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What has D&D taught us about sales?

Posted by Doogie Levine

Now that you’re prepared to make your first impression, you have your plan and profile in place. It is time to think about how to match your big fish to the right salesperson. The process is all about matching the right salesperson’s personality/ style to the correct prospect.

Before we jump into this, make sure you go back and double-check your process because once we assign the salesperson, there is no turning back. The human factor and the benefits of each of your salespeople’s personalities will now come into play.

Ok, so now that you’re clear on making sure your process is ready, let’s talk about your salespeople.

You need to do this in two steps:

  1. Profile your salespeople’s personalities.
  2. Match the right salesperson to your target fish.

There are essentially three different selling personalities. Most salespeople are usually strong in two of the three arc types. It is crucial to think about your people and see which one each of them is.

The Sage 

This salesperson offers knowledge, experience, comfort, and trust. They can make a concerned customer feel at ease. It is their mission to educate the client to empower them to make the best decision. This salesperson tends to relay the logical information and speak to those benefits. 

To be successful, they need plenty of information, a demo of the product/service, references, and case studies, if possible. They tend to shy away from using emotional appeals and staying grounded in the client’s needs, not their future wants.

The Companion 

Much like it sounds, this is a salesperson that shines at building relationships. They can instantly relate to the prospective client and make them seem like old friends in no time. They work best with clients looking for friendship, information, and a similar peer group as the salesperson. This can include anything from age and culture to hobbies and nightlife. While sharing experiences can be beneficial to creating a new relationship, your salesperson must always keep it professional and dignified. 

This salesperson focuses on painting the picture of the ideal future state. They spend their time working towards the long term sale and only get a few big wins. They excel at upsells and cross-sales because they are seen as the guy for their customers.

The companion can get in trouble because they tend not to have a large volume of clients. In addition, their sales process takes longer than the others, which can cause trouble for high transaction volume businesses. 

The resources this personality type needs are help pairing with the right client, schmoozing budget, and the correct information to meet the client’s needs. In addition, you should consider putting this person in a role working with the big clients that you need to maintain a relationship with.

The Brawler 

Obviously, this personality type is a little more aggressive than the others. They are all about business and the bottom line. While this may seem harsh to many people, there is a set of business people who want the same thing and respect someone who can get down to business and the benefits of a partnership. This salesperson will need to be trusted with a bit of authority as they will likely be closing deals on the spot. They’ll need plenty of resources and access to products and services. They are best placed in environments where they can work independently, exercise their authoritative discretion, and seal deals quickly. 

They are great in high-volume environments or with clients who want to make now decisions. You tend to see them work best with your straightforward type A personalities.

Pick the right map

Any of these salespeople can all be successful when used in the correct environment. You can easily see how matching the right salesperson for the client can secure more big fish and for a more extended period of time. 

It is up to you as the business owner or sales manager to put your people in place to be most successful. It is also vital to create an environment for your sales team to work collaboratively vs. adversary. This way, you ensure that complimentary styles can share in the benefits. It is important to both have team and individual goals and bonuses.

If you need help figuring out how to capitalize on your sales team and land the big fish. Don’t hesitate to get in touch with one of our coaches. We would love to offer our aid.


O No First Contact! Are you prepared?

Posted by Doogie Levine

In the last post, we learned the process for researching our big fish (ideal client). Being prepared to make a great first impression is imperative to your success. Your strategy needs to instill confidence. The prospect needs to know you can meet expectations on time, at a reasonable price, and the quality at or above expectation. 

Now let’s begin to create the perfect first impression. Building a good plan starts with identifying the right big fish. Take a look at your notes and the research you’ve done about prospective fish. Then decide which one will be the most straightforward approach to start with.

There are a series of things to go through in choosing which fish to start with. They are:

  • Compile Your Hit List
  • Prepare your position
  • Define where to start 

Compile Your Hit List

Start with a list of all the companies you’ve been considering. Then narrow it down to the ones who know could use your products or services. Don’t overlook obvious choices, whether they are big or small. Don’t discount a company just based on the physical size. A small company can have significant opportunities. Think back to your earlier work where you identified what makes a good big fish.

Prepare your position 

You need to prepare your customer research. This starts by creating a documented procedure including the companies revenues, perceived target audience, industry challenges, company culture, decision-makers, etc. Use this tool to get into the heads of your clients to understand their needs and wants.

Once, you have the information you’re ready to make the first move.

Define where to start (prioritize) 

Great so you have been able to narrow your list to a responsible 10-20 ideal clients. Now you need to set priorities of who you should contact first. To help you chose please consider the following:

  • Which have the most purchasing resources to spend?
  • Does their company vision complement yours?
  • What are their employee incentive programs as they relate to your products/services?
  • What’s the company’s actual need for you?
  • Will the partnership lead you off-course?

