Thursday, May 31, 2007

Selling value or selling cheap?

In most cases customers don't want to buy the cheapest - they want to buy the best value.

"Remember always that the recollection of quality remains long after the price is forgotten."
H. Gordon Selfridge

Every client will probably have a different determination of value and to discover that we need to ask good questions.

For sales people that sell the cheapest, I have some bad news. Your client will find it cheaper somewhere else.

The good news is that if your customers buy based on the value you offer, you are likely to keep your customers for as long as you keep delivering value.

Wednesday, May 30, 2007


An odd thing happens when we ask for help - we tend to get it.

By being aware of what we need and then asking for help, people will often go out of their way to give us the help we need.

Tap into the power of your network & their networks to get the help you require.

Examples could be:
- help getting new customers.
- help to find a solution to a problem.
- help from staff.

Get help!

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Compliments guaranteed!

Following Saturday's post about guarantees I saw this poster guaranteeing compliments.

It states that if you don't receive a compliment or if you're not happy with your new glasses you get your money back.

Now that's a solid guarantee.

It's hard to see any risk to buying glasses here.

Do your customers feel the same way about their purchase from you?

Monday, May 28, 2007

A great All Black - Richie McCaw

I was told that Richie does 2 things during a rugby game:

  1. 1. Get the ball

  2. 2. Get the ball further up the field
It's this simple focus that enables him to win games by doing the simple stuff really well.

We often get told to "eat the elephant one bite at a time", but we sometimes try & do too much at once.

How can you focus on the 1 or 2 important things that will enable you to "win your game"?

Sunday, May 27, 2007

Attention seeker

Today I saw a flag advertising Mercury outboard motors.

Now this isn't the sort of item I would go looking for, so why did it grab my attention?

It was flying upside down!

It's funny how a mistake can turn into an attention grabber.

Is there something you could do that's a little different to grab your customers attention?

Saturday, May 26, 2007

Can you guarantee it?

When you provide a guarantee to your clients, spell it out so that they can fully understand what it is you do and how you do it, providing them with piece of mind.

It also provides a useful sales track they can use when they refer you to their friends and family.

Examples could be:
  • Our 5 star service guarantee is ...
  • We guarantee your complete satisfaction ...
  • We guarantee you will be happier ...
  • Our guarantee will give you piece of mind.
  • Honesty guaranteed.
You may want to offer a money back guarantee, or a total satisfaction guarantee.

If someone claims under your guarantee, make sure you live up to your part of the bargain.

If you do a good job, I guarantee they will tell people about it and you'll get more business!

Friday, May 25, 2007

Got a theme?

It can be difficult to maintain momentum in sales, so try adding some interest by developing daily, weekly, monthly or quarterly themes for your customers or prospects.

The theme could be:
  • a product line
  • a particular type of transaction
  • focus on a new customer demographic
  • fixing a common customer complaint
  • achieving a short term target
The list is only limited by your imagination.

Themes create energy and focus, enabling you to be much more effective in a particular area.

What's your current theme?

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Are you smart enough?

Do you know where your customers come from?

The Internet is truly a global community, however I sometimes get irrelevant offers.

If you are going to target offers to certain customers, get the information so you only target those customers.

I got all excited last night when I was contacted by my favourite golf ball manufacturer with a chance to win some new balls. I read the information, clicked to enter only to find out I wasn't located in the right part of the globe.

The feeling of hope & excitement was replaced with disappointment and disillusionment. I'm sure you wouldn't want your customers to feel this way - so make sure you respect your customers and target your offers appropriately.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

You just killed the relationship!

It was a brief relationship. 5 minutes at the most.

We met each other, exchanged names, conversed pleasantly and did some business - then you killed the moment.

After telling you my name was Tony - you called me Anthony.
You might as well call me 7568920 (or whatever my Sky account number is), because you've now told me I'm just a number on your computer screen to you by not using the name I like.

If you care about your customer then display it with your actions and call them by their name!
You could even go a step further & record it for future use.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

What motivates you?

Is it money?

Is it status?

Is it time with the family?

Knowing what motivates me changed the way I approach new things. For me, I'm motivated by knowing the Big Picture. Sell me on the Big Picture & I'm off. Miss this step & I won't be on board.

Now I go looking for the Big Picture. My boss knows this about me & uses the information to get me on board.

If you don't know what motivates you find out. There are tests (some on-line) that will guide you. It's best not to assume that you know what motivates you either as this may distract you from your true motivators.

Now go & get motivated!

Monday, May 21, 2007


One of the most useful skills I learnt from completing my recent post-graduate diploma, was the skill of reflection.

What worked?


What could be better?

What could be different?

How would I do it better next time?

I now use reflection to improve my work & personal life.
It's using the benefit of hindsight to improve the ability of foresight.

Sunday, May 20, 2007

Part 2 - Managing referrals

So you want to manage your referrals but not sure where to start?

