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To grow, you have to be better than your competition. If you let the status quo carry the day, the next day will be the same, and so forth. If your customers and prospects simply want a price quote time after time, it's time to rethink your prospecting strategy. It's also time to change your words. When I look at marketing materials and listen to industry conversations, the "We" words— We, Us, Our, and Company Name—are frequently used. What you say, write, and post online is not for you. It is for your prospects and customers. Make them the center of EVERYTHING. An easy way to start this mind shift is to look at the We/You ratio in your marketing materials. Count the We's (i.e., We, Us, Our, Company Name). Then count the You's (i.e., You, Your, Customer, Client). Audio record a few sales visits and telephone calls, and count again. If the ratio is far from 30% "We" to 70% "You," it's time to revise your messaging. By shifting the focus to your prospects and customers, your messaging will change. You'll focus on your prospect's goals and how you can help them, rather than selling on price. It has been said, "People prefer to do business with those they know, like, and trust." What can you do to shift the sales process from purely transactional to one more centered on the relationship? 2. Sell Value, Sell Value, Sell Value Mia Allen and Amy Angellotti of Rose Pallet shared, "We're not interested in living and dying by price. We're interested in a full 'pallet management' relationship with our customers. We focus on relationship selling and great customer service. We're not about the transaction. Ever." There is absolutely no better way to sell your value than to demonstrate the problem, solution, and the results you have achieved for your clients time and time again. Develop a success story library with specific messages. Examples: Above & Beyond Customer Service; We Make the Impossible, Possible; We're Just a Phone Call Away; and Ask Us Anything, We'll Find the Answer. Develop 1, 2, 5, and 10-minute versions of your stories. Share these with your sales and customer service teams and continue to add and update. Jimmy Wilson of Bay Wood Products, sets himself apart by being an information resource for his customers. He shares wide- ranging information about legislation, lumber and international events. He emails a quarterly "President's Letter," which shares more personal information such as his charitable activities, showcasing Bay Wood Products as a company that cares. Think of yourself a consultant. Create a list of all of the activities you perform on behalf of your customers, before the deal, during and after. What do your customers get out of the extra mile you go? Highlight these differences and benefits to them. Demonstrate your value as a trusted, go-to-partner who understands your customers' needs. 3. Make Customer Ser vice Priority One Without exception, every single person I have ever interacted with in a commoditizing environment tells me customer service is the best way to build customer loyalty. Mia Allen and Amy Angellotti of Rose Pallet were emphatic, "Service, service, service. We are on our phones all of the time. We get back to customers within minutes. Some of our customers told us our competitors were not even returning calls. Some told us that when they requested a facility visit, they were informed, 'Our reps don't travel.'" Not returning calls? Not traveling? Examples like these take price out of the discussion. Period. And then, there is going above and beyond. Todd Askew sends goodie boxes to brand new customers. Jimmy Wilson sends out his President's Letter. Mia and Amy send hand-written thank you PalletCentral • September-October 2015 13 "We're interested in a full 'pallet management' relationship with our customers. We focus on relationship selling and great customer ser vice. We're not about the transaction." —Amy Angellotti, Rose Pallet

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