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November deadline set for FACTA identity theft rule: Will your business be ready?

August 17, 2008

How you influence you interaction with customersNancy Friedmantelephone sales, motivation, sales training, Telephone Doctor
If you work with customers on the phone or face to face, are you
aware that you have the ability to influence the outcome of a
transaction? You can... and you should! The outcome of every
transaction and interaction with a customer can be controlled.
Below are six stepsor shall we say, techniques and practicesthat
will help everyone working with customers provide a positive and
effective message to your customer and co-workers as well. And as
long as we're adding, let's include our own personal lives. Let's
go over each step one by one.
I. Influence with your mood
There is a big difference between a mood and an attitude. A mood is
usually temporary and an attitude is normally permanent. It is
possible to be in a bad mood, but have a great attitude. The person
with the good attitude will usually get out of the bad mood
quicker. So, if you came into work today in a bad mood, the quicker
you get out of it, the more control you'll have on the interaction.
Your mood will affect the person you're working withon the phone or
in person. Customers tend to take on the mood of the person they
work with or talk with on the phone. So when you are working, get
out of any bad mood quickly.
II. Influence with your confidence
Let's face it. Most people enjoy working and talking with folks who
are confidentconfident about their product, their services and
about themselves. Don't you? One of the most effective ways to
influence with confidence is to know your job and know your
product. Know what you're talking about. Believe me when I tell
you, you may not think so, but the customer normally can tell when
you're bluffing. So, learn about your job and your products, and
think positively about yourself to create confidence in
yourself.
Confidence is also needed when you're confirming something to a
customer. Don't you feel better when the waiter in the restaurant
confirms what you ordered? You feel confident he'll get the order
right. It's the same thing on the phone or face to face. Confirm
items, or whatever it is you're working with, to the customer,
especially on phone messages. The other day, I left a message for
someone and all I heard as confirmation was, "Okay." I would have
really liked the person I spoke with to repeat what I had said. By
doing that, she could have influenced the conversation by her
confidence and my confidence that she got the message right.
III. Influence with patience
Customers come in all shapes, sizes, cultures and ages. Losing your
patience with anyone will only hurt the transaction. You need to
learn to be patient and go with the flow. Rushing customers along
is a great way to lose a customer. People want to be heard and
understood. If they feel you've lost your patience with them,
they'll just go somewhere else. And that's not helping the
situation.
IV. Influence with features and benefits
I'm amazed at how many people aren't aware of the difference
between the two. There seems to be a lot of confusion. So, in line
with Telephone Doctor training, we'll make it easy for you to
influence with features and benefits. What's the difference between
the two? Well, features come first. They're the fun part of the
product or service. Then, we need to transfer the feature and make
it into a benefit. For example: "This new watch never needs a
battery." That's the fun partwhat means a lot to the company. But
who cares? So what? Now, if we can transfer that feature and make
it into a benefit, then we're influencing the transaction. So we
would say, "And what that means to you, Mr. Customer, is you'll
never need to buy a battery for this watch." Thats the benefit. And
it's usually the benefit that makes the customer want something.
It's a great influence. If you're just listing off a laundry list
of "things," that's just what it isa list of things. You need to
make each item transfer over to what it means to them.
V. Influence with your ability to build a
relationship
This is a good practice, yet seldom performed. Most folks who spend
a great deal of time on the phones taking calls from customers are
not interested in building any relationship. "Heck," they think,
"I'll probably never talk with this person again." So they answer
the questions, nicely of course, but there's no attempt to build a
relationship for any future business. Any and every transaction and
interaction can be better served with some rapport building through
friendly conversation. What's sad is that building relationships
and learning to build rapport is not taught in our schools today
and normally not taught in corporations either. Some folks think
that by asking, "How's the weather?" is rapport building. Well,
yeah, it is, but on the very low side of the scale. Influencing
someone by building a relationship, whether you'll be talking with
someone once or many times, is going to influence the transaction
tenfold. You want that customer to walk away or end the
conversation thinking: "That was great. He was so nice!" Most
people will enjoy your attempt to influence by building a
relationship.
VI. Influence with your complete
attention
One of the biggest complaints I hear is when a customer calls some
place or walks into a store or restaurant, the employees really
don't pay attention to them. They're usually talking with another
employee or doing something trivial like straightening something
up. They feel as though the employees don't care. So when you're
talking with someone, you need to give your undivided and complete
attention to that conversation, no matter what's happening around
you. In conversation, stay focused, and if you're talking
face-to-face, maintain eye contact. Swivel heads aren't
appreciated. And on the phone, while making eye contact just isn't
possible, you can still stay focused by tuning things around you
out. Asking someone to repeat himself because you were listening to
someone in another cubicle isnt giving your complete attention.
Give your customer complete attention when you're talking with
them. Everything else will wait!
Nancy Friedman, "The Telephone Doctor," has spoken at the
past four consecutive National Association of Mortgage Brokers
Annual Conventions and is president of Telephone Doctor Customer
Service Training in St. Louis, Mo. Nancy is a frequent speaker at
meetings and conferences worldwide. She may be reached at (314)
291-1012 or visit www.telephonedoctor.com.

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