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Ah the ancient sales ritual of hemming and hawing (aka pissing and moaning) about the prospect who isn’t calling us back.

Unfortunately I’ve been there many times and it definitely isn’t fun, but I’m just curious

Why do we act so shocked and even offended when we don’t get the call back?

Are they bound by some “good manners” code of conduct whereby they must hear us out otherwise they defile the sanctity of everything good and holy?

Or better yet . . .

What makes us think we’re so special that they have us on the brain?

But it doesn’t stop there . . .

In some cases we just continue with the same, identical activity that got us the non response or better yet, we increase the frequency of the activity to the point of pissing off the prospect.

Or maybe we just continue to vent about it. That can be OK until it consumes us.

I’ve even seen sales people blog and tweet about specific people who aren’t giving them the courtesy of a call back. It always amazes me how people will treat social media as some private “dear diary” thing when in fact all this stuff is quite public and quite searchable.

And before I conclude this portion of my rant, I think this is particularly dumb considering that most prospects will google you and or pull up your Linkedin profile. Do you think it makes them feel warm and fuzzy seeing a blog post or Tweet that basically calls them an ass for not returning your call? Think dude!

So what’s an aspiring sales rock star to do?

1)    Stop with this call back entitlement crap. You knew damn well when you went into sales that this is part of the deal. Get over it and use that energy to get more strategic in your approach. Psst . . . your coworkers will thank you too!

2)    Take a good look at your messaging. Is your message compelling? How compelling? Compelling enough to stand out from the 40+ voice mails, 100 + emails they get each day? But it doesn’t end there dude . . . the average person is exposed to over 3,000 ads per day (Fast Company Magazine) That same person is interrupted 56 times per day according to Wendy Cole at Time Magazine. Are you compelling enough to pull an “Indiana Jones” through that crazy obstacle course?

3)    While you’re taking a look at your messaging . . . are you saying the same thing, every single time? Might want to rethink that. If I’m your prospect and I know that you say the same, identical thing each time, why would I expend the extra 10 seconds to hear the rest of your message? Been there, done that because you’ve conditioned me to move on.

4)    Take a good look at how you message them. Are you just leaving a message? Are you just emailing? What if that isn’t their preferred communication venue? And don’t kid yourself into thinking you are using a well thought out “sales mix” just because you call and email. What about snail mail? How about emailing through a social networking platform (there’s a higher open rate). How about something creative? How about using your network for an introduction? How about physically dropping something off?

5)    Cool down/heat up: This is one of the hardest things for us to do in sales. We seem to be more comfortable either deleting the contact after a few attempts or getting ultra competitive and going overkill on the amount of contacts within a short time period. Sometimes, you are much better off letting it cool down a bit, stepping back, rethinking your strategy and then heating it up again later. An added benefit to that approach is that you get to cool down a bit too and lose some of the “but they owe me a call back” thing.

Any who, if Call Back Entitlement Syndrome has shown its face to you, or someone you love . . . it might be time for you to do something more productive with that energy!

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Paul Castain is the Vice President of Sales Development for Consolidated Graphics where he oversees the training and development of 700 sales Jedis.

Prior to working for Consolidated Graphics. Paul was the Director Of Corporate Solutions Sales for Dale Carnegie & Associates and the owner of two successful businesses.

Over the last 27 years, Paul has trained and mentored over 3,000 sales professionals, written sales training content for several Fortune 500 companies and is the author of Castain’s Sales Playbook (which just won a Sales Pop award for best sales website).


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Click on the “about us” button on zappos.com and you’ll find a link to their Code Of Business Conduct & Ethics

To me, there is just so much we can learn from this.

Let’s start by having you take a good look at the 10 items that comprise what has really become more than a “code of conduct” . . . its become the Zappos Culture!

  1. Deliver WOW Through Service
  2. Embrace and Drive Change
  3. Create Fun and A Little Weirdness
  4. Be Adventurous, Creative, and Open-Minded
  5. Pursue Growth and Learning
  6. Build Open and Honest Relationships With Communication
  7. Build a Positive Team and Family Spirit
  8. Do More With Less
  9. Be Passionate and Determine
  10. Be Humble

A very impressive and yet simple list. In fact there’s your first 10 of the 15 lessons. Study their 10 and I believe you cover mucho bases!