Now you should have a target in mind to start with. It’s time to plan your approach and execute that plan.

Here’s the step-by-step plan to help you make an excellent first impression:

  1. Build and analyze your database. Use the following lead tags to categories and track your sales process (if you don’t like these, come up with your own, but make sure you a definition that includes the behaviors your prospect should be displaying): hot leads, great fits, warm leads, and secondary leads.
    1. Great fits: these are the top 1-3 from your list above.
    2. Hot leads: these are leads that you have been able to engage in meaningful conversations. Specifically, you have spoken with them, and they have moved to the end of your pipeline.
    3. Warm leads: these are the leads that you have engaged in meaningful conversation but have not been able to get over all their objections. They see you as a problem solver and their most likely solution but you still have to get them over the hump.
    4. Secondary leads: These are not great fits, but you feel you can still bring value to them. However, they may not be your ideal for several reasons.
  2. Send out initial mailings (this a print mailing, you may, in addition, consider sending an email) to peak interest, educate, and establish preeminence. It should be short, clean, and concise. Ideally, to speak to the problem they have and don’t want.
  3. Follow up with your first phone call 2-3 days after they would have received the mailings. During the phone call, find out whom you need to be speaking with in the future and set up a meet with the right person.
  4. Follow up your phone call with another mailing/E-mailing/social contact that thanks them for taking the time to speak with you and offer more details about your products/services. Use this letter and opportunity to set up a meeting to do a presentation.
  5. Follow up the letter with another phone call a couple of days after receiving the letter. This phone call is to help you further develop your relationship with the prospective client. You should also be able to set up a presentation meeting with them. 
  6. Call again a week later if they haven’t agreed to a meeting or presentation. Ask if they received your creative letter (the second one) and if they have a minute when you can stop by and introduce yourself in person.
  7. Repeat, Adjust and Adapt. No process is perfect; keep adapting and changing your contact method and message as long as the prospective client fits that ideal process. 

Now, don’t be upset if you don’t seal the deal right away. Some people simply take a little longer to woo. This can all be a little intimidating at first, but you can’t go wrong when you know you are offering a quality product/service.

Once you’ve gone through this process and make the first contact (and hopefully a good first impression), it’s time to put your best face forward, which means sending the right salesperson to seal the deal.

If you need help putting together your approach and make an excellent first impression, schedule a free consultation to discuss your big fish.

The best time to start was yesterday, but today will do just fine.

About the Author

I am a business coach and consultant specializing in uncovering the root cause of a challenge and offering an unexpected solution. That solution typically results in a substantial increase in profits and the peace of mind to set you free from your business.

I ask powerful questions to clarify who you are and what you want. I am empathetic, although surgical in approach. I make my clients feel they are the only person I am working with. I have an uncanny way of drawing people out and getting to the heart of the matter.

I am a Pittsburgh native who aspires to free business from the rat race. If I am not working to improve the lives of my clients. Then you will most likely find me on the ice playing hockey, reading, or making plans for the future.

If I can ever be helpful to my readers, it would be my pleasure to connect and see where I can bring you value. I look forward to continuing to share more great lessons with my growing community.


Where is your next big client? Picking a pond is important.

Posted by Doogie Levine

Let’s continue where we left off last week, where we talked about bringing the big-company mindset into your business and your team. Having a big fish mindset will help you overcome the mental obstacles that will keep you from being successful. 

Now that you’ve learned how to overcome that, we’re going to identify who is our ideal big fish. It’s essential to know about the fish you are looking for before you put a plan together. We’re also going to take a moment to talk about the potential “red tape” you may encounter along the way.

It is important to know a few things about your fish. All people and companies have habits, and it essential to be able to identify them. For the sake of this article, we will talk about the most important habits for you to identify. These habits are their purchasing habits, procedures, and company culture.

Purchasing Habits 

  1. Fiscal Budgets: 
    1. It’s essential you know the fish’s fiscal budget, so you know exactly when they are planning their expenses for the year. Knowing this information allows you to tailor your plan to approach them just at the right time.
  1. Current Fulfillment Partners
    1. Spend time identifying who they are buying from already. Your goal is to understand why them and not you. 

Procedures

  1. Responsibilities: 
    1. You need to know who has influence over purchasing, who does the actual buying, and who can kill a deal if they want. 
  1. Purchasing structure
    1. Besides knowing who the decision-makers are, it is important to identify the company’s desired sales process. For instance, do they want an RFQ or RFP, an estimate, etc.?
  1. Get on Their List: 
    1. You need to know how to get on their list of people to buy from. Your name needs to be on the list but at the top of it and in as many categories as possible for more interaction. Ask about a procurement program and what you need to do to go through the application process.

