Tom Piscitelli's T.R.U.S.T.

Sales Byte®

Choices…not Options

For most people, the word “options” refers to things that can be added to what they have just decided to buy. In a buying context, when a sales person offers options, you know you are going to hear a sales pitch. The commissioned sales person will tell you why what you just bought is inadequate and that you need to add some things to get what you really want. The sales person may actually pressure you to “add-on for only a few pennies a day” or to “upgrade because you deserve it” and so on. It’s not uncommon to leave feeling like you were in an argument rather than being happy with your purchase.

Your business depends on creating lifetime clients. Each interaction is a validation of your client’s satisfaction with you and your company. A client relationship can take a long time to create and just minutes to lose. How you offer your products and services can enhance your client’s satisfaction with you, or detract from it.

The T.R.U.S.T.® Sales Process recommends Showing Choices based on Understanding your customer needs and wants. Creating those choices is an outcome of asking questions, listening, observing and measuring to find problems. Once problems are discovered, you ask permission to explain what “caused” the problem, what the “consequence” of that problem is, and then offer to explain what choices they have to “cure” the problem.

Think about this for a moment. You have positioned yourself as someone who will help and serve your customer. You will begin by engaging them in discovering what their problems are and what has caused those problems. Then, as an expert, you will offer to show them choices on how they can remedy those problems. When this is your mindset, and remember you're your mindset determines your behavior, your customer will see and know that you are on their side.

I like to compare this process to that of a consultant who is hired because, as an expert, they are trusted to find out not just what the problems are, but also what caused them. After all of the consultant’s due diligence is completed, then he will show the client all of the possible solutions, regardless of cost. Consultants serve their customers. Your customers are hoping for the same from you.

Once you have gained agreement from the customer that they have a problem they would like to solve, determining what choices to offer is easy:

• The “Best” Choice is the best possible solution without regard to money

• The “Good” Choice is the basic solution that is still better than what they have

• The “Better” Choice, the one in the middle, is typically the value sweet spot with the balance between what they receive and the cost for it.

When presenting, I encourage you to have an open book approach, showing all three choices, with the pricing, at the same time. There is a technique to this that I will cover in the next article. For now let’s agree that we have nothing to hide or be ashamed of and showing our pricing up front has integrity that will be appreciate by your customers.

More to come on this…for now, Good Selling.

- Tom

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Company Health Checkup

Mark Sims

We live and survive in an industry with some pretty strong ups and downs caused by many variables, both inside and outside our control.  As a result, it is imperative, so we can manage our company and not have it manage us, that we constantly monitor the health of the company.

Given this:

• What are the things you need to frequently pay attention to in order to help ensure your company is healthy and heading in the right direction?

• How can you generate the desired company report card as frequently as you would like to review the information?

General Company Health

Other than your MONTHLY Operating Statement and Balance Sheet, the best quick report card on the company’s health is Revenue Year-to-Date compared to the Previous Year-to-Date.  If possible this should be broken out by department or business segment as it makes sense for your business.

Add to this, a 12-month Revenue Trend, to show if you are trending up or down. This line will trend up and down during the year based on the seasonality of your market, unless your overall growth rate can overcome seasonality effects.

Service Department Health

A quick snapshot of your Service Business, to see if it is heading where you want it to go, needs to reflect more than just Revenue.  Tracking the Number of Calls and Value per Call Year-to-Date compared to last Year-to-Date is critical for resource planning and productivity measurement.  To get an accurate view of things, each Service Call, whether or not it is billable, warranty, or a preventative maintenance agreement commitment, should be closed with the appropriate assigned value so you can objectively evaluate the Value per Call.  To me, there is no such thing as a zero-dollar completed service call.  Someone or some department should be paying for it!  If your Service Techs are selling, then track Converted Estimates vs. Open Estimates and the Conversion Rate.

Maintenance Agreements are a critical part of any service business and your overall growth strategy, but need to be evaluated with a different set of criteria. It is critical to pay attention to the growth in Active Agreements and the minimization of Expired Agreements from year-to-year. Revenue alone does not paint the entire picture so that you can make necessary adjustment to your strategies and tactics.

Sales Department Productivity

In my article a few weeks ago, I covered the importance of and the need to track Sales Leads.  If you did not get a chance to read this, click here to view it on our Facebook page.  The key thing to pay attention with the Sales Department is the number of Sales Leads YTD compared to Last YTD.  The ultimate measurement of Sales Productivity is the Dollars Sold per Sales Lead.

How can you have this invaluable data available at the push of a button?

Unless you are using an integrated, seamless operating system like TRUST PRO online to help run your business, this can be a challenge. As long as you are tracking and logging the data, it is possible to have someone pull this data from multiple sources so you can have a company overview to help you manage… but it would not be easy and it would not happen at the push of a button. TRUST PRO online allows you to view this information anytime at just the push of a button from data that is accumulated seamlessly through normal day-to-day operational activity by your organization. To learn more about how you can make your company “unconsciously competent” for only around a dollar per day per user, click here to to to our website where you can click on any of the “Sign up for a free demo” banners. Or if you like, contact me directly at or 612-284-5024 ext. 100.

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