Negotiating Tips

Negotiating Tips

By Nancy Friedman, Keynote Speaker; Customer Service Expert; President, Telephone Doctor Customer Service Training EARLY TIP: Beware of customers who ask for “ballpark prices” unless you’re selling automobiles or houses. Most prices are firm. Try going into Macy’s and asking for the “ball park price” on the product you’re holding. There’s a price tag on the item and it’s not a ball park price! It’s THE price. Or try asking the server in a nice restaurant for the “ball park price” on the steak. Or your insurance agent on the new policy you’re buying, etc., etc. Not gonna happen. You get the picture. But there are ways to negotiate prices. Here are only a few negotiating tips:  Best not to start off with the price right off the bat. Put price in the bottom righthand drawer. Often a price cut will get the salesperson more excited than the prospect. You may think going in with a lower price will make the prospect grateful and give you an easy ‘go’ right away. It usually won’t. If they take your offer of the lower price, that indicates they might have taken it at the rate card price which is where you SHOULD be quoting

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T-L-C for Emails

T-L-C for Emails

Listen up. We did an audience survey at one of my recent speaking engagements. I wanted to know what really bugged folks about emails they received. Without hesitation, the top 3 were: * Poor spelling and grammar – Your, you’re; there, their, they’re; here, hear; to, too, two and the list goes on. And used by very supposedly, highly educated, smart folks. * Emails that are too long; too wordy. Emails that run several paragraphs that could be said in several sentences. * Subject lines that don’t match the body copy. There were others, but these three rose to the top. Then we talked about useless phrases used in emails. Ineffective words and phrases that could be left out. They’re not bad; simply useless and unnecessary (i.e., not needed). When these phrases are eliminated, the emails usually read better; sound stronger. Here we go: 1. “Just a note to let you know…” or “Just wanted to say…” or “I’m just checking back to see where we are on the order.” JUST is a weak, wimpy word. Not necessary. In fact, lame and useless. Eliminate the word JUST in your sentences. Read those sentences without the word “just” and see how

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4 Semi-Useless Words You Use Every Day

4 Semi-Useless Words You Use Every Day

By Nancy Friedman, Keynote/Workshop Customer Service Speaker; President, Telephone Doctor Customer Service Training   HI, HOW ARE YOU? Looks harmless, right? Yet it’s been labeled “social noise.” Especially to those we don’t know, haven’t met, and may never see again. SEMI-USELESS! There are dozens of other ways to open and start a conversation in person or on the phone. A few are: * Nice to hear your voice. * Good to meet you. * Glad to talk with you. * Good to see you. * Thanks for taking my call. * You’re looking great. * Glad to make your acquaintance. * You sound/look chipper. * And so many more. “Hi how are you” can reduce effectiveness, especially on a first-time introduction, call or meeting. And for people you see every day at work, or all the time elsewhere, it’s ineffective as well. Say something creative, unique. You pass someone in the hall at work, on the street, wherever. It usually goes like this: “Hi, how are you?” * “Fine, how are you?” * “Fine.” Done. * Over. * Nothing. * Nada. * SEMI-USELESS. Use a more original, caring comment. You’ll see a big difference. And so will the other person. Again, it’s not bad

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8 Tips to Help You Negotiate Better

8 Tips to Help You Negotiate Better

By Nancy Friedman, Customer Service Keynote Speaker; President, Telephone Doctor Customer Service Training Everyone negotiates – sometime, somewhere, somehow. From telling the kids, “After you eat your dinner, then you can go play” to the highest business deal out there. Negotiation is real. And many times, done without knowing it. Those that have a few tips in their back pocket when negotiating have a better chance to move the ball into their court. Here are a few tips from our back pocket. Enjoy and share. 1. When negotiating price, never discount the price right off the bat. Often a price cut will get the salesperson more excited than the prospect. You may think going in with a lower price will make the prospect grateful and give you an easy ‘go’ right away. It usually won’t. If they take your offer of the lower price, that indicates they might have taken it at the rate card price which is where you SHOULD be quoting from the beginning. 2. When you talk price, be strong and confident. A weak or hesitant delivery makes the salesperson sound soft. Then the price sounds soft and thereby invites a lower offer. 3. Delay giving concessions until the end

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Selling to Women? Pay Attention Please!