Company culture

  1. Lingo: 
    1. You need to learn the company’s unique language and communications methods. These could include report names, buzzwords, and even the nicknames they have for their employees.
  2. Values
    1. Take the time to identify the values at all levels of the company. Not just the ones on the website. Values are essential to understanding motivation is the path to problem-solving.

These three areas are just the starting point for identifying your “Big Fish.” I encourage you to spend additional time creating an Ideal Client Avatar.

Red Tap Warning

Now that we’ve talked a little about what you need to know about your fish, let’s a quick look at the “red tape.” 

Bureaucracy might as well be a four-letter word with the emotions it stirs in all of us. “Red tape” is a necessary evil, but one you can use to learn from. There are two ways to learn from their system:

  1. Analyze their activity.
  2. Review their correspondence.

Being an outsider looking in can have its advantages too. If you hate dealing with the “red tape,” imagine how their employees feel dealing with it. If they need to crunch some numbers, offer to do it. If they need more info, make sure you are giving it to them in a user-friendly way.

Congrats on creating your Big Fish profile you have taken the next step. As much as fishing is a solitary activity when it comes to business it is important to get help. Engage your team, support network, mentors, and coaches in this process. As always, I am here to help don’t hesitate to ask a question.

The best time to start was yesterday, but today will do just fine. 

About the Author

I am a business coach and consultant specializing in uncovering the root cause of a challenge and offering an unexpected solution. That solution typically results in a substantial increase in profits and the peace of mind to set you free from your business. 

I ask powerful questions to clarify who you are and what you want. I am empathetic, although surgical in approach. I make my clients feel they are the only person I am working with. I have an uncanny way of drawing people out and getting to the heart of the matter.

I am a Pittsburgh native who aspires to free business from the rat race. If I am not working to improve the lives of my clients. Then you will most likely find me on the ice playing hockey, reading, or making plans for the future. 

If I can ever be helpful to my readers, it would be my pleasure to connect and see where I can bring you value. I look forward to continuing to share more great lessons with my growing community. 


One Fish two, Fish, I can’t stop thinking about the Big Fish.

Posted by Doogie Levine

In the last post, we started our series on catching big clients, or “fish,” that will sustain your business over the long run. Today we’re going to take that a step further by talking about understanding and thinking like a big fish company and how that can help you plan your approach and find success.

Before you can start landing big clients, you have to make sure your entire team is on board with your approach and vision. There are six keys to finding big client success. They are:

Six Key’s: Big Fish Mindset

  1. First Impression: Never give them a reason to doubt your abilities. Plan your interaction and be prepared to listen, learn, and act to solve their problems. Make it about them and not you; be patient. 
  2. First Priority: Your fish must always feel like they are your priority. Return calls and emails promptly and find solutions to their problems or questions as quickly as possible. Over-communicate on the process; let them know your thinking of them.
  3. Flexible: You need to be flexible in your negotiations. If they need a particular service or for you to customize a product, say yes for the benefit of the long term. A little hassle now will be a big payoff later.
  4. Long-term: This goes along with the last one a bit. As you are approaching and negotiating with big fish, you need to think about the long-term benefits for your business. If you go for a one-time big score, you will lose their interest.
  5. Have Fun: Work should be fun, even when trying to land big clients. Going after the big fish should be the most fun. You are sharing your vision with new people and including them in your future success and likewise. People simply work better in a fun, happy environment. Your passion will also be contagious and pull the fish into your vision even more.
  6. Put them first: If you take just a little bit of time and offer your clients ways to save money or time by introducing them to potential business partners, this will show you are invested and interested in their business. Strive to find the balance between your business needs and your client’s needs.

Now that you understand the basis of the Big Fish Mindset. You might be asking, great, how do I develop a vision for my entire company? There several tactics to employ, but here are a few of my favorites. 

  • Engage your team in defining who is an ideal “Big Fish Nothing gets a team to share a vision like having them be a part of the process design..”
  • Write the vision and goals everywhere. Create signage that reinforced the company vision and goals. Everyone loves suitable bathroom reading materials. A fun poster in the stalls can go a long way. Plus, this is a great way to reinforce company values.
  • Training, Training, Training: Constitnantly reinforces the goals and objectives while teaching your staff the skills to achieve them. Get help and provide resources for your team to be successful. May I suggest starting with a lesson on the “Big Fish Mindset.”
  • Score Board: create a way to share the progress with your entire company. It is a great way to show each person’s contribution to the whole. Plus, it can be a great way to track and evaluate your process. 
  • Strategy eats tactics for breakfast, holds frequent meetings to make sure your strategy is working, and adjust the tactics to achieve your goals.
  • Create a communication policy, be very clear with your team about how quickly you expect your staff to get back to customers. In addition, create shared language and terms around communicating to clients and other team members. Defining these parameters will solve a lot of problems down the road. 
  • Reward in public, coach in private. As often as you can, praise your team. Find a reason to thank your team and appreciate their work. If they’re not performing, pull them aside and ask a straightforward question. What do you need to be more successful?

