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  • Joe Wichowski 3:26 pm on November 30, 2014 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Productivity   

    You Got Questions… Now What?!? 


    Many times, our customers has a tough time keeping up with email – especially outgoing “questions”.  I often show them how they can easily catalog these within Outlook as they are sending the email.  This has the added benefit of providing you with a “follow-up list” that you can quickly attack without having to remember and “search” for follow-up at a later date.

    The “Flag” capability in Outlook can really help here.  For any email that has a question in it, simply select the Tags pull-down, and select an appropriate flag (in our case, Next Week).


    Once you have flagged an email, it will popup in your Tasks pane window on the right side of your Inbox.


    This is a simply way to keep all of your expected responses in front of you.  As responses come you, you can simply clear the flag, and move on to your next item.

    What about your iPhone you ask?  Well, unfortunately, this is a 2-step process.  Newly created emails in the iOS email app do not allow you to “flag” them.  Instead, you first need to navigate to the Sent email folder on your iOS device.  Once there, you can then flag it.


    Although this is an extra step, it will then put your email along-side your other follow-up emails in Outlook.

  • Joe Wichowski 8:55 am on September 16, 2014 Permalink | Reply

    TractionCRM Is On The Microsoft CRM App Store! 

    Our tool for Microsoft CRM, Monday Morning Quarterback, is now available on the Microsoft CRM App Store!

    Our tool for Microsoft CRM, Monday Morning Quarterback, is now available on the Microsoft CRM App Store!

    Our app for Microsoft CRM – Monday Morning Quarterback – is now available on the Microsoft CRM App Store!  You can check it out here.

  • Joe Wichowski 4:24 pm on September 10, 2014 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , Finance, ,   

    What If You Could “Google” Your Data? 

    What If You Could “Google” Your Data?

    Google Your Data With Power BI From Microsoft

    Well, Now You Can!  

    Join Us In Troy @ Automation Alley To Learn About

    Power BI from Microsoft


    Now more than ever, companies are struggling to keep up with the demand for better analytics, and faster / real-time access to data.

    The problem is that the simple data tools we used to use (Excel) are no longer able to stand up to the shear amounts of data required to get “the big picture”.

    The standard model for Excel (load data, massage data, build pivot tables, convert to charts, repeat next month) is broken – too much time is wasted each and every month simply regenerating reports.

    Power BI - Sales By Month
    Enter Power BI from Microsoft.

    Power BI is a collection of Microsoft Excel add-ons that give power users the capability of collating data from many different sources, and build Click-type charts, maps, and other “visual” tables.

    It enables real-time decision making within the toolset most employees are familiar with – without having to wash/rinse/and repeat the process each and every month.

    Power BI - Sales On A Map
    Reply Back NOW To Register!


    Join us as we walk you through the Power BI toolset, how it solves “big data” problems, reduces costs, and helps employees get immediate answers to make better business decisions for your organization.

    Who: Financial Execs, Managers, Owners who want better access to data


    When: September 30, 2014 (Tuesday) 9am – 11am


    Where: Automation Alley (Troy)

    The Boardroom
    2675 Bellingham
    Troy, MI 48083



  • Joe Wichowski 7:00 am on May 27, 2014 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: ,   

    Make A Lasting (Permanent) Impression 

    Joe Wichowski vcard Example

    Let’s face it – the whole idea of handing out business cards is broken.  Who really wants to key all of those in?  I meet at least 10 new people every week.  It is very time consuming.

    Time and time again, the most asked question I get from sales guys is “Is there any way I can just feed these business cards directly into CRM?”  Don’t be part of the problem – give your prospects and customers a solution.  Instead, always send them your vCard attached to your emails.  They will benefit from not having to key your information in.  And you will benefit, because you can configure the entire card as you see fit, and ensure that your presence in their Contact list is exactly as you would like it.

    Creating a vCard is easy – simply create a new Contact for yourself in Outlook.  Remember to use EVERY field – as well as your picture (which WILL get emailed to your contact).  As you can see, I add my photo, use the Notes field to add a quick blurb about my company, and provide links to my sites and LinkedIn record.

    Use Every Field In Your vCard!


    Once done, in Outlook, simply choose File – Save As.  You will then be able to save the file as a .VCF file.  Then – every time you email a new contact or prospect, attach your vCard to save them the headache of having to type your information in.

