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What is Customer Retention? How does it relate to the Customer Life Cycle?

Posted on | March 6, 2006 | No Comments

Or Is this really Important for a Small Business Enterprise ?

By Kevin Barrett

This is a very interesting topic…. Trillion’s of Dollars are spent a year on Sales Training… most of that training is focused for getting New Customers….

IIn effect, trying to find new Professional Sales Techniques to gain a “competitive advantage”.

It is also interesting that Customer Retention Programs are usually an after thought.

We advocate companies “Developing a Loyalty Ladder” customer base….. rather than a “Revolving Door” sales process. Customer Retention Programs are just as important…. I will even say they are more important than, new customer generation….

Once , customer retention is setup properly it cost very little to maintain, “Open Regular Communications” with your existing customer base and it frees up more resources to expand your sales into new areas…

I wrote an article awhile back on this topic and the full article can be downloaded at the link….

Matching Your Retention Strategies and Customer Life Cycle

It has some very interesting concepts….

I have used some references from Adam Ramshaw a Director at Genroe Pty Ltd… Adam and his company in Australia are experts in this field..

The graphic on Customer Life Cycle was provided with his permission.

I would recommend to everyone checking out there website…. Genroe and I have collaborated in the past and they are exceptionally good at what they do…. http://bit.ly/Y30OM

After reading the above article, my question is How many of the companies you work with or for that matter your own… company… really factor in to their Sales Plan the Product Life Cycle?… ( it has also been called the “Itch Cycle” of the product, when does the customer start needing the product again, and need to satisfy that desire?)

I believe that this is an important aspect of “Increasing Sales” and it is “Vital” for companies to factor these principles into their “Sales Programs” and “Strategic Plans”…

Every Sales Professional, must consistently explore ways to make regular contact with their “Loyalty Ladder”…..

Kevin Barrett

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To the Sales Professional, What is your Prime Motivator? And How important is it to you?

Posted on | February 28, 2006 | No Comments

By Kevin Barrett

A Professional Sales Technique that will make all the difference.

A friend of mine wrote a very interesting and informative article on “Networking”… One of the responses to her article was by a gentlemen that suggested that the “Motivation behind Networking” is also of importance.

This caused me to reflect on the impact and importance for a Sales Professional.

The prime “Motivator” for our networking and for that matter Sales, is very important. I relate this to a “Purpose”, when I am working with companies. A “Purpose”, is your reason for being….

That will most likely be different for each person on this net.

My over all “Purpose”, my reason for being…. Not just for myself but also my company, Is in just a few words:

“To make a positive difference”

That one statement carries through everything I do…. It is my prime “Mover”…..

When working with companies, over the last 20 years I have observed a refinement with companies to further define themselves as a company… this is particularly important for “Start-up” Companies.

We all have that a Business Plan is important, and we have all heard that we need to have a 5 year plan… we have heard words like, “Mission Statements”, “Value Statements”, “Vision” and “Action Plans”… extolled as the “ways and means” for achieving success in business.

In the late 90’s I was involved in a “Change Management” program with the largest insurance companies in Australia. The Program was called “Working from the Inside Out”….

One of the topic’s to be covered, was related to the perceived ineffectiveness of “Business Plans” … These companies had business plans, but they did not think that they were really of any value.

They had put in 5 year plans and because of revolutionary changes in that industry that took place, they found that everything changed… and they were left scrambling…..

A lot of finger pointing in many different directions… The real motivation behind this program, was that “Management wanted to change their employees, so that they would obtain different results.”

The true is you can not change the outside very much with out getting in deep and at the core of things. Hence, the name of the Program.. “Working from the Inside, Out”..

For this desired change to take place a change in “Management” had to take place….

We have all heard and seen the “Pyramid” style structure for “Organizational Charts”, CEO (one) at the Top and individual employees (Many) at the bottom…

What I did, is take that “Organizational Chart” and turn it upside down….

The CEO the (One) holding up the rest of the Organization… the response… Impossible, to achieve… even the mythical Atlas, was not able to hold the world on his shoulders….

My response was.. Let’s take a “Holistic” approach to the structure, much as Deming advocated, in his Total Quality Management program and empower the top the many to be able to function as an integrated unit. This would take much of the weight of the CEO and in effect permit “Atlas to hold up the world”.

You must remember, that this company was hemorrhaging. They were using words like, we have to kill the competition, we have cut out the dead beats, we are at war…. We must win at all cost. Their new “Marketing Campaign” was like a “War Campaign”.