Including a big fish mindset in your overall company vision and experience will allow you to achieve more as a business owner and organization than you could ever imagine. It will enable you to start thinking long-term and give you the ability to invest in your people, process, and profits. Include the tactics in your strategy, and your company will begin landing big fish in no time.

If you need help creating the system, process, and developing the strategy big-company mindset, contact us today to work with one of our coaches or check out our resources and tools. 

The best time to start was yesterday, but today will do just fine. 


Moms are the best Customer Service, Experts

Posted by Doogie Levine

My mother has taught me a lot over the years, but two key lessons that pertain to customer service are consistency and the Rule of 1%. In the last post, I shared my experience with STX and the lack of consistency and systems within their customer service experience. My mother’s lessons will ensure you do not make the same mistakes.

Your customer experience must be predictable and measured. You need to leave your clients, vendors, customers, and staff; feeling heard and cared for. The key to any customer experience is what do you want them to experience. Experience is a set of events and feelings. As you go about creating your customer service systems, keep this in mind. 

Be as my mother; she wanted to do what is best for me but rarely gave into everything I wanted. She listened to what I had to say even when I was wrong, acknowledged my feelings, and redirects me to the path of least resistance. She treated me the same every time, and I found comfort in knowing that. Everyone once in a while, she surprised me with something I never expected.

If you want to take your satisfied customers to Raving Fan status, you have to go above and beyond the average customer service experience. The key to any great customer service experience is consistency. 

There are three ways to develop consistency:

Limiting customer service options and. 

It is easy to give customers what they want. However, this can cause us to drift from our vision of how we want our customers to feel. Instead, stay true to your vision and offer one or two solid customer service techniques that will set you apart from the competition. 

Make sure the techniques you chose do not feel like a burden. To be honest, your goals are to address the customers feeling and before their problems. 

Start by fine-tuning your current systems before you can add anything to the mix. 

  • Think about how I want them to feel, and am I currently getting them to feel that way. 
  • What action am my staff or I taking to get them to feel that way?

There’s nothing worse than launching a new program when you haven’t even worked out the kinks of an old system. 

Put solid systems into place.

Once you know what you’re going to offer, you need to have a system in place to execute it flawlessly every time. This system needs to consist of the right people in the right roles and responsibilities and technology that guarantees a positive experience every time. Emphasis needs to be placed on the results, which ultimately is the satisfaction of the customer.

To get the best results to think about how you empower your staff to make decisions. If they have to go through a supervisor or you before they can approve a refund or replacement, what is the point? Your system needs to have the least number of steps possiable. Remember, your customer is already in a higher state of agitation, and your first job is to lower the feeling.

Good coaching is the key.

When creating excellent training, you need to remember it is not about the outcomes. It is about teaching your staff how to shift the emotional state of customers to create an optimal resolution for both them and the company. It is about the tools they have at their disposal and how information needs to be shifted through your organization. 

The final piece to consider is your process for continually enhancing your staff skills. Your goal is to train them to be confident that they are the empowered expert who can solve your client’s issues.

Small steps lead to great results.

You may be looking at what currently doing and saying, “shit, I have a lot of work to do.” That is okay let the Rule of 1% be your guide to implementing the change in your business.

The Rule of 1% is simply defined as adding to your customer service one percent at a time. Before you can do this, you must have your consistency perfected, or it will never work. This one percent may seem small, but if you approach the vision for your company with baby steps, you will find a massive increase over a solid chunk of time. It’s not a sprint; it’s a marathon.

Avoid doing too much at once, or you’ll set yourself up for failure. Think of the confidence you and your employees will have when you improve one percent each week. By the end of a year, you’ll have improved more than 50%!

While rules and standards are necessary for growth, always be flexible with your best customers. Most retailers only allow a set number of items into a dressing room to reduce the risk of shoplifting, but it generally restricts the large percentage of people who are not stealing from you. Flexibility is the key to what you deliver to your customers, and consistency is the key to how you provide it.

The bottom line is customers rely on you to deliver what you promise. If you spend too much on bulky advertising that promises more than you can deliver, even your best intentions will unravel quickly, and you will fail.

Focus on your vision and baby steps to turn your satisfied customers into Raving Fans.

I hope you’ve learned a lot about good customer service and how it’s essential to your overall success. If you need help with any of the steps we’ve gone through over the last four lessons if you need help feel free to contact me I would be happy to chat. https://ideasactionsuccess.com/contact/

In upcoming posts, we’re going to explore strategies of bagging the big clients and keeping them.