  • Joe Wichowski 7:00 am on March 31, 2014 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , ,   

    Give your Microsoft CRM 2013 Online Some Style… 

    Rico Suave


    Microsoft has done well with CRM 2013 by making it easier for us to train – its simplified interface really cleans up a lot of the confusing options for your sales force.  However, the style sheets for CRM 2013 Online aren’t editable.  They are shared by all users on the same server, and as such, there are some issues if you have an older salesforce.   (Update:  Sorry, CRM 2015/16 has a new dom, and this script no longer works)

    For example, there are no “lines” defined between rows in views.  And the fonts used are really small – some of the sales teams we work with have great salesmen in the 50+ age range – really hard for them to “see”.  Consider the following list.  It’s very hard to see where you are at with larger datasets, or smaller screens.



    As such, we have created a Greasemonkey script (We use Tamper Monkey) for use with Microsoft CRM 2013 Online.  It greatly enhances the CSS, and makes it much easier for sales staff to see their data.  Enhancements include:


    • We added lines within views to separate each row.  We also increased the font size by 1 step to make it easier to see:



    • We added underlines separating each row on forms.  We also increased font size, as well as provide a “light grey” background for Section headings:





    We’ve begun rolling this out to all of our customers – and they really like it.  Enjoy!


    // ==UserScript==
    // @name TractionCRM BetterCRM Navigation – – Special Thanks To:  Magnetism Solutions
    // @namespace
    // @include
    // @version 1
    // @grant none
    // ==/UserScript==

    function addCss(cssString) {
    var head = document.getElementsByTagName(‘head’)[0];
    var newCss = document.createElement(‘style’);
    newCss.type = “text/css”;
    newCss.innerHTML = cssString;
    addCss(“ {border-bottom: 1px solid rgb(229, 229, 229) !important;}”);
    addCss(“.ms-crm-Inline-Value {border-bottom: 1px solid rgb(229, 229, 229) !important; font-size: 15px !important; font-weight: normal !important;}”);
    addCss(“.ms-crm-List-DataCell, .ms-crm-List-DataCell-Lite, .ms-crm-List-DataCell-Associated-Lite, .ms-crm-List-Data {font-size: 12px !important; border-bottom: 1px solid rgb(229, 229, 229) !important;}”);
    addCss(“.ms-crm-InlineTabHeader {color: 1px solid rgb(0,0,0) !important; background-color: rgb(230,230,230) !important; font-weight: bold !important;}”);
    addCss(“.ms-crm-Form {color: rgb(0,0,0) !important; “);


    addCss(“.navActionGroupContainer, .navActionListContainer{overflow-x:hidden;overflow-y:auto;width:215px;height: -moz-calc(100% – 40px);height: -webkit-calc(100% – 40px);height:calc(100% – 40px);}.nav-scrl{overflow:hidden;position:static;}”
    + “.nav-scrl{overflow:hidden;position:static;}” + “.nav-scrl-left-lnk,.nav-scrl-right-lnk{display:none!important;}” + “.nav-scrl-view{overflow:hidden;}” + “.nav-scrl-cont{margin-left:5px!important;}” +
    “.nav-tabBody{width:200px!important;}” + “.nav-subgroup,.nav-group{display:list-item;float:left;}” + “.nav-layout,.nav-groupContainer{display:inline-block;width:200px;}” + “.navActionButtonContainer{margin-bottom:5px;}” +
    “.navActionListContainer{left:198px;overflow:auto;top:40px;width:135px;}” + “.navEmptyActionButtonSmall img{float:left;margin-top:5px;}” + “.navEmptyActionButtonSmall .navActionButtonLabel{display:inline-block;overflow:visible;white-space:normal;width:126px;}” +
    Mscrm.ScrollInputHandler.prototype.attachScrollEventHandlers = function (handler) {



    • Jared Johnson 5:08 pm on November 26, 2014 Permalink | Reply

      Hi Joe,
      Surprised to see that somebody deployed that GreaseMonkey script to customers!
      I now have created a managed solution for the Left Navigation that can be imported into CRM which makes deploying this a lot easier. It can be downloaded from

      • Joe Wichowski 2:50 pm on November 30, 2014 Permalink | Reply

        Thanks for sharing Jared – I’ve shared with my Microsoft Rep as well. Hopefully, somewhere in CRM 2015 we will be able to customize the CSS directly via a web resource. But for now, we do leverage your solution to enhance the user experience.

