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Archive for February 26, 2018

Data Rich, Insight Poor

Simplicity is about subtracting the obvious and adding the meaningful

Most companies would say they are data-driven. Do you agree? You gather as much data as possible in order to make strategically based decisions regarding marketing, branding, budget, and new product ideas. Because more data equals more insights, right? Not necessarily. Don’t waste time on the wrong numbers. To prevent a data overload, you’ll have to hone in on the 1% of data that actually matters.

 

Remove the Noise

Your first instinct may be to take every data point you can find and cram it into one page. Have you ever googled sales metrics finding articles like “100 sales metrics everyone should track.” How can you focus on what’s important with all of the unnecessary information? Keep it simple! To quote the designer John Maeda, “simplicity is about subtracting the obvious and adding the meaningful.”  Including data just because it exists will cause you to place emphasis on what may not benefit you.

 

How to Pick the Metrics that Matter

Look for the vital signs…just as in health care there are vitals that indicate the health of critical functions in the human body. One of your “vitals” might be monthly revenue. You should always track the pulse of your vitals in case they dip, but don’t expect them to give you actionable insights. Vitals alone will not give you a correct diagnosis.

Spend most of your time on the metrics that answer a business question, or are going to invoke a change in behavior (e.g. what types of deals should we focus on?). Reflect on which metrics drove productive conversations and which ones resulted in awkward silences, those can be scrapped.

Metrics come in Pairs.

It’s all about balance. You can measure the performance of a team with just two complementary metrics. For example, you could have one for quantity and one for quality. For a sales agent, it may be agent productivity versus customer satisfaction rating. To encourage the right behavior, pair the leads created number with win rate.

 

Get to Know your Clients Really Well

Jonah Disend is CEO and founder of Redscout, a branding and product development company with clients like Gatorade and Domino’s that he founded in his New York apartment in 2000. He describes traditional advertising as “yell about what we’re doing and hope someone is interested.”

His approach to brands—which he applied to Domino’s core product, its pizza, and to Gatorade when he helped launch the G series—is to ask “How do you behave differently, do different things, make different products or services?” “Then use marketing to amplify. Instead of trying to convince the consumers you’re different, actually be different. The marketing goes so much further.”

 

Insight is what really matters. And what is that exactly? Disend says, “If I tell you an insight you will feel it. Physiologically you will feel it. If it’s not an insight you won’t feel it.”

 

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When your Customers are Talking

It’s Time to Listen  

The single biggest complaint of customers is that salespeople talk too much and don’t listen enough. Poor salespeople dominate the talking, while successful salespeople dominate the listening.

 

It’s possible for you to talk too much, but it’s rarely possible to listen too much.

 

When salespeople are excellent listeners, prospects and customers feel comfortable and secure with them. They buy more readily and more often.

 

Why Salespeople Stop Listening

Salespeople have a lot to say because they’ve developed so much expertise. However, the fastest way to irritate a prospect is by talking too much and listening too little. Furthermore, salespeople have listened to the customer’s side so often, they can predict what the customer will say. Result: They learn less about customers’ changing needs than an effective listener would uncover.

 

Benefits of Good Listening

Listening builds trust. The best salespeople are concerned with customer needs and help them purchase products or services in a cost-effective way.

Listening lowers resistance. It reduces tension and defensiveness on the part of customers who realize they aren’t going to be pushed into making a purchase.

 

Listening is Not Hearing

Listening is different from hearing. Hearing is what people do when a bore starts talking. Listening is an active activity in which salespeople pay genuine attention to what customers or prospects say.

 

 

 

 

Here are some tips that help promote active listening:

  1. Show that you’re listening by giving short verbal feedback phrases like, “I see” or “Go on.” Nod your head. Use body language to show the customer you’re interested in what’s being said.
  2. Don’t interrupt. Ideally, the only time you should break up the customer’s conversation stream is if you need clarification on what’s being said.
  3. Avoid distractions. Focus your attention on the prospect or customer in a calm, relaxed atmosphere.
  4. Restate. This is repeating verbatim all or part of what a customer has said while placing emphasis on one part of it. The main purpose of restating is to get prospects to give more information and to let them know you are listening. Additional information can be the difference in making a sale or not.
  5. Ask pertinent questions.If you understand correctly, the customer will agree. If not, he or she will have a chance to clarify.
  6. Summarize. Active listening involves mentally summarizing points that have been made. Try to state these brief summaries at key moments in your presentations. Summarizing also lets you take charge of the direction of the conversation.
  7. Try to avoid arguing.A good listener is there to find out what the customer thinks and where she or he is coming from. If the customer wants to hear your opinion, he or she will ask. Otherwise, it’s a good idea to remain silent, especially if a customer is venting.
  8. Empathy is key. The way we do this is by mirroring one another’s behavior and language. Use the same words your customers do, in the way they use them, so they are assured you really understand their problems.
  9. Simplifying terms for self-service. If you want to help customers help themselves, don’t be fancy with the language. Drop the brand voice and mimic your customer’s approach.
  10. And the best advice of all…Remember the golden rule of listening. It’s possible to say too much. It’s rarely possible to listen too much.

 

 

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