You’re invited to our special seminar with Michael Neuendorff, expert in business and sales coaching and “The Growth Coach in the San Francisco Bay Area”. Michael kindly agreed to chat with us about his seminar and how it will benefit small and medium sized business in the Burlingame area.
Burlingame Chamber members can attend for free and learn more about how raising customer-focus benefits sales. The fee for non-chamber members is $20 and all attendees will receive a free code for a DiSC Sales Profile Assessment.
1. Can you introduce yourself and tell us what expertise you will bring to the upcoming Burlingame Chamber seminar?
I have been in the world of sales and marketing for probably 25 years and I have had numerous sales positions over that time. I‘ve had successes and failures so I’ve learned a lot over my career and then in 2008 I left a corporate job after 10 years and went into business for myself offering sales coaching and sales training for businesses and business owners. I’ve been selling myself for over 25 years and now coaching people for nearly nine.
The Growth Coach is a franchise that I purchased in 2008, I am the only growth coach in northern California, it’s a business that specialises in providing small business coaching as well as sales coaching and training.
2. Why is raising customer focus so important for small businesses?
In customer service, customer is the first word and the focus is of course on the customer and how to serve them. But when it comes to sales, the customer isn’t always the first word or the first thought. Sales people often are thinking about themselves, they’re thinking about how can they make their number or quota, and they become very focused on that and attainment of their goals. When you put the customer second the customer can feel that, and if they feel it, they don’t necessary feel you have their best interest in mind.
By raising the customer focus, putting the customer first, and thinking of ways to best serve the customer you’ll actually make more sales, have longer retention, receive more referrals and all kinds of other benefits.
3. What does it take to be a success in sales?
These days it’s so easy to find what you’re looking for on the Internet (in most cases – it’s hard to buy a car on the internet!) so it takes a ‘heads up’ sales person to know things we don’t or can’t know ourselves. We look for good experiences with sales people, with a patient, diligent, creative and well informed person.
It also takes courage to be a sales person. One of the hardest aspects of human interaction is rejection. When we’re rejected it doesn’t feel good, it creates bad feeling in us, it might lower our self-esteem or make us angry or frustrated, and if our livelihood depends on being effective it might make us scared. So it takes courage to be a success in sales because you have to get past rejection and uncertainty, doubt and fear.
It requires diligence and you have to follow up. Sometimes when a customer says no, it doesn’t mean no forever, it just means no for now. And if you take that as no forever and never go back, someone else will. Or someone else will approach them for the first time and they’ll make the sale that could have been yours if you were diligent.
4. What mistakes do you see small business owners making in their sales strategies?
There’s one particular that comes to mind and that is to take selling for granted. A lot of small business owners don’t have a full time sales person on staff. Often the owner does the selling and they take sales for granted because they believe they really know the product or service better than anyone else so they’re the best person to sell.
If a small business owner hasn’t gone through any sort of sales coaching or training or doesn’t understand the sales process and what customers expect, they make big mistakes. Customers often like to be lead through the sales process, to be guided through the product or service, what sort of warranties and guarantees are available, for example.
5. Can you give an example of a time when customer focus was “make or break” for a deal between a small business and an investor/bank/suppliers, etc?
I have an example of a time where I was contacted by a consultant working with an accounting firm. The firm realised some of the accountants needed some sales coaching, that they were great accounts, but the accounting doesn’t happen unless something is sold. Having a long history of accounts, and a pedigree contributes to sales, but it’s not everything.So the owner was looking for sales training and I explained my background and kind of sold myself to them instead of having a focus on the customer.
I wasn’t fully prepared for the conversation and I didn’t get the sale. We can learn that I took too much time trying to sell myself and not enough time to understand the customer. I kind of told them how perfect I was and how I was what they were looking for as they sounded like my ideal customer. A different sales person might have done a better job by following the sales process and guiding the customer through it. When you do the right things, good things happen more often than when you don’t follow the right process.
6. Can you give us a sneak peek of what you will be talking about in your seminar?
One of the things I hope to get across is to convince people to take a customer-centric approach. Focus on the customer and really think about how best you can serve them in every case. One of the ways I’ll be sharing to do that in the seminar is by improving listening skills. Most of the sales people I work with have never taken a listening assessment and spent a lot of time thinking about it. They focus more on speaking skills, how can I make a good presentation, how can I be persuasive, how can I overcome objections. Its all about talking, so I’m going to flip that perspective and spend a little more time on listening and how to improve their habits. The sales person that is a great listener will outsell the person who is not.
Another thing I’ll talk about is understanding the personality of the buyer and developing rapport. I’ll be sharing some ideas in relation to a sales assessment I use called DiSC which helps you to understand the buyer and yourself. In order to best serve you need to know your own strengths and challenges.
The seminar will be great for people who own small businesses that have to engage in the sales function, and also good for sales people who sell for small or medium business and would like to learn some new ideas and also be reinforced on focusing on the customer.
We hope you will join us to hear Michael Neuendorff share his expertise in his seminar ‘Raise Your Customer-Focus, Raise Your Sales’. Spaces are limited, call the Burlingame Chamber at 650-344-1736 to reserve your spot now!