My comment to one of the “Senior Executives” at the time was, and I really don’t remember where I had heard this before, but it came to me as an answer to his “Motivation” for wanting this “Change Management” program… I guess, in a nut shell, they wanted to “Train the Troops” to do battle.

My comment, “I recall seeing a young girl in a war torn setting. The village had just been bombed out, smoke was still, rising from the ruins and devastation. A reporter on the ground was asking this young girl, what she wanted to BE, when she grew up?”

This young child’s response?….. “I want to be alive”

I asked the “Senior Executive” if he wanted to “Do Battle” or have is “Company alive” and well…..

To be alive and well, they needed to change how they were doing things…

One of the reasons that their 5 year plan had not “Seen” the change in their industry coming was because they did not take a large enough View…… They were looking too locally and not Globally….

So… I changed the Business Planning Model, from their current planning model, which was:

Mission Statement
Action Plan

We included several new areas and their planning process became:

Global View (or Purpose)
Vision or Business Overview

Mission Statement
Action Plan

We started at the top…. And worked down…….

We also found that there needed to be something to link this purpose or global view with the “Vision” and this is called the “Values”.

These Values and Beliefs are important for making change. It is just as important for companies. Once this was in alignment with our “Purpose”, things started to move forward, move forward at a fast pace.

There are many companies that are following this the Visionary Model, (which does not include the Global View or Purpose perspective)

James Collins and Jerry Porras, wrote a book called “Built to Last” were they studied Visionary Companies and tracked their success over the last 100 years. Exceptionally good reading…. These companies had different values, but they all had a “Strong Governing Value”, that impacted their actions and decisions… In effect… in influenced every step of the planning process.

I believe that when companies begin to take an even large starting view (Global Impact and Purpose) and link their “Values” with this model, we will see even greater success at all levels of business, large and small business ventures…

The statistics with companies failing in the first 3 years in business is not improving much….

Back to the original, point of this thread, related to “Networking”…. And integrating Christophe, suggestion that the “Why we network”, is of importance….

I would suggest we explore each of our individual “Purpose Statement” and it will provide some very interesting insights as to ourselves and our businesses…

Be careful however, it could change your “Success Ratio” significantly for the better.

How good are we at handling “Change”? and “What impact do we want to make?”

Kevin Barrett


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What is “The Competitive Advantage” and Why Should I Care?

Posted on | February 25, 2006 | No Comments

By Kevin J. Barrett

Everybody has competition–competition for sales and competition for time, that is why it is important to use effective Professional Sales Techniques.

When you call someone or make a sales presentation, you are competing against hundreds of other things that are trying to get the attention of that person, things that may look or feel more important than your call, right now.

So how do you get a customer to decide to “buy” from you or even just listen to you? You need a competitive advantage–a reason that makes you more attractive to the customer than your competition. You need an advantage that allows you to ‘speak” in a more persuasive way. That advantage will not be your engineering excellence, your service quality, or your prices. You have only one advantage YOU! The only real “competitive advantage” you can have is a better way to sell YOU, because the customer will always buy you before he/she buys your product. You must shine brighter and more powerfully than your competition, or no one will hear what you have to say.

What is NLP?

Some people sell themselves more effectively than others. They seem to know naturally how to influence and persuade. As much as they might want to believe this ability is part of their personal charm, it is really the result of using a set of skills effectively.

In the 1970’s, a project was begun to identify the skills that enable one person to quickly and consistently persuade another. This collection of skills was eventually called “Neurolinguistic Programming” or NLP. (The name implies the power of the skills: the way the mind or neurology works has an effect on what we say, feel, and think.)

Also, the way we speak to ourselves or others effects how our mind works. Hence, one can “program” the other. If you want proof of this, the next time you are about to hit a golf ball, say to yourself, “I don’t want to hit it in the lake” and watch where the ball goes!

Identifying the skills of NLP was a marvelous accomplishment, but it was not enough. To make NLP truly useful, it was necessary to prove that anyone can learn these skills. This, too, has been accomplished. Anyone who wants to learn to be more effective in “motivating” himself/herself or in persuading others can discover the power of NLP.

NLP has been successful as a guide for therapists (Grinder and others) and a self-help motivator (Tony Robbins, Brian Tracy, and others). But sales professionals needed more than self-motivation. They needed NLP to be a real tool to help them sell.

