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Mastering Phone Skills and Customer Service: Fostering Lasting Loyalty with Mike Sember
Episode 201st January 2024 • Business Superfans Podcast • Frederick Dudek (Freddy D)
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Episode 20 with Frederick Dudek (Freddy D)

Mastering Phone Skills and Customer Service: Fostering Lasting Loyalty with Mike Sember

In this episode of the Business Superfan Podcast, host Freddy D talks with Mike Sember, a Lead Relationship Manager for a vitamin and supplement company. Mike discusses the evolution of sales tactics post-COVID, emphasizing the importance of credibility and rapport. He draws on his baseball experience with the Chicago Cubs to underline the value of teamwork in sales. Mike also shares a story about resolving a customer’s order issue with empathy and extra service, reflecting his customer-centric approach to relationship management and upselling. The conversation focuses on building trust, integrity, and long-term customer relationships in the modern sales environment.

Discover more with our detailed show notes and exclusive content by visiting: https://bit.ly/3U4sg6W

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Transcripts

Freddy D:

For more than 20 years, Mike Sember has been exclusively

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engaged in executive business

development and relationship projects

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within the healthcare industry.

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His primary focus has been on

devising marketing and sales

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strategies to forge partnerships

and explore avenues of revenue.

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These pursuits involved.

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Collaboration with various senior

functions, including it, operations,

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sales, and marketing and finance.

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Before working in the healthcare industry,

Mike was involved in a marketing and

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sales of personal development tools

and helped expand the organization's

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presence throughout the United States.

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Prior to working in a

personal development.

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Mike worked in the sporting industry

as VP of sales of one of the

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major sporting product companies.

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This was preempted by Mike

being an ex professional

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ballplayer for the Chicago Cubs.

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Hello, everybody, and welcome

to another insightful episode

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of Business Superfan Podcast.

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I'm thrilled to introduce our guest,

Mike Sember with The 20 Store.

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Hello, Mike, and welcome to the show.

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Mike Sember: Good afternoon, Freddy D.

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It's a pleasure to get a chance to

talk about marketing, sales, product,

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and hopefully people that listen

to this will be better informed

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and on their way to good health.

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Freddy D: Exactly.

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So, Mike, tell us a little bit

about how you got started and

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how you ended up dealing with

customers here at the 20 Store.

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Mike Sember: Well, the world

has evolved and so have I.

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I was the traditional, let's go out to a

sales meeting, build a rapport hear no a

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thousand times, and have to come back and

still make the call over and over again.

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However, today, three years post

COVID, we have to gain credibility.

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We have to talk people more via

the telephone or our cell phones, a

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headset like I use for my company here.

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I've been doing this three years and.

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I started the traditional

way making those sales calls.

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Wilson, sporting goods, cyber vision

systems, a variety of consumer products.

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So I've always had interaction with

the end user, meaning the customer.

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Now what's the tough part

about having a customer?

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Freddy D yeah.

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God, I get a customer.

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How do we get a customer?

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So lots of things haven't changed in ages.

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It's still sales and marketing one Oh one.

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And it's just.

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People now are just now starting

to get used to the reliability,

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the credibility over the telephone.

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I wear a headset every

day when I go to work.

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I don't know Freddie D from Joe Smith.

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But I've got to get Joe Smith

to fall in love with my voice.

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Let me talk to him a little bit about

product so he has some credibility.

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They all have questions about

ingredients and how often, dosages.

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But I can't play doctor.

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I'm not a doctor.

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I'm here for them to build

a relationship with me.

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And then through me with the company

and the company's products So I hope I

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said that simply enough because that's

what it is And I we do it all day.

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And like I said emails

voicemails cell phone Distance.

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I can work anywhere right now in my sales

and marketing world with just the laptop.

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And I'm fortunate because this opportunity

came my way as I aged and I was being

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replaced out there by younger salespeople

and my managerial days not too many

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openings out there for sales managers.

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So one day this company had sent an email.

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And they were looking for someone

to be, what my current title

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is, Lead Relationship Manager.

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And that means, got a lead, comes

from anywhere, and from any place.

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Could be Australia, could be UK.

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But I'm doing it all via my

laptop and on the telephone.

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And I had to evolve the sales pitch

into, I always use the analogy, a radio

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broadcast versus a television broadcast.

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I can sit and watch the television all day

and know exactly what's going on without

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any audio because I have a picture.

