The Cheetah, The Koala or The Siberian Husky?
Ever walked into a Store and barely made it out with your limbs intact? It’s almost like the Salespeople there receive commissions based on the number of human organs they harvest each day.
A few days later you walk into a second store hoping for a better experience. And for the most part, it is. You even look in the mirror just make sure. And as sure as the spikes on the back of your pet Porcupine, your face has just been rewarded with its first clawless shopping experience in a while. But then you check your wallet and notice that nearly half of your dough is gone. Now, how did that happen?!
Then after spending several months in “Shopping rehab”, you finally muster up enough courage to take a chance on yet another store. This time it’s one that comes highly recommended by many of your friends, fiends and felines. And what an awesomely cute and cuddly experience that turned out to be.
For starters, you have no trouble finding the store because of its clear and professional signage that’s visible from a mile away. And their captivating marketing campaigns leave no space for ambiguously.
The parking area in itself is a red carpet treatment because there’s not a leaf or a dinosaur bone in sight. And you can skip all the Demolition Derby drama and find yourself a nice parking spot within minutes of driving in.
The minute you walk into the Store, you’re greeted with a hug, a flurry of licks across the face and a smile broad enough to eat a Banana sideways.
Furthermore, they greet you by your name and treat you like they were there at the Hospital when you were born.
The Store specializes in the products and service that you want. And they’re rarely out of stock. And in the unlikely chance that they are, they’ll make a few friendly/threatening phone calls to their suppliers and have what you need redelivered to the store or to your home with a complimentary basket of freshly baked cookies for the inconvenience caused.
In fact, the Employees here are more focused on helping you find a solution to your problem than in making a sale. And at the end of your shopping experience, you walk away feeling like you just robbed one of the biggest Banks in Town with full consent from the Bank Manager.
So what made the difference?
The first Store that you went to uses what I like to call the “Cheetah approach to selling”. It’s basically a very “in your face”, “give me your money or I’ll have you for Dinner” kind of approach to selling. They don’t care about you. They don’t care about your future Business. They don’t have a clue about what they’re selling. And for the most part, they can’t wait for you to leave so that they can get back to watching “The Muppets” on TV.
So, even if you do find what you need within the price range you had in mind, you’re far less likely to ever go there again because of the “experience” and the toll that it’s had on your Blood pressure.
Now the second store uses a very different approach. In many ways, they’re pretty much the complete opposite to the first store. They pride themselves in selling you the most unreliable products (of all genres) at the cheapest rates possible, all backed with the most unreliable and unavailable service in Town. In fact, if you’re walking in expecting to receive some kind of service here, you’ll need to show up with a plentiful supply of Eucalyptus and a bucket load of patience. And if you haven’t heard of their reputation before, you’ll end up buying something that you believe will be of some use at some point in your life, just because it’s cheap.
This is what I refer to as the “Koala approach to selling”. It’s a very mediocre, unspecialized and lazy approach to selling.
But the Store that you walked into last through numerous recommendations was energetic, elegant and exquisite right down to the threading of the floor carpet. There’s nothing secondhand or mediocre about this Store or the shopping experience. In fact, everything about it screams “value” and “service”. So this third category of salesmanship is what I like to the call the “Siberian Husky approach to selling”.
The Siberian Husky approach in a nutshell
1. Hire the best people in town – Hire the guys and the gals with the sparkliest personalities and the best work ethics. They need to be curious enough to voluntarily learn about the Company and her Business practices. And they need to be willing to go the extra 26.2188 miles to get the desired results every single time without the need for Tasers.
2. Incentivize your Staff – Hiring the best people only does so much if they’re not driven enough to show up to work in something other than their pajamas.
The best people need the best incentives going. That may mean paying them a considerable amount more in sales commissions and even recurring sales commissions when they apply. Cheesecake bribes just won’t cut it here.
3. Specialize – Specialists in any field get paid more because people have more faith in their capabilities as opposed to the Jack of all Trades who builds Airplanes and Lava lamps and prepares Gourmet dishes, all from the convenience of his/her basement.
4. Add a touch of elegance – If you’re going out to Dinner to somewhere exquisite to meet someone just as exquisite, you can’t settle for dressing exceptionally well from your waist up and looking like something the Cat dragged in for the rest. No, you have to look like a fine work of art from head to toe.
Likewise, if any area of your Business looks mediocre, second class or frightfully dismal it’s safe to assume that you won’t be breaking any sales records anytime soon.
5. Be unique – The guy or gal who “stands out” from the crowd gets all the attention in a good way or a bad way. The same applies in Business. If you’re just another “me too Business”, then there’s really nothing incentivizing your prospects into switching their Business over to you.
Being unique is not about being better. It’s about “thinking different” and coming up with a market advantage that no one else has tapped into as yet (and preferably something that also appeals to your prospects).
