Guest blogger Rick Wong has over 35 years working in sales and marketing with Fortune 100 companies including Hewlett-Packard and Microsoft. His company, The Five Abilities, LLC, is a management consulting firm in Seattle, Washington, where he helps salespeople learn habits that improve customer acquisition and retention results. His clients range from entrepreneurial ventures to global enterprises. He also serves on the board of directors of Vision House, a Christina non-profit firm serving homeless families with children. He has a BS in Business & Food Science from Oregon State University along with an MBA from the University of Washington’s Foster School of Business.
Competition is fiercer today than ever before, and no matter how much you focus on data, analytics, and performance, it may surprise you that what ultimately matters the most to people is the human touch.
“Companies don’t make decisions—people do,” says, Rick Wong, author of Winning Lifelong Customers with The Five Abilities (Authority Publishing; May 2017). “… and people make the most crucial business decisions for personal reasons.”
It may come as a surprise to some, but in today’s fast-moving, data driven marketplace, where people have more choices than ever before, the personal factors are more important than ever.
Using over thirty-five years of experience working and growing revenue at Hewlett-Packard, Microsoft, and other Fortune 100 companies, Wong created a clearly written guide for sales people and CxOs that defines the most important ‘outside the contract’ factors that decision-makers care about the most when deciding to make the initial purchase and the critical repeat purchases. You’ll never be left asking yourself,” What do I do now?” because you’ll have a framework to answer that question quickly and correctly. “These are the critical factors that keep people coming back for more,” Wong says. Here’s a summary of The Five Abilities:
1. Optimize your Visability*: Be consciously and consistently seen in the right way, at the right time, by the right people. Perfect your messaging so you know you can get people curious in less than 30 seconds, delivering heightened value-add that surprises them and exceeds their expectations. Design every communication so that every time people see, listen to or watch something by or about you, they will quickly pay more attention, and naturally step in, bring you closer, and focus on learning more about what you can do for them.
2. Demonstrate your Credability*. Show your creds! Demonstrate superior knowledge and utilize your experience in ways that prove you know how to help people. Then deliver what you’ve promised. In fact, deliver more than what you promised. Impress every prospect, customer, decision-maker and influencer and make it a total commitment to offer and give helpful advice and assistance that goes beyond your stated product or service. Be consistent and you will get referrals and achieve loyalty that opens the doors to new opportunities.
3. Assess your Viability. Let prospects and customers articulate their needs, hopes and desires fully. Use your knowledge, expertise and experience as necessary to evaluate, coach and correct their expectations. Ask yourself if you are properly qualified and capable of delivering what they need. Can you be successful? Do they have realistic expectations? Success speaks loudly, but failure speaks much louder. Be averse to failure and choose your customers wisely so that you end up having only happy customers. If not, know when to say no, and move on. Then just yell, Next!”
4. Apply your special Capability. Go beyond just completing the minimum specifications of a job or piece of work. Satisfy customers by identifying and addressing the personal motivations of your customer. Find out how they like to communicate, how they like to appear to others, and who they need to impress in order for them to be successful. Then design, propose and get concurrence on the specific ways you will deliver their personal win and fulfill the hidden and unique motivations that are often not found on contracts, income statements and balance sheets.
5. Demonstrate your Reliability. Be unreasonably accountable when the unexpected happens. Be unusually open, and communicate actively, engaging the right technical, sales and management people when things go sideways. Anticipate challenges and be honest about problems. Never blindside a customer and be a particularly good listener when a customer is angry or unhappy. Be open and responsive to the need for change and new solutions.
* intentionally spelled as -ability
Wong observes that adhering to The Five Abilities not only makes people into better individual performers, but it improves how they function as team members, and increases their value and consistency over long periods of time.
“Money may be a way to keep score,” he writes, “but the true motivators are the joy of winning, the joy of helping, and the joy of relating.”