Want a competitive advantage? Meet your customers where they are…

Went to lunch last week, here’s the powerful and likely profitable moment I watched as I ate.

Two food counters sat next to each other. Both were mid tier, one step above fast food with average orders around $12-15 per person, who would order and then sit in the food court area to eat. Both had similar food, sandwiches, salads, hot and cold food options. both had the same size locations and both were staffed with approximately the same number of people. I also have to say that both places seemed to have very friendly, outgoing employees.

I made my choice of restaurant, ordered my food, and sat down waiting for my number to be called. Then I watched.

Restaurant A had a person positioned out front offering samples of food and handing a coupon to anyone he engaged. He was fun to watch- he was friendly without invading personal space, greeted everyone who walked by, and would occasionally would call out that he had delicious samples to offer.

Restaurant B had a guy behind the counter that also was offering samples. He was very friendly, made good eye contact, had good food to offer, he moved around a lot, and even sang a few bars to accompany the overhead mall music.

Now- here’s the deal- I was eating a late lunch, about 2:15. So, the place wasn’t exactly bustling. I sat there for about 25 minutes from order to finishing my food.

Restaurant A had 9 people order. Restaurant B had 2 people order. Now it’s fair to say that preference of brand may have played a role here. However, I watched it…Restaurant A won because they were where their prospects were. Restaurant B never came out from behind the counter. B needed to have customers come to him before he could really engage. Guy A met them where they were, gave them a sample, then said something like “not sure what your food plans were, but we’re offering a coupon for the sandwich you just tried and a couple others….here, let me show what’s available…” It was so simple and brilliant and more importantly, it got results.

So, here’s the food for thought….Get out from behind the barrier and go to where your prospects are.

Now, Im not suggesting a total reboot of your marketing strategy here. I would not condone you hitting the bricks all over your market, passing out samples and just hoping for the best. That’s reckless. However, if there is a time that’s appropriate for you to give out samples, for you to do face to face marketing, or for you to really try and engage a prospect make sure you have removed any barriers before you do it.

This week, look for chances to step out from behind your desk, your counter, your social media feed, or your marketing automation plan and make a connection. You might be surprised at the difference it makes.

If you’d like to see the rest of the series or read more blog posts from The WinSource, you can find them here.

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Ideas, comments, and questions are always welcomed! Happy Selling!

Veteran’s Day – Thank you for your service. Thankful for my service.

First and foremost, thank you to all that have served. That service makes us a stronger country and is very appreciated.

I joined the Army in 1990. I have many friends in my social circle that have military service in their background. I have found there is an instant connection when two people that have a military history meet each other.

I thought this year, in addition to offering gratitude to those who have volunteered to be part of the greatest military force in the world, I wanted to offer thanks to the units we supported. That’s right…I want to thank the United States Army.

So….Thank you.

Let me share my personal story.

When I signed up for the Army in 1989, I did not enlist to fight an enemy. I didn’t think about freedom. I didn’t think that I had anything to really offer to the conflict in the desert. Looking back, I never really considered the fact that I was ‘willing to lay down my life’ for my country. Frankly, it didn’t seem like a reality I’d ever have to face- at least I hoped so. I realized now how lucky I was and how real the risk was back then.

What I needed when I signed up was a job. At that point in my life my longest running job was about a year and a half. I had no money for college, my job prospects were low but I was full of hope and energy. I had to make a change. Joining the military seemed like a great choice. Little did I know how great it would be. I owe so much to those years. Here are a few of the things I am thankful for.

The Army paid me a decent wage and guaranteed me a four year gig. I had a roof over my head, a pretty nice apartment actually. I got great benefits. Amazing compared to any job I’ve ever had since. I got life insurance for the first time. I got some fantastic perks to include: a gym membership, discount shopping, free movers, discount automotive services, discounts buying vacations, park passes, and even restaurants. I had good neighbors, chances to go to social events and a good support system.

I made great friends. It started in boot camp. There are people that I met during those weeks that I keep in touch with 30 years later. The Army attracts people from all walks of life. I met people that I never would have crossed paths with in a million years. Our time together gave me perspectives I hadn’t gotten anywhere else. We had plenty of time to tell each other stories. I heard and shared the good, the bad, and the ugly. I learned a ton about life, love, family, loss, hope, ethics, values, and the world in general.

I went on the most amazing adventures. The first time I moved away from New England was to go to basic training. From there, I spent some time in the South and I later moved to Germany and got to live there for a couple years. That allowed me to travel all over Europe. It was unbelievable! I wish I had been more mature and had taken better advantage of the opportunity, but really, it was amazing.

