Wednesday, April 30, 2008

How to stop "You never called me back"

The problem with follow up is most people don't know how to do it appropriately. So they end up playing tag and then wondering, "have I pestered this person too much?" The answer most likely is yes.

Not because you are calling them too much but because you never set the expectations upfront before emotions became attached. For example, imagine that you have a conversation with Joe and you end it with, "so Joe, when should we touch base?" Joe says, "I will call you next week." That is usually where the conversation ends. Now next week to you means by Wednesday while to Joe it means when I have an answer, which many not even be next week! So you call him on Wednesday and leave a message, "Joe, it is Aaron calling to touch base. Give me a call when you have a chance. I am in today."

Here are all the points wrong with the above conversation:
1. There was no closing of the loop. Once Joe said, "I will you next week." It was left open for interpretation.
2. Emotions got tangled in to the who is calling whom, what happens once the call doesn't happen, and are you devaluing me by leaving me hanging.

Follow this simple step to REMOVE the emotion and close the loop:

Always make sure you have agreement on the next course action AND how you will touch base if that action doesn't happen. So after Joe said, "I will call you next week." Aaron should have said, "Great if I don't hear from you by Friday, how do you want me to follow up?" or "Great, if I don't hear from you by 3 PM on Friday I will give you a call."

Remember once emotion is attached to an unspoken expectation people become more irrational if the unspoken expectation is not met. Therefore your goal is to get that expectation out in to the open BEFORE it happens.

Anne Warfield,

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Are You Annoying Your Customers or Aligning With Your Customers?

When would now be the time to pick up my book? That is the greeting on one of the emails I was sent today. So who do you figure that email is going to be about? me or the sender? Would you be excited to open it?

The emails I have been getting from this person have gotten annoying because they are always about him and how I can help him become number one by buying his book or attending one of his programs. Now mind you, I have already attended one of his programs. I enjoyed it.

However, my enjoyment has decreased over time as I see all the emails and marketing being about him rather than about helping me. If he had written "How to reach your full potential by exploring 7 key concepts" I would have felt it was about what I was going to get if I read his book.

ACTION: Test all you do, email, write or send to see if you are really focused on your need or your customer's need. You should have 70% of what's written about the other party and under 30% about you.

Okay he has annoyed me so much I have unsubscribed. Not the result he was hoping for. Don't let that happen with your marketing!

Anne Warfield,

Monday, April 28, 2008

To Catch A Bigger Fish You Need ...

to set up the right net in the right way.

Imagine that you are looking at putting in a new deck. You call a company and the sales person comes out and talks to you all about the decks they build, the quality they offer and the way they can get the deck done. You decide to have them build your deck. How do you feel when they call you six months later to see if you now want them to build you cabinets? Or furniture? Or a new floor? Or a new addition? Are you excited? upset? annoyed?

Most likely as they jump around telling you all the other projects they can do you are annoyed because you didn't ask for any other projects. Their persistence may even make you start to dislike your deck that you were totally satisfied with just six months ago.

What happened? If you did a great job on the deck, why wouldn't that prove to the customer that they need you in those other areas?

In sales, I find people rarely analyze where their business is coming from, what is stopping it and what they need to do in the sales process to open up the client to more opportunities. With the Excavation Method, we show sales people how to set the first sale up so it automatically generates more sales after it. We show you how to make the client stretch their mindframe so they see the deck as just one small thing you do and they crave the other skills you have to offer.
Take a moment today to analyze your business. Where do most of your sales come from? Where do they get blocked? How can you set the sale up on the front end to remove that block?

Anne Warfield,

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Are your a Value Creator?

The mistake most companies make is believing that their customer always knows what they need. In an economy where people have access to information on the Internet, the client often feels informed enough to make their own diagnosis and then search for the solution they believe is best. In this case, price becomes the leading differentiator.

The reality is that most customers know what they are experiencing and they know what they believe will change the situation for them, but that is not the same as knowing what you truly need in order to get the results you want.

For example, if your car is leaking you might logically believe you need to go in and get the mechanic to plug the leak or replace the part so you don't have a leak. You focus on fixing that one piece (surface need) because you think if you plug the leak then your car will run just fine and you won't have any more problems (real need).

So now you are the mechanic. The person comes in and asks you what the cost is to fix or repair that piece. They have searched the Internet and know the cost and estimate of the repair. They feel informed, knowledgeable and in control of the problem and solution.

So would you just do what they ask or would you completely look at the car to see what might have caused the leak in the first place? Is it really just a faulty piece or is there a bigger problem going on- a problem that if you don't take care will cause their car to have other problems down the road?

As the mechanic, you owe it to your customer to keep your eye focused, not on repairing the leak (surface need), but in ensuring their car will run smoothly from now on (real need). This means diagnosing the problem and presenting solutions that enlighten the customer and align with their silent but true goal. This means they might not like what you have to say as they are prepared for a $300 car bill and you suddenly tell them to do it right will cost them $3000.

Here is the piece most companies miss--the value interpretation and value creation. It is not enough to share with them what the problem is; you need to build trust that demonstrates you are looking out for their best interest, you want them to be accurately informed and you want them to make the best choice possible. Notice I didn't say you want them to just buy from you because the reality is the best choice might be to sell the car and buy a new one that is more reliable- hence no sale for you the mechanic.

When you focus on value creation and value interpretation you hold yourself accountable to remain focused, not on the surface need, but on the real need. You need to be able to build trust and ask questions that get them to think in new ways so they see the value of what you are saying and the value in the solutions and choices offered. You become focused on making your clients successful rather than satisfied.

When working with companies we spend a lot of time showing them how to probe, question, and draw out the customer so they get to the root of the problem rather than the symptom. Once you have done this you will build trust that shows you are focused on their best interests.

If you are looking to build lasting partners, you need to ensure your entire team knows how to build that rapport, trust, and probe in a way that has the customer seeing you as a value creator!

Anne Warfield,

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Which are you, the wedding or the marriage?

We spend all this time, money and energy as a society on the day we will celebrate the declaration two people make to the world-We are married! All this time and energy for about 6 hours of time. The EVENT.

But what is really needed to ensure success for the marriage in the long-term? Is it the wedding or the coaching, growth, mentoring, learning, that we do as a team during the marriage?

My point is that in corporations training is often treated like the wedding- a big event that will cause all the changes and results we want. I am amazed at how many don't stop to think, how to keep the momentum going, how to coach and how to ensure it links in to their corporate culture.

Remember that a marriage is not made by a wedding. It is made by two people being committed to making it work. Two people who continue to grow, learn, and develop with each other.

A marriage that is based solely on the wedding soon dies as the day is forgotten, the festivities now seem stale and life is not as you expected. But when the wedding is treated as a START to a continued and committed journey it is truly a miraculous event that triggers all new happenings in your life.

So ask yourself, which way do I treat training? As an event I do, then tuck the dress away to be forgotten? Or as a lasting legacy that I nuture and grow each day.

Anne Warfield,