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~ Allen L. Howard, CLU, General Manager, New York Life Insurance Company

Archive for the ‘Endless Referrals’ Category

Giving and REALLY Receiving!

Friday, December 16th, 2016

Bob Burg - Giving and REALLY ReceivingEarly on in The Go-Giver, Joe, upon realizing he would not land a desired account, referred them to one of his competitors who was in a better position to help them.

No, he didn’t want to do that, but he understood it was the right thing to do for the client.

This later came back to Joe in a big way.

Of course, it doesn’t always work out like that. After all, life is life. Then again, that’s not why you make that referral.

You do it because it’s in the best interest of the customer. That’s the only reason for doing so. And, that’s the only reason you need.

The definite result is that you feel good about doing what you feel was right. The very likely result is that the customer feels good about you, trusts you, and respects you. And, he or she is very likely to come back to you when you can help them.

It also might result in some serious referrals, as well. After all, a person can’t feel much safer referring someone they care about to a salesperson who has demonstrated that their ultimate objective is the client’s best interest.

John David Mann and I provided an example of this in Go-Givers Sell More, and we’ve both seen it and experienced it personally in our business careers.

So has Erin Bradley.

Erin is a mortgage lender based out of Winter Park, Colorado. She also wrote a fantastic little book titled, Pursuing Freedom in which she shares her methodology for growing her business through referrals.

At one point, Erin relates an incident where a prospective customer asked if she could help refinance her home. Unfortunately, Erin’s company was not able to assist her.

As she describes it:

“Rather than give her the bad news and leave it at that, I researched a few local banks and found one that could help her. Despite not having done the loan myself, she was grateful for the direction and began referring business my way. To this day, I can easily count more than 30 transactions over the past few years that came to me as a result…”

30 transactions!! Again, it doesn’t always work out like that. However, when your goal is to help the customer regardless of the outcome for yourself, the sale will occur directly much more often than not. And, even when it doesn’t, the seeds of goodwill you’ve planted will create that benevolent context for your success both short-term and long-term.

Yes, placing the other person’s interests first is actually the most profitable way of doing business.

Can you share a similar story? We’d love to hear it!

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Your Customer’s Tennis Ball

Tuesday, January 12th, 2016

Tom-Mosser-Unveiling-442x590My friend, branding authority, and Certified Go-Giver Speaker, Bill Ellis emailed me a great poster that showed a photo of some dogs — apparently at a museum for those of the canine persuasion — staring intently at a painting of a tennis ball.

Now, personally, I can’t imagine the fascination held by a tennis ball. Though, obviously the dogs feel differently. I’m sure tennis players do, as well.

I’m also thinking right now of many other things that hold absolutely no value for me personally but that my customers might find to be of exceptional value.

All this to say, if we want to help our prospective customer become our actual customer we must discover, not what works for us but what works for them. One of the biggest challenges in this regard is our natural human tendency to believe that what we hold to be of value, everyone else does as well.

Or as my friend, leadership authority, Dan Rockwell says:

“Never assume that what works for {us} works for others.”

So, what are the “tennis balls” for your customers (which, in case my metaphor isn’t totally and obnoxiously clear by this point, means whatever they hold to be of value)? 🙂

Can you make those tennis balls the thing, even if you are not Lassie… or Roger Federer?

Creating The Customer Experience…at The Ol’ Ballgame!

Tuesday, September 1st, 2015

Marlins Park SuiteA bad day at the ballpark is better than a…well, actually, I’m not sure there is such thing as a bad day at the ballpark. And at Marlins Park in Miami there isn’t even a bad seat.

You know what sounded terrific though: the idea of watching a game from the comfort and viewpoint of one of their suites behind home plate. Many of these are rented for the season by major companies in order to entertain their clients in this relaxed yet exciting sky-view setting. I don’t blame them.

So, while watching a game on TV and hearing announcers Rich Waltz and Tommy Hutton promote the availability of renting a suite for just one game I thought, WOW — what a fantastic experience that would be!

So about 20 of us (including friends, family, clients, and MasterMind partners) attended last Thursday night’s game where the “Fish” hosted the tough Pittsburgh Pirates.

This post, however, is not about the game itself but the experience that the Miami Marlins leadership team creates for their customers. First, every customer, whether seated in the bleachers or in the most prime boxes right behind the dugout, are treated wonderfully by the entire Marlins staff.

However, it also makes sense that for those renting a suite, there is incentive for the club to make the experience extra special. For example, the suite itself was a large room stocked with lots of delicious food and beverages and was continually being resupplied.