The first most important stage is gathering and storing your customers information. Keep it as brief as you can, but make sure you get their name, contact details and what they bought (and when). This enables you to manage the loyalty programme, help with their guarantee and contact them about other products or services they might also be interested in.

Make sure you comply with Privacy Act legislation.

But don't just expect to get the information for nothing - give them something in return.

For instance you could say "We offer customers who join the free loyalty programme an additional guarantee of ....".

You could then add: "If you are happy with your purchase/ my service, all I ask is that you tell your friends and family. If they buy from me, they will receive ... and I will send you ... to say thanks. Just tell them to mention your name ."

Look after your loyal customers and they will look after you.

Saturday, May 19, 2007

Accidental referral

It is surprising how many businesses don't manage referrals and yet entire companies are created through referral networks.

Recently a friend spoke positively about his new dehumidifier and how well it worked.

When I woke up the next morning to wet windowsills I remembered what he had said and figured I needed to get one. Sure enough, I got the same make that he got (just from a different store).

Wouldn't it have been easy for the business that sold it to him to put a referral programme in place? That way they could've got my business and rewarded my friends loyalty, encouraging him to share his positive experience with others that he knows.

It is amazingly cost effective to manage client loyalty, and the benefits of having raving fans sending new customers your way is extremely profitable.

Are you transacting with your customers or building a loyal fan base?

Friday, May 18, 2007

Winning big time!

I heard a presentation by Craig Lewis who helped the New Zealand Rugby League team achieve a huge sporting upset victory over Australia in 2005.

He asserted that the victory was not due to having the best players (technical execution) or the best coaching (tactical appreciation). It was using the Kaizen philosophy of continuous improvement to develop a winning campaign.

The team believed they were the most passionate, developing the dream, vision and values that would help them achieve their goal.

They centered their campaign around this passion - calling it the WOW factor!

They developed themes and images that supported the philosophy.

The team won't win every game, but reflecting and learning help them to continuously improve.

How can you use these principles to help you achieve your dreams?

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Lean & mean

I used to work for a company that wanted to get "lean & mean".

Unfortunately for its staff and customers it went from "lean & mean" to anorexic.

Often its easy for managers to increase the bottom line by decreasing expenses without understanding the consequences of their action.

Yes, watch expenses but don't starve your organisation of future success to save a few dollars today.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Fake it till you make it!

I've never across anybody who has succeeded in faking it until they've made it.

In my opinion it's much better to be honest and focus on your strengths while developing strategies to minimise any weaknesses.

Faking it may fool you and people around you in the short term, but not for long!

Be honest and develop a reputation of integrity.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007


There are some days when I can't be bothered making too many choices.

For instance, I would prefer someone to say: "Do you want to meet on Tuesday at 9, or Thursday at 3?", rather than "When shall we meet?".

Rather than limiting my choices, they are focusing my choices, making it easier to make a decision.

What can you do to help your customers make decisions?

Monday, May 14, 2007

Can I have your autograph please?

When I filled up for fuel and the attendant asked for my autograph, I felt pretty special - like a star!

If you need someones signature - make them feel like a star & ask for their autograph instead!

Sunday, May 13, 2007

Institute of Financial Advisers

Last Thursday the Wellington branch of the IFA held its annual financial and legal forum.

The theme was "Raising the bar"

The following are my bullet point notes. Please feel free to contact me if you want any points expanded.

Rt. Hon. Lianne Dalziel – Regulation
- KiwiSaver is aimed at those who can, but don’t save.
- Currently the industry associations have no teeth.
- Having a regulated environment is about Disclosure/ Competence / Accountability.
- Member of professional organisations are already well positioned.
- Public has low financial literacy (according to ANZ survey)

David Carrigan – Tax
- $50,000 overseas threshold is based on purchase price of investment.
- Overseas investment excludes PIE investments
- When threshold is reached, tax paid on total overseas investment.
- Quick sale tax is paid when investments bought & sold in same year.
- Top tax rate to remain 33% for managed funds.
- PIE stands for Portfolio Investor Entity.
- Lazy KiwiSavers will have 75% of their investment in fixed interest.

Karen Stevens – Risk Management
- Industry funded for policyholders.
- Traffic fines must be declared to your insurer every year.
- Website is
- Recommends full doctor notes to insurer with application.
- Advisers should sell advice, not just product.
- Over communicate & keep great records.

Kevin Armstrong – Investment
- Important to have a future looking view.

Rt. Hon. Winston Peters – Savings
- Kiwis are enslaved by debt to foreign investors.
- Immigrants are driving the property market

- Tweaking interest rates won’t curb demand.
- Credit card holders are being ripped off by huge interest rate charges.
- Hansel & Gretel were the only ones who ate their house.
- Compulsory super is the answer.
- We must export or die.

Adrian Orr – Economics
- Current pension amounts & entitlement age is sustainable.

