Spicing up sales with the author of ‘The Jalapeno Handshake’: a review of June’s Lunch ‘n Learn at Central Park Business Centre

Lydia Johnson is a well-seasoned sales trainer, having headed up 1,000 employees at VanCity Credit Union in her days of glory as Vice President of Sales and Services.  So it came by surprise to her former employees when a customer came to her asking for boat insurance and she said, “oh, we don’t offer that, but our competitors down the street do!”

“Why did you just send away a potential customer?” Her employees asked.  Truth be told, she never once lost a customer by helping them get what they needed.  Instead, she built trusting relationships with people who would come back to her for all the other products and services VanCity DID offer.

Today Johnson is the author of a newly released book where she teaches her readers to do exactly what she did at the top of the corporate ladder: heat up business relationships.  How?  With a Jalapeno Handshake.

That’s exactly what her book is called, ‘The Jalapeno Handshake: Strategies To Heat Up Your Business Relationships’ and you can get it in hard cover by visiting her site here: http://www.lydiajohnson.ca/.

The great thing about this author is that she’s also an engaging speaker.  So at June’s Lunch ‘n Learn she led an interactive seminar on thought-provoking ways to look at sales in a downward economy.

Here’s what we learned from Johnson’s insights:

  • To retain customers, we need to build trust with them. What do Nordstrom’s, Disneyland, Ritz Carlton, Four Seasons and Pike Place Fish Market all have in common?  Consistency.  Every person who works for these companies has the same focus.  Customers get the treatment they always expect.  Therefore, customers trust these companies, and trust equals more clients, which equals increased profits.
  • We build trust with our clients by four pillars: Integrity, Authenticity, Transparency and Advocacy.  How can you improve any of these?  More? Better? Different? Less?
  • We often miss the “gorilla.” Don’t believe it?  Watch this video, and you’ll see that we often get so wrapped up in following instructions and completing tasks that we miss opportunity to leverage tools, time, talents and training: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vJG698U2Mvo.
  • The way to catch the gorilla is by the Success Triangle. Clarity, Capabilities and Motivation/Inspiration are the three facets that make success.  Consider giving a task to an employee.  You say, “I need this done next week.”  The employee rushes to get it in by Monday morning, working all weekend on it.  You see it on your desk and say, “Oh, gee, thanks, but I didn’t need this until Friday afternoon.”  That was an opportunity to use each aspect of the success triangle.  Saying you need something done “in a week” is very different from saying you need something done “by Friday at 12 noon.”  Imagine the efficiency you could create with Clarity in your message, using the capabilities available to you and motivating and inspiring those around you.
  • When we face a hurdle after getting used to the ‘easy breeze’, we often get ‘stuck’, but for no reason. Watch this video for a bit of humor and consider where you might be stuck: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FSIkjNaICsg.
  • Asking powerful questions can be a trust builder. Do your questions create deep thought or paint pictures?  Next time you need to learn something about your client to secure a sale, create doubt, awareness or even embarrassment to bring to light new information that THEY may not have thought of themselves.  For example, if your service is facing funding cuts, ask your buyer what the negative effects would be on THEIR business if they lost your service.
  • Finally, rocks, pebbles and sand teach us a philosophy. The jar that is filled with sand first, then pebbles, then rocks will not fit everything in.  However, when the larger, more important rocks go in first, followed by pebbles, the sand will just fall into place.  Consider what order you take to fill your day.  Tackling the big stuff first followed by lesser important projects can help you accomplish more, within the same amount of time. Maybe it’s time for a change!

Thanks again, Lydia, for an interesting, enlightening and fun presentation!