Daniel Tardy: License To Sell

Communication in the drive-through

Posted in Business, Selling by elephanthunters on June 9, 2010

picture of drive through speaker

The power of the guy with the headset

There are few things more affirming to me than the voice on the other end of the Starbucks drive-through speaker system.  When I place my order for a tall black eye, and the voice in the speaker repeats my order back to me, “that’s a tall black eye, coffee with 2 shots, right?”, all of the sudden I feel a sense of peace come over me.  I breathe a little easier knowing that they heard what I wanted, and that they’re in control.  I think this happens because our minds have been trained by poor drive-through service experiences to approach that speaker with a sense of trepidation.

I used to think I was the only one who dealt with this, but I’ve started to realize that almost everyone suffers from DTSAS (drive-through speaker abuse syndrome).  You can observe the symptoms of this condition by simply rolling down your window, and listening to the person in the car ahead of you placing their order.  You’ll notice someone suffering from this condition usually yells at the speaker the entire time they’re ordering.  They also talk slowly and over annunciate, often interjecting ‘did you get that!?’ every few seconds.

Here’s the quintessential expression used by DTSAS sufferers: “Can you read the whole thing back to me? I just want to make sure you got it”

Why do we do this?

We just told them what we wanted, and they process orders like this hundreds of times a day, right?  Why all the stress?  I think it’s because we crave validation.  It just takes one experience of asking headset guy to hold the pickles, and then biting into that juicy burger moments later, only to be struck with that undeniable vinegar ridden flavor to develop cynicism toward all drive-through speaker people on the planet.  Spending money is emotional, no matter how little the amount.  We want to feel good about our purchase; we want to be confident we’re getting what we paid for.  I love it when the guy with the headset just volunteers to read my order back to me.

What’s your validation process?

If our emotions go through this cycle in the drive-through, then how much more important is it for us to affirm our customers when they give us their money for OUR product or service?  I make sure each of our customers receive immediate confirmation of their purchase with a follow up email detailing the transaction, and an explanation of the next step so they can begin to shift their emotions from slightly nervous to extremely excited.  This is especially important when we’re selling tickets to an event – we have their money, but they don’t receive the product for several months.

I think validation is underrated.  We enjoy buying good products, but we want proof that we bought so we can start getting excited about it.  If the guy at the drive-through doesn’t read my order back to me, I’m not completely sure they won’t hand me an order for the car behind me.  When I ordered my iPad, I received an email update every 2 days regarding the status of my order – I loved it – and I told my friends about it every time I received an update.

If you have a product or service that ships later than the payment is processed, how do you validate your customers to keep them emotionally engaged in the transaction?


Follow up: Drive until the road dead ends

Posted in Selling by elephanthunters on March 2, 2010

In my experience, it’s 3 times as hard to get a new, warm prospect as it is to exhaust the potential of the one you already have.

Here’s my mantra: Follow up until the road dead ends.

Dead End = When we discover we are not dealing with a qualified prospect or they tell us to leave them alone.

Keep pushing…

  • If you send an email and get no reply, send another one.
  • If you leave a voice mail and they don’t call back, call again.
  • Send snail mail, post cards, smoke signals, whatever it takes to follow the road until it dead ends.

The Temptation

We often assume the road dead ends based on a trend of unanswered voicemails or emails.  We feel like we’re bugging them.  So what?  If we are, they can tell us to go away, and only at that point should we respectfully yield.  We have to get this notion out of our heads that we are bugging them.  We are SERVING them!

I want to attend Bill’s conference. He told me about it.  I liked what I heard.  I have the time and money. I asked him to email me something on it. He never did.  I lost his info.  He lost the sale.

Dead ends are OK

They are a reality.  BUT – many times what looks like a dead end is just a turn in the road with a sale waiting around the corner.  We don’t know the difference until we follow up.