Selling to Women? Pay Attention Please!

By Nancy Friedman, Customer Service Expert, Keynote Speaker, President of Telephone Doctor Customer Service Training A few years ago, one of my automotive clients came to me and said, “Nancy, we need a program on Selling to Women. Some of our guys just don’t get it,” he said. I replied, “Even some women don’t know how to sell to women.” This topic became so much more clear to me recently when my husband and I went looking to buy a new car. No names here. No need to embarrass anyone, but it was a great lesson on how NOT to sell to a woman. As a customer service communication expert it was great R & D.  We walked in and asked for the salesman who was recommended to us by a friend. Good start I thought. As he approached and introduced himself I said loud and clear to him, “I’m here to buy a car. Not him,” I said with a smile pointing to my husband, “me!” I was hoping that would give him an edge; OK, a HINT. (Thought wrong.) The salesman immediately started talking baseball and politics with my husband. I snuck off and went to look at the cars in the showroom. He continued

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Are You a Salesperson, Detective, Journalist or Reporter? Or even a COLUMBO???

By Nancy Friedman, Keynote Speaker, Customer Service Expert, President Telephone Doctor Customer Service Training   In sales we need to be a detective, a journalist and even a reporter. In sales we need to FIND OUT ‘who does it.’ Not who did it. Who makes the decisions. And one of the best ways, most sales people know, is to ask questions. But how many sales folks know how to ask GREAT questions. Pointed questions. Questions that get the answers to what YOU need to make the sale. We use the ‘Columbo Technique’ because it so often works. However, he also had GREAT questions for his ‘prospect’ as many of you will recall if you watched the series.  His last one was the best. It was what I call “the GOTCHA question.” The one where we know he wrapped up the ‘sale.’ The perp was caught. How many of you know how to use a GOTCHA question? And how often do you use it? It’s that last question, right before we hang up or leave the clients office. It’s the one that can get you to ‘stay’ and talk more. It’s the one that gets you the sale. And just as important as the GOTCHA

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Should CSR’s be Asked to Sell?

By Nancy Friedman, the Telephone Doctor   CSR: “I’m in customer service; I’m not in sales.” After working with many call center folks over the years, I’ve heard that enough times that it warranted some attention. But I’m also hearing call center managers and supervisors saying, “We want our CSR’s to be more proactive to get into sales.” What’s a CSR to do? Story time: Most of you reading this are familiar or semi-familiar with Telephone Doctor Customer Service Training is. We’ve been around 30 plus years. We have a sales team that helps people and companies find a solution to their customer service concerns. I’m going to focus on one particular salesperson for this story. She’d been with us for eight or ten years and was doing very well selling our DVDs and our other services to clients around the country. They loved her. Over the years she would get dozens of holiday cards from these folks and most always had a note thanking her and saying how good she was. She continually raised the bar for other team members on handling her customers. She was a lean mean selling machine. Never ever getting to meet these folks, her

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6 Cardinal Rules of Customer Service

By Nancy Friedman, Keynote Speaker; Customer Service & Communications Expert; and President of Telephone Doctor Customer Service Training   FACT: The best weapon for a successful business is customer service. It’s that simple. We will pay more for better service! So whether you’re a small business owner or Hewlett Packard or only looking for ways to improve, read on. We believe in helping businesses get better at communicating with their customers. To get off on the right foot with your customers whether it’s via phone or face-to-face, or any of the other touch points, here are the Telephone Doctor’s Six Cardinal Rules of Customer Service. Adapting these easy steps will make your day, and more importantly, make the customer’s day a better experience for you and your company.   Cardinal Rule # 1 – People Before Paperwork When someone walks into your place of business, or calls you while you’re working on something, drop everything for that person. Remember, paper can wait, people should not. We’ve all been abused when we go shopping and been ignored and we know how that feels. Let’s not abuse our own customers. Remember: People before paperwork.   Cardinal Rule # 2 – Rushing Threatens Customers Sure,