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When you do radio, you tell

you have to talk more, but you

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have to create that picture.

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You have to get some credibility whether

you're selling a comic book or in my

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case, vitamins and supplements for

healthy for people to stay healthier.

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So it I got lucky.

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They were looking for

someone in this position.

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I sent him an email

back and within 30 days.

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I'm the lead relationship manager.

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I still have dotted line managerial,

I work with Abilities because we do

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have people in the in the philippines

That help when i'm sleeping.

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They're doing a lot of it work Processing

things for us if there's a problem I

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can reach out to them They can go into

our system not very elaborate, but we

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do have a customer a crm system Which I

can keep up to date on a moment's notice

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So I don't once I get the customer.

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I don't want to lose that customer.

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I want that customer To actually

look forward to my phone

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call if they have an issue.

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Oh, Mike, I'm glad you called me back.

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Freddy D: Right, right.

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So, okay tell me, I know that we've

known each other for a hot minute.

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Actually probably several decades,

and so tell me, you used to be

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a Chicago clubs baseball player.

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So how did that knowledge help

you lead into getting into sales

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building relationships, because

in sports, you gotta have a team.

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And so you have to count on other people.

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Today, you're working, like you just

said, you got the team in Singapore,

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you've got your team in California.

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How does that come to play in

today's world, that experience of

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being a professional ballplayer?

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Mike Sember: Well, you brought

up the number one word team

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and there's no I in team.

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Okay.

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And so as a result, yes, I

do need a California owners.

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I work directly for owners of

the company, small company.

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They have another company that's

very large, but we don't need to talk

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about that, and then I've got to send

notes during the day so that when my

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Philippine people come to assist, they

can follow up with what I started.

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And they're doing it

through our, our system.

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And it becomes a team.

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And I'll get, I'm gonna get a message when

I get up first thing in the morning, says,

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Mike, this prospect wants to talk to you.

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They're having trouble executing

their sale or order on our website.

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Well, how about that?

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Majority of my customers.

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That I have and I still get some

every day are over 50 years of age.

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And if we both think about

it we're getting there.

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We may be a little, just a little bit

more versed on how to use the computer

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than many of the people I talk to.

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So I've got to keep it simple, stupid.

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When I play professional sports,

I'm one of nine guys on the field.

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I can't make a double play.

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Execute without someone catching

the ball at first base or my second

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baseman forcing somebody out at second.

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So you have that team concept and

then you go a little bit further.

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You have camaraderie with your teammates

in sports and the same thing, and

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I've just transferred all of that

expertise or skill to the product world.

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The office environment is a

camaraderie, it's the culture.

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So you've got a happy, ball team

that gets along with one another.

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Much more cohesive and

in tune with one another.

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Likewise, in an office environment,

if the team is cohesive and in

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tune with one another, then you can

accomplish a lot of great things.

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It works kind of well because I'm still

educating also if I believe in something,

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I can get that across your tone of voice,

your conviction behind your service.

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I want them to believe I am

their lead relationship manager.

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I'm their number one salesperson.

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Freddy D: !And that leads me to a

great question here, which is, how

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do you make your customers feel

heard and valued during a phone call?

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Mike Sember: I listen, I learned

a long time ago that I guess it's

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why we have two ears and one month.

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You're supposed to listen twice as much as

you talk, hard to do when you've been in

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sales and marketing and cause you want it

to, everything like the back of your hand.

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Okay, the person you're talking to on the

phone has to go right back to letter A.

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You have to bring them from they know

nothing to, Oh, I think I'll try it, Mike.

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And so what you're doing is you're

educating them your tone of voice.

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Some of the information I

have is very technical with

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our company and our product.

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Well, we've all been there before.

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You can't assume everybody

knows what a baseball bat is.

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So how do you describe a baseball

bat and what good it does for you?

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Same thing with what I'm doing now.

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And fortunately, I've done a

number of different companies

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that you've had to use the phone.

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You don't want to be called

an outbound telemarketer.

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I actually don't even like that term,

but what you want to do is, well,

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pick up the phone and after a period

of time, people recognize your voice.

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They recognize why you're calling.

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And now I'm there and saying,

what can I do, Freddie D?

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What can I help you with today?

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How can I assist you?

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Tell, I can fix it.

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I work directly for the company and I

have access to every bit of information

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you need, but let's keep it simple today.

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But that's what it's all about

and they say, okay does it work?

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I have testimonials.

