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Who are your number one customers? I’m talking about the fans. Those customers you love and they love you. These are the customers you want to clone and if you could, you’d have your laboratory up in running in a nano second.

One of the key tests of leadership is the handling of challenges and difficulties within the organization. Periods of turmoil raise the personal stress level and anxiety of all members. Particularly in periods of uncertainty, where there is a vacuum of leadership, followers will create their own story as a way of creating certainty. Too often the story differs from what the organizational leaders wish to communicate and in the absence of strong leadership, a story will be created.

I invite leaders to focus on three things during a difficult or challenging period:

It’s not always easy to recognize where and when changes are needed in our lives. We often don’t realize it because things change slowly and we adapt unknowingly. It begins with something small happening and because we are willing to be flexible, we adjust, adapt and continue on. As time passes by we’ve adjusted so many times that it’s hard to recognize how far we’ve moved away from who we really are and how much we’ve compromised.

An extension to good customer service is the effective use of the phone. With email, texting and other electronic means of communication, it’s a tool than many business entrepreneurs overlook. Every time you make a customer service PHONE call you set yourself up for more sales and future business.

Here are 7 tips and techniques on making a great telephone connection:

1.    SMILE  A smile can be heard in your voice. Smiling can increase your confidence and make you feel successful which in turn is transmitted over the phone to your client.

Even more than ever, especially in these economic times, connections and relationships are so important. No amount of cold calling, sales promotions, or advertising will equal the amount of business you will get from someone who knows you, trusts you and will recommend you to their customers.

It’s relationships that will get us through any tough time and it’s relationships that will make or break our businesses. Have you connected with your clients recently? Just to say hello and to remind them that you are still IN business?

The practice of selling an extra service or product to your current customer base is what cross-selling is all about.  Unfortunately, cross-selling is often associated with aggressive sales tactics. Who hasn’t been bombarded with communications trying to get you to buy more products or services? The result is that many small businesses don’t cross-sell, because it just doesn’t feel right. But it doesn’t have to be this way!