Making Your Move: 5 Approaches That Will Ruin Your Chances with a Prospective Client (& What to Do About It)

Making Your Move: 5 Approaches That Will Ruin Your Chances with a Prospective Client (& What to Do About It)

by Cathleen Elise Rossiter

“If you respect the customer as a human being, and truly honor their right to be treated fairly and honestly, everything else is much easier” – Doug Smith –

 465352043As a consumer, I have seen a great many approaches to courting my business. In my thirty-two years in the field of Customer Service, I have seen a great many more. Most of these approaches leave me speechless – well, actually, once I pick my jaw up off the floor, they leave me in desperate need of a soapbox from which to expostulate.

Courting clients, like courting a sweetheart, is a delicate art – one that requires finesse and attention to detail. Above all courting clients requires respect. Let’s look at the five sales approaches that companies use most. These approaches top my list of the worst techniques to enticing clients to purchase your product or service for the simple reason that they are meant to provoke a quick sale with little regard for developing a true and lasting relationship with the buyer.

  1. Screaming and Excessive Hype (the marketing equivalent of a beat-down) – Think about your days in grammar school. Did you ever pay attention to the teachers who screamed at you or spent the class time pounding the information into your brain? By the end of class, your brain was suffering from an intellectual concussion, swelling beyond the confines of your skull, numb from the pain of the beating. You hated that class and the teacher who inflicted the suffering. As a business owner, what would make your potential clients feel any differently about you, or what you offer, if you approach the sale with this Old School Teaching mentality?
  2. Patronizing or Belittling those without your product or service – This tactic always reminds me of the bully who tries to make himself or herself look better or feel important by talking down to or making fun of those they deem vulnerable. To those with this mentality, work at making the vulnerable feel more so, thereby in acute need of the bully’s services. Again, the victim resents the bully, continually looking for ways to avoid him or her and get away as soon as possible. How loyal will any clients be to your company and product who are gained by being bullied into buying?

  3. Begging or Desperation – This one should be obvious yet I see far too many business owners resorting to this approach. Think of all the scenarios in which you encounter people begging something from you – a c0-worker for gas money/lunch money/a date, an irresponsible neighbor for another night of babysitting to go clubbing, a stranger on the street for a handout, a friend’s brother for a sympathy sale of the steak knives he peddles door-to-door. Unless you are Mother Theresa or Princess Diana, your instinctual response is to runaway as fast and as far as possible. Sometimes both parties are uncomfortable with the situation. Oftentimes only the person of whom the resources are requested is the one feeling awkward, cornered, trapped, helpless. Not only does this approach set skin to crawling, as a business owner, it eradicates all credibility and professionalism, labeling you and your company as incompetent and clueless.

  4. Taking – This one is particularly irksome to me, as a consumer and a business owner because it leaves me feeling used and abused. The most prevalent form of this approach is the misused automated e-mail and newsletter. I receive endless e-mails filled with sales pitches faintly disguised as friendly, personal notes to me intended to solve my problems (or in Office Speak, to add value to my life). The only thing these e-mails do is to w.a.s.t.e. m.y. t.i.m.e. period. If someone is bold enough to blatantly disrespect me by bloating my inbox with demands for me to “Buy Now” because “This Limited Time Offer” “Ends TONIGHT” so “Don’t (be a loser and) Miss Out”, I have no qualms about filtering these e-mails directly to the trash where they belong.  

  5. Elitism or Discounting/Dismissing/Judging a potential client by appearances – I am always reminded of the scene in the movie Pretty Woman where Julia Roberts’ character goes shopping, the classic example of what not to do. Watch the clip. It speaks for itself.

If you employ any of these tactics, you may be interested to know that:

  • 30 % of your business’ success lies in the success of your relationships with your clients.
  • It costs more than seven times as much to attract a new client than it does to keep a current client.
  • There is a significant difference in the lifetime value of your Average customers and your Above Average Customers. [This article will enlighten you. Make certain that you are sitting down, as I know you will be quite surprised.]

By relying on The Dreaded Five, as I like to call them, you literally are reaching into your corporate coffers and handing wads of cash to your competitors. If you want to eliminate the extra stress of having to slave away constantly for little return, you need to look at the client acquisition process differently. The best way I have found to do this is by mastering The 3 Cs of Superior Client Relations – Consciousness, Compassion, and Communication.

Taking note of the core element that each of The Dreaded Five have in common is the complete lack of respect for the potential client as a human being. People who are drawn to these approaches generally view their audience as Targets, Spend, Prospects – all impersonal terms, terms for things and theories.

Removing the person from the message is the same as trying to talk to a cement block. Cement blocks have no need of what you offer.

  • Rather than screaming sales messages at your audience, try starting a conversation with them and listening to what they say.
  • Rather than talking down to your audience as if they are morons or three-year-olds, try talking with them as respected members of the community, as adults with a different point of view.
  • Rather than begging anyone and everyone for business, try focusing on educating those who would most benefit from your product or service about the pieces of the puzzle that they are missing and what they are missing out on by not having these pieces.
  • Rather than constantly demanding something from your potential clients, try giving with not thought to what you will receive in return.