And now, 5 more things for you to think about!

1)    Do you personally have a “code of conduct”? Might sound a tad formal to do so, but isn’t this a part of your brand? Homework: Create your own list of 10 things that you want to stand for, be known for, represent and be synonymous with. Can’t think of 10? Start with 5. Start with 3. The key word here is to “start”!

2)    Once you define these things, give thought to how you will demonstrate, better yet “live” them. Otherwise it’s nothing more just some useless words on a piece of paper!

3)    Business Leaders: Do you have something like this for your business? Do your employees know it inside out? This is how you create a kick ass company culture by the way!

Note: This is exactly the kind of stuff you should be talking about in your staff meetings. A conversation about how you will continue to deliver on your principles is far more productive than a review of all that mundane administrative crap that could have just been emailed (and later deleted)

4)    How about your customers? Do they know what you stand for? I’m thinking that publishing a core set of values not only keeps you highly accountable, it sets you apart. Actually, that’s not entirely true. When you publish them and actually live those principles . . .  now you really stand out!

5)    Leaders and Jedis: Once you have something like this in place, you must protect it. Someone once reminded me that as a leader, part of my job was to protect the culture. I respectfully (and partially) disagreed. I think a better approach is to create a culture that’s so strong,  people are willing to protect it in your absence. In that instance, you have created something that is much bigger than you or I. It becomes the sum total of like minded souls who are committed to the cause!

So there you have it. 15 very cool ideas that might just have a profound impact on your business!

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Paul Castain is the Vice President of Sales Development for Consolidated Graphics where he oversees the training and development of 700 sales Jedis.

Prior to working for Consolidated Graphics. Paul was the Director Of Corporate Solutions Sales for Dale Carnegie & Associates and the owner of two successful businesses.

Over the last 27 years, Paul has trained and mentored over 3,000 sales professionals, written sales training content for several Fortune 500 companies and is the author of Castain’s Sales Playbook (which just won a Sales Pop award for best sales website).


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Do you remember the old “If you always do, what you’ve always done, then you’ll always get, what you’ve always gotten” thing?

Well its Monday, a new day, in a new week  and maybe, just maybe, you can change it up a bit.

Here are a few suggestions

1)    Everyone has their own preferred venue when it comes to communication. So if some people prefer a phone call, others an email and others, social networking (and there’s still more than that by the way) then why would you just cling to the one that makes YOU most comfortable. Shouldn’t you embrace a well thought out and well diversified “Sales Mix”? Oh, and if all you do is continue to call someone who never takes your call, that might be your sign!

2)    Take a good look at how you have your contacts scheduled. If you have them as a recurring reminder in your crm as in every other Tuesday at 10:00 am. You are becoming predictable and conditioning your prospect to blow off your call. Change this up too while you’re at it.

3)    How about some creativity? If you do it well, it’s a great opportunity to stand out from the masses . . . especially the ones who “always do what they’ve always done”. What the heck, here’s a free E-Book with 35 ways to prospect more creatively.

4)    Take a Look At Your Messaging: When was the last time you reviewed what you say and/or write? FYI: Changing this up keeps you sounding fresh. The kind of fresh that people that comes through in your words. Might be contagious dude, you never know.

5)    Change your scenery! Changing your scenery does wonders for your creativity too because your mind gets stimulated in new ways.

6)    Look at your routine and consider a departure from some of your “rituals”. Someone once told me that as creatures of habits we tend to default back to the very first way we learned something (hence the large amounts of adults who say “bye bye”) Be mindful of your “rituals” this week and make sure they are truly serving you!

7)    Consider mentally firing yourself from your industry and rehiring yourself in your prospect’s/client’s industry. Think about all the things that would annoy the hell out of you if you were them. When you get done with that, think about opportunities that once realized, would make you look like a rock star if you were them!

8)    When was the last time you went to a client/prospect with 1 idea?

9)    How about 1 thing for YOU that you have been putting off? Never underestimate the power of being a little selfish my friend! I triple dog dare you to actually do this one!