    • Mouhanad 10:14 am on December 26, 2015 Permalink | Reply

      Hi , thanks for sharing this info.
      i think it is possible to use the same concept to change the (blue) module color in the toolbar ? could you help as i am not that strong in CSS for CRM

      • Joe Wichowski 10:42 am on April 14, 2016 Permalink | Reply

        Sorry – looks like Microsoft changed the entire DOM in 2015/2016. As such, the script above no longer works 😦

  • Joe Wichowski 1:48 pm on March 28, 2014 Permalink | Reply  

    MS Office For The iPad Is Finally Out! 


    Microsoft has finally released MS Office for the iPad.  Basically, you get Word, Excel, and Powerpoint, in fairly useful configurations, to create and manage Office files directly on your iPad.  Storage is through Onedrive – so you will need an account.

    In addition, it requires an Office365 subscription.  Otherwise, the app is read-only 😦


    If you need an Office365 account, give us a call, or click here to get a free trial and test it out for yourself:   Click here for a free trial of Office365 and Office for the iPad


  • Joe Wichowski 9:52 am on August 19, 2013 Permalink | Reply  

    Why McDonald’s 3 Sizes are really just 1 choice… 


    I admin it – I love McDonald’s French fries.  Warm, fresh out of the hopper, with lots of Ketchup (Ah! They have Heinz!).  Its a guilty pleasure that my daughter and I love to share often as a mid-Saturday afternoon snack, especially in the winter months coming back from sledding.  Its our new “tradition”.

    But recently I began to wonder – why am I so adamant on always buying the Large?  When I think about it, I don’t even consider the small – it doesn’t look big enough to me.  And the medium – I always “feel” that I may run out.  Besides, the price of the medium and the large is so close, its better to have “more” than not enough, right?  I have a reason to buy the large, right?  I mean, it only makes sense

    Come to find out, McDonalds is no dummy.  Marketing studies have shown that you can add persuasion to get people to “super size” their options by focusing on the “size” of your offerings, and their related prices.  Here’s how they do it:

    1. Offer 3 choices (A, B, and C).  Make the first choice “small” or the bare minimum.  Then, make the Medium choice very close in size to the Large (or very close in offerings).  It shouldn’t be exact, but it should be close enough to “cloud” the picture – make it difficult for the client to see much different between the two.
    2. Next comes pricing.  The price between A and C should be based on the margin – it should reflect the actual value offerings, and provide good margin (or desired margin) for your company.  In practice, the price for A versus the price for C should roughly be somewhere around 2x – meaning the items included within C have to be limited enough to reach a 2x spread.  Then, the price of B is to be skewed very close to C – towards the top 25% of the spread between A and C.
    3. Remember if the price between A and C is too large, the “value” of C gets diminished, and users can simply select A.  Not necessarily bad, but C is the “desired offer”.

    In following this pattern, it is quite easy for McDonald’s to sell Large French fries all day long.  The key is in the value.  So the question becomes, how can you apply this to your sales offerings?

    In my first post on providing options during the sales process, I discussed the power of 2 choices.  Once you get your team focused and executing on that, how can you get them to expand on that, and provide for an A, B, C option that persuades the customer to buy C?  Granted sometimes that is not possible – after all, the customer is often very busy and looking for a “quick quote”.  But for longer term engagements, or more strategic buying patterns, strive to get your sales force to help their customers realize that buying the “large” really makes the most sense for them.

  • Joe Wichowski 8:19 am on August 12, 2013 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: ,   

    The art of “More Choices” with less… 


    As sales people, we often provide our clients with way too many options.  Our product catalogs are full of so many awesome offerings, and we know the customer can benefit from every single one of them.  Our proposals get bigger and bigger, trying to add value to what we are offering.  We want to make a difference, and we want them to have everything they need.

    Studies have shown, however, that this type of behavior can lead to “paralysis by analysis” during the decision making process.  Consider the following scenario:

    A mother and daughter walk up to a corner.  There, they find 2 ice cream stores: one that serves only 3 flavors – vanilla, chocolate, and strawberry; and the other that has 31 flavors to choose from.  Both mother and daughter choose to visit the store with more options – choosing from 31 flavors has to be better, right?

    However, after entering the store, they are overwhelmed with so many choices, that they spend 10 times as long picking out “which flavor” they would like.  In essence, there are so many options, it is difficult for them to decide on what is the “right decision”, so they take longer to make the choice.

    In the above scenario, had the mother and daughter been presented with 2 stores – one with 3 flavors, and another with 3 similar but different flavors, their brain actually would have made their ice cream “choice” well before they even went into the store – they would have had clear vision very early in the decision making process.