The Army taught me great things about business. I believe that the military is the greatest business model in the world. I say that frequently and I believe it. The Army taught me about leadership, culture, motivation, mindset, organization, overcoming challenges, resilience, and respect. It was where I learned the value of diversity. I experienced what real teamwork was and understood my role the success of a team. I found who I was and who I could be. Striving for rank kept me seeking out training and new experiences. That helped developed a drive and thirst for learning that is part of me today. The way I lead and run business now is driven by what I learned there.

I could go on and on. But here is my point….I got more from the Army than it got from me. I am proud of my service, I value that time and would not trade it for anything. But the reality is I was one of the very lucky ones. I owe a debt of gratitude for all the military gave me and taught me. I recognize that there are other brothers and sisters out there who sacrificed greatly during their time of service and I am so glad we take a day like to today to remember them. I will also take this day as a reminder to thank the Army for all it gave me personally and professionally. I would not be who am today without that experience.

Thank you for letting me serve.

If you’d like to see the rest of the series or read more blog posts from The WinSource, you can find them here.

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Ideas, comments, and questions are always welcomed! Happy Selling!

The Thing That Makes Your Buyer Buy:

Blog 7 in a series of 7. 

As sales professionals wouldn’t it be amazing if we could get insight into why people buy? How wonderful would it be if you knew what made your prospect actually purchase?  Likely, you’d be closing more deals and be far more effective than you are today, right? 

Over the last few weeks we have been discussing the six sales imperatives- Things that simply don’t change because in sales because they are so important to customers. This week’s is dedicated to understanding why buyers buy. Knowing about personal buying motives and what compels people to make purchasing decisions is critical to the success of salespeople. 

The thing that will make your buyer buy. 

Why do buyers buy? It’s an age-old question with a surprisingly simple answer. Buyers buy primarily with the idea that whatever they are buying is going to help their business. They could be trying to increase revenues, reduce costs, increase quality or reduce effort all in the attempt to increase profitability. Often just as important in the buying decision is a buyer’s personal motives…. that’s right, a personal motive in business. It’s true! In fact, every purchase is made with both a task (business) and personal motive. 

In the majority of cases, salespeople miss the personal motive. They don’t ask about it, they don’t feel its relevant, and some even think it’s a waste of time. That’s a shame. It’s a real miss. Although, I guess it is an opportunity for the rest of us to gain a competitive edge. 

So, you might ask…are you sure there is a personal motive in every deal? Yes, I am. In fact, if you ever come across a deal without a personal motive, I’d say you are in one of two situations: 1) It’s a transactional, commodity type sale. 2) You are dealing with someone that is not actually a decision maker. They have been tasked by someone else. 

Personal motives make sense and they are an amazingly powerful part of the deal. They make sense because we see examples of personal motives in everything we purchase in our personal lives. Think about any major purchase you’ve made- car, appliance, technology…. any of them have a range of options and price ranges. We’ll use a washer/dryer for an example. They serve a very basic purpose- Clean and dry clothes. (Task motive) That said, there is a wide range of pricing. You could scour ads for a used set and get out of it for a couple hundred bucks. If you have money to burn Miele offers a commercial grade pair for $41k. (Free shipping though, so there’s that.)  The majority of when that washer is purchased and where it falls on the price spectrum is determined by personal motives. That’s what makes personal motives so powerful. If you can uncover them and then appeal to them you have a driver that will help you close faster, better predict when things will close, and will even have a positive impact on your pricing. 

There are 4 personal motives. Power, respect, approval, and recognition. Reach out if you’d like more information on how these motives might apply to different buyer types. For now, let’s focus on how to uncover them. 

You have to ask. It starts by doing thorough discovery. Take a look at your discovery questions from your last few sales calls. I bet they centered around who, how much, when, cost…That is all great information to have but it only serves the task motives. On your next call try adding in:

  • Tell me about the impact of this change on you or your team? 
  • How do you feel about it? 
  • What’s driving the decision on your side? 
  • What’s the impact to you if we don’t move forward?
  • How do you see this being a benefit to the team?
  • How are you feeling about the process change?

Obviously, these questions have to be put in the context of what you sell and your specific customer needs, but the point is- you have to ask them if you are going to uncover the personal motives. 

Once those personal motives are uncovered, you’ll use them in advocation to help gently nudge your prospect into the purchase that is right for them and at a time they feel good about. When done well, they will be as comfortable working with you as they are when they pull that fresh clean shirt right out of the dryer. 

If you’d like to see the rest of the series or read more blog posts from The WinSource, you can find them here.

Please subscribe to receive future posts directly to email.

Ideas, comments, and questions are always welcomed! Happy Selling!