How To Deal With Sales and Introversion

Check out this week’s blog post on Sales and Introversion by DOW Electronics’ very own Training Manager,Keith Shoup.

A recent article in Entrepreneur magazine1 brought together two themes that, to most, would seem like oil and water – sales and introversion.  On their face, they may seem like complete opposites.  However, the truth is that there are some very successful salespeople who are introverted by nature.  Generally speaking, sales is an extroverted activity.  So, how is it that they can occupy the same space at the same time?

In my travels, I’ve met with retailers and sales staff who struggled to some degree with introversion.  I’d watch potential shoppers walk through their doors and they wouldn’t get as much as a hello until they came to the counter to ask a question.  I must say, I’m not the type that likes to be hounded when I first walk through the doors of a business establishment, but it’s nice, at a minimum, to be acknowledged – especially when you’re about to give them your hard-earned money.

In the end, it’s difficult to make a customer want to do business with you if you can’t make them feel comfortable and, ultimately, interact with them.  I understand this level of introversion may be an extreme case, but they’re out there, even among salespeople I’ve personally met.  If you find yourself in the sales and introversion arenas at the same time, please read on.

The name of the article I alluded to at the beginning is titled, “9 Proven Sales Tips for Introverts.”  I’ve selected five tips which I feel are great starts to help step out of your comfort zone.  These have been taken directly from the article and represent the views of the author:

 

  1. Say hello to everyone you pass. I refuse to walk past any person without acknowledging him or her. I force myself to look everyone in the eyes and say hello. This builds a muscle enabling me to decide at will when I want to be extroverted, whether in a sales call or other situation.

 

  1. Get passionate. I become so excited about what I’m selling that I have to share it with the world. Becoming passionate about your product or service makes you less interested in how you are perceived and more concerned about showing excitement about what you have to offer.

 

  1. Be so persistent you get criticized for it. In life and in business, especially sales, you won’t become successful if you never get criticized. Follow up on customers so much that they actually complain about it, and once they do, keep following up until they admire you for your persistence. If you believe in your product, company and yourself, then you will be willing to insist—and risk being criticized for it.

 

  1. Force yourself to be in public. Step out of your home and office often so you can socialize with people. When I move to a new city, I will go to the same place over and over until I am comfortable and know everyone there. I have done this same thing with my children, bringing them to the same grocery store every morning until they could talk to the people working there as family.

 

  1. Do one thing a day that you fear. It’s very important for me [to] do the things that make me most uncomfortable. You need to be courageous and make a point of facing your fears, no matter how big or small. The single scariest thing for me was visiting my customers or prospects in person. So that is exactly what I did first thing every day to get over my fear. It instilled courage in me, belief in myself and changed my focus from limitations to possibilities.

 

For some introverts, telling them to do these five things might as well be the equivalent of recommending a climb to the peak of Mt. Everest.  May I suggest tackling these five tips individually and implementing them over a period of time?  When you feel like you’ve mastered one, move on to the next one.  As you move outside your comfort zone and flex those ‘extrovert’ muscles through the tips provided, you’ll come to see them as a resource that can be leaned upon when required.

It all comes down to managing the introversion, and not letting it manage you.  It’s a shame to see when introversion gets in the way of making sales, growing a business, and fulfilling life and professional goals.  If you’re interested in reading the entire article, and I recommend you do, please click on the following link.

http://www.entrepreneur.com/article/225371#

 

If you have any comments or suggestions on how you’ve been able to put introversion in check, please drop a line in the comments section.

 

 

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1  Cardone, Grant. “9 Proven Sales Tips for Introverts.” Entrepreneur. Entrepreneur Media, Inc., 02 Jan. 2013. Web. 06 Nov. 2013.

DOW Electronics’ Employee Spotlight

Want to know more about our DOW Electronics Family? Get to know Malissa Sanders and Ryan Travis from our DOW Electronics Charlotte Branch in this week’s DOW Electronics Employee Spotlight.