    As such, in sales we should strive to offer our clients the choices they want, but not every choice they could use (at least, not now).  By writing smarter proposals, you can help your customers make faster decisions, and be more comfortable in the decision they’ve made.

  • Joe Wichowski 8:45 am on August 5, 2013 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: ,   

    Give your clients a “Yes” or “Yes” choice… 


    Pop quiz – What does the last sales proposal you sent to your customer look like?  Are you just quoting the products that you and your customer discussed?  Or are you going further – building a second proposal, that they didn’t even ask for, providing them with “another way to go”?

    Marketing studies have shown that even when you think you are giving people “1 choice”, you are essentially giving them 2 – They can say “Yes”, or they can say “No”.  The issue lies in the presentation of the options – why not increase (or better) your odds by controlling the story?  Why not try to give them a “Yes” or a “Yes” option?

    Instead of just a single proposal, can you provide your customers with an “A” and a “B” proposal?  Its not enough to include them on the same quotation – they have to be seen as physically separate – they should be able to hold each separately in their hand.

    What if Option A is the “bare minimum” to get the client started, but Option B offers long term support, training, maintenance, etc?  What if Option A is the base tooling assembly, but Option B provides for long-term stock service capabilities to help the client decrease their costs over the next 3 years?

    By providing an A and a B proposal, the discussion becomes more of a “which one fits you best?” as opposed to a “can we execute on this single proposal or not?” – you’ve changed the conversation.  The customer is now discussing options with you (physically shifting them in their hand, A or B, as you discuss them), neither of which leads to a “No”.

    By controlling the conversation, you can change the game – and your rate of closure – all to the benefit of the client.

  • Joe Wichowski 7:22 am on July 31, 2013 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: ,   

    Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online Fall ’13 Rollout is coming in November 


    Got our notice today – most of our customers will be getting the Fall ’13 update to CRM in November.  Here’s the list of items we are excited about:

    1. Finally – a built-in iPad interface – For too long, Microsoft CRM has “snubbed” the iPad in favor of Surface Pro.  But finally, Microsoft gives in, and CRM (including the customizations) will work as-is on an iPad.  This capability will take the form of an “App” on the iPad, but in practice, it will require a data connection (at all times) to utilize – meaning there will be no offline access.
    2. “Clicky” Interface – The user interface has been a bit redefined (or re-imagined?) to be more touch in nature.  This should bode well as tablets emerge as the go-to device for sales professionals.  In addition, one can imagine that office managers, leveraging CRM’s development capabilities as a workflow tool, can interact easier with employees engaged in work orders directly on the floor.
    3. Process-Based forms – In the Fall 2012 update, Microsoft introduced process-based forms for Leads, Accounts, and Opportunities.  This has been expanded to be allowed for “all” forms.  So, perhaps a Customer Service issues needs to go through a 3-step process, with specific information that must be gathered before  the next stage can begin – this can all be accomplished without writing code.  Here at Traction, we use these types of capabilities to help the software “walk a user through” the process, which requires less training up-front.

    Things to note:

    1. There will be no support for Windows XP.  This means that if you are running Windows XP, you will need to upgrade those PCs to at least Windows 7.
    2. Terminal Services 2003 is also no longer supported.  So if you have an older TS farm, you will be required to upgrade.
    3. The new interface will take some getting used to – this update will probably require a training session in order to effectively rollout to your team.
  • Joe Wichowski 1:37 pm on June 18, 2013 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , Microsoft Office 365   

    Old CRM4 endpoint now gone from CRM 2011 Online… 

    Kill Bill

    Ah, Microsoft…  Recently they began eliminating the CRM4 endpoint from the original CRM 2011 Online (

    While not totally surprising (they announced that they would “eventually” do this), a notice of the switch-over would have been preferable. This means that any utilities or custom programs that used the old “CRM4” endpoint will no longer work (or will not work in the very near future).  You can check the endpoint’s status by opening it in IE – if you get a 404, then you know you’ve been switched over.

    To resolve, you will have to download the latest SDK (which provides endpoint authentication for on-premesis, original CRM 2011 Online, and Office 365 Online), and use it to update any of your custom applications or portals.