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I'm building a fan base, basically,

just like when I had a good

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month or two playing shortstop.

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Oh, wow.

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I'm player of the month.

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I got a fan base.

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I got 5, 000 people that

come to see me play ball.

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Freddy D: Right.

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So, you're creating

superfans, as I call them,

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Mike Sember: Correct.

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Freddy D: Superfans of not only yourself,

but also of the services that your company

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and products that your company's offers.

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So, that kind of goes into my other

question, which you started, and

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whats expand upon that is how do

you effectively resolve order issues

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while maintaining a positive rapport

with the customer, which is really

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important, 'cause they're, something's

happened, they didn't get their stuff.

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And they're on the phone, they're

irate because, they spent money

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and their shipments got screwed up.

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How do you kind of turn that around?

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Mike Sember: We still believe in

the same credo, if that's the right

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word, that customer's always right.

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So I get calls, I get emails

left for me or voicemails.

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I didn't get my product.

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I checked with the post office.

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I checked with FedEx.

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You didn't get your

product, what did you order?

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And assure them within the first 30 to

60 seconds we're gonna resolve the issue.

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Now what do I have at my disposal?

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I can replace that mailing that got lost.

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I can expedite the shipping

and make it personal.

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I can get their double check, their

address, and if the product by one chance,

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I've had one where expiration date.

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How do you explain expiration

date on a bottle of vitamins?

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Yep.

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You got to be, you got to be

an expert on expiration dates.

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And so you, the bottom line

is they're always correct.

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I have the ability to send out a

free product to make them happy.

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I don't want to lose them.

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Okay.

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The only time we ever lost a customer

could be for medical or health reasons.

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Well, my doctor says with my other

medications, I shouldn't be putting

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a whole bunch of supplements

and vitamins into my system.

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I don't have to agree with them or

not, but I do agree with them on

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everything that they call about.

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Let me take care of this for you.

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Could you have a minute, Freddie D?

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Let me go into my other screen and

let's find out where your vitamins are.

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And if not, we're going

to take care of it.

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So, I have the ability to take a

dissatisfied customer and it may be a

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return customer, not just a new one,

but let's just stick with any customer.

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I have the ability to flip around, that

dissatisfaction to them being satisfied.

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Mike, thanks for the call.

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That's music to my ears.

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I just gave them the best

customer service I can do.

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other than shaking their hand and go to

their office or vice versa, go to their

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office and shake their hand and say here.

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So that's how we have to flip it around.

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Freddy D: A story that there was an issue,

someone bought and things got messed up

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and how you resolved it and converted that

person into a superfan where they were

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out promoting you and buying more stuff.

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Mike Sember: Oh, there's

a couple of good ones.

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So the most recent I had was.

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Real simple, even though this world is

run by technology Now, I have a customer

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on the phone and she says, Mike, I know

I ordered my product in October, and

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this is now the middle of November.

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Yes.

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Can I help you, Linda?

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I haven't received my product.

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And we moved.

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I said, oh, boy, I, I know

where you're going next.

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You probably didn't get your product

forwarded to your new address.

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Let me take care of that for you.

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Let me go and make sure we have the

proper address for you in our system.

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You may have done it on our

website, but now you've got

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the guy in charge of all this.

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She says, fine, let's go check.

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Go check.

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Make the necessary changes.

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And the number one thing that I'm

going to help her with is, Okay, if

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by chance the product you ordered

shows up, Linda, keep the product.

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I'm sending you three more bottles.

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I'm going to expedite them for you.

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I've got your new address now.

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You're on a regular monthly or

every two month subscription basis.

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Any other issues over the next

I put a window on everything.

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Three days or so, call me back.

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So there we go.

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So I didn't And they

were a repeat customer.

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But they moved.

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Okay, people move.

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Did they take the time to go on

our website and change all that?

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Maybe they did.

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Because I never go to the area

of why she was dissatisfied.

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I go to the area of, I

don't want to lose Linda.

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Linda's been a good customer.

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I can see this right in my

screen and we screw it up.

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No, we didn't screw.

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United States Postal Service screwed

up and I'm not going to deal with

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United States Postal Service.

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But what I can do.

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'cause I can expedite and make

sure that she gets what she needs.

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'cause she says I don't have any product.

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I said, we're gonna take care of that.

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So, that just happened recently

and I get to go into the system.

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I get to verify name, address,

credit card number, all the vitals.

