In Sales & Marketing, Remember: It’s About the Customer, Not You!

Your prospect or customer wants to know: What can you do for me?

If you really want to breakthrough with prospects and customers, you’re going to have to be prepared to demonstrate what’s in it for them. That means asking the right questions, listening well, doing your research and skillfully crafting a story that shows how your products or services make the customer and his company winners.

The concept of strategically collecting and applying information for positive customer engagement is nothing new. Knowing about the concept is one thing. However, being able to successfully deploy it is something else.

Marketers should know and understand the key points about strategic and consultative selling.  (There are numerous articles and guides than can be read.) Further, marketers should provide sales teams with the necessary tools and materials to successfully engage in this type of selling (e.g., examples of how the products and services can help customers and prospects succeed in various usage applications, end-user research, etc).

Dynamic and Fun Example

This example takes the practice of strategic selling to a whole new level of proficiency. It provides a discussion springboard for what can be applied at your company.

In this story, the seller wants the customer to have an excellent experience. One member of the selling team takes extraordinary action to go beyond making that happen. His objective is to cater to the customer’s specific interests and tastes instead of simply fitting the seller’s standard offerings to the customers. He creates an amazing, unique experience. For that sales team member, it is customer first.

To begin, let’s introduce the main characters.

■ The seller is an industrious restaurant wine director.

■ The customer is Greg Popovich, coach of the NBA team San Antonio Spurs. Under his leadership, the Spurs have won five NBA championships. Popovich also serves as the head coach of the U.S. Olympic men’s basketball team. In addition to his basketball coaching prowess, describing him as a wine enthusiast is an understatement. He is a true oenophile. Popovich, often referred to as simply Pop, has created a bit of legend and mystique around the dinners with wine that he hosts for his team, colleagues and friends. They are food and wine combination events designed with a business leadership and teamwork purpose.

When Greg Popovich scheduled one of his team dinners at a Sacramento, California restaurant for a group of 40, wine director Jeremy Threat went into action. Continue reading

Poor Integration and Sales Bombardment Equals Bad Customer Experience

It’s hard to create good customer experience when sales teams are not aligned and compete against themselves.

Credit: iStock

When customer-facing personnel from the same organization, including across different divisions, are not integrated, customer experience is likely to suffer. It may go unrecognized, but eventually the ultimate one suffering is the company itself, with lost sales.

Poor integration, combined with lax management, can cause the classic “left hand, right hand what the heck is going on syndrome.” And the terrible question: Who’s managing the customer touchpoints?

Thanks to Cision and PR Newswire, I’m such a victim. Good news, though. It’s a mild case and I’ll be fine. Continue reading

Inside Look: How to Make the “Special Sauce” of Excellent Customer Service

Winning ideas stand out to me, even when enjoying a fine dinner of fresh grouper and a glass of red wine.

So it was recently at Duval’s restaurant in Sarasota, FL, where I was impressed by the shared responsibility, customer service teamwork of the staff.

According to  Joshua Halbrucker, the restaurant’s General Manager/Partner, their approach is simple:

“Treat every customer like they are your mother (and if you don’t like your mother… haha, treat them like someone you love dearly and would do anything for).”

Duval's Logo

Our waiter orchestrated the evening and was our primary service provider. He was friendly and effective. Where Duval’s stood out, though, was the totality of service provided. The entire team, regardless of title or role, formed a rapid-response customer service unit. Whenever someone passed by our table, he/she did so attentively and ready to act. For instance:

  • Need more bread? Coming right up.
  • Low on water? Be right back.
  • Appetizers finished? I’ll clear your plates.

It was customer-focused versatility in action, all geared to make sure that Duval’s provided us with an excellent dining experience. As one of the managers told me after dinner: “I tell the team to look at the tables as you walk by and if the customers need something, take care of it.”


A few days later, I reached out to Joshua Halbrucker to learn more about the restaurant’s operating philosophy. He answered my questions via email. Look for a number of marketing and business nuggets, some of which I’ve highlighted, followed by my three takeaways for your company. Continue reading

Customer Treats: AMC Transforms Movie-Watching Experience with Power Recliners

Our strategic objective is very straightforward: we intend to be the customer experience leader. (AMC Theatres)

As a customer, it really is fun when your expectations are completely blown away.  That’s what happened when my Dad and I went to the movies last week.

AMC Theatres Logo

Logo: AMC Theatres.

You see, the Military Capital of the American Revolution has a new, state-of-the-art movie theatre complex.  In early May, AMC Theatres completed a total transformation of its 40,000 square foot Headquarters Plaza 10 in Morristown, NJ.

Anyone who remembers the theatre under previous ownership will be pleasantly shocked. However, it seems to be mostly a secret.  More on that in a moment.

Transformation Features Power Recliner Seats

The entire complex has been given a total makeover:  new theatres, concession areas, bathrooms and lobby.  The transformative highlight is the installation of comfortable, power recliner seats, in AMC red of course.

Continue reading