JJ's (April '05) Tips in this issue:

1. Asking Questions for Better Service & Selling
2. JJ's Favorite Quotes
3. Tele-Coaching & Tele-Mentoring

Use the following tips as training tools.

Present this situation to your group and brainstorm solutions together, or submit your own situation question to be answered in an upcoming newsletter.

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SITUATION QUESTION:
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Our company needs to sell additional products, and become more competitive in the market place. Our numbers have been down for the past 2 years so we are now attempting to do suggestive selling and referral selling instead of just taking the order. What tips can you give me to manage the new selling
environment?

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SOLUTIONS:
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Teach your service and sales people to ask customers more extensive questions. Whether they are interacting in person or on the phone, after a pleasant 2-line greeting with an uplift at the end, say "Tell me
about......"

This is an open-ended question that encourages customers to elaborate on their situation. Service or sales cues will usually be stated in the first two sentences the customer says. Sometimes both service and sales cues can be heard at the same time.

I wrote in the March newsletter about the importance of getting in the customer's shoes and becoming their BEST FRIEND. This is an important part of any customer interaction.

(It also works well in managing and coaching your staff, and with family and friend interactions.)

Know your products and services so well that you can confidently put the emphasis on the customer and off of yourself. Make them and what they say more important than you and what you say.

Remember, to be understood, you need to understand them and their needs first. You do that by listening to what they are feeling.

Then after actively listening to why they are patronizing your business, link the right products with their needs and wants. Often about 90% of your sales will be an emotional WANT, rather than a NEED, so listen to everything they say to pick up these cues.

If you have listened well, you can then use their phrases to close or ask for the sale.

When I've worked with customer service people learning up selling and cross selling from a customer service base, many have difficulty asking for the sale unless they have been taught some phrases or examples to use.

Example: The customer might have said she is STRESSED every time she gets a late fee charge at your bank, and her husband will be furious if she gets another one.

To suggest the bank's OVERDRAFT PROTECTION, you could use a story about another customer who chose this solution.

You might say, "One of our other customers used to get so stressed because she was always late getting her checks in on time at the bank, so she finally decided to get our OVERDRAFT PROTECTION. Now she's free of those late charges and extra STRESS too. Her husband thought it was a great idea.

Use stories to make your point, and when you refer to others who have also found your products or services helpful and advantageous, they will be more comfortable in taking your suggestions.

Use these same techniques to successfully complete service situations too.

An example would be if a customer calls in about a computer problem that needs to be resolved. Listening to the first two sentences will tell you what the service cues are. To get more details on the situation, ask an open ended question such as, "Tell me what you see on the computer screen...." Adapt the phrases to lead the customer to elaborate so you can fully understand the situation.

I have found good training that includes listening and questioning skills is a MUST for service and sales success.

If a drastic company culture change is needed to be more profitable, such as adding suggestive selling, an outside trainer can usually accomplish this quicker.

In the last few years since September 11th, my "Developing Up Selling and Cross Selling - Moments of Magic" seminar has been one of my most popular programs, along with "Coaching & Developing Your Staff For Exceptional Customer Service (or Sales)."

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These additional tips that follow were recently sent in by readers who thought they were worth using themselves.

Cindy Gilmore from Lifestyle Photography in San Jose, CA, said she thought this was good, and she has even taped the tip to her computer.

"What's the secret to running a successful photography business? Treating every client like your business depends on them alone."

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In a response to our February SITUATION QUESTION: "What can managers do to put the heart back into the business environment to enjoy working more, and ultimately create better service and sales?" Michelle Sanderson sent this short story from Italy, titled:

CARE

A woman who owns a laundry noticed a couple of shirts had buttons missing. "Wonderful", the customer said, "please do replace them".

A week later, when the customer went to pick up his shirts, he noticed that she had indeed carefully replaced the buttons -- matching them exactly -- but not charging for the work. The customer was shocked, "Oh", she said, "I am just happy to do good work for you."

Her simple act of caring made the customer notice, in that moment ... she was caring in EVERYTHING she did: her gestures, her words, her work, her sewing, her counting of the shirts, her handing me the package, her smile, her making change.

Look for the small ways to CARE today and for the expression of care by others.
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The woman at the laundry was giving a single message from her heart, and it came through loud and clear that she genuinely cared about her customers. You can bet that the owner and manager of that store were also great role models for their employees. And customers told other potential customers and sent them to her laundry too. Word of mouth advertising is the least expensive and the most effective kind.

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This tip came inadvertently from the Tony Danza show in New York City. Tony jokingly said to a guest, "You remind me of Vanna White! You did nothing, but you looked good doing it."

I laughed along with everyone in his audience, and then thought, how many people in sales and customer service don't put themselves out for the customer very much, but they look good doing it. They're actually just warm bodies giving lip service to the process and not really caring.

Hang out on the turf around your business and observe your people as they interact with each other and with customers. Are they sincere, caring individuals who really listen and strive to help the customer in any way they can?

If you wonder if you can be objective at this point, call me so we can discuss your situation and challenges.

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JJ's FAVORITE QUOTES:
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"A wise man will make more opportunities then he finds."
-Francis Bacon

"Being a leader is not about you, it's about all that you can do to make other people successful."
-Pete McGarahan

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Tele-COACHING & Tele-MENTORING
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DO YOU WANT TO IMPROVE in an area?

Customer service or sales?
Inbound or outbound call center sales and service?
Dealing with irate internal or external customers?
Motivation and growth of your people?
Leading and Coaching your staff?

TRY our one-on-one Tele-Mentoring (phone coaching service) that is available to business owners, executives, managers, supervisors and staff members.

Call for your FREE CONSULTATION now! 800 500-9656 or 408 445-1590
_________________________________

EVALUATION OF YOUR ENVIRONMENT:
_________________________________

Have you had an Evaluation of Your Environment lately so you could receive suggestions on improving it? (It's like the doctor's check up, you often don't know you need it, until after you've had it.)

http://www.jjlauderbaugh.com/about.html

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ABOUT JJ:
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JJ Lauderbaugh, CMC
408 445-1590 or 800 500-9656, 1716 Husted Ave., San Jose, CA 95124.

JJ works with companies that want to give exceptional customer service to increase sales, and with Directors and Call Center/Help Desk Managers who want to improve human performance.

She's an international speaker, trainer, facilitator and certified management consultant (CMC) on customer service management, specializing in performance improvement, call centers, up/cross selling and outbound
calling.

For training resources, free articles, tips and streaming video, go to our web site at

http://www.JJLauderbaugh.com

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Copyright and Reprints:
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Reprint permission is granted when the following credit appears:

JJ Lauderbaugh, CMC, Lauderbaugh & Associates, Inc., 2004. Reprinted with permission from JJ's Tips, a monthly internet newsletter. For your own personal subscription, email jj@jjlauderbaugh.com.
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You can make a difference! Send your questions and comments as they are always welcome.

Thanks,

JJ