Wednesday, January 23, 2008

LS08: Customers and their problems

I attended a session where customers spoke about their decisions to not just go to Domino or Websphere et al, but how they got interest from the masses at all levels to go along with it.

Sure some laid it out as a direction and business decision, others did it be bringing it to a personal level. The medical health provider had an average age of 56 and was worried about their uptake on Sametime and other solutions. But it went well.

I loved this session. Ok it also included a client from South Florida which we would like to work with but I did not know that before attending.

After each one spoke for 5 minutes there was an open bar and discussion area. My more interesting discussion was about how to convince line/plant workers or even the guys on the delivery trucks to login for email. We also discussed executives that fear Lotus Notes of course.
You can not force people to change their patterns, but you can give them a choice.
If you run a promotion internally, the first 50 or 100, or some number which make sense, people that email you at prize@yourcompany.com will receive a (insert gift item of value or interest). But instead send it to everyone that logs in, make it either company specific or holiday or personal redemption.

Once they are in, you can show options, possibilities and remind them about being green, reducing paper and paperwork, faster payments on expenses, maps provided with full directions with delivery orders, instant answers to your questions via instant messaging, updated benefits, calendar scheduling, legible work orders or instructions.

I can go on but you get the idea.

Late, late, late last night by Jelly Roll's on the Boardwalk I ended up speaking with a guy that just left Boston for Orlando and also recently graduated college. We were discussing sales, competitive analysis and management, in addition to what all the people with badges were from and why IBM would do a conference like this or if IBM liked macs or not.

He is ambitous, not to the larry Ellison level, but wants to move up in management(he is in retail in Downtown Disney) and we discussed some basic tenets that can work. I put it in his terms and when I didn't he did ask what I referred to and I did this without acronyms.

I explained competitive analysis is like the (apologies to my non-US readers for this american football reference)New England Patriots being reviewed by the New York Giants for ways to win. Everyone knows if you hit Tom Brady he is a mess for a quarter or 2. But aside from that what else is the Patriots weakness. You watch films, see which side they run or pass to or if someone sometimes gets flagged for holding or maybe a linebacker that jumps too early.

I also told him if he wants to make more sales to NEVER ask a yes/no question until you are ready to ask for money/signature/contracts.
Just like the bartender that asks "Which beer do you want?" instead of "Do you want a beer?" I suggested he greet people in his shop with "What character do you like?" or "what's your favorite sport/musician/country/state?" depending on the shop in question.

So my question for you is, what do you ask your customers?
"Do you use Domino?"
or
"How do you communicate within your organization?"

The answer, or in this case your question, may help you in Orlando this week.

And now on to the Worst Practices - the Bets of the Worst from Bill and Paul.