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Negotiation Cliff Notes for Those in a Hurry

By Nancy Friedman, Keynote Speaker, Customer Service & Communications Expert, President – Telephone Doctor Customer Service Training   Those of us who negotiate normally want short, quick tips to help us. So here are some Cliff Notes to help you in those daily negotiations. And let’s face it, we are always negotiating. Family, business, you name it. I’ve even negotiated with a waitress. Long story. I’ll hold it for another time. But it was negotiating. So here are 8 tips to hang on your wall: 1.      Don’t discount a price right off the bat. 2.      Be strong and confident about your product and price. Your opponent will be seeking price concessions if your delivery is weak. 3.      Delay giving concessions until the end of the conversation. See point 8 below. 4.      Have a “nice” way to reject an offer. There are always feelings involved. 5.      Never underestimate your strength in a negotiation. Your opponent won’t. 6.      Negotiations begin at the beginning of the conversation. From hello on forward. 7.      Avoid ”goodwill” conceding. (i.e., Don’t give things away because ‘the opponent is so nice.’) 8.      When you GIVE something, be sure you GET something back in return. An order? A larger order? A

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Top 30 Reasons Sales People Fail

By Nancy Friedman, Speaker, Sales, Customer Service, Communications; President Telephone Doctor Customer Service. We run a pretty good sales team at Telephone Doctor. Several team members have been with us over 15 – 20 years. One even longer. Some have left after 3 weeks. My guess is those that have left, left due to one of these ‘reasons.’ Actually it’s not a guess. One of these reasons is definitely why they left. Like all lists, it’s not final. There are other reasons, however, I believe you’ll agree this is a good start. Share with your sales team.  They don’t practice their skills They’re not flexible They’re not a team player They don’t use their sense of humor They don’t use their imagination They don’t listen to management They make no effort They get too comfortable, too fast They interrupt too often They don’t ask enough open-ended questions They make too many assumptions They’re not sales minded in all areas They’re not able to handle corrective criticism They don’t have enough enthusiasm They have poor time management skills They don’t use their Saturday night personality during the week They don’t have a “Whatever It Takes” mentality They lose their focus They’re not able

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5 Frustrating Voice Mail/Cell Phone Phrases

By Nancy Friedman, Telephone Doctor® Voice mail (business or cell) remains a large frustration in this busy business world. And it’s not just voice mail. The automated attendant is also on the list. In an effort to help reduce voice mail frustration, here are the five most frustrating phrases that your callers don’t want to hear. I’ll discuss the auto attendant in another blog. Here are the big 5 Most Frustrating Voice Mail phrases. 1. I’m not at my desk right now  DUH? That’s a hot lot of news. What a boring, semi useless statement. Live a little. Let your callers know where you ARE – not where you’re not. Tell them, “I AM in the office all this week” OR “I’m in a sales meeting till 3 pm.” Let them know if you do or don’t check messages. Let them know when you will be back. 2. Your call is very important to me OMG. Really? A big time waster. The caller is thinking, “Well, if I’m so darn important, where the heck are you?” And then again, think about it. Maybe the call isn’t so important to you. You just don’t need this phrase. Semi useless 3. I’m

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Listen UP!

by Nancy Friedman, the Telephone Doctor Do you know what the number one skill in sales and service is? I gave you a hint in the title. Right – listening skills. Do we really LISTEN? Most of us ‘hear,’ but do we really listen to what people are saying? Are there any methods, tricks, ideas, tips or techniques to make us better listeners? Yes, there are. Listed below are some of the often used skills of better listeners. What do you think the difference is between listening and hearing? Bottom line: Hearing is physical. Listening is mental. What do some folks do that others don’t in order to be a good listener? It’s pretty simple. Take a TV commercial. Most of us normally hear it, but do we always listen to it? Probably not. Especially if it’s about something we’re not particularly interested in for ourselves. Take the Super Bowl. We talk about the commercials before they’re even on TV. How many can you remember now? My guess is you’ll recall those that were of ‘interest’ to you. We probably ‘heard’ them. We may have watched them. But again, how many did we really listen to? Pay attention to? Below

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Are You Passive, Average or Proactive?

