Monday, June 27, 2011

Ask Kisser

I'm an ask kisser. That's right, I said it. I'm an ASK kisser.

I'm sealing deals and kissing checks because I've learned the power of making the "ASK". Not making the sale, making the ask. Most people don't close the sale because they never ask for the sale, or even worse, they never ask anything, period.

I love sports, so indulge me on this analogy: questions are to a sale what a quarterback is to football. Without the quarterback you essentially don't have a game (who's going to throw the ball?), without questions, you don't have game.

When you ask a question, you throw the ball to the other player - your customer or prospect - you get them involved. Question after question, you lead them down the field, first down, second down, first down until you've got a TOUCHDOWN (enter end-zone dance here)!

The questions you ask put you in position to make a sale. How do you know what your client needs? Wants? Thinks? Believes in? How do you know what your prospects past experiences have been? What they find of value? Are you assuming, or asking?

As an ask kisser, the best feeling in the world is to have someone smile and say, "That's a great question." AH, success! That's what being an ask kisser is all about. It's about asking relevant and powerful questions that get your prospects to smile and then reveal something about themselves, their buying habits, their needs, wants, thoughts, beliefs, past experiences or what they find of value.

Being an ask kisser doesn't happen overnight. It takes preparation and practice. It also requires that you put into action what you already know.

Here's how to be a great ask kisser:

1. Ask open-ended questions. DUH! I'm not telling you something new; I'm just repeating something that the majority of people still don't do! Break the bad habit of asking questions that allow your client or prospect to reply with a simple yes or no. If they don't have to think about their answer, you haven't asked a good question.

2. Prepare questions before hand. Spend time creating questions before you meet with your prospect or client. Asking relevant and powerful questions doesn't just happen. You have to put some work into it. Do your homework and write out at least five questions to take with you to your next appointment. You'll be amazed at how differently the conversation goes when you arrive prepared, with not just knowledge about the prospect but, with questions too.

3. Ask what your competition isn't asking. I'm a creativity advocate. I believe that creativity kills the competition. One of the key areas in sales to get creative is with your questions. If it's a question you've heard everyone and their Grandma ask, then don't ask it. Think outside the Magic 8 ball (where you only get yes or no or maybe answers) and be forward thinking. Ask questions that no one else is asking - but please don't be risque or offensive. Be thought provoking, relevant, and creative to move the sales process forward.

4. Ask for the business. This should be the easiest on the list but usually it's the one that salespeople fear the most - the fear of rejection. Making a sale is like landing a date. You'll never get anywhere if you don't ASK! What's the worst that can happen? They say, "NO, get out of here you creep?"

Asking questions and asking the right questions is key to getting what you want, both in sales and in life. What's your best ask-kisser question? Post it on my Sales Barista Facebook page. I'll pick my favorite on July 4th and the lucky winner will receive one of my favorite things - a Starbucks gift card.

Stephanie Melish, one of the few, hand-selected, Gitomer-Certified Speakers is the ONLY Double-Tall, Non-Fat, No-Whip Sales Barista in the world! Stephanie trains, sells, and speaks to companies and associations all over the country. To book Stephanie for your next event, please visit or contact the friendly folks at Buy Gitomer via email or by calling 704-333-1112.

Monday, June 6, 2011

Run, Don't Wok!

I love Chinese food! It's one of my weaknesses in the dreaded diet-arena. I can't go very long without getting my next fix and having it show up on the scale.

Beyond my love of Chinese food, is my love of online ordering for restaurants. I'm a picky eater (refer back to my Domino's piece - NO ONIONS!) and you'll understand that I'm a girl who likes to customize my order. "Double-Tall, Non-Fat, No-Whip Mocha" for example or "Egg-Stravaganza, scrambled hard, no oil, no grits, sub fruit, whole wheat biscuit, please!" Flying Biscuit anyone?

Let me tell you, waiters and waitresses alike, LOVE me.

It's not always easy to get what you want - especially when you are picky. My precise-likeness (as I like to refer to it) can be explained to the uttermost-minor-detail through online ordering. Thank you computer geniuses everywhere! I'm now able to subtract, remove, omit, 86, and forever delete, my dreaded onions! Seriously, why are they in everything?

So when I found out recently that my new favorite Chinese restaurant offers online ordering - I knew I just had to try it out. Had to. It was a must. Sesame chicken here I come.

I logged on. Put in my order with ease:

Sesame Chicken
Brown Rice
Spring Roll
Side of Shrimp Sauce

Paid with credit card. Added on the tip. And waited for Chinese delicousness to arrive at my door.

30 minutes passed.
40 minutes passed.
45 minutes passed.
50 minutes hit. Where in the world is Carmen Sesame Chicken?

Mind you, this restaurant is 0.3 miles from our front door. I could have ordered, drove, picked it up, returned home, and ate it in that amount of time. But when you order Chinese food aren't you generally in a lazy mood?

I picked up my phone and called. Explained I put in an online order. "Yes, we received it!" Great! Why is it taking so long?

She explained that it had just come through on their end. Stupid technology.

I explained that I had been waiting for an hour at this point. She told me she'd put a Chinese fire-drill rush on it. Satisfied, I hung up.

15 minutes later - KUNG PAO! The Chef himself, Mr. General Tso, was ringing our doorbell with my order in hand. Now that is service!

Happily, I tore into the brown paper bag, only to be struck with utter disappointment. Where's my shrimp sauce? Why are there onions in the rice? Why is my order WRONG? Stupid online ordering.

Now, some people would have sucked it up, literally and figuratively, but not me. I expect to get what I order. Every. Single. Time.

I called back. Same girl answered. I explain. She apologizes. She says she'll have the right order over right away.

10 minutes later. Back was the Chef with new rice and sauce in hand. THANK YOU. THANK YOU. THANK YOU.

As I closed the door and went to turn for the kitchen, I noticed something. There was no car in the driveway this time. I saw the chef start to lightly jog, back to the restaurant. WOW! Now that, that is something to write about.

Not only did they apologize for the time it took to get the food, send the chef to personally deliver it, and apologize for the mix-up, but they made the chef RUN (not wok) it over.

When was the last time you ran, not walked, for your customers? When was the last time you made a WOW! when your service went wrong?

It takes a unique company to understand the power of satisfying each and every customer. No matter how big, or small, the order, no matter how much of a pain or strain it puts on you, no matter what - your job is to serve and exceed their expectations. Because, you never know when you will serve that ONE person who will re-tell your service story.

Stephanie Melish, one of the few, hand-selected, Gitomer-Certified Speakers is the ONLY Double-Tall, Non-Fat, No-Whip Sales Barista in the world! Stephanie trains, sells, and speaks to companies and associations all over the country. To book Stephanie for your next event, please visit or contact the friendly folks at Buy Gitomer via email or by calling 704-333-1112.