Really Sell More Franchises.

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Recently a Telephone Doctor client said to me, "Nancy, congratulations. Some people take a simple idea and complicate it; you have taken a simple idea and kept it simple."

We don't believe you should scratch your head and wonder when you're being shown an idea or technique. That old KISS method (Keep it Simple Simon) is the best. So we have purposely kept all of the material in our programs simple - yet very effective.

I've heard: "Hey what you do is just plain old common sense." You bet it is. You won't get an argument out of us. But you and I all know that common sense just isn't that common. If it were, everyone would be doing it and we know everyone isn't.

Our DVD program ESSENTIAL TELEPHONE SKILLS is just that. A basic, common sense program - uncomplicated, yet effective. Ideas, tips, skills and techniques that everyone should be doing, but they're not.

So, this article is for those that simply want basic, common sense, healthy, usable techniques. Below are 5 of our 10 basic skills that are ESSENTIAL for better communications and handling of customers and, believe it or not, each other.

1. Answering a Business Call

Well, what's so difficult about that? HUH? Right! It's not difficult. But if I called 100 people within your own organization, I'm betting I'd get a number of various ways that people answer the phone.

At Telephone Doctor we believe there should be one, uniformed method of greeting to answer the call by everyone, every time. Simple.

To start, use buffer words that welcome the caller, such as, "Thanks for calling," then your company name and then your name.

As in, "This is Sue." Then stop! Anything after your name erases you name.

"How can I help you" is simply NOT necessary on that initial greeting. You are there to help. That's why you answered the phone. It looks like this: "Thanks for calling Telephone Doctor's office. This is Nancy." Nice and simple, isn't it?

2. Thanking a Caller for Holding

Being put on hold remains one of the top 3 frustrations of the American public. That being said, it's something that often needs to be done during a phone call. Knowing how to put someone on hold is certainly important, but then so is thanking them for holding after you've come back to the phone. Again, simple.

But how often is it done. I'm amazed at the number of times I'm put on hold and when the person comes back to the phone, they just start back in on the conversation like they weren't even gone. (Sort of like stepping on someone's toes and not says 'excuse me.')

And normally they're gone longer than they should be.

So that "thank you for holding" sure would sound nice and would sure be appreciated. I always wonder why they don't thank me for taking the time to stay with them. Do you wonder that as well?

3. Monogramming the Call

For whatever reason, we all seem to like our name. Maybe not when we're children, but as we grow, we become used to our name and like it. I have many items on my desk and at home that have my name engraved on them. Some just initials. But it makes them 'mine' and I'd probably never pitch them in a cleaning out process.

Why? Because they have my name on it. Most people save things with their name or initials on them. Same thing should happen on a phone call. When you know the caller's name, use it.

Don't abuse it, but do include it throughout the conversation. Most people like to hear their name. And they want to hear it pronounced properly and spelled right.

Don't be afraid to ask the caller the correct pronunciation of their name if you're not sure. They'll appreciate it! It's a heck of a lot better than you butchering their name.

Don't assume on the spelling of a name. ASK! Are you aware there are 19 different ways to spell the last name of NICHOLS in the New York phone directory? Not everyone spells their name the same way. Tom, Thom, Christy, Kristy, Charlie, Charley, John, Jon, Lynn, Lynne. Well, you get the idea. GET IT RIGHT!

4. Avoiding Mouth Noises

The telephone is a microphone. When you talk with something in your mouth, it sounds as though you have a mouthful of MUSH. Be it gum, candy or just finishing lunch. The only thing that should be in our mouth when you're on the phone is your tongue. Rule #1: EMPTY YOUR MOUTH BEFORE YOU PICK UP THE PHONE!

5. Leaving a Positive LAST Impression

Most of us have been taught about making that great first impression. And yes, that's so very important. That old saying, 'you don't get a second chance to make a great first impression' is so true. Well, consider making a great last impression as well. Don't screw it up at the end of the call. Let the caller know, "It was nice to meet you by phone" or "thank you for calling" or "we appreciate your call." Something that will make that lasting positive impression, because when they hang up, they think to themselves either:

Wow that was a great call. Or man, I'll never call there again. How do you want your callers to remember you?

These are 5 great, simple, basic skills for you.

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Reprinted with permission of Telephone Doctor Customer Service Training. Nancy Friedman is a featured speaker at franchise, association & corporate meetings. She has appeared on OPRAH, Today Show, CNN, FOX News, Good Morning America, CBS This Morning & many others. For more information, call 314-291-1012 or visit www.nancyfriedman.com.

While being interviewed on a local radio show, one of the co-hosts posed this question - "Errol, exactly what is customer service?" 

I don't ever remember being asked that particular question but here's my reply -"Customer service is a methodology that when put in motion, creates a customer's experience."  This definition is not specific to any particular industry nor does the size of the organization matter.