By Nancy Friedman, The Telephone Doctor   Take the Test and Find Out Read the scenarios below and ask yourself…which type am I? # 1. The customer says (either on the phone or in person): “Tell you what, I’ve decided not to take the Blue Widget.” Answer from a PASSIVE person: “OK, thanks. Have a nice day.” Customer feels nothing. Usually disappointed. # 2. The customer says (either on the phone or in person): “Tell you what, I’ve decided not to take the Blue Widget.” Answer from an AVERAGE person: “You sure?” Customer feels slighted. Probably could have used a little help. # 3. The customer says (either on the phone or in person): “Tell you what, I’ve decided not to take the Blue Widget.” Answer from a PROACTIVE person: “Wow! Sorry to hear that. Are you aware there’s a Widget maker that goes with it at a discounted price? You’ll have several uses for it. Why not try it? You’ll love it.” Customer feels great. Didn’t realize there was an accessory with it and buys the Widget and the Widget maker. See the difference? Now, which one are you? FACT: There is absolutely nothing wrong with any of these

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8 Sinful Customer Service Actions

  By Nancy Friedman, Keynote Speaker, Author, President, Telephone Doctor Customer Service This is not MY list. These “sins” are from my audiences who share their views when I speak at conferences across the country. We survey the groups to find out what bothers them from companies. And man, how they love to vent. And they love to let me know what bugs them, what frustrates them, how they want to be treated as a customer. Usually a freewheeling discussion and one that gets my attention a lot. It should get yours. So listen up. Your customers are talking to you. And customer service training can help you. Drum roll please…in no particular order. By the way, these go for on the phone or in person. As a matter of fact, all 6 touch points of communication.   Sin #1: Not smiling Man is that important. Our Telephone Doctor motto: “A phony smile is better than a real frown” would have helped the gal who was trying to help me Saturday. What a poopy face she had on her. I refused to let it get me down or let her infect me at all. I smiled all the way through

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Scripts vs. Conversations

By Nancy Friedman, President / Keynote Customer Service Speaker / Telephone Doctor Customer Service Training   For years I have been working with companies to upgrade, tweak and help with scripts their sales and/or customer service reps. Fast forward. Now we’re trying to get our clients who ask for help with a script to consider going to conversations with aided recall. There is danger and pitfalls to both scripts and conversations though. Let me explain. Scripts were designed for actors. Actors know how to read a script. Most folks don’t. It’s that simple. When you give a person a script they tend to ‘read’ it. Well what’s wrong with that Nancy? Aren’t you suppose to read a script? Yes, but it’s the old ‘HOW’ you read it that counts. We have all been accosted by a phone call and someone poorly reading their script. Yawn, yawn or worse. And in the professional scripts there are words for everyone (all actors) to respond. In your business script there’s normally only words for what the rep is saying. There are no words for the customer – the responder (the other actor). Oh there may be some things like “if the customer says

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Why “Hi, how are you?” is Semi-Useless

By Nancy Friedman, The Telephone Doctor My mother lived with me in her last years. We enjoyed her sense of humor. Here’s part of what made me realize how useless the phrase, “Hi, how are you?” really is. The house phone rang. Esther answered. The man says, “Hi, Mrs. Friedman, this is Dan from XXX. How are you?” My mother says – without missing a beat, “I’m so glad you called. I have a bad case of diarrhea, a terrible migraine, been vomiting all day, my pacemaker is running slower than normal, and I have a bad rash. How are you?” He said, “Well, compared to you, a hell of a lot better” and hung up. Point being, “Hi, how are you” is semi-useless especially to those we don’t even know. I’ve seen folks pass in the halls, in a mall, in an office, everywhere. One says, “Hi, how are you?” The other says, “Fine, how are you?” No one stops; they’re still walking and nothing was accomplished. I’ve removed “Hi, how are you” from my vocabulary. It’s been replaced with any one of these phrases and I share them with you: Good to see you. Hi, you’re looking well.

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Are You Really Engaged?