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I can make sure that

it was done correctly.

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Maybe it never was updated.

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Maybe she didn't update it, but

I'm not gonna have a conversation

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about he said, she said.

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Or maybe you didn't do it correctly,

Linda we're gonna you and I together

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are going to take care of this today,

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Freddy D: Right, so that's how

you're creating a superfan.

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Going back and says well, you

know what you didn't update your

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address that's why you didn't get

the stuff in the first place, which

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is probably what really happened.

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But by not going down that road you

don't get into the negative conversation.

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You more or less keep a positive and

you don't you're not finger pointing.

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And then the fact that you sent some

extra product is an unexpected extra

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that in turn they feel that they're

appreciated and now you've turned them

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into being grateful for the support

and customer service that they've got.

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So you get a couple of

double positive whammies.

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One you express gratitude and you gave

her an unexpected extra of not only

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solving the problem, but actually sending

her additional product at no additional

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cost because it's buying goodwill.

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Mike Sember: Yes.

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Fortunately for my company

those are our methods.

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Again, I said the customer

is always correct.

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We want to thank them.

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And what's a better way to thank

somebody for their continued business

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than to give them, solve their

problem, get them some more product.

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You've given us another chance.

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And what it does, it goes from my product.

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They have lots of choices out there.

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There's thousands of products.

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They chose us.

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Now I want to keep them because

it's hard to get a customer.

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Number two, I gained some credibility.

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Number three, my company

gains credibility.

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Oh, you should talk to the 20.

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Freddy D: That's a superfan.

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So let's go back into sales a

little bit and how do you upsell

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products in ways that add value

to the customer's experience

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rather than just increasing sales?

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Mike Sember: I take myself away

from being a salesman 'cause

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I'm really not a salesman.

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I'm a relationship manager,

which I really love that title.

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Okay, because I'm building a relationship

now, I'm also the number one testimonial

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somebody will say to me, does it work?

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Does it work?

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Mike?

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And I obviously I'm not lying, I said

absolutely stay diligent, use the

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product, you should see some results.

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If you don't, call me back.

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Maybe we're, something's

a little off here.

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And so what I've done, and they

said, well, somebody might say

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after that, well, I'm reading

some other things on your website.

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You have this other product line.

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That's a supplement also.

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Should I take that with my main

product that you get, that I ordered?

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Yes.

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And that's what I know.

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I'm a testimonial again.

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I go, yes, two of these a

day, two of those a day.

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If it's a male, we have

a testosterone booster.

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I'm upselling it and I'm saying also I

have the ability to say if you don't like

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it or for disagrees with you somehow you

can return it and we'll get you a refund

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for 60=90 days doesn't matter because

I already know what's going to happen.

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They're going to test the product, they're

going to leave it on the kitchen table or

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counter and like missing your meds for a

couple days so and I am getting an upsell.

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Now, the thing that everybody's

sensitive today, about today is

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inflation and spending the dollars

and having incorrect charges put on

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their charge card or being hacked.

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What they ask me is, what else do you

have that I should be taking also?

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Bingo.

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There's there's my upsell.

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They upsold themselves.

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Freddy D: Right.

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That's the secret right there is really

getting them to upsell themselves because

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now they're buying, you're not selling.

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Mike Sember: That is correct, and the

only time I give them a little sales pitch

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is I'll say Freddie D If you get one of

our products, it's 28 If you get one of

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our products every month automatically

come into your address, I'm gonna save you

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I'm gonna save you five or six dollars if

you want the best deal that we have from

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me, or the website I can get you down to.

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I can save you $10 and

no shipping charges.

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'cause shipping's, we all know

shipping's crazy nowadays with charges.

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I can go ahead and accelerate the

upsell process by using dollars

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and cents and everybody knows what

dollars and cents are all about.

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And when they hear that it's music.

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And I said, again, if you don't

like it, send it back to me.

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Leave me a note, I'll get your

return sticker and that's fine,

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but I'd really like for you to

stay, be a customer of ours.

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Thank, and I always say

this, give it a try.

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Here's what I do.

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I'm the testimonial.

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It's worked for me for three

years and I always thank 'em.

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I just thank 'em.

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Even if they don't go for an upsell,

I still thank, I'm gonna say, Hey,

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keep reading about it on the website.

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You might want to leave me

a message in 30 days here.

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Say you want to try product number

two or product number three.

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So it's upsell, actually,

I can't say it's easier.