Sir Brian Lochore – Leadership
- Great leaders are born great.
- All Blacks who had careers outside the game were 20% more effective.
- Great leaders are great motivators.
Check out my Blog on this session

Graham Rich – The industry
4 mega trends:

1. The reformation of regulation (local & global regulation & harmonisation)

2. The movements of markets (China & India’s growth)

3. The turbo charge of technology (delivering personalised solutions)

4. Retirement of “retirement” (focus on financial independence)

Disclaimer: This is my interpretation of the highlights from the speaker’s presentations and is not a complete transcript of the event.

Saturday, May 12, 2007

Life isn't a race

As I was racing around today, my son reminded me that life isn't a race to the finish line.

Sometimes I get caught up being busy and getting things done. But we're not Human Doings, we're Human Beings ...

... sometimes we just need to BE!

Remember to take some quiet time, and just be...

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Real leaders

Today I heard the All Black legend, Sir Brian Lochore, discuss the meaning of leadership.

Being a past All Black captain, involved in the team management and as a current selector, I consider him experienced to discuss this topic.

He stated that, in his opinion, leaders must also be motivators to be successful. In my opinion leaders must also have a strong vision about where they are going.

He also stated Great Leaders are born, not made. This sits uncomfortably with me. I have always believed that people evolve into great leaders.

What do you think? All comments are welcome.

Wednesday, May 9, 2007

Need ideas?

Open your eyes.

They're around you - everywhere.

I joined Toastmasters a number of years ago and one of the challenges I faced was being given a "Table topic". This is a random subject that I had to talk about for a given length of time.

I struggled to come up with stories until I started noticing things around me. Funny situations, newspaper clippings, things the kids did, my last game of golf, etc...

I would find ways of building these stories into my table topics & it worked well.

Now I think of Table Topics as my gym for the brain - keeping me on my game!

Tuesday, May 8, 2007

Engaging your customers

Flickr has just run a 24 hour event where people contribute their special photo taken on 5 May 2007.

23,181 people from around the world joined this group in an attempt to have their photo published in a book, celebrating a day in the life around the world.

Think about ways you can tap into the creative energy of your customers, using their skills to engage in your business. An example is a photo of your product being used in a certain setting. You could offer a prize and use the photo in future promotions.

Monday, May 7, 2007

Are you getting noticed?

It's hard work getting noticed with so many messages getting thrown at us every day.

Apparently we are exposed to 4,500 brands every single day.

Just sitting at my computer I ca see: Dell, HP, Sanyo, Seiko, Panasonic, Collins, Sky, Listerine, Vicks, Kodak, Shaeffer, Disney, Asteron, Dick Smith, Shell, Imation, Hoyts, Microsoft ... and that's just in half a metre - I probably need to clean up my desk too!

I received an e-mail today with the heading "Why I'm saying Thank You to you". I was keen to know what it was about (even if I knew it was probably spam).

If you can add intrigue and curiosity to your heading you are increasing the chance of it being read and your message being heard.

If you want to know more about copywriting, check out Sean's website:

Sunday, May 6, 2007

Selling the sizzle, not the steak

Sure it's a cliche but Kevin Roberts repackaged the message to telling stories rather than giving information (see previous blog below)

There is a model that can help us do this called Johari's window.

One of my clients mentioned this model to me after I shared my story about how I was affected when my sister-in-law passed away on my birthday when she was only 29.

When I think about the memorable speeches I have heard, they have generally been stories. David Brooks, a world champion toastmaster tells us to tell a story, then make a point. If they remember the story, then they remember the point.

Some people don't think they have good enough stories (like conquering Mt Everest or winning a gold medal). My response is you're probably not looking hard enough or capturing moments that can be used to illustrate points.

Look for your stories that illustrate the points you are wanting to make.

Saturday, May 5, 2007

Wednesday, May 2, 2007

Watch your language!

"Great day!" I said enthusiastically to a staff member coming back from a break as I was heading out to an appointment.

"Too good to be stuck inside" they grumbled.

"Don't then" I said. "I have to" was their reply.

I told them they actually didn't have to, they could choose to either go back, or stay outside. I explained they would have to deal with the consequences of not going back, but it was important that they knew they have a choice.

Whenever I hear myself say "I have to ..." I remind myself that I always have a choice.

Having choices creates empowerment over our lives!

Tuesday, May 1, 2007

In search of success?

There is no point aiming for success if you don't actually know what success means.

Most importantly - what it means to YOU.

Each of us will have a different measure of success. For one student it might be getting an A+, for another it might be passing, and another it might be getting out of bed after a big night out.

Money on its own is very rarely an accurate a measure of success.

Spend the time to work out what real success means to you. If it doesn't "feel" right, it probably isn't. Keep working on it until it "feels" right.

Not knowing what success looks like can be compared to going for a drive in the car without knowing what destination you are going to. You can still travel without actually going anywhere.

Once you work out where you want to go, then you can develop the plan to get there.