10)  Here are 19 more ways for you to start your week differently packaged nicely in a free, handy dandy E-Book.

So here’s the deal gang, trust me when I tell you its going to seem like someone  pushed the fast forward button on your week as 5:00 Friday suddenly appears.

How cool would it be heading home this Friday, knowing that you not only gave it your best shot, you changed it up a bit?

All we can do is try folks . . . whaddya say?

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Paul Castain is the Vice President of Sales Development for Consolidated Graphics where he oversees the training and development of 700 sales Jedis.

Prior to working for Consolidated Graphics. Paul was the Director Of Corporate Solutions Sales for Dale Carnegie & Associates and the owner of two successful businesses.

Over the last 27 years, Paul has trained and mentored over 3,000 sales professionals, written sales training content for several Fortune 500 companies and is the author of Castain’s Sales Playbook (which just won a Sales Pop award for best sales website).


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Sometimes we kid ourselves into thinking we show our love.

We get busy, we get caught up and perhaps even a bit comfortable.

Too comfortable?

Perhaps we allowed ourselves to stop the courtship now that we have the “marriage”?

We do it with customers

We do this with employees

We do it with our family, friends and significant others

Don’t!

Every human being wants to be acknowledged, appreciated and validated but . . .

The reality is that we move so fast and have so many things going on

That we simply forget.

And when forgetting becomes a habit, that’s when our relationships become vulnerable.

Love should never be assumed . . . continue to earn it

Love isn’t just spoken . . . continue to demonstrate it

Love is a continual “courtship”

Today, you are invited to put on the brakes

Ponder the many relationships you have in your life

And make sure you’ve made it clear to the other party

That you dig them and you don’t care who knows it!

Love,

Uncle Paul

“Gangster of Love” and Aspiring Jedi

Related Post: How To Love Your Customer!

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Go to Sales Playbook
Paul Castain is the Vice President of Sales Development for Consolidated Graphics where he oversees the training and development of 700 sales Jedis.

Prior to working for Consolidated Graphics. Paul was the Director Of Corporate Solutions Sales for Dale Carnegie & Associates and the owner of two successful businesses.

Over the last 27 years, Paul has trained and mentored over 3,000 sales professionals, written sales training content for several Fortune 500 companies and is the author of Castain’s Sales Playbook (which just won a Sales Pop award for best sales website).


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With Valentine’s Day just about here I thought it might be a good idea to talk about how to love your customer!

I have several tips for you in this weeks podcast.

First, we start off by acknowledging a few of the ways relationships (yes, even in your personal life) break down

Next, we explore 7 ways to jumpstart your client relationships

1)    The Power Of Surprises: Yep, I covered this one before and it won’t be the last time because surprises rock! I give several examples of how some firms I deal with have surprised me. I also share a few ways you can surprise your clients.

Note: This is something that should also be discussed in your next team sales meeting by posing the question “In what ways can we continue to surprise our clients”

2)    Find A Way To “Wow” Your Clients When You Drop The Ball: Mistakes happen, how will you turn things around? I offer a few examples to help get you thinking!

3)    Understand That Sometimes People Don’t Tell You When They Are Upset: Its important you recognize the signs. Its also important that you understand that sometimes people vent about these things on Twitter, Facebook, their blog etc. Are you listening?

4)    Make Your Client Look Like A Rock Star! I talk about the importance of continually offering ideas and resources. I also talk about a concept I call “resource positioning” and why I do this in every meeting! I mention a concept called “The Sales Listening Station” After you listen to the podcast, please circle back and click here for details on how you can set up your very own Sales Listening Station. And just because I’m human, I feel a need to point out that during this part of the podcast I mention that “There is no shortage of good ideas” I meant to say “There’s no monopoly on good ideas” What the hell was I thinking?

5)    Be A Breath Of Fresh Air: This is your cue to inject your personality into your work. Just like when we were “dating” we need to keep things fun, exiting.

6)    Make Sure You Have Great Communication: I talk about the power of questioning and how that improves your communication. A common needs analysis mistake. I reference the Mackay 66. Feel free to circle back and click here.

