The right way to grow your business

Recently, I wrote about the sleazy sales techniques employed by the sales team at our timeshare resort. My husband is in sales and marketing and is always watching and critiquing other strategies and styles to see if there are things that he can use to improve his job performance.

There are seven sales tips that he took from these interactions and they are as follows:

(1) Be genuine – The designer suit, huge Rolex watch, and aroma of cologne that can be sensed from the other side of town are renowned traits of sleazy salesmen.

(2) Be respectful of other’s time -The time available for you to get your message across to your prospects is limited and this is even tighter if you are working with a family who have young children. This was the case with our family at our recent timeshare presentation. There were clear signs that the salesman had to get a move on including a screaming baby, a 2 year old who couldn’t sit still any longer and my husband who repeatedly said “you will need to get a move on please as the boys can’t last much longer”. All of these signs were ignored and the only person the salesman was interested in was himself.

(3) Be in a business that you are passionate about – The two people that we spoke to were clearly working from a script and there was no originality to the content of their presentations. There was no passion for the position and you could tell that this was purely a job for both men. Their scripted style did not allow for interruptions by children, or changes based on their clients’ personalities.  A passion for your work allows for more off the cuff conversation and makes room for personalized techniques.

(4) Provide value to your potential customers – We spent approximately  75 minutes in the sales office and at the end of things we hadn’t learned anything new. The topic that we were told the talk was going to be about hadn’t even been discussed with our sales representative. An event that we thought would be very helpful and allow us to make more of our investment in the timeshare, ended up costing us 75 minutes of our vacation. However, it did provide us with some great material for these blogs!

(5) Be honest – Over-promising and under-delivering is a frequent event in the sales world. The salesman will do whatever he can to get the customer in the door, and then the poor operations team are left to pick up the pieces. Let your prospective customer know what you can and can’t do, but be sure to help them find the solutions that they are searching for. Lies and deceit can only get you so far before things start collapsing on you, and at this point it is very difficult to recover.

(6) Don’t over do it – Just because someone doesn’t buy your product or services, doesn’t mean that they won’t recommend  you to their friends and family. It might just be the wrong time for them right now, but this won’t stop them from telling people about you if they see value. If we had been treated correctly at our sales presentation, I would have been more than happy to make referrals. However, due to the miserable experience that we suffered, the only thing that we will be doing is telling people NOT to look into this company.

(7) Relax – Make it a two way conversation, not just you feeding information to your customers. You might have the best product in town, but if it doesn’t mean anything to the consumer, you are just wasting your breath and everyone’s time. Your family passes to the local amusement park might be the best for value in town, but if the person sat opposite you doesn’t have children, the chances of success are fairly slim. Find out more about the person you are conversing with and see if your product can help solve a problem that they are currently experiencing. My advice here is to act in a similar manner to my 2 year old son. Ask question  after question until you get the information that you need to present your business.

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Sales is a very difficult position to succeed in, especially if you are on 100% commission and under extreme pressure from your superiors. When possible, follow the 7 steps above and you will hopefully experience more success and enjoyment.

Check out this link for some more tips!

 

 

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Working for a family company

Between the two of us, my husband and I have worked for six family-owned/operated companies. We have had a mixed bag of experiences, from very, very bad to very, very good.  It takes a special person to run a family business; the person who can do this successfully has to be adept at distinguishing between business and family; they must feel strongly that nepotism will not help their business grow; family business owners must take their company and all employees seriously, as well as treat everyone equally, for better or for worse.  Finally, running a small, family-owned business allows for some freedom and flexibility, and it is always nice when an owner uses that flexibility to allow their employees to put their health and families first.

As I mentioned above, my husband and I have both had very negative experiences working for family companies in the past.  Both of us have worked for owners who place their inexperienced and under-qualified children in important places.  We have both worked for owners who play favorites at the expense of their company’s well-being.  We have both worked for people who have no business running a company, yet they do and they are making their employees’ lives miserable, day after day.  There were many days at my husband’s old job that he would express a desire to work for a large corporate firm, as then he would know that things were being done by the book.  Additionally, he would not be asked to call his 32 year old co-worker every morning to make sure he was awake and would get in to work on time (that actually happened).

