CELEBRATE the next ten years with ACTION!
Last week, in celebration of my first decade of writing my weekly column, I started to tell you the trends for the next ten years and ran out of room. Let me repeat the concept: This column will not be about how to make sales now, rather, it will be about how to make sales forever.
If you missed last week’s piece, go to www.gitomer.com, register if you’re a first time user, and enter the word CELEBRATE in the GitBit box.
At the end of each trend I have an ACTION. Take it.
Here are the rest of the trends you better be AHEAD.
5. Differentiate by something other than your price. If your customer perceives no difference between you and your competition then the sale will boil down to “How much it costs”. You must be able to create a perceived value differentiation so that your prospect or your customer knows that buying from you will not only create a relationship but that they can count on you to help them build their business and their profits. ACTION: Make a list of everything that is “Value different” between you and your fiercest competitor. You’re probably staring at a blank sheet of paper, so you may want to start by fixing that now instead of lowering your prices.
6. Partner for profit. Your customer does not want to buy your stuff, they want to make money. Your stuff may be part of making money but in order to ensure that they buy from you, you better be certain that you are helping them make a profit, not simply selling an item. ACTION: Make a list of five things that you could begin to offer your customers that would help them make more profit from the products or services that you provide. Arrange a conference with your top ten customers. Ask them where they need to profit the most over the next ten years. Combine your ideas with their needs.
7. Customer satisfaction is over, customer loyalty is all that matters. Customer “SAT” statistics are management’s empty cry of accomplishment. The only thing that matters in your business is: Will your customer do business with you again, and will they proactively refer someone else to do business with you? ACTION: Begin measuring your company’s success by the number of reorders you get from existing customers and begin documenting where your new business comes from. If 50% of your new business does not come from your existing customers’ referrals, something is drastically wrong.
8. Concentrate on your competitive advantage, not your competition. To sell more and serve better. Competitive advantage is defined as: Something your customer considers extremely important at which you excel. Read that again. If you have it and your competition does not have it and your customer doesn’t need it then who cares? ACTION: Discover the ten most important needs of your top ten customers and develop a world class expertise in each of those areas.
Okay. That’s the business side. Now let’s go a little deeper into the personal side. What trends do YOU need to follow in order to be perceived as leader and resource rather than salesperson and pest?
9. Personal branding. Salespeople are full of blame when they should be full of responsibility. Do you have your own personal website to serve your customers? Make your appointments? Communicate your ideas and answer questions? If you don’t, get it today. As a salesperson, you are responsible for your own fate and your own fortune. By investing in your own website (I recommend you use your own name.com) you will establish yourself as a person of value and a person dedicated to the service of others. ACTION: If your personal domain name is not taken, register it tonight. Go to my website, www.gitomer.com and click around until you find where to do this. While you’re at it, register your children’s name and hope that your competitor’s don’t have the same names and have already registered theirs. NOTE WELL: If you don’t have your own web site to communicate and serve your customers, you will lose to someone who does.
10. Ezine your way to their thought process and loyalty. Twenty-one weeks ago we began a free sales newsletter, “Sales Caffeine.” It is the single most powerful tool I have stumbled upon in the last ten years. I give sales tips, I answer questions, I have information from other experts, and I have quotes. In short, I’m providing an additional weekly dose of help to my customers and readers. Almost no one cancels and our list has grown by 25% in the first five months. ACTION: subscribe to my newsletter and see what I’m talking about. Then figure out a way to communicate “help” to each of your customers and prospects every week – forever. Make it so good that your competition hates your guts – forever.
It’s not over yet, baby. But this part of it is. Next week is the final (third) part of trends. Ten down and 4.5 to go. Stay tuned…
Free GitBit… Want two more powerful selling trends? Two trends in that will keep you ahead of the creepy competition. Want them? Sure you do. Just go to www.Gitomer.com, register if you’re a first time user, and enter the word TRENDS in the GitBit box.
Jeffrey Gitomer is the author of The Sales Bible, and Customer Satisfaction is Worthless, Customer Loyalty is Priceless. President of Charlotte-based Buy Gitomer, he gives seminars, runs annual sales meetings, and conducts internet training programs on selling and customer service at www.trainone.com. He can be reached at 704/333-1112 or e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org