This is an intervew with sales specialist Tanya Uherka -- with some tips for turning your customers into a ready-made SALES force.
Q: TELL ME ABOUT YOUR SALES CONSULTING SERVICES.
A: All of my services are geared toward helping the small-to medium-sized businesses move their business into a more PROFITABLE position. We help entrepreneurs develop a meaningful sales and marketing plans and provide coaching sessions to identify the steps needed to generate sales. We also provide OUTSOURCING of sales services. Staffing a sales force is an expensive venture -- not only is it expensive to recruit a qualified sales person, but it is also expensive to train the person and identify the success opportunity with each sales person. Our outsourcing provides a way for businesses to realize sales and leads immediately, without the expense of 'trying' to find the right salesperson. A target market LIST is assembled (based on information provided by the client) and calls are made to this market to identify leads and prospective clients.
Q: WHAT IS YOUR SALES PHILOSOPHY?
A: I feel that when I work with a client, it's the same as working on my own business. Their money is my money....their business dream becomes my goal...it's as if we are working as a TEAM to make their visions become reality. I think it becomes apparent when I work with my clients that I love what I do and that I care about the RESULTS. I think it should be the same with any business -- if you don't truly care about your customers, you can't serve them fully and they won't be around for long!
Q: HOW DO YOU HELP CLIENTS STAY IN TOUCH?
A: I work with my clients to AUTOMATE their client contact process (utilizing Act, Goldmine, Microsoft Outlook, etc). Everything they learn about a client is put into this database, along with follow-up opportunities. Lasting customer relationships are built by keeping the communication line open at all times. Continue to touch base with clients who may have used your service yesterday or has not called you in 6 months. Treat them all the same. Not only will this build customer LOYALTY, it will also help you identify other NEEDS your customers have -- which will provide opportunities for additional revenue streams for your business. This all equates to happy customers, more customers and more sales.
Q: HOW DO YOU BUILD A REFERRAL-BASED BUSINESS?
A: Start out by identifying all the characteristics of your IDEAL client. Then identify gate OPENERS -- other vendors that have the same 'ideal' client characteristics as your business. For example, a massage therapist's ideal client may also use services of a chiropractor -- thus a chiropractor could provide leads to a massage therapist.
Q: WHY ARE GATE OPENERS IMPORTANT?
A: They're the lifeline of your business! Contact as many gate openers as possible. Offer them an opportunity to try your service or product -- this solidifies their BELIEF in your product or service from a first-hand experience. Then maintain communication with these gate openers and provide them with referrals in return (if possible). If reciprocating is not possible, it is very important to communicate your APPRECIATION for the referrals they've sent you.
Q: WHAT DO YOU DO WITH A BAD REFERRAL?
A: If a referral source does not provide GOOD referrals -- i.e.: they don't match your ideal client characteristics -- communicate with the referral source to clarify what kinds of leads you are looking for. Be sure to handle all referrals in a PROFESSIONAL manner. If you cannot work with a referral, provide another option for the referral or contact your referral source and explain the situation. And be sure to call back ALL referrals. Even if you are not able to provide the service or product for some reason, it is very important that all referrals are handled carefully. This is the only way that people will continue referring business.
Q: HOW DO YOU SET UP A CLIENT RETENTION PROGRAM?
A: Since it's CHEAPER to keep a current client, rather than win a new one --- customer retention is so important!
Q: HOW CAN YOU BE REMEMBERED BY CUSTOMERS?
A: Treat your small customer as if they were your LARGEST customer. True, the marketing and entertainment dollars may not be allocated the same with all customers. But, it is important that your smallest customer feels they are your ONLY customer.
Q: ARE THERE ANY REFERRAL GOLDEN RULES?
A: It always goes back to the 'Golden Rule' -- Treat your clients as YOU would like to be treated.
Tanya Uherka is the founder of SOON Ventures, a business development consulting corporation that helps growing businesses optimize their financial and sales strategies for greater profitability. Tanya's unique blend of proven financial management and solid sales skills provides a fresh-and proven -- approach in the field.. You may contact Tanya at 770.673.0588 or visit her website at www.soonventures.com.
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