This month, take stock of your sales approaches. What type of relationship with your would-be clients are you setting up with these approaches? Are you creating relationships filled with apprehension and animosity that won’t last long, or are you initiating nurturing relationships that will last far into the future? The next time you make your move, if you approach it properly, you will be assured of a second look, a date with your ideal client, because your potential client will know that you are in it for the long haul.

 

2016 Copyright - Cathleen Elise

Power On

Teamwork in the office

Power On

By Cathleen E. Rossiter, PCS

 “It is not the strongest of the species that survives, or the most intelligent that survives. It is the one that is the most adaptable to change. ” ~Charles Darwin

 

Flash! Crack! Pop!

Darkness engulfs us. Silence, too, but for the pelting of rain and hail on the house and windows.

A neighbor’s tree has just split in two and taken out the power to the neighborhood as it fell on the power lines across the street, pulling the wires from her house in the process. A few of us neighbors gather in the storm to check on our neighbor and her ninety-nine year old mother. We assign ourselves various tasks of calling the town about the tree, the power company about the wires, and vacationing neighbors about windows left open and the severity of the storm. We also call our neighbor’s son a State Trooper, to make sure his Mum and grandmother have the help they need during this frightening time in the middle of the night. All the while, we take turns staying with our neighbor and bringing her updates as new developments occur.

Change is hard enough to deal with when one has time to see its approach and adjust. There is so much emotionally to come to terms with during times of change that often goes unnoticed under the best of circumstances. When change takes us by surprise and places us in a state of complete upheaval, we feel the lack of control and the effects of all our emotions on a highly magnified scale. Without someone to keep us grounded and to guide us through the change, we, like my neighbor in the storm, fall to pieces in some fashion, unable to think clearly and take the necessary steps to deal with the change.

Recently in New England, the news was full of accounts of a particular company in the throes of sudden upheaval after decades of rumblings from within the beast of an acrimonious family struggle for control of the business. In the early stages of this most recent installment of a public struggle, it was easy to see the ulterior motives of some of the participants in spite of the veils with which they covered these motives.

This brings me to the point of my comparing two seemingly dissimilar situations.  Change will happen. It’s inevitable. Whether it happens at its natural pace or thrusts itself upon us is irrelevant. How we handle the change matters. Whether our handling of it produces three-dimensional, positive results is determined by the motives involved in the change. Our motives may be pure or they may not be pure. The motives of the other parties involved in the change also may be pure or they may not be pure. Whatever goes into the change, will have an impact on the results. “Garbage in. Garbage out.” as the saying goes.

Conversely, if you put good stuff into the change, it will produce results that are good for everyone. Here are a few things to consider the next time you are facing change:

  • If you are the instrument of change, ask yourself what your motives are in instigating the change. Be honest or there is no point in reading any further. If your motives are self-centered, admit it. Then, decide what you are going to do next. You can continue on your original path, or you can decide to care about the people left in your wake by asking yourself if there is another way to get what you want while helping others in the process. In the corporate situation above, the motives behind the change were the best-kept secret everybody knew yet the offending parties would not acknowledge, thinking instead that they were hiding them. Mid-way through the ordeal, it reached the following point:

“Any reasonable person would begin to put into question whether or not this is going to happen, whether [the defendant] will be able to put this together,” said Richard Nicolazzo of the communications firm Nicolazzo & Associates, which has advised companies such as MetLife and Nortek in acquisition deals. “If past is prologue, I’m not optimistic. I think that this has been a situation where it’s no longer a rational or economic discussion. It’s about, ‘You’re not going to win at any cost,’ even if it means putting this company into some kind of reorganization.’”

  • Do not be shortsighted in your quest for big profits. My thirty-plus years in the corporate world have allowed me to witness well-planned change strategies that made the companies stronger on paper and at their core because the companies took into consideration all the aspects of what the changes would mean to everyone involved. I have also witnessed hastily made changes designed to boost the Bottom Line for the upcoming shareholders meeting that ultimately produced devastating results.

The advice that my grandfather gave me when buying my first car holds true for all of Life’s decisions:

“I you are pressured into buying the car without being allowed to step back and consider the deal from all angles, walk away because the deal’s no good. If it were good, it would stand on its own.”

  • If your goal is not simply to survive the change but to thrive throughout the change process, be certain to include solid change management practices into your strategy. By helping your employees to deal with the emotional aspects of change throughout each stage of the technical/physical change process, you will have a workforce fully able to support the change from beginning to end, becoming advocates as opposed to adversaries.

Copyright © 2014 – Cathleen E. Rossiter, PCS

All rights reserved. It is strictly prohibited to copy, redistribute, republish or modify any materials or software contained on the cerossiterpcs.com website or in subsequent support without the prior written consent of Cathleen E. Rossiter, PCS.

