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Volkmar VΓΆlzke'sΒ BLOG

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πŸ” What Is Your True Priority?

For any business, you as a customer can easily spot the true key priority of the vendor. It doesn’t matter which shiny statements they communicate on their websites or in their stores.

The truth immediately reveals itself as soon as you start interacting with them. 

Examples: 

  • Sales people in a store talk to each other instead of looking for customers.
  • When I ask a sales person for something specific, this person only points me to the shelves, “over there” without even asking if they can help me find the item.
  • On a website, I don’t find within 5 seconds, an easy way to get in touch.
  • The sales person doesn’t offer me any alternative, if they cannot find a solution for my primary demand.
  • The company is not at all interested in my motivation to buy, but just focused on their products.

The list could go on and on. The key point is this: People’s true priority is not something you can hammer into their mind. Instead, the behavior of...

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πŸ™‹ Can I Buy More, Please?

Here is how any business can easily increase their sales by 10 percent and more. Even if the technique is simple, only a few ever apply it. 

The fact is: Most businesses ask their prospective customers for less of what they would be willing to spend if – yes: if – they just would be offered something of more value. Many customers are ready to buy more, but are never asked. 

Here are 3 ideas on how to tap into the full purchasing potential of your customers: 

  1. For each basic product or service that you offer, create an advanced and a luxury version. Be creative! If you sell engineering, offer a speed upgrade. If you sell components for machines, offer a complete service and maintenance package. If you sell home cleaning services, offer a regular cleaning check at a flat rate.
  2. Attach an attractive name to these additional packages which communicates higher status, value and security. The message must be: You will feel better with this package....
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πŸ™…β€β™‚οΈ Stop pleasing unpleasable people

In this post, I’m sharing a tip by which you that can substantially increase your profitability. Hard to believe? Well, stay with me. 

When are you more successful in life and in business? When you collaborate with people of a similar mindset who support you and each other or when you need to constantly convince others of your way forward? The answer is clear; however, why do so many people and entire businesses spend far too much energy on trying to convince skeptical people instead of thriving with the ones who love working with them? 

I am mainly referring to your focus on the right customers here. Many CEOs and Sales Managers are not even aware of how much time they spend for trying to convince potential customers of their products who are deeply skeptical and constantly giving them a hard time.

Quite a lot of companies even spend most of their energy on trying to please almost unpleasable customers. 

The most successful people and businesses have...

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😱 How To Scare Away Good Customers

I constantly find it amazing how many companies truly do their best to turn away their customers or avoid finding new ones.

Yes, I know that this sounds a bit cynical, but it is confirmed in real life almost each day. Let me share three examples in which you might even find practices of your own company, at least to a certain extent. I’ll then give you some ideas about how to change these practices for the better. 

The owner of a restaurant in Zurich / Switzerland was staring at my wallet when I pulled out my credit card to pay and mentioned: “I see you have cash. Why don’t you pay with this? You know, I have to pay a fee for credit card transactions!” When I confirmed that I still want to pay by credit card he stated that we have to wait a while for the machine to pay. And yes, he let us wait another five minutes to do so. I will certainly never go there again nor will I leave a nice review on Trip Advisor. By the way, the food was not bad and the...

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β›± How often do you write a new swimming pool?

What would make your business or your team dramatically more successful? Not just a bit, but substantially! Do you have the answer? Here it is: By becoming THE go-to address in your market for both your potential customers and your potential staff members. 

THIS is key. Anything else is cosmetic. Why? Because all businesses that magically attract customers and employees can choose with whom they want to do business. They can decide the prices and the scope of their delivery. 

Paul McCartney once famously said that if he wants a new swimming pool for his house he just needs to write a new song. This is because he knew that each song the Beatles published would become a hit and easily pay for a new swimming pool (and lots of other things too). 

Consequently, one of my standard pieces of advice to my clients in terms of dramatically growing their business is to shift the focus from praising their product, their service, or their company, towards creating a celebrity...

