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Starbucks offers Crypto Coffee & a lesson in Customer Experience!

Soon customers will be able to pay for their Coffee using Bitcoin or a fraction of that, of-course. It’s official. Starbucks is teaming up with Microsoft and New York Stock Exchange to let customers pay using their bitcoins to buy the items in stores.

CNN Reported this hot news just now.

What it tells us is this: Brands like to give customers a great experience and some brands take the lead. Customer Experience is the new Currency. Not Bitcoin. Strange yet true.

CEOs, savvy ones, see the world through their customer’s eyes, says McKinsey. And they create great customer experience during the entire customer journey and not just at all touch points alone.

Today, companies are armed with data and insights from that data. Companies can change their processes to adapt to what Customers want. And they remove the pain points.

Customer Perception matters. Companies work on it to make it work for them.

Great Customer Experience means not having a single bad experience. Period.

I have always had great Customer Experience with a particular brand. Their attitude in customer service is phenomenal.

It’s a world where monopolies don’t exist anymore and customers wield a growing power in their hands.

Are you listening?

Offer Great Experience to your customers. No matter how small or big they are.

Happy Selling!!

#sales

sales@zignalytics.com

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Cabbage Roll, a packaged solution!

I love surprises at the Dining table. Who doesn’t? My wife treated me to something called as Cabbage Roll recently. Heard it for the first time in life.

Ingredients: Cabbage [Red or Green], Chickpeas [Channa dal], Garlic, Pepper, Tomato, Coriander leaves, Small Onions, Carrots, Walnuts, Cucumber seeds. Soak Chickpeas overnight, keep it for sprouting for over 8 hours. Take the sprouts, add Garlic and Pepper and grind it to a nice paste and keep it ready. Take a cabbage leaf, apply the chickpeas paste, stuff it with Tomato, Small Onions, Carrots. Break walnut into smaller pieces and  add it. Sprinkle Cucumber seeds and Coriander leaves and roll it. It is ready. You can add Pepper [crushed] if you wish, for taste.

No one likes to eat cabbage raw. [Though it is high in Anti-Oxidants and fights Free Radicals] Or for that matter raw chickpeas. When you package it nicely, it sells. Ah, it “sells”. Something that sells catches my attention. My mind starts working to understand what makes it tick. I explore its DNA then. So that I can clone it.

Here is the inference from this experience: If you package your solution well, it sells. If it is given in a form that is consumable [or bite size as they are called], it will be consumed. I can see lot of ideas mushrooming in your mind right now.

In my first job, during a road show for Desk Top Publishing [DTP] Solution at Cochin [in Kerala, India], I remember a customer walking in and asking for the solution. What’s strange in that, you may ask. But here’s what he asked, in Malayalam: “Kuppy evade?” In English: “Where’s the bottle?”. He is a hard core Printer and he was expecting the Solution in a bottle. 🙂

Happy Packaging!

Happy Selling!

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Einstein asked for a bigger Dustbin!

That was a time when he was deported out of Germany and got asylum in the US.

He was taken to a new research centre allocated to him in Princeton.

They asked him if he liked the research centre. Is there any facility that is missing, they asked. He told them that the dust bin kept there is too small and he needs a bigger one.

Why, they asked.

“I am not an expert to do all the research 100% right, the first time itself. I will make mistakes. Hence, the need for a bigger bin.”, he told them.

Making mistakes is the first step to success.

But psychologically, that puts lot of pressure on us and we tend not to do anything so that we can avoid making mistakes. How smart, right? No.

Every single thing we do in day to day life goes through a learning process. We don’t know how to flash a smart card in the local metro, the first time we travel. But eventually, we get it right.

Life does not come with user manual. We learn by trial and error.

Fortunately, when it comes to Business or Sales, there are some specific methodologies, tried and tested ones. But that does not guarantee success.

Making mistakes is common. What is uncommon is taking up a work knowing fully well that we will make mistakes initially. And persevering until getting it right.

Having the determination to get it right, come what may, will lead us to Success.

Happy Succeeding!

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“Pogo TV is visible even when the TV is off” says my friend!

May be because his kids are watching it all the time, it got etched on to the screen. Though my friend joked, it can be true as well. I have seen this happening in Windows desktop computers.

Even when the system is shut down and the monitor is off, you can see a dim windows screen. Really. No jokes.

It got burnt on the screen since it has been used all the time.

Now, how is this relevant to Sales?

We will come to that in a bit.

People ask – What do you want to be remembered for in life? It is applicable in Sales. We should work on this and get the message across. It should be crystal clear. This is part of the brand building exercise.