Malissa Sanders, Area Business Manager, Charlotte, NC

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How long have you worked at DOW Electronics: 24 years in December

What is your favorite part about working at DOW Electronics: Customer interaction

What are some of your favorite things to do: Reading and shopping

If you could paint a picture of any scenery you’ve seen before, what would you paint: A mountain in Hawaii, on the side of the mountain there would be beautiful greenery and all types of flowers in all colors with a waterfall cascading over the greenery.

If you could be any fictional character, who would you choose: A Transformer

What is your favorite sports team: San Francisco 49ers

Who is your favorite musical entertainer:  Marvin Gaye and The Eagles

What is your favorite movie: The Bourne Supremacy

What was the first thing you bought with your own money: A white1982 Mazda 626

What is one thing you have done that was really scary: Moving from SC to Boston, MA

What is your dream car: BMW X6

 

Ryan Travis, Area Sales Representative, Charlotte, NC

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How long have you worked at DOW Electronics: It will be one full year at the end of November.

What is your favorite part about working at DOW Electronics: My favorite part about working for DOW is the great management, coworkers, and retailers that I have the pleasure of working with on a daily basis.

What are some of your favorite things to do: Watching football, going to local car shows, singing, and hanging out with family and friends.

If you could meet anyone, living or dead, who would you meet: Peyton Manning,  I have been a fan of his since he was at the University of Tennessee. A first class individual!

What is your favorite sports team: Of course the Carolina Panthers! Been a fan since the beginning!

Who is your favorite musical entertainer: Journey              

What’s the best/worst gift you’ve ever given/received: Received an all-expenses paid trip to Vegas!

What is one thing you have done that was really scary: Riding in racecars around a track course reaching speeds of over 200mph.  Not really that scary just an adrenaline rush.  I would love to do it again.

What is your dream car: I actually own my dream car it’s a Ford Mustang.  I saved all my money since the 5th grade to buy one as my first car.

What is your favorite food: Any type of Mexican food!

A Second Chance At A First Impression

Owning a 12-Volt Retail Facility is more than just hanging your sign up on a random building and customers instantly pouring in to buy product. There are thousands of consumer habit and buying surveys, tools you can use to measure customer retention and satisfaction, and there are numerous trainings you can attend to try to improve your realization of a successful shop through higher sales and more aggressive marketing.

However, none of those things will benefit your business unless your core is strong – and your core is being an expert in your field in an environment that is conducive to consumer confidence and demonstration.

Let’s focus on one quick and easy thing – how ‘in-the-know’ are you with current and upcoming vehicle technology and features? Knowing what could visit your bay in the next 12-18 months is a key advantage most shops don’t pay attention to. Pick up the latest Motor Trend, Car and Driver, and Consumer Reports magazines to get breakdowns on vehicle features, real-world feature acceptance and feedback, and input on features or comforts a vehicle may be missing that your shop can provide for drivers of these vehicles.

Think about it – much of the leg work has already been done for you! These references will tell you which cars don’t have Bluetooth™, heated seats, or navigation systems, all of which you can suggest to the consumer when they arrive. Go one step further and make a list of the ‘Best Buy’ rated vehicles in Consumer Reports, and have 3-4 options for upgrades for each, and be sure your staff knows the integration options for each very well. Do you homework and put together a package of the parts so you can offer a ‘package price’ to consumers who simply come in desiring a feature, rather than getting into some of the more complicated discussions of options that turn some customers off.

This is just one example of doing a bit of homework up front that can reap rewards when the customer arrives at your facility. Your expertise in the subject is magnified significantly because there is no bumbling around on the Internet trying to find out what you can do, and no puzzled looks when they rattle off something that they want.

