Entrepreneur - - By Andrew Neitlich

The story of a remarkable business turnaround

My brother-in-law (call him Bill) moved down to Florida this year, and took a job managing a local auto parts dealer. Within a few months, he had increased sales by over 25%. He is not a natural sales person. He’s just a nice, ordinary guy.

His approach is applicable to selling web services:

1. The former manager was grumpy to customers. Bill was friendly. He welcomed phone calls with a friendly greeting. He spent time asking customers about how things were going, and listening. He worked hard to find the part the customer needed, while the former manager had a “take it or leave it” attitude.

2. The former manager didn’t learn his products. Bill knew his products cold and knows how to talk about them in layman’s terms. He is also good at explaining, in clear language, the benefits his products offer.

3. Bill charges for things that the manager was uncomfortable charging for, but which cost the company money. For instance, he charges for shipping/freight.

4. Bill provides exemplary service. For instance, he takes back parts without question — knowing that clients will come back for more sales. The former manager put up a fight with returns.

5. He is always thinking about other things to sell customers — not for the sake of it, but because these additional products will add value.

6. He has a passion for auto parts. I take him to the occasional arena football or ball game, and a quarter of our conversation is about auto parts. He lives and breathes this stuff.

Overall, he has a down-home, positive, professional attitude and genuinely likes helping people. He also knows his products. Finally, he has the self-esteem needed to charge customers what’s needed to earn a profit.

It’s not hard, and yet we all know plenty of professionals who are grumpy, think about themselves first, are not very approachable, and can’t speak in common language or step in the other person’s shoes to explain the benefits of a product/service.

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