    As a side note – I also know that Microsoft is beginning to move all original CRM 2011 Online customers over to their Office365 server farms.  This means that authentication via the old SDK will be changing soon for CRM 2011 Online customers (from Passport to Live).  This will affect any programs you made with the old SDK – so you may want to get in front of it fast…

    • Joe Wichowski 9:42 am on June 27, 2013 Permalink | Reply

      UPDATE – Ok, the endpoints are still there. But unfortunately, they now require authentication before you can access it. This is a significant change – before the endpoint was available before authenticating to Windows Live. I am unsure of why the change – but it makes our old Java CRM4 jobs incompatible without much of a workaround. We are in process of converting our jobs over to the new CRM 2011 Organization.svc endpoint 😦 Ugh, its never easy…


  • Joe Wichowski 12:27 pm on April 5, 2013 Permalink | Reply

    Looking to speed up CRM 2011 Online? Try switching to Chrome… 


    Does Microsoft CRM 2011 Online feel too slow?

    I have a motto here – if we support it – we better use it.  As avid users of CRM 2011 Online, we sometimes feel that it is a bit “slower” than we would like.  However,  Microsoft recently updated CRM 2011 to allow for just about any browser.  

    I loaded up Chrome today, and all I can say is – wow!  It is so much faster than IE10 (and my previous IE9)

    On a side note…  Do you use Comcast?

    Back about 12 months ago, the route between Comcast (Detroit area) and Microsoft servers was severely impacted by a change in routers on Microsoft’s side.  It took us working directly with Comcast (who worked directly with Microsoft) over a period of about 3 weeks to get it resolved.

    Once “resolved”, we still noticed latency on our side.  For example, here is our trace-route between our internet lines, and the Microsoft servers.  As you can see, it reaches Comcast fine, but times out along the route twice (the final 2 timeouts are normal, since does not allow for return route tracing).


    Is anyone else experiencing this?  When I visit a customer site with a normal T-1 or T-3, they have no timeouts along their tracert.  And their speed is always impressive.  So I do believe that a portion of the issue is with Comcast’s routes to CRM Online.

  • Joe Wichowski 10:39 pm on February 20, 2013 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: ,   

    Sad sad sad… Microsoft CRM Online r8 still missing iPad interface… 

    Kill Bill

    To my dismay, and utter disappointment, the r8 update to Microsoft CRM Online for our customers did not include cross-browser functionality for iPads.  Instead, users are still greeted with the same old (and lame, I might add), Mobile Express interface.

    This is extremely upsetting.  Yet again, I must apologize to our customers for being misled by unattainable timelines.  I am unsure of what Microsoft’s strategy is, but right now, it really feels disjointed.  Almost as if there are too many hands in the pot.

    While I agree that releasing a product with the stamp of “It’s good enough…” is not the way to go, I do feel that a company like Microsoft (with their $$ Billions and $$ Billions in the bank) should be able to throw enough resources at this to get it out the door when promised.

    For now, if you are looking for an iPad solution, I have since recommended to my customers to purchase an OnLive Desktop account and browse via its Virtual Desktop.  Access is speedy, and since it uses regular Internet Explorer, it at least gets sales professionals functional with their iPads.

    (Note:  We have tried the “User Agent” switching thing with some other browsers available on the iPad – but there are too many errors with that solution.  The OnLive solution provides for a perfect rendition of CRM – albeit with a few additional clicks that they shouldn’t have to do, and $5 more per user per month for the OnLive account).

  • Joe Wichowski 9:31 am on January 21, 2013 Permalink | Reply  

    My laptop shortlist for the Salesman… 


    Often I am asked “Joe – what’s the best laptop for a sales guy?”.  For me, it currently falls into 2 camps – those with some cash to spend, and those with out.

    Let me start by explaining – I think that sub-$1,000 laptops are ridiculous.  There is no way for a company to make money at the <$1k price point unless something suffers – most namely, you!    I think a good laptop, for use at least 20 hours a week, should last between 2.5 and 3 years of common wear and tear, and should not cause me to wait.  To that, I can only say that in my experience, any laptop under $1k ends up costing me money (in loss time, loss productivity, loss of self-esteem).  So, with that, I currently narrow my recommendations down to 2 laptops for salesmen:

    1. Apple MacBook AirI currently use the 11“, with the 128gig drive.  I loaded Windows 8 on it – I am not a MacOS fan, especially for business.  Also, if you use a lot of Microsoft software, you will want to make sure you load Windows – although there are some options for MacOS, it really isn’t the same.  On my laptop, I kept about 90gigs of the hard drive for Windows, and left the rest for the original MacOS (I am using Bootcamp).  For me, the 11″ form factor is killer.  I can take this thing anywhere, and feel like I am carrying nothing.  It’s almost like my iPad with a keyboard, except it runs Windows.
      For some other salesmen, I have recommended the 13″ Air, since its screen resolution is slightly larger (they are salesmen who often review CAD type drawings).  But for me, I just submit proposals all day in Word.  The 11″ form factor, the power/quickness to boot up, the brightness of the screen, the backlight on the keyboard – its everything I need.  I paid about $1,250 including tax direct from the Apple store in the mall.
      Pros:  Lightweight, extremely fast-boot with the SSD drive, feels like it runs on battery forever, backlit keyboard, awesomely bright screen, can upgrade the processor to Intel i7, but for my needs (proposals, presentations, limited development) the extra horsepower is not needed
      Cons:  A bit pricier, since you need to buy Windows separately and take the time to install it yourself (or get a consultant to do it), cannot add more RAM later, the space bar has some “known issues” under long-term use (google it)

    2. Lenovo Yoga Ultrabook – This notebook was not out when I bought my Air, but if it was, I would have given it serious consideration.  It essentially matches just about everything in the 13″ MacBook, with the exception of the backlit keyboard.  But all in all, it is a great laptop.  And at $999 for the entry model at Best Buy, it is a great price point.  It even has a touch-screen!  But for me, as a sales guy, I require laptop functionality – if I have to keep taking my hands off the keyboard to “touch” the screen, it takes longer than just putting my finger down on the trackpad and moving the cursor the old-fashioned way.  (Perhaps I am just getting too old!)
      Note: Be careful with this choice!  The Yoga RT version IS NOT the Ultrabook version.  You should pay no less than $999 for this laptop!  Otherwise, you are getting the RT version, which will not likely run all of the software you want to run!
      Pros:  Lightweight, slim, great screen, could double as a tablet (see below), great price point (right at $1k!), you can upgrade the memory yourself, slightly larger screen resolution (matching that of the Air 13″)
      Cons: Touchscreen will want you to “touch it” – expect to clean it a lot like your iPad, doesn’t come in 11″ form factor, slightly heavier (1 lbs for 11″, .5 lbs for 13″)


    All in all, if I were to buy today, I would probably buy the Lenovo.  It’s a better deal at $999, and already comes with Windows (saving some time for an IT guy to load up bootcamp).

    A couple of additional notes:

    • I leverage Microsoft SkyDrive.  For $50 per year, I get 100gigs of redundant storage in the cloud, that works across all my devices.  That is why I really no longer need a “large hard drive” for my laptop.  All of my sales collateral, presentations, training materials, Six-Sigma documentation, and so on are all in the cloud, available to me on any device.  It also gives me the freedom to “switch hardware” whenever I need to, with little or no IT intervention.
    • I have purchased a PNY Key 32gb USB Flash Drive that I often carry around, but have not used since I extended my Skydrive account to 100gb.  But I often use it to transfer presentations and files from my Air to a client’s conference room PC or desktop (often giving them a copy of my presentation on the spot)
  • Joe Wichowski 8:44 am on January 14, 2013 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: ,   

    Challenge your team to “know” your customers… 


    Dale Carnegie once said:

     “You can make more friends in two months by becoming
    more interested in other people than you can in
    two years by trying to get people interested in you”

    Too often as salesmen, we define ourselves by our ability to make people interested in us – to persuade people into buying.  Instead, take a moment to give your team some specific action items that will not only get them more in tune with their customers, but they just might gather some intelligence to help them close their next deal.

    • Identifying Your Customer’s Customers – Find out who your customer’s “top customers” are.  Are they overweight in one particular segment?  Are they still growing? What are their strategic initiatives for customer growth over the next 12 months?  How might your company be able to help within those initiatives?
    • Competitor Discussion – Have your sales team ask the customer who your top 1 or 2 competitors are.  More often than not, they will actually tell you.  Why do they do business with them versus you? How are they different (good or bad)?  What is the percentage split (them versus us)?  Is there anything our competitors are doing that the customer would like us doing?
    • “If I Could” Discussion – Simply have your sales team ask the customer “If I could do anything for you this year – one thing – besides give you product for free; what would it be?”.   Then collate the list and review for synergies across your customer base.

    Assign these questions to your team.  Have them return a sheet filled in with each of their top-10 customers.  In doing so, you will begin to realize information you never had, and at the same time, draw your customer closer to your sales force.

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