7)    Understand The Courtship Never Ends

I have some great content lined up for you if you will scroll down and have a listen. Now if you are not in the mood to further your growth this weekend, no worries. My suggestion would be to download this podcast on I-Tunes and allow me to be your educational companion during your drive time this week!

Download this episode (right click and save)


Go to Sales Playbook
Paul Castain is the Vice President of Sales Development for Consolidated Graphics where he oversees the training and development of 700 sales Jedis.

Prior to working for Consolidated Graphics. Paul was the Director Of Corporate Solutions Sales for Dale Carnegie & Associates and the owner of two successful businesses.

Over the last 27 years, Paul has trained and mentored over 3,000 sales professionals, written sales training content for several Fortune 500 companies and is the author of Castain’s Sales Playbook (which just won a Sales Pop award for best sales website).


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This is the process of determining what content already exists and its condition. Is it out-of-date, can it be refreshed, does it need to be rewritten, or is it easier to just junk it and start over?

Step 1

Start by answering some basic questions.

To accurately assess existing resources, you’ll need to start by answering these basic questions:

  • Has our company or organization changed?
  • Has our product or service changed?
  • Has the market and/or competition changed?
  • Has our target audience and/or its needs changed?

You may come up with additional questions of your own, based on your specific industry, application and marketplace.

Keep in mind that content is more than just the information you put into your website. Content includes ALL material used to promote your company, products, and services – including printed sales literature, PowerPoint and other presentations, trade show graphics, photographic files, and technical support literature such as white papers. Even if your primary objective is developing a new website or simply revising an existing one, all of these “analog” ancillary materials are informational resources that can be used to create digital web content.


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Back in the prehistoric days of my sales career, I sat at a table with some pretty remarkable sales leaders. We talked shop and did our best with our one uppery.

You could have cut the testosterone with a knife!

Now this is the part where you will agree to my intentional use of the word “prehistoric”.

One of my fellow sales compadres pulls out an alpha pager (I just said that out loud) and reads that bad boy the second it goes off. Within seconds, there’s a big ear to ear grin, he turns the pager around for us to see the message and he says

“Gentlemen. It says ‘back up the truck’ Which means we just made another sale” and he went on to give us some dollar amounts.

He explained that everyone on his team gets a message like that whenever they score a win.

I thought it might be cool to implement that with my team but didn’t want to rip off the dude’s battle cry.

So, I thought long and hard and just couldn’t think of anything until participating in some crazy events that followed.

Several of us went out after dinner and were smoking cigars (manly man style) at a local high end bar.

After what seemed like a short visit, my Operations Manager comes over to me and says “We have to get the hell out of here”

So I did the admirable thing and blew smoke in his face and said “You get the hell out of here. I’m having fun”

He then says “Seriously dude. We need to go now. Look” and he points to the “Back up the truck dude” who now has a big ass hole burned in his shirt because my Ops Manager wasn’t paying attention where he was holding his cigar.

Note: I must say it was a magnificent hole and it was still smoking.

It doesn’t take a genius to realize that since this guy worked for me, that somehow I was about to get dragged into a brawl.

Actually, that’s not entirely true I meant to say

It doesn’t take a genius to realize I would have gotten dragged into the brawl when I couldn’t stop laughing at the smoldering hole in his shirt. I still think its funny.

So we boogied out of there and then something happened the next morning that changed the course events for my sales team.

I’m sitting down at Breakfast with the same group from last night (Yep I can’t leave stuff alone) We all go through the mandatory “How are you todays” which quite frankly should be illegal after a night of partying because you know damn well how I’m doing. You were there dude!

I noticed the “back up the truck” dude wasn’t so chipper. Then someone has to ask him point blank. “How are you today” I stared at my scrambled eggs and braced myself for the impending sh*t storm.

Then it happened. He spoke the following words, slowly and deliberately as if to etch them in a future balding sales jedi’s mind.

“Well I’m OK except some son of a bitch burned a hole in my shirt”

Then it hit me like a ton of bricks.

In fact I don’t even remember what transpired next at the table because I found our battle cry.

“Burn another shirt!”

Stylish, elegant, funny.

So whenever we would score any win, no matter how big, or how small . . .