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It's just a different approach now,

because I'm doing all of this with

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a headset on, just like I'm talking

to you right now on the Zoom.

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I don't even get to Zoom with them.

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Some people, you wonder what they look

like when you're talking to them on

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the phone, because they're so nice.

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Freddy D: Right,

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Mike Sember: And I give 'em

other customers feedback.

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Like I said, I've got people

with high blood pressure.

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I've got a customer over

here, just called me Susan.

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:

I got this guy over here.

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He and his wife are both sharing

the product and I said, if you have

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:

health questions, and I always have

to get that liability out of the way.

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I said, I'm not a doctor.

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:

I've been in the health

business for quite a while.

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But I said, if you have any

questions that pertain to medical

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or medicines or side effects.

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Ask your primary care doctor or take

the bottle in and show them what

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the ingredients are because we're

very proud of the way we produced

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:

and manufactured this product.

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So works out pretty well.

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Freddy D: Yeah, so it's really you're

building in the time that you're

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on the phone you're building trust,

you're building a relationship.

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You're portraying integrity and you're

portraying the best interest of the

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:

customer . And helping them with

their needs and you let everything else

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sort of take care of itself naturally

by having that relationship built

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:

with that person in a phone call.

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Mike Sember: Yes, then I give myself

a golden star because I did it over

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:

the telephone and I took all the risk.

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:

The risk of talking to me, the risk

of the product may not be up to speed

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:

or up to par on what they're thinking.

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:

I took the refund.

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:

Give me a call back.

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:

We'll take care of it

if you don't like it.

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:

Or for some reason, something

changes in your life.

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:

And I'll be happy to work with you on any

of those glitches and and we have a few,

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:

we've got just like everybody else in

the world, every company and every every

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:

customer or person one time or another

gets a credit card hacked and then, they

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:

call me up and they got these charges

on their credit card and they don't

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:

know what they are and this and that,

and they didn't order it and everything

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:

I just said to you five minutes ago.

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I can restate and assist them.

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:

And get them back in the system.

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:

Freddy D: Right, so what your

company's done by implementing this

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:

customer relationships position is

really differentiate itself to where

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:

it's actually creating super fans

because there's actually somebody that

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:

they can talk to on the telephone.

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:

It's not a chat bot.

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:

It's not chat, you can connect

to an actual individual that will

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:

be able to handle, listen to the

challenge that they've got and solve

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:

the challenge in an old school way.

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:

Which is the phone because today, as you

go to some websites, you go for support.

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First thing you get is the the chat

bot, which is automated questions and

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:

automated answers and everything else.

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:

Then you got to get past the chat bot.

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:

To get connected to somebody and that

takes a few minutes and then that somebody

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:

may not clearly understand because

again, your instant messaging with them

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:

and words can be misconstrued or you

type in the wrong stuff, et cetera.

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:

And a lot of times you can't go edit it.

425

:

So once it's sent, it's gone.

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:

And that message is that message.

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And so it may not be what you

initially intended to say.

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:

And so that delays the process where

in your world for your company, the 20

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:

store is they've got a guy, a customer,

relationship person that can help and

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:

address things on a one on one level

and completely comprehend the challenges

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:

that customer's got and resolve it.

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:

Thus creating superfans for not

only yourself as the customer

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:

relationship executive there, but as

well as the brand for the 20 store.

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:

Mike Sember: That is exactly correct.

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:

And since I've been here now three years.

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:

I have super fans already and I'm getting

slowly evolving into more because some

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:

of them, a couple of them have even

told me, Hey, Mike, how you doing?

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:

And I said, Freddie D, how

did you know it was me?

439

:

Oh, I have you in my cell phone here.

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:

I put your name right there instead of

when that California number that you're

441

:

using for your outsource telephone

work comes through, I know it's you.

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:

And I'm thinking, this is great.

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:

What can I help you with Freddie D?

444

:

And all of a sudden over three years,

I've got regular people and they're not

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:

turning down my phone call as spam or spam

risk and so, that's always an issue too.

446

:

If you can't have call caller ID

all the time you make the best of

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:

what you have and what I'm doing.

448

:

I Have their emails too.

449

:

I can send 'em a follow up email

and say, just checking in with you.

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:

Appreciate your business, two sentences,

maybe call me with anything you need.

451

:

I'm here.

452

:

Freddy D: It's a huge it's, as you and I

both know the sale begins after the sale.