I have been working with adapting NLP skills for sales and marketing professionals since the mid-1980’s. I have worked with these techniques with a wide range of Sales professionals and also with a group of people in Australia that were considered, by most as losers and no hopers, “The Unemployed”. The vast majority these “Unemployed” discovered that by using effective communication techniques they were able to gain active employment. Over 90% of these people found work or started their own businesses after discovering how much more effective they can be with the “Competitive Advantage” of these techniques.

Recently, these NLP techniques have been applied to telemarketing and obtained sales increases of 16-35% by “engineering” scripts through NLP. These NLP techniques can also be applied to inbound customer-service settings to increase problem-solving effectiveness as well as add-on selling opportunities. They are “Highly Effective” in building “On Line Internet Businesses”, by integrating these techniques into Brochures, Web-Pages, Newsletters and e-mails.

How does NLP work?

At the most fundamental level, NLP skills help you make the other person feel comfortable and trust you. This process can be as simple as matching your verbal speed to mirror your customer. It can also be as complex as recognizing attitude biases or language preferences. By learning to talk the way your customer thinks or talks, you truly begin to “speak their language”. When people are comfortable with one another and are no longer competing or posturing for power, the process of rapport happens automatically, even over the phone. In the typical selling or survey interaction, rapport is hard to achieve. By knowing how to make the other person feel comfortable with you, you are gaining the advantage.

NLP skills can also be used to help a person mentally rehearse buying from you. NLP can direct the action of others in a subtle but effective way. By making what was once called “subliminal suggestions’, It is possible to help a person think BUY before you even offer a trial close. You can also command a person to TALK to you when conducting telemarketing, RECOMMEND you when you are presenting to a non-decision maker, or CALL you when you are leaving a message on voice mail.

Where can NLP be useful to me?

NLP skills are valuable for influencing anyone anywhere. Whether through mail, on the phone, face-to-face, or in a group presentation, NLP skills get results. You can get a person to listen to you. You can leave voice mail messages that get a response. You can get more information from a secretary or gatekeeper, and you can help people remember and feel good about your company even though you are making only a survey call for information. Any time or place you want to be persuasive, there are several NLP skills that are available to you.

NLP will give you a Competitive Advantage in:

Direct face- to-face selling
Client interviews to get information
Selection interviews for hiring
Voice-mail messages so they are answered or remembered
Survey calls to generate interest
Cold-call interviews with prospects
Letters, memos, or conversations to influence
Direct mail or brochures to create interest
Phone solicitation or telemarketing
Formal presentations to sell an idea
Handouts to help keep a prospect interested

Do I need to be an expert on NLP to be effective?

It is not necessary to know why or how NLP works. It is only necessary to have the courage and perseverance to try the skills.

Therefore, you can enjoy the results of NLP without even being particularly good at using the skills. NLP skills get positive results even when you are still learning how to be smoother or more elegant in their use! Some practice is necessary for most of the skills, and a lot of practice is needed for a few of the skills. Like any skill, the more you practice, the better you get. But once you see what happens when you try one or more of the skills in The Competitive Advantage, you will be hooked. You will not need someone to talk you into practicing.

Do you need to use NLP techniques all of the time? No. You only use them consciously when you need them. When do you need them? When you are not happy with what is happening. As you learn to notice when an interaction is not going smoothly, you will see when to apply one of the NLP skills. When things are going well, you do not need to think about NLP.

Discover the power of NLP
Give yourself the power of the real Competitive
Advantage — YOU

“The Competitive Advantage” is a program developed to apply NLP to selling and marketing. It is about selling yourself and your product or service. It is not about motivation or self-help. “The Competitive Advantage” gives you the tools to sell yourself in any setting to any audience. Contact Kevin Barrett at kevinjbarrett@kjbarrett.com for information on “The Competitive Advantage” program for you and your company.

Remember–most sales people have a good grasp of their product and how to talk about it. See the difference when you learn how to effectively use these people skills to sell it.

I would like to close by saying that in the past many of these skills have been used to manipulate people into choosing their products. Those that used these techniques in that way were not adhering to one of the fundamental principles of N.L.P., which is that it must be used with Integrity and in an ecological manner. We profess in using these techniques to build and strengthen long-term relationships with your clients and customers.