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πŸ“ˆ Your Untapped Market Potential

Especially in uncertain times, questions about how to leverage additional potential for sales and profitability are becoming increasingly important.

Time and again, I see that most of the discussions revolve around the core products.

In the process, a significant lever is neglected that is well known but pushed to the back of the agenda in most companies: Service.

Especially in most small and medium-sized companies, the full exploitation of service potential is a long way off.

By "service," I mean the entire end-to-end customer relationship from the very first contact to the generation of fans - and not just "after-sales service," as is the case with so many companies.

I believe that "after-sales service" accounts for just 10 percent of the potential.

What is the consequence of ignoring the potential? Less revenue, less profitability, less contribution margin and - most importantly - less prospect and customer loyalty.

The opportunity to create sustainably enthusiastic customers is...

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❓ Why Do You Want Customers?

One of the key questions to ask if you want to achieve new success levels is: “Why do we want customers?” Now, you might think that this is far too easy to answer. “We want to make money, that’s why we need customers,” may be your first thought. 

But here is the point: what are your next three answers?

I’m asking because if your only reason for having customers is to make money then you will cause lots of collateral damage and most likely not stay in business for a long time.

In fact, this one answer is exactly the reason why many companies struggle, hit a plateau, and then drown: they forgot to deliver the next answers to this question. Additionally, their employees were only focused on getting the highest profit possible from each customer. 

On the other hand, if (yes, if!) you manage to anchor a bunch of sound answers to the question “Why do we want customers?”, your team will act differently in the case of customer...

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😊 Who Do You Make Happy Today?

Why are you doing what you are doing? Why do you get up each morning, work hard, and sacrifice much of your time? For money? No way! Money is nothing more than a means to an end. So, what’s your “end”? Freedom? Maybe. Influence? Possible. 

The only thing that acts as a valid reward is happiness.

You want to feel happier. Yes, I know, if you are the always rational engineer or lawyer, you might think “I want only hard facts.” And even for you, besides all the “hard facts”, you only need to feel more fulfilled, more powerful, and freer. In one word: happier. 

Here comes the point: one of the strongest triggers for our own happiness is when we make others happy.

There are countless studies that prove over and over again that we feel happier when we see others being happier because of us. 

But, during our busy days – and even sometimes for weeks – we forget this simple truth. We are chasing many rewards and forget that...

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Sales is Leadership is Sales

Some ask me how I manage to help teams and individuals advance in both leadership and sales. "Aren't those two very different subjects?"

The answer: no, these two areas are very similar. And the longer I spend working on them, the more similar they become.

Ultimately, sales is a different form of leadership. What do I mean by that? Here are three key insights to apply to your sales team:
  1. Full accountability. I see too many salespeople (and even sales managers) blaming the lack of success outside of their own area: the market, customers, IT, and all sorts of things make selling difficult. Even if these influences exist, blaming them doesn't do us any good: as soon as we let the responsibility for our success out of our hands, we are helpless. One of the first principles for top leadership is "full responsibility." The same is true in sales.

  2. In the driver's seat. One of the most important rules for success in sales is that you, the salesperson, are in the driver's seat. That means...
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How companies waste money

Recently, I accidentally came across the following conversation on one of the social media sites of the travel company Booking.com: A customer credibly complains that she will not be reimbursed – of about $100 - for a cancelled overnight stay. The company's answers revolve solely around formal justifications as to why the amount cannot be refunded.

Important background: In the last years, the customer booked trips of over $10'000 with the company.

I find such cases interesting, because they dramatically show the wrong priorities of the company: instead of systematically increasing the value of a customer and inspiring new bookings, they insist on process conformity. Unfortunately, this is not an isolated case.

And before you say, "something like this could not happen with us," I suggest you look twice. You'd probably be surprised how much business potential with customers is also falling through the cracks at your company.

Here are three typical approaches to plugging...
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