Next on the list – leave your shop at the end of the day, and come back the next day not as the owner or as an employee, but as a customer. Take a look around your parking lot – does it look safe and clean? Look at your signage – is it clearly visible from the road, up-to-date, and fresh looking? A dirty parking lot, or one that has weeds and other debris in or around it doesn’t entice a customer to park their new, or newly modified, vehicle there. Dirty, missing, or faded signage, or just a sticker on the door, makes it too hard for the customer to find you, and doesn’t give an impression that you care about your business enough to update it and stay up with the times.

Take a walk in the door and look around – is your showroom floor a mess? Are your product displays confusing, or missing components? Does everything on the display board work? Keep in mind that these displays give an impression of how the product may end up being installed in their vehicle. If your displays are dirty, customers will expect you will leave their car dirty. If your displays are not working, what can they expect for long-term reliability from your products or your installation? If your displays are confusing or just randomly placed around the showroom, what does that say about your installation planning or organizational skills?

Walk into your bay(s) and look around. Would you, assuming you don’t work there, send your wife or mother to this shop to get her vehicle worked on? Would she feel confident in the technicians treating her with respect, and that the vehicle would be finished on time and that her property is in good hands? Is it clean and neatly organized? Remember that your installation bays are not just a means-to-an-end to getting the product in the car. They can actually be part of your sales process too if they are neat, and your guys are treating every car with the utmost care.

Keep in mind that once a month you should do an evaluation of your facility – how does it look, are you representing well to the customer, and are you delivering and exceeding the expectations of your customers? Make it easy and comfortable to do business with you, and you will experience great success!

Preparing Your Business to Advertise DISH in a Kiosk

Are you interested in advertising DISH at a kiosk in your local mall or shopping center? If the answer is yes, take a moment to review DOW Electronics’ Co-Op Kiosk Training Video.

This training video will help ensure that your kiosk is both pre-approved and co-op claim ready!

DOW Electronics Kit Crew Video

Want to know how the quarterly DISH kit gets from DOW Electronics to you?  Get an inside look at our kit crew, which shows how we assemble each and every kit!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DRYWPTx03UY&feature=youtu.be

Successful Door-To-Door Sales

Summer and fall months are a prime time to utilize door-to-door sales tactics.  The weather is nicer, there are more daylight hours and households are more likely to stay up later, giving you the opportunity to present your sales case.  Additionally, you have the ability to meet your customer face-to-face, demonstrate your product and its advantages, and the added benefit of creating face recognition.   However, just like any sales tactic, there are many things to take into consideration and prepare for prior to getting started, and we’re here to help you put your best foot forward before you start ringing doorbells.

PERFECT PITCH

Door-to-door sales can easily be compared to those dreaded public speaking classes you took in school.  But, preparation and practice are all you need to have the confidence to sell.  First, know your product inside and out, and how it compares to other like products on the market.  This will ensure that you will have answers to any questions, and lets your potential customer see that you are the expert, thus giving them the trust they need to purchase from you.  Additionally, you will be prepared for any bumps in the road and any unforeseen instances that occur.  Second, practice, practice, practice!  The more you know exactly how you will approach a customer, the easier and less stressful your sales pitch will be for you.  It may be easiest to practice in front of a mirror, that way you can see how you appear to your potential customer, and change points in your pitch that may not come across like you hoped.  The combination of preparing yourself ahead of time and practice will give you all the confidence you need to successfully sell.

TIMING IS EVERYTHING…

…and, I mean this in more than one way.  In advance, think about the time you will start knocking on doors.  Monday mornings are more than likely not the best option, as people may be on their way to work, dropping kids off at daycare or running errands leftover from the weekend.  Try researching the neighborhood ahead of time, and note which homes have cars, and seeing who may be home during the day versus at night.  Additionally, think about this as an opportunity to set a future appointment instead of selling.  This will do two things: you will be able to prepare a meeting with the customer, and know that they are more than just a cold lead, as well as relieve the customer of any pressure of making a decision on the spot.  It will also make you look very courteous, with the customer knowing that you were mindful of their time.

