Use Failure for Success

I was recently reading an article by professional hunter Jim Shockey about hunting African Duiker. The Duiker has one of the lowest hunting success rates of any African species. There was a quote in the article by Jim that really stuck with me. He said “You have to have failures to make your successes mean anything.”

This past deer season I sat many hours and many days in the tree stand. I saw very few deer, let alone one worth drawing my bow on. The hours and time I spend in the great outdoors is priceless to me, however it can become frustrating when I experience continual failure. Fast forward four months and now it’s turkey season. My brother-in-law and I went out together and got set up just before light. We hadn’t been set up for 15 minutes when 2 big toms flew down out of their roost and started heading our way. Within about 20 seconds the birds saw our decoys and came on a dead sprint right to us. We both shot a bird and just like that the hunt was over. The feeling of excitement and success was exhilarating.

Now if every time I went hunting it worked out just like that, do you think I would appreciate the success near as much? I definitely would not. That is what is so exciting about hunting. I sat all through deer season expecting one of those hunts to work out like that turkey hunt. But it never did and that’s ok, because it made that turkey hunt that much sweeter.

In sales we experience the same highs and lows as we do hunting. You will have days where it feels like every person you talk to is buying and we are closing deals left and right. Then other days it may feel like no one wants to buy and we can’t do anything right. A lot can be learned from our failures in sales. If we closed every deal there would never be any reason to continue to learn and improve. If we can use our failures as learning experiences and use them to get better, we will get to experience that unmistakable feeling of success more often.

Brian and TurkeysBrian and his brother-in-law pose with their turkeys.

Brian Dorsey is the Dealer Representative Manager at BLI Rentals

Bringing Customers to Ownership

The goal of the BLI Collections Department is to bring your customers to ownership of their properties. When we can bring the customer to ownership everybody wins – the customer, the dealer and BLI.

Bringing customers to ownership takes some behind the scenes work. We do all we can to treat your customers with dignity and respect making their rent-to-own experience as smooth and as positive as possible. We know we are representing our dealers once we take over the customer’s account and we take that responsibility seriously. We want to treat your customers in such a way that they will come back to you again and again.

Bringing customers to ownership means there are times that we have to work with them if their account becomes past due. Repossession is definitely the worst case scenario and we view it as a necessary step only after we fully exhaust all other avenues to help the customer keep on track to ownership.

Here are some of the tools that BLI uses to keep our customers current. Because some collections tools require a bit of a payment history from the customer, not all are eligible to use them.

Text Messaging

“BLI uses text messages as a preventive tool,” said Will Symmonds, BLI’s Collections Manager. Once a customer opts in they receive a friendly payment reminder two days before their due date, as well as another reminder text two days before their grace period expires. If their rent has already been paid they won’t receive these reminders.

Rewrite Agreements

If a customer has a good payment hiBLI Collections Timelinestory but can no longer afford their monthly payments, BLI can rewrite the customer’s agreement to lower the payments and hopefully prevent a return.

In the past, rewrites were reserved for rare circumstances, but BLI realized how they help customers obtain ownership of their building.

“We recognize that over time a customer’s circumstances may change,” Will said.
By extending the terms, we attempt to lower a customer’s payment enabling them to continue renting instead of returning the building.

Will said there has been a great response from customers regarding rewrites. “If someone has an income reduction, we are able to reduce their monthly rent, allowing them to keep a building they would have returned otherwise.”

“They’re able to continue renting, and both BLI and the dealer maintain good customer relations.”

Downsize Buildings

To reduce rental payments, some customers get a new building altogether.
“We recommend downsizing to any customer who is either ineligible for a rewrite or requests to return because the building doesn’t fit their needs,” Will said.
“Both the dealer and BLI are able to save a customer, and the dealer is able to make an additional sale!”

Defer Payments

One method of helping customers that BLI has used in the past, and still uses, is deferring a payment for a customer by adding the past due payment to the final payment.

“While some customers’ accounts are past due, their financial situation just does not allow them to make extra payments to get caught up,” said Will.

“Deferring a payment allows them to stay on good terms with BLI and avoid paying extra late fees,” he said. “It prevents customers from getting so far behind that they have to return their building, and since the deferred payment is added to the end of their agreement, they aren’t struggling to come up with several payments in a single month.”

Though the name “Collections” might have a negative connotation, BLI’s representatives are friendly and enjoy doing their jobs ­–helping customers. Here’s how they feel in their own words:

“Each account is different and we have to be creative to think of ways to assist each customer individually. I don’t care how far past due an account is or is not, it is always a win when we are able to see a customer reach ownership. It gives me a big boost when I see a customer that I have invested time in, bring their account current, or even better, pay it off. Nothing makes my day better than knowing that I helped someone keep a building when they are going through a tough time.” –Chrisy Lewis, Accounts Manager

“I love the fact that we are considered account managers not collections agents because BLI does more than just collect payments. Our goal is 100% the same as our dealers and customers. We want ownership for the customer in the end. I think once the customer speaks to us they understand that our goals are the same and we understand the situations life may bring upon us. I think this is made possible by BLI putting their trust in us to make the judgment calls and actually understand the bigger picture of each customer’s life. Each BLI employee takes so much pride in their work and looks at each call as more than just another account. Unfortunately, there will always be returns, but as long as communications are open, we do everything we can to make sure all parties’ goals are met.” –Bobby Hale, Accounts Manager

Strengths Finder 2.0

We are all born with certain strengths and weaknesses. Work hard in the areas of your strengths and find people that excel in the areas you are weak in to create a great organization. Working in the areas that you are gifted in will keep you energized where working in areas you are weak in can drain you of energy.

Features & Benefits

People are not buying your barn. They are buying what it offers them.

Most sales people try to sell what they think the prospect wants. Let’s turn this around. When I purchase something, I don’t purchase for what it is, but what it does for me. Don’t try to talk me into something I do not want. As salespeople we allow the customer to take the lead. We want to find what he is wanting or needing and apply the appropriate benefits.

May I make a suggestion? Let’s be proactive and make a list of 50 factual features of your building or your services. Do not limit yourself to the obvious, expand your thinking and get outside the box. From these features make a corresponding column of benefits or value that the features offer. Ask yourself “So what?” There may be more than one benefit from a feature. Some features will have different benefits to different prospects.

Features are what one can touch or see. That would be size, color, materials, type of fasteners, and so on. Benefits are the value to the prospect, i.e. able to clean and organize the garage, protect the motorcycle, delivered tomorrow, weather resistant, etc.

Recently I heard an advertisement on the radio for an all terrain vehicle. They mentioned a couple of features that meant nothing to me. One of the features was an overhead cam. That does not mean diddly-squat to me. I have heard of an overhead cam, but what does that mean to me? Does it make less noise? Will it jump over buildings? Does it make it go backwards? Do you get my point?

The prospective buyer is not interested in all benefits you have to offer. Do not use the shotgun approach where you hit the customer with a lot of information that he does not need or comprehend. Ask him questions to find what is important to him. Find out what they really want. Then use your rifle to zero in on exactly what the customer wants or needs. Share only those benefits that are important to him.

BLI has developed a Needs Assessment Sheet. This is designed to get information about the customer and to find his hot button, i.e. his dominant buying motive. Call or email me and I will get one headed in your direction.

Each person has different wants and needs. We want to meet their specific needs. Find these needs and show how your barn will match them. You will make more than a sale. You will make a customer.

Terry Taylor is a Dealer Representative for BLI RentalsTerry Taylor