Dan Cockerell grew up in the hospitality industry. He went to Boston University and worked at Disney World for a summer. He officially joined the Walt Disney Company as a parking attendant in 1991 after finishing college. After 26 years and 19 jobs at Walt Disney, he decided to leave to start his own consulting company.
Most of the employees in Disney who are working as executives in the operation started in the frontline roles to understand the customer experiences at the ground level. Disney isn’t sales but the structure that is used in its marketing is similar to sales.
Translating it to our language, salespeople are bound to creating customer experiences to close more deals.
The beginning of Disneyland
Walt Disney was ahead of his time. He was an animator and he wanted to create a 3D world where people could escape reality and step into movies. He wanted to create happiness together as a family. This was his original thought for building Disneyland in 1955. He kept the business clean, he was nice to people, and he valued them. People kept coming back because of the Midwestern values set by the company.
Dan understood then that people are looking for experiences. Even millennials these days are looking for experiences rather than buying objects that lose their value over time. Experience, on the other hand, gains value over time. Disney had a great business model: to make emotional connections with people and have a great product and service to offer them simultaneously.
The immense popularity of Disney parks stems from its ability to create experiences.
Creating great customer experiences to close more deals
Disney did a lot of research and measurements to help the company improve. They have round table discussions, group discussions, and surveys. They pulled out a group one year and made a survey on what makes them different and why people keep coming back to Disney World. The Disney team had their expected answers, including the fireworks, the hotels, the attractions, the food, the characters, and others.
There are four things, however, that Disney and salespeople have in common.
Disney makes people feel special
They translated that to the cast members and they had a common purpose which is to create happiness for guests. Their team always looks for ways to make their guests feel special every day. It’s challenging when you have 50 million guests coming to the park every year.
The same is true in sales, salespeople need to make their potential clients and existing clients feel special. Often times, it’s the simple things like sending them notes on their birthdays or when there’s something big to celebrate in their company. You have to invest in time with them.
Disney treats people as individuals
Connect with people individually and make exceptions depending on one’s situation. As salespeople, you also need to treat people as individuals. Don’t quote them because the policy won’t work for some of them. Figure out a way to make exceptions according to their needs to make them feel like individuals.
Creating great customer experiences to close more deals doesn’t have to be expensive. It takes attention to detail in order to connect with people. You just have to hire people who are keen on taking interest in people.
A team needs a good leader or role model. Show your people that you are approachable and you want to help them with their sales problems as much as possible. Talk to them and be with them. Seeing their role model in action motivates them to do better in creating great customer experience to close more deals.
Get down with the best practices you can as an organization no matter how small these gestures are to make your potential and existing clients feel special. Think of the ways you can give your clients great experiences.
Disney respects everyone
Respect is basic. People who come to Walt Disney are treated equally regardless of where they are staying. Guests who pay $99 a night and guests who pay $1,200 a night are given the same amount of respect. Disney isn’t looking at the color of the skin, the language people speak, and where they came from. Everyone must feel welcome without prejudice.
Salespeople must show respect to all clients regardless of color, language, or policy they are going to get. Even when, as a leader, you aren’t particularly fond of the organization you are in, you still have to take personal pride in your profession.
When you treat your team professionally, they’ll also respond professionally.
When the clients’ experience fails, it isn’t the fault of the sales rep but that of the leader. You might have hired them in an environment they shouldn’t be in, you might not have trained them, you might have failed to give them feedback, and/or acknowledged them enough.
Leaders create the environment for their people then their people go and operate in that environment. #SalesQuote
Salespeople need to know the product inside out and really believe in it. It’s a lot easier to sell to clients when they hear the excitement in your voice. A good salesperson also needs to bring the product to the next level by implementing it to the needs of the clients’ company. Explain how your product or services would cater to the needs of their company.
We don’t know the answer to every question so when the client asks you something that you have zero idea what the answer is, be honest. Dial-up a person who has the answer or read more. Don’t just give them bad information to save face.
Close more deals
Four things are laid out in creating great customer experiences to close more deals.
- Make people feel special
- Treat people as individuals
- Respect everyone
- Be knowledgeable
Pick one from these four ways and start doing it to change your sales game. Do this one bite at a time.
“Creating Great Customer Experiences To Close More Deals” episode resources
Connect with Dan by visiting his website, DanCockerell.com. He has his email there and his phone number.
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