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SPIF Tip #16: Getting Into Your Customer's Head

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customers-headSometimes getting

customers to talk is a challenge. Salespeople need to learn what is important to customers. And they need a conversation to do it. Too often, companies don’t set things up with salespeople so they can have these conversations easily. Nor do they equip their salespeople with the necessary questions and other tools to do so.

SPIF Tip #15: If Nothing is Improving, You're Probably Not Doing THIS Right

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pdca_wheelWhen Edwards

Deming would hear someone say they were going to accomplish a goal or objective, he would ask, “By what method?” Plan-Do-Check-Act (PDCA)[1] was his answer to his own question. When company leaders focus on results and not the means of achieving them, they fall into the trap of Planning and Doing while ignoring the methods used.

SPIF Tip # 14 - Why You Need to Improve Customer Facing Functions

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m415-09c23b26-ca71-44a3-93dc-b31745ff50ab-v2In his book

"Fourth Generation Management," Brian Joiner described a company that was told by its customers it was difficult to do business with. It is likely you have experienced dealing with similar companies. Since you’re reading this book, you may even have experienced working inside a company like this:

SPIF Tip #13: Are You Using the Voice of Customer You Already Have?

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tip13Here is a brief

exercise I’ve used to introduce Voice of Customer (VOC) to business people who may not be familiar with it: Imagine you’re the owner of a small chain of movie theatres and are going on a well-deserved vacation to a remote island in the South Pacific. You will have no Internet access, so you’ll only be able to get a very limited amount of information every day from your staff. What information should they prepare for you? Take a moment and write down your answers.

SPIF Tip #12: How to Predict Which prospects Will Buy

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crystal-ballI sometimes tell salespeople they should

 be able to predict which prospects will buy. Often they think, “Wait a second. In manufacturing, I know if I put twenty pieces of steel plate in a brake press and apply  three thousand pounds of force, each piece is going to bend to a 90-degree angle. But if I give twenty prospects the same sales message, no way am I going to get the same result. So how is this even comparable?”

SPIF Tip #11: The DNA of Improvement

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221A consultant recently

told me his perception of Lean Thinking:
  • Womack's 5 principles of Lean Thinking are at the DNA level. It shows how Lean can be replicated in new domains, thus, Lean Thinking.
A lot of people think Womack’s principles (Specify Value, Value Stream, Flow, Pull, and Perfection) are everything you need to eliminate waste and create improvement.

SPIF Tip #10: Defining Sales Terms

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tip10Most early

conversations I have with sales and marketing managers concern how they generate leads, how salespeople qualify prospects, or how team leaders track sales opportunities. After listening for a while and building rapport, I’ll ask, “What do you mean by a lead?” or “What is a prospect?” or “What is a sales opportunity?”

SPIF Tip #9: Seeing Sales as a Production System

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tip 9A sales production

system organizes marketing, sales, and service activities to transform the “raw materials” of people in the marketplace who may need what you sell into customers by adding value to them in specific ways.

SPIF Tip #8: Why Should You Consider Process Improvement?

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tip8Don’t use process

improvement methods just because they are supported by academics. Although process methods grew out of applied statistical theories, some academics understand process improvement and some do not. Indeed, many B-school teachings, especially in finance, actually undermine process excellence. Nor should you apply process improvement because it enhances quality, or works for other companies. Instead, a business should use approaches that maximize value for its customers and owners. Use process excellence because it will help your business develop individualized solutions to unique, local problems.

SPIF Tip #7: Who You Hire is Not the Most Important Factor in Sales

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tip7Most sales leaders

believe who they hire is the most important factor in their sales organization’s success. They spend lots of time and use special assessments to find the one or two super-salespeople from the field of candidates.
Surely the quality of who you hire is important. But is it the most important issue?