By Nancy Friedman, Keynote Speaker, Customer Service Expert & Engagement Specialist.   A short, but ongoing course. Are you really engaged? Do you and your staff really know how to engage and interact with the customers? Do they even know what it means.   Seems as though every year there’s a “new” word in Customer Service. And this year it’s been “engagement.” Engage the customer. What’s it mean? Or better yet: What does it not mean? The answer to what it’s NOT, is – – it’s NOT the customer service experience. Don’t confuse the two. They are quite different. It is: Just as you might imagine….when you might have popped “the question,” (or said “yes” if you were the one being asked), you normally went into what is called an ‘engagement’ period. That’s the time before the marriage. Time to better know and understand someone you’re supposed to spend a lifetime with. Sometimes it’s short and sometimes it’s a longer period of time. But usually there’s an ‘engagement’ period. And so it is with our customers. Before they can “BUY,” before they can become our customer (before we ‘marry’ them), we need to get ‘engaged.’ Make sense? Or starting to?

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7 Characteristics of the Best of the Best

Nancy Friedman, Keynote Speaker, Telephone Doctor  Pick up any ad and there’s probably a line or two of type on how well you’ll be treated when you shop there. Usually the advertisement reads, “We’re the best” or “Service is our middle name” or something like that. The TV, radio and the internet are loaded with commercials for being very customer service minded. Why then, do we hear so many horror stories about how people were treated? Telephone Doctor recently surveyed several companies to seek out the traits, the characteristics, of those that have the service mentality. Clearly not everyone does. The good news is you can learn the skills of the “best.” No one has a monopoly on a great service mentality.  Telephone Doctor culled together the seven traits that were among the highest in the survey. Here are the results.  #1   Empathy This trait won hands down as the most important characteristic when serving customers. In so many cases you get APATHY, the exact opposite of EMPATHY. Simply put, empathy is putting yourself in the other person’s shoes. How would you feel if what happened to them, happened to you? True story: On a recent trip, my wallet

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5 Frustrating Voice Mail/Cell Phone Phrases

By Nancy Friedman, Telephone Doctor®  Voice mail (business or cell) remains a large frustration in this busy business world. And it’s not just voice mail. The automated attendant is also on the list. In an effort to help reduce voice mail frustration, here are the five most frustrating phrases that your callers don’t want to hear. I’ll discuss the auto attendant in another blog. Here are the big 5 Most Frustrating Voice Mail phrases.  1. I’m not at my desk right now  DUH? That’s a hot lot of news. What a boring, semi useless statement. Live a little. Let your callers know where you ARE – not where you’re not. Tell them, “I AM in the office all this week” OR “I’m in a sales meeting till 3 pm.” Let them know if you do or don’t check messages. Let them know when you will be back.  2. Your call is very important to me  OMG. Really? A big time waster. The caller is thinking, “Well, if I’m so darn important, where the heck are you?” And then again, think about it. Maybe the call isn’t so important to you. You just don’t need this phrase. Semi useless  3. I’m

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6 Cardinal Rules of Customer Service

By Nancy Friedman Telephone Doctor  There are a lot of ‘rules’ in customer service, but few more important than the six we’ve listed here. Each makes a valid statement and will increase the satisfaction of your clients.  Cardinal Rule #1 – Personal Responsibility/Accountability: Don’t Pass the Buck  In a recent survey, we found that “responsibility/accountability” is the number one characteristic employers want from their employees.  Oh, there are lots of characteristics they’d like; however, the one that rose to the top consistently was responsibility/accountability.  One of the most important attributes a team player can have is personal responsibility – personal accountability. Those that have it refuse to accuse, blame and complain.  Those that do accuse, blame and complain break one of the most important cardinal rules. “Who” statements accuse and blame. “Who took my stapler?” A more positive manner might be: “I seem to have misplaced my stapler; has anyone seen it?”  Remember to take full responsibility with the customer. The customer doesn’t like to hear accusing, blaming and complaining statements. They know when you’re passing the buck!  Cardinal Rule #2 – People Before Paperwork  When someone walks into your place of business or calls you while you’re working on

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