One of the main reasons a customer-vendor relationship can go sideways in a hurry is mis-aligned expectations set early on in the business relationship. Many companies have mission statements, brand promises, and mantras which seem to change way too often, but great companies stay the course and believe in their approaches. This is because they expend great amounts of time, energy, and resources planning to ensure they get it right, the first time. This starts with hearing the customer and listening to what the market is saying. This holds true, not only for the products they bring to the market, but also the approaches in which these products are brought to market and supported.
As a Huge Pittsburgh Steeler fan it pains me to write this but far and away Bill ”The Hoodie” Belichick is the greatest coach that has ever patrolled a sports sideline. He may even be one of the top strategist of all time. His approach, style and preparation should be reviewed by anyone in business. The tagline “Just Do Your Job” seems simple but when you peel it back it is very complex.
Do you use Netflix? If not, surely you know someone who does since they have 47 million subscribers in the US and 83 million subscribers worldwide. Last year, Netflix streamed 42.2 BILLION hours of content though AWS. Oh and by the way – they dominate internet traffic. In fact, last year they accounted for 36% of downstream internet traffic in North America. That’s more than YouTube, Facebook, iTunes and Hulu combined.
In every sales opportunity, no matter what industry you may be in, rapport and likeability is a must-have element if you want to make a sale. It's a simple fact; people buy from people they like. I have met so many talented sales people over the years and this plays directly into their success. If there was no charm, personality, rapport-building, or likeability as a part of their skill set, they never could reach The President's Club.
NOOOOOOOOOO!!! I have to do another annual employee review?! I would rather be hit in the head by a 95mph fastball while not wearing a helmet. Of course I’m exaggerating, a little, but I knew twenty-five years ago when I began my career as a Manager that I completely despised the traditional annual review for an employee. The traditional reviews are boring, time consuming, uncomfortable, designed for hierarchical environments, lack recognition, and have rigid goals that are set once at the beginning of the year.
Lincoln Nail, Castle Rental & Pawn, Northwest Arkansas
Lincoln Nail manages a multi-store operation in Northwest Arkansas. He appreciates being able to manage software settings for all of his stores through PawnMaster Ignite’s browser-based interface, allowing him to implement changes from one centralized location. Lincoln loves the ability to customize Ignite’s home screen, allowing him to place the menu items that he uses the most at the forefront, saving him time and streamlining his work flow.
As we continue to examine the power of the customer in a one-click market and how social media impacts business, the need to have the market validate the value you state you deliver, has become more important than ever before. Social proofing is no longer a phenomena it is a legitimate methodology and one any great company needs to embrace and master. What we now call social proofing, used to be mainly driven by endorsements. The big name athlete getting paid to talk about a product. As we all know the concept does drive people to the product but once the product was consumed no one really had the chance to hear about the end results.
We don’t see too many new vendors throwing their hats in the ring to service the pawn broking industry. Why is that? It seems lucrative, right? Pretty straight forward? The loan payment calculations seem easy enough... It's quite the contrary. As far as software goes, this is a very niche or vertical market. That is to say that this market is very finite in the number of possible customers and very specialized in terms of operation and calculations. Not only that, there are also specific requirements state by state when it comes to regulatory mandates, controlling the rates that are charged and how they are calculated over a period of time. In the nearly 30 years that I have catered to this industry, I've seen over a dozen decent sized software vendors come in with high hopes only to fade away—some slowly, years later, and some abruptly. With every new vendor I met while attending any state, regional or national trade show, I always made sure that I sincerely extended my handshake and wished them good luck in their new endeavor. I always followed my well wishes with, “It’s not easy."
Inside sales has grown leaps and bounds over the years. There are no longer sideways jokes about inside sales, or the telemarketing stigmas that used to accompany this model. Inside sales is serious business and provides great flexibility to a company’s ability to not only secure new business, but allows them to effectively maintain a base of business while maximizing their marketing spends. Buying behaviors have changed dramatically over the past decade; the information a buyer needs is just one click away. A sound, well-planned strategy of how to utilize an inside sales team can elevate and greatly impact a company’s efforts to grow their business, properly service their customers, and avoid attrition.
Let’s face it, I have said it once and I will say it again. We are in the people business. We talk a lot about our customers. We speak to understanding their needs, what motivates them and how we can best help them. The other side of the coin sees us all operating businesses and having to hire people to help the plan in place succeed. Over the years, I have known many entrepreneurs, VP of Human Resources and countless corporate hiring managers investing thousands of dollars into tools to help make this process more efficient and successful. These tools, in the own way, are effective but I will never discount instinct as a very powerful tool in this process.