Another thing to think about regarding time: how much time you need to spend with each household in order to meet your sales goals.  Whether you want to make one sale a week or day, knowing how many houses you need to reach each day will give you a realistic target and will teach you how to manage your time with each home.

TRIAL AND ERROR

When getting started, it is possible that the first 25 to 50 homes will include a lot of trial and error.  That’s okay!  However, make note of what works and what doesn’t, so you can change your game plan for future sales opportunities.  Just remember to sell confidently and be flexible with your plans, and you can expect success to come along.

What are your door-to door tips and tricks of the trade?  What do you suggest for first-timers?  Comment below so we can help everyone out with their sales plan!

DOW ELECTRONICS EMPLOYEE SPOTLIGHT

For this week’s post, we are highlighting two of our very own DOW Electronics employees, Mitch Wyatt and Craig Parrot.  Read on to get the inside scoop on these Area Sales Representatives.

Mitch Wyatt, Area Sales Representative, Greensboro

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Years at DOW Electronics: 3

Favorite part about working at DOW Electronics: My favorite part is getting the opportunity to work with our dealers to help them improve and grow their business.  It is very rewarding when you see them succeed.

What are some of your favorite things to do: Run/Workout, go to the beach, watch/play sports of any kind, and spend time with my wife and friends

Favorite Sports Team: UNC Tarheels

Favorite Food: Spaghetti

Dream Car: Range Rover Sport

Favorite Movie: It’s a tie between Anchorman and Old School

What activities did you enjoy in high school: Playing football and basketball, and attempting to talk to girls.

If you could re-experience one thing in your life, what would that be: I would relive my four years of college again.  Maybe stretch it out to five this time around.

What is one thing you’ve done that was really scary: Cliff diving in Jamaica.

Craig Parrot, Area Sales Representative, Tampa

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Years at DOW Electronics: 15

Favorite Part about working at DOW Electronics: Besides working with great people both inside and out, I particularly enjoy watching my Retailers succeed with their business. I have always had the utmost respect for my Retailers, as they are the ones who carry the weight on their backs and carry all the risks associated with self-employment.  When they find success making these sacrifices, I always look forward to my next visit.

First Job: Crew Member at Arby’s

What are some of you favorite things to do: I enjoy playing sand volleyball, watching or listening to Tampa Bay Rays games, and cooking.

Favorite Sports Team: Tampa Bay Rays and the Buffalo Bills

Favorite Movie: The Butterfly Effect

Dream Car: Buick Grand National

Favorite Food: Anything Spanish

What activities did you enjoy in high school: Wrestling and Intramural sports

If you could re-experience one thing in your life, what would that be: Moving to Florida in 1998.  It was an exhilarating time in my life when I had the opportunity to make new friends, create new experiences and discover who I really was.

THREE LINKEDIN FEATURES YOU SHOULD BE USING

Upon creating your LinkedIn account and looking around, it is not difficult to understand how you can feel overwhelmed and bombarded with a plethora of information and news.  However, once you get through all the noise, there are a few features you may want to think about enabling to enhance your LinkedIn page.

1. BLOG RSS FEED

With this feature, you are able to add your blog updates via an RSS feed.  This simple and easy to use tool allows you to promote your blog content to all visitors who visit your page.   Keep in mind that you will need to ensure you update your blog with fresh content regularly – an out-of-date and flat news feed will show that you haven’t put any effort into your blog, and will reduce your creditability.

To enable this feature, click the dropdown menu next to ‘’Admin Tools’’ for your page’s “Overview” tab.  You will then scroll to the bottom of the page and enter your blog’s RSS feed information.

2. PRODUCTS AND SERVICES TAB

This feature offered by LinkedIn allows you to highlight and promote the products and services your company offers.  You can also use this same feature to advertise webinars, add videos, upload marketing and training materials and introduce new products and services.  Another beneficial feature of the Products and Services Tab is that it allows you to create up to 30 different landing pages to drive and target a specific audience.  You can create parameters based on the company size, job function, geography and more, which is perfect for those businesses who have different business segments marketed to different audiences.