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:

And so that the reality

is, you're building those

454

:

relationships with those people.

455

:

Yeah.

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:

You're going to eventually get superfans

out of them because, and then they

457

:

start telling everybody and that in

turn increases the brand awareness

458

:

for the 20 store and it's costing

you nothing, but basically goodwill.

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:

Mike Sember: It's in there

that is all over networking.

460

:

You don't, you if they went ahead

and to golf course or susan told

461

:

But they're, ah, but they're talking

about our product and they're, and

462

:

they really, what's it done for you?

463

:

I just feel so much energy

and more energy in my system.

464

:

They like doing things etc.

465

:

It doesn't matter what it is.

466

:

It's like, Oh, I got a

built in networking system.

467

:

I don't even have to have a lead.

468

:

You know a lead system.

469

:

I have a lead system.

470

:

Freddy D: What I call

them business superfans.

471

:

They're superfans of the business, and

that is a very powerful mechanism as you

472

:

said they're out promoting for free,

because they're happy with the products,

473

:

they're happy with the service, and really

it's the service that makes them, products

474

:

are products, they sit on the shelf.

475

:

But the fact that there's a human

interaction is the game changer.

476

:

Mike Sember: Oh, absolutely.

477

:

You and I both know W O M, word of mouth.

478

:

It's so powerful and to answer

and clarify even further, how

479

:

do you do this on the telephone?

480

:

Word of mouth.

481

:

How else am I going to, I can't fly to

Australia and knock on your front door.

482

:

I'm not even going to

fly over to California.

483

:

But let's talk about, I can tell you

everything we need to do right now,

484

:

Freddie D, how did you hear about us?

485

:

Oh, my buddy, Joe, he tried your product.

486

:

He said, it's great.

487

:

It's priced right.

488

:

And I go, man, tell Joe, thanks.

489

:

Because without Joe, we

wouldn't have Freddie D.

490

:

So it's a nice networking.

491

:

And it's making it sound like

we're doing millions a day.

492

:

Doesn't matter how much we do per day.

493

:

The question is, we are retaining keyword

our customers, our business superfans.

494

:

They like the product,

apparently they like me.

495

:

I haven't had anybody hang up on

me yet, but I can talk to them

496

:

about the most sensitive issues,

which it again is what money.

497

:

Oh.

498

:

Freddie D.

499

:

You placed an order online and

for some reason the payment

500

:

for that didn't go through.

501

:

Oh, Mike, I'm glad you

called me mastercard hacked.

502

:

What should do?

503

:

We can doit right now, I'm screen,

we're going to re order for you, put

504

:

your new credit care in there and in

three or four be a happy guy again.

505

:

He didn't hack his credit card.

506

:

Internet might have screwed s don't

even get sensitive like, check your

507

:

bank No, they're happy I called.

508

:

Freddy D: Right, exactly.

509

:

So, great.

510

:

So how can people find the the 20 store?

511

:

What's the web address?

512

:

Mike Sember: www.The20Store.com.

513

:

It's that simple and it has all our

products on there, how we make 'em.

514

:

the ingredients are and how they

affect you, what they do for you.

515

:

Very simple, very well done by the way.

516

:

It was done before I joined

the company, but not everybody

517

:

knows what nitric oxide even is.

518

:

Not everybody knows what's Citra line.

519

:

They can't even spell it for sure,

but just making it very simple.

520

:

And we do write about it very simple

and we don't have a catalog of products.

521

:

We have six different products that

I talk about on a monthly basis,

522

:

and it's all the hot products now.

523

:

It's like nitric oxide,

like testosterone booster.

524

:

Somebody says, oh, I saw you

guys have that on the web.

525

:

Going back to what you

and I just talked about.

526

:

They left me a message, already did

their research on their reconnaissance

527

:

of our company and all that.

528

:

What they wanted?

529

:

They wanted to hear a live voice.

530

:

They don't want some telemarketer

or inbound customers.

531

:

So it the 20 store.com

532

:

Freddy D: Thank you for being a guest on

the Business Suoperfans Podcast and thanks

533

:

everybody for tuning in to the show.

534

:

We hope you enjoyed and

gained some insights.

535

:

To support us, please give us a thumbs

up, subscribe and share the episode

536

:

with your friends and colleagues.

537

:

You can also donate by expanding our

audience and spread the knowledge and

538

:

contribute to a global business success.

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