Our crazy battle cry would go out

The congrats would pour in

The ata boys and ata girls

Even some friendly competitive responses like “Savor the flavor dude by 5:00 today I’ll top that deal”

The rest is really history because our Mojo was back and we broke sales record after sales record.

This story and the phrase are just silly ways to invite you to:

Celebrate your wins by acknowledging them publicly as in champagne in the locker room style.

It costs you nothing to stroke an ego and you might just ignite that performance culture that needs a little love!

Now get out of here and find your own way to burn another shirt dude! :)


Go to Sales Playbook
Paul Castain is the Vice President of Sales Development for Consolidated Graphics where he oversees the training and development of 700 sales Jedis.

Prior to working for Consolidated Graphics. Paul was the Director Of Corporate Solutions Sales for Dale Carnegie & Associates and the owner of two successful businesses.

Over the last 27 years, Paul has trained and mentored over 3,000 sales professionals, written sales training content for several Fortune 500 companies and is the author of Castain’s Sales Playbook (which just won a Sales Pop award for best sales website).


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This is the process of determining what content already exists and its condition. Is it out-of-date, can it be refreshed, does it need to be rewritten, or is it easier to just junk it and start over?

Step 1

Start by answering some basic questions.

To accurately assess existing resources, you’ll need to start by answering these basic questions:

  • Has our company or organization changed?
  • Has our product or service changed?
  • Has the market and/or competition changed?
  • Has our target audience and/or its needs changed?

You may come up with additional questions of your own, based on your specific industry, application and marketplace.

Keep in mind that content is more than just the information you put into your website. Content includes ALL material used to promote your company, products, and services – including printed sales literature, PowerPoint and other presentations, trade show graphics, photographic files, and technical support literature such as white papers. Even if your primary objective is developing a new website or simply revising an existing one, all of these “analog” ancillary materials are informational resources that can be used to create digital web content.

Somehow my old phone became possessed and despite several “I command you out demon” attempts by yours truly, I needed to take the leap and call customer service.

I spoke with a Customer Service Rep at Verizon and explained my situation. I told him how it was all good because now I had a pass from my wife to buy the new I-Phone. I don’t think he responded to that, but who the hell am I to think that I can always be charming and entertaining.

I explained to him how frustrating my online experience was because they wanted to text a new temporary password and meanwhile  the screen on my phone was shot so I couldn’t access the new code.

He didn’t say anything but I could hear lots of keys being hit on his keyboard.

He explained to me that I just needed to authorize one of my other lines as the main phone and we could start from scratch.

A few minutes later I was on my way.

As soon as my son gets home from school I confiscate his phone and call back Verizon because I now have another question.

I speak to a different rep this time.

She pulls up the notes gets me set up and then asks me what my plans are for a new phone.

I tell her.

She seems genuinely happy for me and tells me that I will love the phone. She asks if I would mind holding while she checks inventory before sending me to the other department.

Note: She did this to save me the inconvenience of getting transferred,  waiting on hold,  only to be told they were fresh out. I think some call this ancient art “caring”

She’s back in a jif and then has to break the bad news to me that they are out.

I was nice but must admit my tone was similar to the kid who thought he was getting the bike for Christmas only to get a years supply of Shamwow.

But here’s the best part. I really believe the person on the other line, was upset as well.

I told her no worries and that I would wait it out;  then she did something pretty cool.

She said Paul, I follow your blog and I love you  . . . Actually, I can’t back that up, but did I get you for like a millisecond on that one?

Any who, she said, “let me check the Apple site”

Woh, Uno Freakin Momento, Stop the presses!

Her work was technically done and now she is going above and beyond?

Well you my dear, rock and I don’t care who knows it!

She tells me, that it looks like they have plenty of inventory and then tells me step by step how to order it from Apple.

We part ways, I order the phone and balance has been once again restored to the galaxy.

It made me think that while the first customer service rep did nothing wrong he just wasn’t outstanding.

Does that make sense?

He lacked personality and by way of confession I wanted to yell “CLEAR” a few times while defibrillating his personality but whatcha gonna do?

He also may have forgotten that while he has dealt with this numerous times or this is call number 50 today . . . this was my first!

The second customer service rep:

Removed the transaction and made it a “visit”

She cared

Went above and beyond without playing the old “It’s not my job” card.