Now someone is probably wondering what I mean by methodology. When defining customer service as a methodology, I'm speaking of the systems that an organization chooses to put in place to provide a customer experience.

Ok, now someone may be asking "Errol, now what systems are you referring to? Allow me to explain.

When determining what your organization's customer service methodology will be, you are actually determining the experience your customer will receive when interacting with those within your organization. For instance, when your customer calls and your inbound call methodology dictates that persons answering calls will perform certain tasks while on the call and do so within a certain time frame, those requirements lead to the customer's experience.

When that person's performance review and salary increase is tied to their success in meeting the goals of that inbound call strategy, this too determines the customer's experience with your organization. If your strategy induces this person to be more concerned with meeting goals than taking the necessary steps and time for each customer's situation, this too creates an experience.

When creating core values for your organization, you are creating an experience for your customer. If words such as integrity, honesty, respect and valued are included in your core values, your customer should experience these words when interacting with your organization. Core values are the frame-work from which your customer service methodology is created. Every component of your strategy should be grounded in your core values.

When choosing your training methodology, once again you're creating an experience for your customer. Your customer is depending upon customer contact personnel to be experts on your products and services. Keep the customer's experience in mind when developing training programs. I suggest focusing on creating ambassadors for your organization.

Are customer contact personnel educated on your various products or services?

Have they actually utilized or experienced your products or services for themselves in order to gain the customer's perspective?

What tools will they need to provide a great customer experience?  

Be sure to equip them with basic soft skills training as one's ability to be pleasant and professional goes a long way in creating a positive customer experience.

When choosing who get's the opportunity to be the face of your organization through your hiring methodology, here again you're creating an experience for your customer. It's important to carefully establish your hiring criteria. What characteristics are critical for your customer contact personnel? Is industry experience more important than personality traits? Remember, you're attempting to create a great customer experience. Your hiring choices will bear fruit! Make sure it's good fruit!

When exercising your personnel management methodology, remember that this too creates an experience for your customer. Just as you must strive to make sound customer contact personnel hiring decisions, it's even more important to utilize sound management practices. Make sure managers have the proper tools required for this position - people skills, products and services knowledge, coaching skills, leadership skills and a good comprehensive understanding of the organization.

Should your customer contact personnel become frustrated with management practices, your customer will eventually be impacted. Employee turnover, discontent and low productivity all  create an experience for your customer. Manage employees in a way that will certainly lead to a great customer experience.

When developing complaint resolution methodology - you got it - you're creating an experience for your customer. We all know that sometimes mistakes are made or things get left undone.

When these errors happen, the need for a quick and thorough resolution is paramount. Is your methodology in this area customer friendly? 

Does every resolution require a supervisor/manager's approval or are your customer contact personnel equipped with options for a speedy resolution?

Are you tracking customer complaints for patterns and trends?

Doing so allows one to identify possible operational issues which once corrected will alleviate repeat complaints which in turn - you guessed it - creates a positive customer experience.

When choosing the methodology to get your customer's opinion regarding your products or services - one more time - you're creating an experience for your customer.

We all know the value in getting the customer's opinion. Most love the opportunity to let you know exactly what they think of your organization.

Make it easy for them to do so as the more customer feedback you receive, the more data you have to make decisions. Do you need to make adjustments to your product or services? Do your customer contact personnel need additional training? Provide regular feedback opportunities  in order to stay current on what's important to your customer.

 These various methodology components create an organizational customer service system which in turn creates customer experiences. Examine your methodologies to insure that they all are geared toward providing what's important to your customer. Now put them all in motion and create great customer experiences!

David Gould is one of our franchise sales experts on our upcoming round-table discussion on franchising. Get a preview of what he'll be saying about franchise sales in his article -

Franchisors: Why the Best Candidates Don't Buy Your Franchise & One Smart Fix
http://bit.ly/17PowqE

If you want to Learn How to Dramatically Improve Your Franchise Sales Process http://bit.ly/ZStilj register to attend CAFA on May 21st at the Columbia Country Club, Chevy Chase, MD

Whether you're a new franchise or seasoned franchise sales leader this event is for you.

If participating in this Round-table event sells you only one extra franchise this year it will be worth your time and attention.

1. Is your franchise sales process producing the results you want?

2. Do you have the right 7 steps in your franchise sales process?

3. Do you know the 3 questions all franchise candidates ask?

4. Are you engaging effectively with qualified candidates from start to finish?

5. Is your sales approach right for your concept, sales team and target profiles?

Register online and reserve your seat - http://cafafranchise.org/meeting-schedule/26

See you at CAFA! 

Long ago a good friend once told me, "Nancy, the training your company provides is common sense that's actually NOT very common!"

There's a lot of truth to that statement. Yet years later, rudeness and low service levels still plague franchises.