Since this feature in more in depth, you can get more information on how to set up by accessing your LinkedIn account and visiting the Help Section.

3. RECOMMENDATIONS

One of the best ways to generate business, especially for the local retailer, is by recommendations.  You enable this feature in conjunction with your Products and Services Tab so that your customers now have the opportunity to recommend the products and services you offer to other LinkedIn users.  This will not only build your credibility, but also increase your LinkedIn following, in turn, making you the expert in your area.

Again, this feature is more in depth, so you can get more information on setting this up on your LinkedIn account by visiting the Help Section on LinkedIn.

There are a handful of useful features offered on LinkedIn, so take some time to sift through all the information and set up your account so it best promotes your business.  And, stay tuned for updates to the DOW Electronics LinkedIn page!

What features do you use on LinkedIn?  What works for your business?  Comment below with your suggestions.

5 WAYS TO PROMOTE COMMUNICATION AND TEAMWORK WITHIN YOUR DEPARTMENT OR OFFICE

A happy office is more likely to be a productive office, and will increase employee satisfaction within their position.  However, interoffice competition and arguments are all too common in today’s workplace environment – with clashing personalities, opinions and preconceived notions, it’s not hard to understand why this frequently occurs.  Here are five easy ways to begin to promote communication and team work with in your office.

  1. Establish defined and clear-cut goals.  When you establish a set of goals for your department or office, your team members will know exactly what they are working towards.  Whether you want to increase sales by 10% or provide 100% customer satisfaction, having a common goal all employees are striving to meet will promote forward progress and camaraderie when the goal is finally met.
  2. Take time to listen to your team members by holding regular meetings.  Use the meetings to allow each employee to present the successes and failures associated with their daily duties with an uninterrupted voice, and truly listen to the information they introduce.  Your employees will not only feel more involved with the accomplishments of the business, they will also have an opportunity to ask for help, or for input from someone outside of the projects and responsibilities they manage.  This can lead to a better solution for everyone, including the clients you serve.  Additionally, require all participants to be involved with the meeting by bringing prepared information they have collected prior to the meeting.
  3. Encourage employees to share information with one another.  Two heads are better than one, and a working environment that supports a collective genius will deter an employee from withholding information for influence.  You can support this by setting aside time for cross-training employees, alternating roles and responsibilities of your employees or partnering employees to complete a project together.  Again, require participation from each employee, whether it be questions about the cross-training, or shared or equal responsibilities with group projects.  You will find that this will open the lines of communication between employees since they will have to initiate discussions on skills needed to complete the task or project.
  4. Reward your entire  team.  When your team works together  to complete a common goal, let them know!  It can be something small, such as donuts for breakfast, or pizza for lunch, but rewarding good behavior is the best way to ensure this same pattern will be followed in the future.
  5. Create bulletins to keep everyone updated on changes.  If your department sees a lot of changes from week to week, sending emails may not be the best way for your employees to keep track of all the updates.  Create a weekly, or monthly, bulletin that your employees can file and reference.  These bulletins can include changes in policies, guidelines, and requirements your employees will need to complete their job properly, as well as important notes from your meetings, and important dates, such as employee birthdays, anniversaries, and office closings.  Ensuring your employees are ‘in-the-know’ will make them feel included and will foster an open-door policy at work.

There are plenty of additional ways for you to cultivate open communication and teamwork within your office, whether it is planning out of work gatherings, or conducting team-building exercises.   Whatever you do, ensuring your staff enjoys working with one another will pay off in the long run.

What do you like to utilize for promoting teamwork at your business?  What have you tried that did not work?  We want to know, so comment below with your tips!

WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT CUSTOMER LOYALTY PROGRAMS

These days, customer loyalty and rewards programs are all the rage for all types of businesses.  From offering BOGO’s (buy one, get one free), free shipping and points for future items, these types of programs not only compensate your customer for purchasing products through you, they can also keep your customer base coming back for more and for a longer period of time.

However, many businesses fall flat with these types of programs by not planning and executing properly.  The bottom line is that you should look at this program as enhancing your customers’ experience and always strive to put their needs first.  Whether you start your own ‘VIP Club’ or ‘Rewards-style’ program, we’re here to help with our list of dos, don’ts and examples of how to start rewarding your customers today.

THE DO’S

  • Set parameters for your rewards based on what’s best for your business.  While for online companies, offering a free shipping reward is a great way to get people to order, this may not be your best reward if you have a substantial amount of foot traffic.  Additionally, set parameters based on how much a customer spends or how often they purchase, creating tiered levels of rewards, and giving your most loyal customers a special level of service.
  • Strive to build lasting relationships with your loyalty programs.  Engage your customers by giving them rewards they truly want, will use or will benefit from.
  • Think about your budget.  Starting a rewards program could get expensive if you don’t plan properly, so always track your budget on costs for the rewards.  This will allow you to calculate your Return on Investment to see which rewards work best, which don’t work and what you can change within your program to make it a better fit for you and your customers.
  • Track your customers’ purchasing habits.   By tracking what a customer purchases, you can offer them a reward that will truly help them.  For example, if they purchase two of a specific item at once, they get 50% off the third, or a discount on purchases of 10 or more of an item.  Additionally, if you see that a handful of customers purchase very little, offer a small discount to entice them to purchase more frequently.
  • Clearly state the parameters of your program to all customers and keep the process simple.  Make sure all users know how they obtain rewards or points by providing a handout of the guidelines.  Also, by creating a simple process for access to program rewards and account information, you are more like to run the program properly and have more users.
  • Partner with other businesses.  For example, if you hold an open-house event for VIP clients, partner with the catering service for discounts on your products and their services.

THE DON’TS

  • Don’t use a ‘one-size fits all’ model for your rewards program.  Tailor each reward or provide options that customers will find usable that way they will be happy with the reward they receive, and will be more likely to continue to purchase from you again.  Think outside the box, and keep in mind what will benefit your customer the most.
  • Don’t just give stuff away, or give your customer leftovers from an event.  They will not appreciate the reward, nor will they be enticed to purchase more.
  • Don’t make it difficult to sign up for your program.  Offering the ability to easily sign up by registering their email address with the first purchase is a quick way to get all of your customers started.
  • Don’t make rewards impossible to obtain.  If your customer has to spend $10,000 at your store to receive a $20.00 coupon, chances are you will never have anyone actually receive a reward, which completely defeats the purpose.  Think like PetCo – for every $100.00 you spend, you earn a $5.00 coupon to be used on anything at their store.  The reward level is easily reached, and the reward is completely fair for all users.

HOW TO START REWARDING:

Even with a small budget, here are some ways for you to start testing what loyalty program works best for you:

  • Celebrate with your customers by offering a small discount during the month of their birthday.
  • Offer additional services, such as product warranties, with little mark-up.
  • Reward referrals to your business by offering a coupon or discount.
  • Upgrade shipping with a specific purchase amount.
  • Offer your VIP customers a free preview night, or open house, in which they will be the first to see your new products.
  • Notify those in your rewards program of sales early so they can get a head start on shopping.
  • Have your customers create a ‘Wish List’ and when they reach a specific amount of purchases, you surprise them with a free gift.

Remember, the end goal of a loyalty program is to build a two-way relationship that benefits both users, so think about what your customers really want, and you’ll see the gains from increased sales and profits.

Have any questions about customer loyalty programs, or have any advice or ideas to share?  Comment below with your questions, or call 1.800.627.2920 or email adv@DOWElectronics.com to talk with our dedicated marketing team!