Use questions to find the pain
We’ve talked about the power of questions to get to the real issues before. We’ve also talked about finding the customer’s pain. There is a specific type of question to use to get to the pain.
We call these questions issue questions. They are the questions that get to the problems the customer is experiencing – problems which you can solve.
In order to get a better sense of the way these questions are used, let’s take an example. Imagine you are selling simple components. You have built your reputation on always having stock, so you have the best delivery record in your industry. If you are meeting a new customer, you’ll ask all the factual questions about what they buy, how often, what they pay, etc. But the issue questions, like, “what happens if your supplier is out of stock?” will allow you to have a discussion about all the lost production, the late nights catching up on orders, the overtime payments to meet their deadlines, all of which are painful to the customer. Then you can tell him about your stocking policy, and the reason it will save him from all that pain.
Issue questions are incredibly powerful for getting you to the point where you can really sell your benefits. Why not create a list of questions now that are relevant to your business?
Top Tips for a hassle free Christmas and New Year
I have been busy preparing for the festive season (Christmas to you and I) and as I do so, the risk manager within me always comes to the fore! I cannot help but see this time as one of increased risk and exposure with fewer precautions being taken to protect what we’ve purchased or built up over our lifetimes. I thought I’d share a few simple top tips to ensure that you and your treasured possessions are safe and with us all to enjoy another Christmas.
1. If you have home insurance – check the cover to ensure that there is an uplift in the contents limit over periods such as Christmas. As your home is often full to the brim with the latest “must haves”, it’s worth checking that your insurance is adequate.
2. Have you checked your smoke alarms or detectors recently? If not, do it today – not tomorrow as that could be too late. If the batteries have been in longer than 6 months, replace them – a fiver or tenner spent now could make the difference between peace and chaos.
3. If you are travelling to spend Christmas with relatives – does your home insurance cover you for any loss or damage to any personal possessions away from home? Check - if you accidentally drop that i-Pad that your wealthy Aunt has just bought you, are you covered?
4. Are you planning to be away for all or part of Christmas or New Year? If so, ensure that you tell a close neighbour who can regularly check on your house, and make sure you have your lights set on timer, and leave a car on your drive – anything to make sure your house doesn’t look empty!
5 Don’t leave festive lights on all day and all night. The most common cause of house fires is due to electrical faults and issues. This could be a faulty plug or wiring or simply that the transformer has burnt out.
Have a very Merry Christmas and a Prosperous and Healthy New Year!
Public Wi-Fi – Do You Exercise Caution?
B2B internet and Kaspersky Lab carried out a recent survey to see if people took precautions when using public wi-fi hot-spots.
The results revealed that a staggering 34%, of those who took part in the survey, never took precautions despite the fact that it is easy for traffic along these networks can be intercepted and used for evil purposes. 14% even stated that they used these hotspots to shop and bank online event though they were exposing their bank details and credit/debit cards to such risks.
Kaspersky warned that even if the connections were on https connection, encrypted or password protected there were still risks involved in using these networks and without encryption cyber-criminals have an easy time accessing and stealing data.
Only 13% of the people surveyed admitted to checking the level of encryption of the hot-spot.
Next time you use such a hot-spot check the security before you use it.
Tips on how employers can try and avoid pitfalls while still partaking in the Christmas spirit!
Don’t offer alcohol
Having an alcohol-free event is obviously not always a popular suggestion; however it is one of the best ways to minimise risk for employers, particularly in today’s multi-cultural society where increasing numbers of people don’t partake of the ‘Christmas spirits’ anyway.
As an employer, you have an obligation to keep your employees safe whilst they’re at work, and there is still a supervisory responsibility even when you are hosting the Christmas party.
Hold your party off-site
This won’t absolve the employer of all responsibility but , the restaurant would be considered the provider of alcohol and therefore would assume some of the responsibility for refusing to serve someone when they’ve had too much to drink.
However this is still likely to count as a ‘work’ event and therefore some supervisory liability could still exist for the employer. The employer would still need to take steps for example if say an employee is visibly intoxicated, and not in a position to drive home. As an employer, you can’t simply turn a blind eye.
Hold a lunch or breakfast party
Common sense dictates that daytime parties discourage heavy drinking or pre-drinking. Some employers have been known to host “active” events such as skiing parties, or go karting.
Have a plan for employees who have had too much to drink
Consider offering either somewhere to stay for the evening or transportation to and from the event so people don’t feel compelled to get back in their car after the event and drive themselves home.
Pre-book mini buses / taxis, or book a few hotel rooms nearby in case people need to spend the night.
Invite spouses or families
Aside from excessive drinking, the most common problem that typically arises from office Christmas parties is sexual harassment. Typically the frequency of sexual harassment claims are dramatically reduced at Christmas parties when spouses are included. This can backfire however, if bored spouses are left by the bar while their other halves enjoy themselves only to object, violently, at the end of the evening. Best used in conjunction with a limited bar!
Employees are still bound by workplace policies, even at after-hours parties
A Christmas party does not give an employee free rein to do or say things that would never be tolerated in the workplace, nor does it give an employer the same right. An employee can still be disciplined for conduct that occurs at a company Christmas party.
Be careful about any false promises you make whilst in the party spirit
There is no rule that prevents promises made at the Christmas Party from being unenforceable, provided there is a clear intent for them to be binding. Telling Joe from accounts that he is “your bestest friend in the world” and that you will double his pay in the New Year may come back to bite you.
As always, employing people can be a minefield but it’s up to you to decide what level of risk you are comfortable with and ensure that your employees know what is expected of them before the celebrations commence.
It can be tempting to assume that we’re all grown-ups and common sense will prevail, but unfortunately at this time of year it often doesn’t. As a Tribunal claim makes for a pretty rubbish Christmas present, it’s best to be prepared!
Always be closing
We've often talked about helping people to buy rather than trying to sell to them. However, that doesn’t mean you should sit passively by and wait to see which way the customer decides.
Your job is to help the customer to recognise that the best solution to her problem lies in buying from you.
To do this you need to be always moving the process in the right (ie your) direction. Can you break the buying decision down into a series of smaller decisions, each one of which takes the customer a little closer to buying from you?
Once you do this, you will be able to gently encourage them, step by step, to the final, and all-important decision – to buy from you.
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