We hope you enjoy taking this customer service quiz to test how common your common sense is. 

  1. "How can I help you?" belongs:
    1. In the initial greeting.
    2. In the message taking scenario.
    3. Nowhere. I'm not able to help anyone.
  2. When I'm not able to help a customer, I should:
    1. Tell them honestly & thank them for their business and hang up.
    2. Give whatever information I can, right or wrong. Wrong information is better than no information.
    3. Get help immediately and advise the person help is on the way.
  3. When I'm having a bad day, I should:
    1. Not bother coming into work.
    2. Leave my troubles at the doorstep like the song says.
    3. Tell all my co-workers my troubles to get it off my back.
  4. Chewing gum at work is:
    1. OK.
    2. A bad breath refresher.
    3. Downright rude and obnoxious. Fugetaboutit!
  5. A mirror at my desk will:
    1. Keep my ego in check.
    2. Remind me to smile BEFORE I pick up the phone.
    3. Give me bad luck if it breaks.
  6. Basic customer service skills are important to me because:
    1. Everyone needs a refresher.
    2. I need a lot of help.
    3. I never learned any.
  7. Internal customer service means:
    1. Be nice to others who come into my office.
    2. The customer is giving me a stomachache.
    3. Treating my co-workers as customers.
  8. When using voice mail and leaving a message I should:
    1. Leave my phone number twice and slowly.
    2. Leave a good clean joke to keep them smiling.
    3. Not leave a message...just call back till I reach them.
  9. Irate callers/customers are important to our company because:
    1. It's fun to handle those kinds of calls.
    2. At least we get a second chance to make it right.
    3. I finally get to yell back.
  10. Asking questions of the customer will:
    1. Aggravate them.
    2. Show I'm interested in helping.
    3. Be considered being too nosy.

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Reprinted with permission of Telephone Doctor Customer Service Training. Nancy Friedman is a featured speaker at franchise, association & corporate meetings. She has appeared on OPRAH, Today Show, CNN, FOX News, Good Morning America, CBS This Morning & many others. For more information, call 314-291-1012 or visit www.nancyfriedman.com.

Customers come in daily, revenue is growing and your business is thriving.  Why, at the end of the month, are you not able to show a profit?  Do you need greater volume?  Or is something else going on?

I once owned a Business Centre offering more than 20 individual services. 

Some services were sold each day while others were infrequent. 

One offering was postal services which included the sale of postage stamps.  This was a convenience offering also available at any post office.

Within my industry the sale of postage stamps typically resulted in little to no profit but considered to be a necessary offering.  It was seen as a way to increase traffic flow and demand for the more profitable services that were offered.

After evaluating this area of business for two years I concluded that the sale of postage stamps was too costly.  Transactions were frequent, of low value and low margin. 

After factoring in overhead and staffing, I concluded it was not possible to profit from offering postage stamps. 

More importantly, I noted that virtually all postage customers had no interest in anything else offered in the store.  I discontinued the sale of postage stamps.  The result was reduced staffing, fewer customers, improved cash flow, a higher average sale and improved overall profitability.

My decision to discontinue the sale of postage stamps would not have been possible without the ability to track sales and expenses by profit centre.

Many businesses operate with an inadequate understanding of how their business makes money.   They lack the management systems and controls to evaluate the profitability of their multiple offerings, isolate those that result in the most profit and focus more acutely on how to build those more profitable areas of the business.

Investing in good management control systems is the foundation upon which successful businesses are built.

I am delighted that CAFA is able to introduce both a young new and exciting franchisor, Buffalo Wing Factory and Pub Franchising and Nikki Sicilian, along with a seasoned franchise salesman and good friend of mine, David Gould, recently of Kiddie Academy.

We know a number of younger franchisors and more established franchisors have trouble selling franchises on a consistent basis.  A quick peak at many franchisor's Item 20 comparing their last year's projected openings with actual openings is revealing.  When those numbers aren't consistent, you know that the franchisor doesn't have an effective sales process or funnel.

David will explain some of the elements of an effective sales funnel, Nikki will share their sales challenges as an emerging franchisor, and Warren Lewis will navigate us all through the conversation.

 David GouldPanelist  

 

 Nikki SicilianPanelist

 

TBA, Panelist

 

&

 

 Warren Lee Lewis, Moderator 

 

Whether  you're a new franchise or seasoned franchise sales leader this event is for you.

 

If participating in this Roundtable event sells you only one extra franchise this year it will be worth your time and attention.