Think about the time when flying without seatbelts was considered the perfect substitute to Horror movies. And about the era where toasters carried the risk of overloading and toasting the whole house in the process. What changed all that is someone’s willingness to take the time to come up with a slight tweak to the “regular” formula. And that’s all it takes to shift the winds in your favor (and cause a hurricane of sales to blow your way).
6. Be awesome – Like the feeling of buying something knowing full well that you’ve got yourself a darn good product? Well, so does everyone. So, make a commitment to only sell the finest and the most reliable of products and services in the marketplace.
If you wouldn’t sell it to someone in your family that you don’t totally dislike, then don’t sell it at all.
Real Businesses are built on loyal customers. Half the battle of winning a customer’s loyalty is providing products and services that work just as well after they get home. And that continue to work without hiccups, burps and sneezes for a very long time.
7. Be exceptional – One of the easier ways of letting your prospects know that you have total faith in what you sell is through a Service Guarantee that really stands out.
For instance, if you’re providing a service that you know your customers will be totally delighted with, then why not let them test drive it for free for 30 days?
Or in the event of a physical product like a book, why not just charge them for the shipping and handling and let them have the book completely free of charge? If you give out the book for free, you can treat it as a “lead offer” whereby you can upsell them with something of much greater value with a freakishly humongous price tag somewhere down the line (but without causing them any severe brain damage).
The upsell that you’re planning to offer should be worth many times the free offer and it should also be worth far much more than what you would be willing to charge. Also, the offer should be so compelling that your buyers would be enticed into calling you up in the middle of the night, just to get in on that limited time/heavily discounted offer.
Now, if you’re selling something a tiny bit bigger (and expensive) that you couldn’t let them just “borrow” like a Private Jet, for instance, you should make a stronger emphasis on the extended guarantee you’re willing to offer instead.
8. Refrain from robbing yourself – Know your expenses and profits for the entire Company right down to the last glazed doughnut. Every product or service you sell must have individualized cost calculations associated with them. Every penny that comes in gets spent, gets swallowed by any Pets in the Building or does some kind of Houdini disappearing act should be transparent and on paper. Then you would need to check and double check those numbers to make sure that you haven’t made any mistakes anywhere. And when you’re darn sure that you haven’t, hand them over to a CPA to run through them again.
Too many Businesses are selling stuff by the bucket loads believing that they’re getting closer and closer each day to being able to afford their own cozy Planets. But in actuality, they’re selling at a loss due to a few costings they had failed to factor in. So every such unhealthy sale they make is basically digging a bigger hole in their financial pool as opposed to filling it.
9. Feed the Cash Cows and shoot the Dogs – Not literally, though. So you can put down your gun and stop giving that cute puppy a heart attack.
Cash cows are the real money makers that make you the most profit (maybe even the only profit). The Dogs basically empty the refrigerator at night, make a mess on the carpet and don’t bother paying their taxes. If a product or service makes 80% of your company’s net profit, then it’s only fair to allocate 80% or more of your resources into promoting it. Too many Businesses have this number backwards. They’re running on full throttle toward what they assume is the victory line, not realizing that it’s actually one ugly crevasse.
10. Follow the leader – Every crab tells their Kid to walk it straight and narrow. But they do a crummy job at doing the same themselves. You need to be the Kind of leader who leads by example, someone who knows where the Company is heading, someone who knows what needs to be done by whom and by when, someone who can inspire and motivate a workforce to break through walls to achieve their sales goals, someone who knows what to do when “sheet” happens and someone who’s badass enough be the last person standing (or sitting) after a fierce battle of musical chairs.
11. Device a winning Marketing Strategy – Having the right product at the right place at the right time is only as good as your prospects knowing that you’re there in the first place.
And that’s what Marketing helps you do. A good marketing strategy acts as the magnet that pulls in your Customers straight to the checkout counter with tons of store merchandise in hand. And all without them even realizing it. So, it basically does all the selling for you.
But if you’re on a tight budget, you might wanna start out with an online marketing campaign to get some eyeballs to your “professionally designed” and “high converting” website first. And then broaden your horizons into Newspapers, Radio, Television and even roadside banners on the moon.
Always model after what’s working for your competitors, to begin with (and without actually “photocopying” their ideas). Then launch out in nibble sized campaigns. That way you’re far less likely to experience any unexpected power outages, water cuts or foreclosures.
12. Slay the vampires (except for the Romantic ones) – Vampires have a very different definition of good customer care to ours. For them, it’s about getting what they want for roughly the price they want and then being given the opportunity to sample a few sips of blood off every member in your Salesforce. What’s worse is that for all that “inconvenience”, all they’ve bought from you is a toothpick and a fang sharpener.
So the question is, do you really want Vampires sucking up all of your Business and your energy? Or would you rather have your competitors deal with that drama and cause them to lose some profits at their end instead?
“Sweet customers make your Business Soar. Sour customers cause it to suffer.”- Isuru Epa