When used in this manner it builds an effective loyalty ladder for long lasting repeat business and the ability to create a strong REFERRAL BUSINESS. Many companies use “Telemarketing”, e-mails, and written brochures as a means of generating initial leads. When N.L.P. techniques and “Script Engineering” techniques are used for Sales Presentations, Telephone Communications and all forms of written communications the results are incredible. However, by not taking the next step they are often only maintaining a “Revolving Door” business and not truly developing a “Loyalty Ladder”. When this technology is used at every step of the “Sales Process” a self-generating Referral Business is the natural by product. Everyone WINS and the cost of sales reduces proportionally to the increase of customer satisfactions. Now……

All of these benefits and more will be yours, “just for the asking”.

You will be able to assist your customers and clients in making the best possible decision and your business will enjoy and experience the “Competitive Advantage”.

For further information and training in how to effectively anchor these into successful behavioural strategies please contact Kevin Barrett.


Kevin Barrett is a Business & Training Consultant, N.L.P. Practitioner and Silva Method Lecturer. If you would like to subscribe to receive more Free “Tips and Strategies” visit www.kjbarrett.com

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Can a good Salesperson, Sell almost anything?

Posted on | February 24, 2006 | No Comments

Professional Sales Techniques

“Can a good Salesmen, Sell almost anything”….

Well, I have personally found that I had to change the “Wording” for me to become effective and the wording I use….

Is “A good Salesperson can assist people “Buying & Owning” almost anything”

The last statement is based on the people wanting to Buy & Own and having a “Need”… to “Buy & Own”… The salespersons responsibility is to find the need and assist.

No Need, No Sale…. No Need to Sell….

If there is a NEED…

Then all the Salesperson, needs to do is develop Rapport and Establish Trust…

That is a bit of an over simplification, but it is what I have found that works “Head and Shoulders” above the rest… and it is very easy to learn….

Strangely, I have found that were there is the least amount of Trust between Vendor and Buyer, is in the area of Real Estate…..

Kevin Barrett

Professional Sales Techniques

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Physical, Mental or Cyber harassment can close down your business

Posted on | February 24, 2006 | 1 Comment

By Kevin Barrett http://www.kjbarrett.com

This topic may seem a little out of place on a Blog for Professional Sales Techniques, however, I think it is an important topic that should be brought up for review….

So…. Here it goes…. And after reading this I think you will agree it may actually be a very appropriate topic to be included as a Professional Sales Technique

When I was training the Unemployed… I found that many of the participants were subjected to a Power/Control scenario… So often we think of abuse in terms of Physical or Sexual abuse….

I came across a project called the Duluth Project… from Duluth Minnesota

There are two wheels that they use

One the Power/Control


And the other is called the equity Wheel


I asked those in the group to look at the wheel not only from the standpoint of violence/abuse but also from the standpoint of the work place…. I think if we make the same transposition we can also see the abuses that can take place in the Work place… Sexual harassment is just one of the aspects of a more profound deep seat problem…

I then started to train Corporate client and used these wheels… I did not purposely change the wording, but I talked through the change of wording as it related to the work place… It was a very powerful technique…

They could easily say I do not use abuse but when confronted with scenario’s in the work place that were similar to the wheels the recognition of the problem became, self evident….

I had senior executive say Oh my God, that’s what I am doing to my wife or partner… or I used money as a means of controlling my employee…

Very interesting and very powerful recognition and changes took place.

Today I was speaking with a friend.. where her boss has been making comments, non supportive comments, and also using bullying tactics to, I am sure in his mind to motive the employee to give more to the company….

i.e. If you were really committed to this company you would come in during your off time and spend an hour or two helping out….

She put in for another job with in the organization, and she was told no, she had not proven herself by doing the above…

Now, she is a single mother, with an 8 year old son… and I have first hand experience on the High level of job performance she has been providing for this boss…

And it is not only I but everyone that has had anything to do with her in her position… they have all spoke with the highest compliments…

Now something is out of line here….. I download these wheels again…. And it confirms what can be termed as Abuse… not physical or sexual… but abuse of power… in the work place…

Now I have intervened and I have recommend work place mediation… I really don’t think the boss understands what he is doing…

And I believe once people are aware of another way of doing things they should be given that opportunity to make that shift…

And my friend can continue, work at something she is very good at and she also loves doing… except for this situation…

I would suggest that all business entrepreneurs and Sales Professionals become familiar with the Duluth Project Wheels and use them as a tool to improve their management and communications skills….

With education maybe we can make the workplace and cyberspace a safer work environment to be in……

I really hope we can make a difference with this problem….

An continue to have more Success:FULL Sales….

Kevin Barrett

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