 

1. Is your franchise sales process producing the results you want?

2. Do you have the right 7 steps in your franchise sales process?

3. Do you know the 3 questions all franchise candidates ask?

4. Are you engaging effectively with qualified candidates from start to finish?

5. Is your sales approach right for your concept, sales team and target profiles?

 

Tuesday, May 21st, 2013, from 11:45 - 2pm;

 

Registration 11:45 - 12:15 - Lunch 12:15 - 12:45 - RoundTable 12:45-2:00

 

columbia_country_club3-thumb-540x297-1393

Columbia Country Club

7900 Connecticut Ave, Chevy Chase, MD 20815

 Click for INFO and RESERVATIONS

 

Bart Golub, Manager of Slot Marketing for Tropicana Las Vegas, explain how The Tropicana Las Vegas re-invigorated their Players Club by using emerging mobile data collection technology to grow their loyal customer base our On The Spot Systems' mobile survey tool.

As part of an initiative to re-market the Tropicana Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas to younger generations to come, the Trop had to look closely at the ways that they were communicating with their target audience.

"We just began a large-scale marketing campaign on the Las Vegas Strip to drive new enrollments to the Trop Plus Players Club," said Bart Golub, Manager of Slot Marketing for the Tropicana Las Vegas. The Trop took the opportunity to look at other areas of their marketing and customer loyalty operations and decided it was also time for a much-needed facelift to the Trop Plus Players Club enrollment process.

The Trop began using the On The Spot Systems mobile survey platform in early December 2012 and have already received over 3,000 submissions for the Trop Players Club in under 4 months. 

Although Golub's responsibilities at the Trop fall under the marketing department, he has been able to see the effect that real-time data has on daily operations at the hotel and casino.

Golub noted, "Given the ability to now sort through survey results instantaneously, with On the Spot Systems, taking notice of and responding to customer trends has become quick and easy." From an operations perspective, the Trop was immediately pleased with the advanced features offered by the On The Spot Systems tool such as scheduled automated report delivery and trend reports for analyzing marketing effectiveness.

"A report is automatically sent to my inbox every morning with the prior day's aggregated survey results (one of the questions asks customers how they heard about our loyalty program), so I know right away what's driving people to our property: which marketing initiatives are working, and which may not be working as well as we'd hoped," said Goblub.

Among the programs that Golub uses the survey to monitor is the Hilton HHonors program. As a member of the Hilton alliance, the Tropicana Player's Club enrollment survey is another opportunity to assess if the hotel meeting the expectations of the HHonors members. 

The ability to react and see results in real-time was another value-added benefit of the On The Spot technology. Golub added, "Gone are the days where I'd have to wait weeks or months to realize there might be a problem, because now that information is literally at my fingertips."

The Tropicana marketing manager quickly realized that he was not the only ones impressed by the transition to a mobile automated signup process.

Golub recounts, "When we used to hand people a photocopied piece of paper and a pen, they were at worst extremely annoyed and at best mildly reluctant.

It's amazing how much more willing customers are to use an iPad, even since the questions haven't changed at all.

We now see almost no hesitation, sometimes even excitement, when our Players Club Representatives ask new customers to complete the four- to six-question survey electronically."

The Trop was also aware of some additional benefits when switching to the mobile survey tool. "Beyond the obvious cost savings in paper and toner, switching to a fully electronic system has already saved us hundreds of dollars in labor.

Before, it took dozens of employee hours each month to manually input data from our paper surveys into Excel (some questions also prompted write-in answers, which took even more time to input and later analyze). On the Spot Systems provided us with instant data aggregation and comprehensive reporting tools, immediately saving my team a significant amount of time and money," said Golub.

Thanks for this Client Testimonial Received February 2013 from Bart Golub, Manager of Slot Marketing for Tropicana Las Vegas! 

I have been giving you some powerful tips about customer service, which I hope you have been able to implement.  If changing your customer service culturre has been hard, we do have a system for you that just plain works.

ServiceSkills.com is a powerful web-based learning platform which offers your team access to a complete library of customer service and communication training resources. This system features streaming video chapters, quizzes, post-quiz feedback, key points reminders and certificates of completion. An administrative management system is also included.

ServiceSkills.com is a hosted solution, meaning there's no hardware to buy or software to install on your network. Your team will sharpen skills and improve performance using any web browser. The platform is intuitive to operate which reduces the hassles common with other online learning.

Content is powered by Telephone Doctor, America's favorite customer service training brand, which has helped over 30,000 organizations improve the way they communicate. ServiceSkills.com is available via an annual, all-inclusive subscription and pricing is based on the usage tier level that fits your needs.

Here is a short introduction to the platform. We will ask you for your email about a 1 minute into the video, but do review the entire video before you decide to get on our mailing list. We are interested in those franchises with a serious intent to train and implement new customer service skills.

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Reprinted with permission of Telephone Doctor Customer Service Training. Nancy Friedman is a featured speaker at franchise, association & corporate meetings. She has appeared on OPRAH, Today Show, CNN, FOX News, Good Morning America, CBS This Morning & many others. For more information, call 314-291-1012 or visit www.nancyfriedman.com.

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