Wow!  Check out these stats on follow up

48% of Sales People Never Follow Up With A Prospect
25% of Sales People Make A Second Contact and Stop
12% of Sales People Only Make Three Contacts and Stop
Only 10% of Sales People Make More Than Three Contacts
2% of Sales are made on First Contact
3% of Sales are made on Second Contact
5% of Sales are made on Third Contact
10% of Sales are made on Fourth Contact
80% of Sales are made on Fifth to Twelfth Contact

Can you relate?

How are you with follow up?  What holds you back when you know in your gut that you should try to connect just one more time?

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The top 3 reasons why follow up doesn’t work

Posted in Selling by elephanthunters on January 13, 2010

We’ve all met this guy:

Todd is a little confused about selling

I met him at one of our leadership events last fall, right before he blind sided me with an impromptu, overly passionate sales pitch about the software package his company produces.  Todd insisted that his software would be the perfect supplement to our event series, and that we should ‘meet up’ sometime to visit about it more.

I remember being cordially uninterested.  I asked Todd to email me something about his product, and I told him that if I saw a need to explore this endeavor some day, then I would certainly give him the chance to bid on the service.

I never got that email.

The call we all dread

What I did get, however, was a completely out of the blue call from Todd which, for all practical purposes, was a cold call.  I rarely take cold calls, but since I knew who this guy was (and in a certain sense he was also a client of mine) I told my assistant to put him through.

The call was a train wreck. At least it was from Todd’s vantage point, for me it was just a waste of time.  If this guy ever had a chance of getting our business he lost it all in a single impulsive call.  What should have been the next step in the sales process for him, ended up putting the nail in the coffin on any hopes he had of working with our company.

Follow up or pushy?

I knew the deal was over when Todd said these not-so-magic words:

“I’m calling to follow up on…”

I didn’t listen to anything he said for the next 3 minutes.  When he told me he was following up, my first thought was that he doesn’t even have my permission to follow up.  Secondly, what’s he following up about?  And didn’t I ask this guy to email me something?

“You’re not following up”, I thought.  “You’re calling to try to resell me your little thing that I already said I wasn’t interested in.  How fast can I get off this call without being a total jerk?”

This behavior is obnoxious, and will result in your call getting screened next time.

Could he have made the sell?

Maybe, but there were several critical components to this sell that Todd completely missed including the fact that he pitched a guy who he only met just moments before.

You must earn the right to be heard.  Just because you have an audience doesn’t mean you have credibility.

Todd probably has a great product…it may even be a fit for us, but we’ll never know.  The biggest problem area for most sales people has very little to do with the quality of their product or service.  It has everything to do with how they handle the follow up process.  Proper follow up will invariably determine whether or not we achieve success in selling.

Here are the top 3 reasons follow up fails:

  1. It isn’t follow up. Follow up by definition occurs after the prospect has had a chance to learn something about you, your product or your service.  If you haven’t had a previous discovery meeting, phone call or email exchange in which the prospect willingly received information, then you are still in the prospecting/pitching phase.  You don’t have anything to follow up on.
  2. Choosing the wrong communication medium. I asked Todd to send me an email about his product.  He chose to call instead.  Bad idea.  Your prospect gets to set the tone on their preferred medium.  If they ask you to call then don’t email them…pick up the phone!  If they text you, text them back.  If they tweet you, don’t write a response on their facebook wall.  Stick to their desired medium of communication until you ask if it’s OK to do something different.
  3. You don’t have permission. This is the big one.  I NEVER get off a discovery call without getting permission to follow up.  This is as simple as asking, “Would you mind if I follow up with you in a few days?”.  I even try to get specific on their preferred date, time and communication medium.  So when I send them an email today and then call Tuesday afternoon between 2 and 4 O’clock I don’t have call reluctance, and they don’t feel like I’m bothering them.  If I get permission to follow up, then anything less would be a disservice to them.

When we follow up well it is a service to our prospect and they will thank us for it.  When we make any one of these 3 mistakes, we  most often will loose the sell.

The fortune is in the follow up!

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