Sit. Stay. Fetch. Making Clients Beg for Treats

Dog in Meadow

Sit. Stay. Fetch. Making Clients Beg for Treats

By Cathleen E. Rossiter, PCS

“It is a truism to say that the dog is largely what his master makes of him: he can be savage and dangerous, untrustworthy, cringing and fearful; or he can be faithful and loyal, courageous and the best of companions and allies.” – Sir Ranulph Fiennes

The day finally arrived. You know, the one you wait for with the anticipation of Santa for December 26th. What is this most anticipated day?  It is the day I can finally claim my free birthday item. Yours might be from an accessories store, a hardware store, a local restaurant. Mine is from my beloved coffee shop and I had all I could do not to camp out overnight to make certain that I started my birthday off on the right foot.

As the line slalomed its polite yet frenetic way through the designated course to the counter, I double-checked the e-mail on my phone to be certain that I followed the instructions.

“Bring your registered card or mobile app to the store to redeem your reward”.

Registered card in hand? Check!

Balance on card? Low, but check!

Desired Birthday Coffee memorized and ready to order? Check!

Card handed to cashier? Check!

Imagine my surprise when the cashier requested further payment for my free Birthday Beverage. My card balance was now $0.00 and I was being charged for a gift my coffee shop said they gave me. When I asked the cashier about it, showing her the e-mail, she said that I should have told her beforehand, then moved me along and took the next person in line.

The e-mail informing me of the birthday gift made no mention of my need to inform the cashier. In fact, the e-mail implied that the only way to receive my gift was to use my card and that because my card was registered, all I had to do was present my card at the counter and everything would be taken care of. Eventually, I straightened it out and received my birthday gift, though not after having to jump through hoops and beg for my treat.

What started out as a nice surprise, turned into an ordeal that tainted my day and my relationship with a business I have been loyal to thus far. The next time you offer your clients a gift, keep the following things in mind:

  1. Be clear as to the details of your offer.
  2. Test and review your offer until you are certain that your message will be understood as intended.
  3. Train your staff thoroughly on the details of the offer/gift and empower them to correct misunderstandings as they happen.
  4. Make your offer/gift easy to redeem. The less your clients have to do to receive the gift you’re giving them, the happier they will be. To keep things in perspective, imagine how your family or best friend would react and feel if you made them do what you are making your clients do to receive a wedding present, birthday, or anniversary gift.

In the rush and the struggle to find new ways to reach out to your clients, thank them, and reward them for their loyalty, it is easy to lose sight of the basics enumerated above. Of course, there are also the technical aspects of sales tracking and other business considerations that have a say in the final offer and how you administer it. To create the most effective promotions, you need to find the right balance between your business needs or restrictions and treating your clients like the Human Beings they are. Remember, your clients are not dogs. Do not make them beg for treats. If you treat your clients well, they will reflect that treatment back to you and your company.

Copyright © 2014 – Cathleen E. Rossiter, PCS

All rights reserved. It is strictly prohibited to copy, redistribute, republish or modify any materials or software contained on the cerossiterpcs.com website or in subsequent support without the prior written consent of Cathleen E. Rossiter, PCS.

Feeble, Foolish, Wise, or Skillful

“Feeble, Foolish, Wise, or Skillful”

By Cathleen E. Rossiter, PCS

 

“The feeble tremble before opinion, the foolish defy it, the wise judge it, the skillful direct it.”

– Mme. Jeanne Roland –

 

Today’s issue of The Rossiter Report is simple and straightforward – a meditation for the week. Take this week and gauge your reactions to other’s opinions (clients’, coworkers’, everyone’s) in comparison to the quote above. Once you see where you stand, determine if there is some other place in the spectrum you would rather fit, then work towards that goal. If you seek, truly, to build a team that has a great, positive impact on your company,  your success in this endeavor will be directly related to where you fall, ultimately, in the line-up.

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Copyright © 2014 – Cathleen E. Rossiter, PCS

All rights reserved. It is strictly prohibited to copy, redistribute, republish or modify any materials or software contained on the cerossiterpcs.com website or in subsequent support without the prior written consent of Cathleen E. Rossiter, PCS.

Focus Friday – V2:N2 – Effective Relationship Development with Local Business Owners

Welcome to “Focus Friday”. You are here because you are looking to dramatically improve your Client Relationship skills and are looking for focus for the upcoming week.

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As we reflect upon the week just past, and look to the week ahead, focus on where your relationships stand with other business owners in your area (or other department heads, etc.). Are your dealings with them cordial, frigid, or warm and friendly?  REMEMBER: How you interact with your colleagues and compatriots has a tremendous effect on your ability to do your job and move forward in your business. Keeping your relationships well maintained will catapult you to the success you desire.

Until the next time, I send you all my best wishes.

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Copyright © 2013 – Cathleen E. Rossiter, PCS

All rights reserved. It is strictly prohibited to copy, redistribute, republish or modify any materials or software contained on the cerossiterpcs.com website or in subsequent support without the prior written consent of Cathleen E. Rossiter, PCS.