Commercial Construction & Renovation

MAY-JUN 2017

Commercial Construction & Renovation helps our subscribers design, build and maintain better commercial facilities by delivering content to meet the information needs of today's high-level executives.

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103 CRAFT BRAND AND MARKETING • I understand you're on the fence and ordering now isn't in your plan. Between now and the time when you might order, how will you get ABC done? • When you place an order six months from now, tell me a little about how it can improve your mix. • What other brands have you considered? Any of those follow-up questions will give you some insight into the other person's needs and decision process. Notice too, those questions aren't "salesy." Your follow-up questions – and you, for that matter – should show a genuine interest in your customers and their concerns. The better you understand people and what motivates them, the more likely you'll be able to help if there is a fit or to get a straightforward answer if there isn't. The point is, when you hear "maybe," investigate. What in the world does "fine" mean? In the same lane that the vague "maybe" occupies is another phrase that communicates very little. You've heard it before and probably used it yourself, and that's the word "fine." "How is everything?" "Everything's fine." Maybe it is, and maybe it isn't. You can't know unless you do a little more digging. People often will say "every- thing is fine" in lieu of "go away" or "totally horrible, but I don't feel like engaging in conversa- tion about it." If you find yourself getting a lot of "everything's fine," make subsequent inquiries. At the same time, try to determine if you're setting yourself up to hear this "tell-nothing" response. By that, I mean "how is every- thing," is a C-minus question to begin with. If you ask something specific, you'll learn more. When you ask what they like most about your beer, it's hard to answer with "fine." Instead, you'll most likely discover what your customers liked and what they didn't. When customers ask "why," they are usually expressing displeasure of some sort Why does my favorite distributor only offer one choice of your beer? Why aren't the others offered? Too often, service and salespeople miss the real meaning behind these inquiries. Listen for "why," and respond with something better than "I don't know" or "you'll have to ask my manager." Although your customers aren't jumping up and down with steam coming out of their ears or carrying gigantic flags with the word "why" emblazoned across them, somewhere lurking behind these questions are people on their way to unhappy. Imagine a busy traveler on a tight schedule in a city unfamiliar to him. He hasn't seen his own bed in two weeks, few of his dai- ly flights have followed his published schedules, and he's missing Kate Zabriskie is the president of Business Training Works, Inc., a Mary- land-based talent development firm. She and her team help businesses estab- lish customer service strategies and train their people to live up to what's promised. For more info, visit another one of his kid's ball games. It's 11:30 at night and he's just entered the door of his hotel and he wants to settle in with his favorite craft beer. You want him to reach for yours. So go that extra step with everybody and anybody who dis- tributes your brand – those who are on the front lines of giving their customers what they want – you. Take the time to slow down, ask questions and get to the core of your customer's message. The better you understand people and what motivates them, the more likely you'll be able to help if there is a fit or to get a straightforward answer if there isn't.

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