And then you have to become ubiquitous as well. Ubiquitous means something that is found everywhere. You cannot help but stamp on a Software Engineer’s foot if you go to a Mall in Bangalore. 🙂 They are found everywhere. Likewise, you and your brand should be found everywhere. Wherever the customer looks for what you sell – online, offline, sideline etc, you should be found.

In Sales, we take pains to understand customer requirements, problem statements, map customer organization, work on a great solution, offer right prices, beat competition but fail to ensure our presence at the place of action. We don’t show up as often as we should. We need to create some excuses to visit. We should get creative on this. They need to see us more often.

Now that brings us to the point I am trying to communicate with “Pogo TV”.

Is your face etched on the customers’ mind? It has to be. She needs to remember your face when she thinks of you. And she needs to think of you when she thinks of what you are selling. Make that connection. It should be effortless for her.

It is now time to show your face to your clients.

Happy Showing up!

Happy Selling!!

 

 

 

 

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Are you in the top of the mind recall?

What comes to your mind when you think of a particular category of Product or Service? That is called as the top of the mind recall. Brands slog it out in the market to achieve this. 50% of the sale is done already. The consumer has already made up her mind. To go with Amazon or Flipkart, for ex. And she is just searching for data to substantiate her thoughts.

We do this all the time. We prefer this to that. We have preset ideas & notions. Rarely we change them. I am not saying we are wrong. We are absolutely right in doing this. This is done based on our past experience with that brand. If it was good, our brain picks that data.

This is not just for the consumer brands. It holds good for anything. Whatever you are selling, it applies to that as well.

In my business, the customer values my expertise and consults me for advise. All knowledge based businesses – be it IT, Medical, Legal or Taxation & Audit, the customer trusts someone. That trust is built over time. Based on experiences gained with that brand.

Couple of things you can do to build your brand and make it top of the mind recall:

  1. Offer a free speech – on your area of expertise.
  2. Speak regularly in your Industry / Associations / Trade Circles etc.
  3. Write eBooks and offer them for free to clients.
  4. Organize regular meet ups on Saturdays at a local club and brand it with a name.
  5. Take up some social cause and solve it.

I know someone who is a Marketing legend and a very popular Author. He takes the pain to reply to each and every single comment he receives for his posts on his Website, LinkedIn, Facebook etc. That is rare. You don’t find such people. To me, he is top of the mind recall. So, what are you doing differently that makes you a rare breed and top of the mind recall?

Happy Branding!!

Happy Selling!!

#branding #topofthemindrecall

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What helped me win deals & what didn’t?

It has been a roller coaster ride for me in the school of entrepreneurship. Once you become an entrepreneur, nobody tells you what to do and what not to do. You are the boss. And the buck stops at your table.

Well, choosing to have a mentor is definitely a good option. Even if you don’t have mentors, you should have some friends as your sounding board.

When I dissect my years of Sales experience, I can confidently say what helped me win deals and what didn’t.

What helped me win deals?

  1. My expertise.
  2. Becoming well known for my expertise.
  3. Meeting the decision maker face to face.
  4. Having tons of credibility.
  5. Being friendly yet professional.
  6. Slogging to gain the “trusted adviser” position.
  7. Selling myself in the first place and not the product or service.
  8. Providing value.
  9. Not selling on price.
  10. Valuing the relationship more than the deal.

What didn’t help me?

  1. The opposites of the above list – Quoting low price, not providing enough value, focusing on the deal & not on building the relationship etc.
  2. When I didn’t have any energy.
  3. Not understanding customer requirements.
  4. Not validating the prospects.
  5. Rushing the sales process and getting to the proposal stage too fast.

And tons of learning in the process. Still learning.

What were your learning? Have you ever thought about your peak performance and what went in to get that result. There lies the secret.

Step no. 1: Dissect your past peak performance.

Step no. 2: Repeat it.

Step no. 3: Fine tune it.

Step no. 4: Go to step no. 1.

Happy Learning!

Happy Selling!!

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What inspires me?

Bold ideas, empowering people, democratising the opportunities for everyone, having no biases, making everyone achieve are some of the things that inspire me. Working against odds gives me the adrenaline rush and pumps blood into my nerves. What seems impossible suddenly becomes possible. When someone says “you can’t do it”, I am inspired. That’s when I actually start my work. 🙂

Inspiration is everywhere. We just have to look around. And keep our eyes and ears open.

Inspiration is what drives us. That’s what make us reach our goals.