On the other hand, we have both worked for amazing family-owned businesses, including those owned by our parents!  We had the opportunity to watch our parents run a business, treat employees with respect and not give their children handouts.  We learned from them the correct way a family-owned business should operate and have used that knowledge to find our ways into a company that shares similar values.

Royal Services is a family-owned and run business.  Unlike our past experiences, this company is organized, professional and fair.  Royal remembers the important things in life, such as family and health, and their compassion causes their employees to work harder and do their very best every day.  They are not a huge company, but they are large enough to create work for people all over the country.  They treat their employees and contractors with the utmost respect, and while it might be easy to pass work off to the many people working for them, they are the first ones there in the morning and last ones who leave at night.

Next time you are looking for a new company to work for or do business with, keep in mind the dynamic at the workplace.  Is it a small, family-run company?  That can be a huge positive!  But make sure your next question is whether or not they treat their employees with respect and fairness, as these are the kinds of companies that will last.

Nickel and diming

I love fall.  I love everything about fall.  I love the changing temperatures, the changing colors; I love going to wineries and and I love apple cider.  I love pumpkins, and pumpkin flavors (to an extent)!  Should I go on?  Ok, I will.  I love carving pumpkins and watching “It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown.”  When I was a kid, we had a scarecrow making party at our house each year – I plan to reinstate that with my boys!  I love having people over on Halloween for mulled wine and Halloween snacks.  I love wearing flannel shirts and leggings and boots.  And I love going to the pumpkin patch!!

This year, we had the pleasure of attending a family fun day at a new pumpkin patch in our area, hosted by our wonderful realtor Megan Irvine.  We tried to go to this pumpkin patch last year on Halloween, but unfortunately it was too muddy, so we sadly had to spend all our time at the adjoining winery.

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However, while the adults were pleased with this turn of events, we did have two toddlers all dressed up in their Charlie Brown and Lucy costumes ready to pick out pumpkins, so the kind owner of the patch/winery brought a few pumpkins over to choose from.  That act of kindness plus the added bonus of a winery visit made us so excited to return again this year, and we were not disappointed.  KC Pumpkin Patch is not just pumpkins – KC Pumpkin Patch has slides; it has miniature zip lines; there is a giant bounce pad; a haunted house; a maize maze; a little store with yummy treats and fall decorations, and a ton of places for kids of all ages to put their faces and pretend to be fun characters.

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One of the greatest and most surprising aspects of this pumpkin patch is when you walk in the door, you pay one fee, then most everything else there is included!  When we saw the giant bounce pad (it looked like so much fun, many parents asked if they could play but sadly, we were not allowed), I just assumed that there would be a nominal fee to play.  But there wasn’t – nor was there any fee for the slides or zip lines, the maize maze was included and so were the tractor and train rides!  We become so accustomed to paying $2 here, $.50 there that we almost forget how much it can affect our wallets, and when the kids are giving you those sweet, puppy-dog eyes, it’s pretty hard to say no!  The pumpkin patch was giving out $2 off coupons for the winery as we left, so after a little arm twisting, we headed that way.  At the winery, there were also fun things for the kids to do which is a great touch!  We also had the pleasure of speaking with the owner, where we expressed our gratitude for the wonderful experience, and also commented about how much we appreciated the included activities.  He explained that when they set everything up, they really thought about it from the point of view of parents – they wanted to create a fun, family atmosphere that everyone could enjoy.  They certainly accomplished that goal!

Royal Services is similar in they way they handle their business.  They include as much as they possibly  can on the front end instead of using low prices to get people in the door and then hammering them with change orders and additional costs.  Just like the pumpkin patch, this up front approach ends up saving you money in the end, making for a stress-free and enjoyable experience that everyone can appreciate.