Archives for posts with tag: sales

For those of you interested in this level of detail, the linked article has great advice for business owners (especially smaller ones) looking to optimize their Google My Business listing(s).

Regards,

Rindge Leaphart

Any business today needs targeted visibility on Google. Most businesses know that this requires optimizing their website and Google Ads,…

Source: 13 Essential Google My Business Optimizations for 2020 – Business 2 Community

Maybe it is just me, but I am heartened to learn that LP sales (yes I said LP as in vinyl) have had another robust year in terms of sales.  It might just be time to go ahead and purchase another record player so I can listen to my vinyl (most of which has been digitized) once again.  With LP sales on the rise, I imagine that manufacturers of record players, record cleaning systems, needle manufacturers, etc are also doing well.  Enjoy the brief article and have a Great Thanksgiving…Gobble Gobble!

• Chart: Vinyl Comes Back From Near-Extinction | Statista.

Rindge Leaphart

http://www.linkedin.com/in/rindgeleaphart 

I’ll cut to the chase on this post.  Recruiting customer facing employees with the “Right Attitude” drives customer satisfaction and increased spend.  The genesis of this post is based on my grocery shopping experiences.  I frequent a number of grocery stores on a regular basis.  There are several, though, that I am going to comment on in this post.  I am always impressed when I interact with employees from the following grocery stores: Market Street, Whole Foods, and Central Market.  In my experience, these stores generally have higher prices and in some cases less selection than other grocery stores I frequent.  Even with higher prices and less selection of the foodstuffs that interest me, I continue to frequent these stores.  Why?  The employees.  When I interact with employees from these stores, I am always impressed with their customer facing skills.  The employees  exhibit a number of traits that I do not find in other grocery store employees.  These traits are as follow:

  • A positive attitude
  • Knowledge about the products in their store
  • Willingness to assist
  • Provide customer service with a smile

I have a recruited a number of employees in the past and while you can teach employees technical skills, I am not sure you can teach them the traits outlined above.  What I find interesting is that the majority of the employees I come across in said stores seem to all have the same type of positive attitude.  Hats off to the leaders of these stores for recruiting front line employees with the “right attitude”.  I suspect employee pay at these grocery stores is higher than at others.  If so, this is a great example of why paying more to recruit talented employees is worth it.  I am sure there are many other factors at play beyond salary.  Whatever they are, there is something to be learned from these companies and their recruiting policies.  People often talk about the great service provided by Nordstrom.  I believe employees at Central Market, Whole Foods, and Market Street are another example of how recruiting employees with the right attitude can positively impact financials.  Because of these employees, I gladly drive out of my way and spend more than I typically would on groceries.  I think the image I found below drives home the point.  Your thoughts?

 

Regards,

Rindge Leaphart

http://www.linkedin.com/in/rindgeleaphart
https://rindgeleaphart.wordpress.com/

and instead start talking with them.  When I make presentations I always remind myself (and others) not to talk to the crowd, but instead talk with them.  Engage them in the presentation and you might find yourself participating in a robust discussion instead of another ho-hum presentation.  I know, easier said than done.

The same holds true in interacting with your customers.  The more you talk with them, the more engaged they are,  and the more likely they will be to share your product / service with others.  I recently read a couple of books that prompted this post.  They are “Contagious” by Jonah Berger who teaches at Wharton and “Highly Recommended” by Paul Rand.  A quick side note, the book written by the professor (Berger) is well done and does not come across in a professorial manner.  Reads more like a general strategy book.  On the other hand, the non-professor’s book (Rand) definitely reads like a professorial tome.  Somewhat didactic in nature as well.  But I digress.  In general, both of these books are good and focus on the same end goal, which is how products and services catch on with the masses.  They are also both somewhat critical of Gladwell’s Tipping Point and I must admit more insightful.

I am not going to bore you with passages from each book, but focus on what I think is the most important aspect, which also happens to jibe with my experience.  There are clearly a number of offline and online methods (Berger and Rand do a good job of describing) that a company can use to facilitate customer interaction.  Whether you are soliciting ideas from customers or engaging them in contests of some sort, you may find yourself 2-3 steps ahead of the competition.  Many companies have facebook pages, twitter accounts, etc.  Many companies do a fine job of pushing information to customers via these channels, but how many provide a meaningful mechanism for feedback?  More importantly, how many provide a meaningful mechanism for interaction?  Take a step back from your day-to-day responsibilities and consider what activities you can influence so that your organization can better engage customers.  What things can you do to influence “word of mouth” about the product or service you provide? Advertising has been around for quite some time, but an endorsement from another customer (an engaged customer) is much more powerful than a paid advertisement.

So, Stop Talking to Your Customers…And Instead Start Talking With Them

 

Rindge Leaphart

http://www.linkedin.com/in/rindgeleaphart
https://rindgeleaphart.wordpress.com/

 

How does your organization develop the annual sales plan?  I’m always interested in how different companies develop their sales plan.  I’ve drawn up  a couple of simple charts below to illustrate how sales plans are sometimes developed.  The top down method is straightforward and  fairly easy to develop.  The problem with this method is that you don’t get true buy in at the divisional level.  I also believe that the probability of success (i.e., hitting the plan) is low.

On the other hand the bottoms up method is quite different. While I believe the bottoms up method delivers better results, it is much more time consuming to develop.  No pain, no gain?  With the bottoms up plan, much more useful information is developed and can be used across the organization.  Outputs include:

  • A detailed sales plan by product line and sales person.  With a detailed plan, that is developed by the sales person, you have much more buy in and accountability.  Of course you have to make sure the sales person develops a plan that is challenging.  There is always a concern that someone might turn in an artificially low plan.  One has to be vigilant with the bottoms up plan.  When developed in a robust and transparent manner, the bottoms up plan has much better chance of success.  In cases where the bottoms up plan does not match the corporate growth directive, the divisional GM will have solid data to support their plan.  In these cases, the GM can negotiate from a position of strength – a detailed bottoms up plan.
  • Detailed data by product line, which then can be used to drive both capacity planning and materials planning.  Don’t underestimate the importance of capacity planning.  With detailed data you have  the needed support to determine if you should add people, machines, warehouse space, etc.  From a material planning perspective, you now have data that will allow you to better negotiate terms and delivery schedules with your vendors.

I am a fan of the bottoms up plan.  What method do you prefer?  What method does your company use?

Rindge Leaphart

Sales Process