But most of all . . . She added the most valuable thing in the world . . .

It’s the thing that adds meaning to the procedures, the experience and even the brand that she represented when she took my call.

She added herself!

The one truly sustainable competitive advantage!

Be outstanding today by serving up your job with a side order of YOU!


Go to Sales Playbook
Paul Castain is the Vice President of Sales Development for Consolidated Graphics where he oversees the training and development of 700 sales Jedis.

Prior to working for Consolidated Graphics. Paul was the Director Of Corporate Solutions Sales for Dale Carnegie & Associates and the owner of two successful businesses.

Over the last 27 years, Paul has trained and mentored over 3,000 sales professionals, written sales training content for several Fortune 500 companies and is the author of Castain’s Sales Playbook (which just won a Sales Pop award for best sales website).


© Paul Castain for Reliable Linking, 2011. |
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Somehow my old phone became possessed and despite several “I command you out demon” attempts by yours truly, I needed to take the leap and call customer service.

I spoke with a Customer Service Rep at Verizon and explained my situation. I told him how it was all good because now I had a pass from my wife to buy the new I-Phone. I don’t think he responded to that, but who the hell am I to think that I can always be charming and entertaining.

I explained to him how frustrating my online experience was because they wanted to text a new temporary password and meanwhile  the screen on my phone was shot so I couldn’t access the new code.

He didn’t say anything but I could hear lots of keys being hit on his keyboard.

He explained to me that I just needed to authorize one of my other lines as the main phone and we could start from scratch.

A few minutes later I was on my way.

As soon as my son gets home from school I confiscate his phone and call back Verizon because I now have another question.

I speak to a different rep this time.

She pulls up the notes gets me set up and then asks me what my plans are for a new phone.

I tell her.

She seems genuinely happy for me and tells me that I will love the phone. She asks if I would mind holding while she checks inventory before sending me to the other department.

Note: She did this to save me the inconvenience of getting transferred,  waiting on hold,  only to be told they were fresh out. I think some call this ancient art “caring”

She’s back in a jif and then has to break the bad news to me that they are out.

I was nice but must admit my tone was similar to the kid who thought he was getting the bike for Christmas only to get a years supply of Shamwow.

But here’s the best part. I really believe the person on the other line, was upset as well.

I told her no worries and that I would wait it out;  then she did something pretty cool.

She said Paul, I follow your blog and I love you  . . . Actually, I can’t back that up, but did I get you for like a millisecond on that one?

Any who, she said, “let me check the Apple site”

Woh, Uno Freakin Momento, Stop the presses!

Her work was technically done and now she is going above and beyond?

Well you my dear, rock and I don’t care who knows it!

She tells me, that it looks like they have plenty of inventory and then tells me step by step how to order it from Apple.

We part ways, I order the phone and balance has been once again restored to the galaxy.

It made me think that while the first customer service rep did nothing wrong he just wasn’t outstanding.

Does that make sense?

He lacked personality and by way of confession I wanted to yell “CLEAR” a few times while defibrillating his personality but whatcha gonna do?

He also may have forgotten that while he has dealt with this numerous times or this is call number 50 today . . . this was my first!

The second customer service rep:

Removed the transaction and made it a “visit”

She cared

Went above and beyond without playing the old “It’s not my job” card.

But most of all . . . She added the most valuable thing in the world . . .

It’s the thing that adds meaning to the procedures, the experience and even the brand that she represented when she took my call.

She added herself!

The one truly sustainable competitive advantage!

Be outstanding today by serving up your job with a side order of YOU!


Go to Sales Playbook
Paul Castain is the Vice President of Sales Development for Consolidated Graphics where he oversees the training and development of 700 sales Jedis.

Prior to working for Consolidated Graphics. Paul was the Director Of Corporate Solutions Sales for Dale Carnegie & Associates and the owner of two successful businesses.

Over the last 27 years, Paul has trained and mentored over 3,000 sales professionals, written sales training content for several Fortune 500 companies and is the author of Castain’s Sales Playbook (which just won a Sales Pop award for best sales website).


© Paul Castain for Reliable Linking, 2011. |
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