There was an attendant, Edwin, who took great care of us, had a fantastic attitude and made himself continually available. Oh, and halfway through two people came into the suite with a food cart from which they made fresh guacamole right in front of us. Yeah, baby! 🙂

She Really Made It Happen

Bob Burg with Lysandra Justiniano Sales ExecutiveTo me, though, the true star of the game was our Executive Salesperson, Lysandra Justiniano.

Lysandra did everything right that a salesperson does in creating the ultimate customer experience. To begin, she returned my initial call very quickly and very patiently helped me through everything renting the suite entailed.

Over the next month, whenever I had questions she returned my calls and emails promptly. As busy as I know she was she made me feel as though I was the only customer she had.

Isn’t that so important? And, we can all do that for our customers if we hold such a thing as a high value.

At one point she actually took time over the telephone to walk me through using the internal system in order to make emailing everyone’s tickets and other information much easier for me. Indeed, I’m not the most tech-savvy person and she truly went above-and-beyond…we’re talking some extreme patience.

Bob Burg at Marlins ParkThe night of the game she not only greeted me at the suite; she stopped in several more times to check on us, chatted with the guests, and brought by her boss, Director of Suites, Truscott Miller. After discovering that the Marlins Manager of Corporate Engagement, Tommy Knapp and I knew each other from some past South Florida events, she took him upstairs to visit, as well.

All of this; from the first call, the extra work, and the actual game, took hustle, caring, and effort on Lysandra’s part. And, while again, it felt like it was just for us, she’s doing the same for all her customers. And, she does this at every single home game.

People such as Lysandra who focus on giving value like this at every touchpoint create great customer experiences. They bring customers back, and elicit lots of referrals along the way. Sort of like this one.

By the way, my Miami Marlins lost that night. Though, really, it didn’t even matter.

Okay, it did a little.

But, even Lysandra can only do so much! 😉

The Value (And The Sale)…Was In The Solution

Tuesday, August 25th, 2015

roofMy friend, Ilene, related to me a fantastic story on how a roofer helped her own a new roof for her home.

Earlier this year a powerful hailstorm greatly damaged the roof of Ilene’s home as well as that of many others in her community.

This was followed shortly by a number of roofers knocking on doors and offering to repair and replace roofs.

Ilene and her husband, Alan, had held off doing so until the above-mentioned hero of our story told them that the chances were excellent that if there was damage on more than 25 percent of their roof, their insurance company would need to foot the bill.

Surprised, they did some research and found out this was indeed true. They then called their insurance company.

When the insurance adjuster visited them, he explained that because the roof was ten years old they would need to take that into consideration and he would get back to them.

He did, and told them that the company would absolutely cover it. Ilene and Alan soon afterwards received a check for the full amount of the new roof.

Guess who got the sale?

Yep!

Why? Because he was the most skilled roofer of all of them who’d called?

He might or might not have been. Regardless, that’s certainly not why the sale was his.

It’s because he was the only one that, rather than simply selling his services, found a solution to the problem his prospective customers had.

Selling: discovering what a person wants, needs, or desires…and helping them to get it.

Yep…that’s really what it is!

The Immense Importance of Follow-Up

Sunday, May 3rd, 2015

follow-upRecently I was a guest along with leadership authority, Jon Gordon on an EntreLeadership® Podcast. The host, Ken Coleman first briefly chatted with InfusionSoft CEO & Co-Founder, Clate Mask, asking why he believes follow-up is so critical to the sales process.

Paraphrasing just a bit here, Clate replied:

“People buy when they’re ready to buy, not when the salesperson is ready to sell. It’s all timing. So, if we’re not staying in front of the prospect in a polite, educational, friendly way; if we’re not there when the prospect is ready to buy, we’re not going to be there for the sale. We can either be there when they’re ready to buy or leave it to chance.”

I certainly agree with that. Follow-up — or, as I like to call it, follow-through — is often the difference-maker because it respects the buying cycle of the customer.

“But” one might ask, “what if the product you sell typically sells in one appointment?”

That’s fine. So, where might follow-through come into play?

Perhaps it was the follow-through that allowed you to set that appointment in the first place. They weren’t ready to meet with you until their need or desire for whatever you sell was strong enough. And, even after the sale, keeping in touch on a consistent, value-based manner is what keeps you on your customer’s mind for referrals and introductions.

So, however you choose to follow up, be sure it is a regular part of your business model. As Clate says, so often it really does come down to timing…the customer’s timing!

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