Helping Shop Owners grow into the successful entrepreneurs they imagine themselves to be.

Thursday, March 26, 2015

I Don’t Have The Money!

I Don’t Have The Money!
By Eric Twiggs

"Sales are contingent upon the attitude of the salesman - not the attitude of the prospect" - W. Clement Stone

My client Mac, a former police officer, recently told me the following story from his days on the force:  One night while out on the beat, he pulled over a young man named Rick for driving without his lights on.   Mac checked his record and discovered that Rick had over $3,500 in outstanding warrants. 

 “I don't have the money!” replied the scared suspect.    Mac arrested him and took him to the precinct.   The next day, Rick was scheduled for his day in court.   He met with his attorney and told her "This is a waste of my time because I don't have the money!"  10:00am that morning he appears before the Judge.  Before his attorney could address the Bench, Rick spoke out and said the following:  " Your Honor, I don't know what we need to do here, but I don't have the money to pay these warrants." 

The Judge responded:" The penalty for the unpaid warrants is six months in prison."    Before the judge could slam the gavel, Rick asked if he could make a phone call.  After a three minute conversation, he hung up and responded:  I just spoke to my wife and the $3,500 will be wired to the court by 12 noon!  How did Rick suddenly come up with the money and what does this have to do with you?   

Rick had the money all along, but spending it at the court was not a priority until he had the conversation with the Judge.    If your customers are always saying that they don't have the money, it's because you haven't communicated with them in a way that leaves them feeling like it's a priority.  Like the suspect in my story, they are really saying: “I have the money, but I don't want to spend it with YOU."

The threat of going to prison helped Rick to feel the value.   Below are two steps that you can take to help your customers feel the value of your service: 

1.      Use Pictures

You’ve probably heard the saying “a picture is worth a thousand words.”   It may sound like another cliché, but it’s really a proven fact.

According to study done by communications expert Carmine Gallo, the average person is able to recall 10% of the information that they receive via oral communication within 72 hours.  Gallo found that when the same information is presented using pictures, the recall rate jumps to 65%.   In other words, consumers will remember more of what they see than what you say! 

Today’s technology makes it easy to show people a picture of their vehicle components.    Tablets and smart phones can be used to demonstrate exactly why you suggested the service.  Selling automotive service is like selling the invisible.  Using pictures will increase the levels of trust by making the transaction visible. 

2.      Hire For Personality

Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz was asked during an interview about how he was able to get his people to smile when greeting customers.  His response is the key to improving your business:  “The easiest way to ensure that your employees smile when they greet a customer is to only hire employees who smile all the time.”  Schultz teaches us that hiring for personality and attitude, instead of just industry experience, is the way to go. 

You and Howard Schultz have something in common, in that your services can be purchased from your competition at a lower price.   Studies show that people prefer do business with people that they like.   The secret to growing your business is growing your relationships, so hiring friendly employees, is like planting the right seed in the right soil.   You will experience growth! 

So there you have it.  Using pictures and hiring for personality will keep you from being handcuffed by low cash flow.    When the buyer feels the value, they will find the money!

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

It All Comes Down to the Presentation

It All Comes Down to the Presentation
By George Zeeks

You may or may not know that I recently had an incident that required the assistance of a health service professional, a doctor. Although debatable, it has been said that I am opinionated, stubborn and not very trusting. This applies to all facets of my life, including dealing with the health care industry. I usually refuse to go to the doctor unless blood or bone exposure is involved, or until my wife makes me. This latest event is a precautionary tale for all of us from two different points of view. One, be too stubborn and you can end up dead. Two, everything comes down to the presentation if you want people to do something that they may not want to do.

Let’s start at the beginning. Sunday night. My chest is a little tight and uncomfortable — must be indigestion. Good night.

Monday morning. Tightness in my chest begins around 11:30 a.m. Tightness evolves into pain.
Left arm hurts and is numb at the same time, strange. Pain is in my neck going up into my jaw.
I know what this could be; it has all the classic symptoms. Then again, it’s been stressful lately so that must be it. Denial is running at the head of the pack right now. I casually mention to a co-worker what is going on, since they asked.

Apparently, my normal “happy with the world” look has changed slightly. I refuse 911; I will just drive down there myself. Mike Haley, who is very large, threatens me with more pain if I don’t allow him to drive. We take my car so I can have a cigarette or two, on the way.

Once we arrive at the emergency room, mention chest pain, and lickety-split, I’m in the back getting worked on. I highly recommend this technique if you don’t feel like waiting! EKG comes back OK, no problems with your humble narrator. Blood gets taken. Then more blood and even more blood. I begin to feel like I’m the all-you-can-eat buffet at the Vegas Vampire convention. Blood test comes back with very vague, dubious results. It could be, might be the beginning of a possible something. We need to wait and test again. I’m on Google, ’cause I’m no dummy, and I start checking what the readings should be IF something is REALLY going on.

Readings come back a second time and they are within the questionably OK range that the Google gods have provided me. Not so sure at this point and I’m feeling much better. Probably because of the lowering of my blood pressure due to blood loss from all the tests. Maybe they had something right back in the Middle Ages with those leeches.

Now, to the point of this long-winded story: the doctor comes in to give me the news. Remember,
I’m feeling OK now and even slightly stupid since nothing is really wrong. The doctor then says and
I quote, “We would LIKE to keep you overnight for SOME observation.” The first thing that goes through my mind is that they have empty spaces and they need to bump up the number of beds filled for the night. This guy is trying to sell me an overnight stay and there is no pool or bar. I can’t smoke in my room, like every other hotel in Maryland, and the room-service food is not very good. Even by my lowbrow, blue-collar, add hot sauce to it and it’ll be OK, taste buds.
At this point I did what any of you out there would do (?), I replied “No thanks.” Keep in mind that everyone is always selling something. In this case, the doctor is selling health care and I’m a reluctant buyer. The pitch was weak. I wasn’t sure of the need or the urgency of his care, so I declined.

I’m not sure if he had ever heard the word “no” before. He was better looking than I am and there is no doubt that he makes more money than I did at his age, so maybe that has something to do with it. I just don’t know. The point is that he was shocked and didn’t know what to say. I guess he never had to overcome an objection to his sales pitch before. He just mumbled a weak “Well you’ll have to sign some papers that you’re leaving against medical advice.” “Show me the paper and I’ll be on my way,” I said. Before you can say “Gotta light?” I’m out the door engaging in one of my many self-destructive behaviors and on my merry way. I say all of the above to say this: you have to make sure you have your presentation down. It’s gotta make sense and your customer has to understand the importance of what you are saying. If you have ever heard “I know I need brakes, but do I need them right now?” Then you need to work on your skills, just like my young doctor. The time to practice is not on your patients/customers. You have to put the time in before the moment of truth comes.
By the way, my wife is a nurse and she is so mad at me she can’t speak. My daughter is a nurse and she proceeds to berate me on the phone and in social media. I haven’t been told “You’re so stupid!” this many times since high school. The final straw comes five hours later when, you guessed it, I’m wide awake in my bed. My wife has her best “I told you so” face on and I’m in some really serious pain now. The elephant is on my chest like he’s waiting, patiently, for the bus to come. The thought going through my mind is that the doctor should have told me that I really, really, really needed his heath care. Does that sound familiar?

Anyone ever say that I didn’t know I REALLY needed those brakes? Everyone goes through denial. Sometimes it’s a little and sometimes it’s a lot. It is our job to make sure our customers get the best care we can provide. In the end, it’s not the customer’s fault when they don’t get the repairs they need.
That belongs on our shoulders.