Now, what do we do to set the rhythm, get inspired and start achieving our goals one by one. The following will help us stay on track and keep our focus. But we can and should improvise on this.

  1. Keeping good company. Our friends, network, professional contacts make us what we are and what we will be.
  2. Constant thinking of goals.
  3. Checking progress everyday.
  4. Writing down our goals.
  5. Breaking them into achievable tasks.
  6. Completing the tasks one by one.
  7. Visualising the results.
  8. Keeping ourselves extremely busy and tight scheduled.
  9. Keeping confidential info confidential.
  10. Having a positive outlook on everything.
  11. Not wasting a second of our time.
  12. Getting out of comfort zone.

Stay inspired!

Happy Selling!!

#inspiration #sales #successtips

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What tomorrow has in store for us?

A heavily planned week end packed with events, trips, that long pending breakfast outing that you had committed to your family, fixing up some broken things, playing with your kids, getting some sunlight, nature walk, shopping etc. Sounds too familiar, right?

There is nothing called as a perfect week end. It plays out and we play along. Just when it is Sunday night, we realise that we had missed to read that book that we bought long ago or meet that childhood friend.

Time flies so does the week end.

During the work week, the same happens. We attend to things that need our immediate attention. Also called as firefighting. 🙂 And postpone rest of the things.

We should find time to work on things that brings us happiness. When we are working on a new initiative we are super charged and our burn rate is low. We get more energy when we work on things that we love. Sounds strange but true.

Ideally, I love to work on the following things during my work week:

  1. Find new prospects.
  2. Understand problems faced by customers and solve them.
  3. Connect with people. Network.
  4. Create new content.
  5. Make it super easy for customers to deal with me.
  6. Always think of adding value in every single transaction with my customers.
  7. Create a repository of certain things that my customers will find use for. Call it Knowledge Repository.
  8. Learn new skills and apply them so that it is helpful to my customers.
  9. Create templates, worksheets, tools etc and give it to my customers so that their productivity is increased.
  10. Sign up more customers. What else can match the happiness that this brings?

How does your week end and the coming week look? Share your thoughts.

Happy weekend and a Great week ahead!!

#workweek #weekend

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Are you a great Storyteller?

The good news is: You can become a great storyteller even if you are not one currently. I will give you the framework & guidelines for the same.

  1. Have a unique style. And don’t imitate other storytellers.
  2. People like to hear interesting anecdotes. So, sprinkle some here and there.
  3. Let the story be original and true. No fiction.
  4. Pump it with loads of energy. Nobody likes to hear a story that sucks energy.
  5. Make your audience think, imagine, visualize. May your story cause them to think in terms of pictures.
  6. Add humour. People like jokes. They forget themselves when they laugh.
  7. Create a community.
  8. Give them a peek into your life, your difficulties, how you solved them. Show them that you are human just like them. Connect with them.
  9. Speak about what you see in everyday life.
  10. Do not have any theme. But have a message in every session or each story you narrate.
  11. Don’t get stuck to any ideals. That is utopia. It doesn’t sell.
  12. Be creative.
  13. Be bold.
  14. Don’t be shy. Even if you are shy, it is just fine. Most of us are shy. But that doesn’t have to stop us from becoming a great storyteller.
  15. There is something unique in the way you see, perceive and think. Speak about that. That will make a great story.
  16. Try connecting with the local events or the big news of the day or the season.
  17. Just be you.
  18. Engage the audience depending on whom you are addressing. In Sales, we call it target segment.
  19. Don’t reveal the climax too soon. Let your audience get ready for it,
  20. Deliver value, for sure. You need to do your homework on this.

Happy Storytelling!!

Happy Selling!!

#sales #storytelling #crm

Contact: sales at zignalytics.com

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Don’t feel shy to ask questions to your Prospects!

Prospecting is not researching about Prospects. It is nothing but validating if the Prospects are going to buy from you or not. Whether there is a product fit or not. It is about finding if it is worth spending that time with them. You can fight competition. But you cannot fight “no fit” or “no need” or “no funds” or all of them put together.

Some questions for you to ask them:

  1. What is your problem statement?
  2. How soon do you need to do this?
  3. Where is the money going to come from?
  4. What benefits will you derive if you do this?
  5. What bottlenecks do you foresee for this project?
  6. Who are the key stakeholders?
  7. Who are the people who are going to benefit from this?
  8. How will it affect your business?
  9. What will happen if you don’t do this?
  10. What are the attributes or qualities that is essential on the part of the vendor?

Happy Prospecting!!

Happy Selling!!

#Sales #CRM

Contact: kannan@zignalytics.com