Short Vignettes Cut Through as Client Education Tools for Sales Growth

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It’s been said that an informed client is one’s best customer. That’s easy to say, but much harder and time consuming to execute...unless you’re skilled in the art of the short story.

If you're a home products retailer, you know that most homeowners would like to improve their home. Should they apply for a credit card? What's the cost involved? Their financial exposure? Credit risk? What are six things they can do to improve their home, at relatively minimal cost?

The short story, or vignette, is one of the best, yet least understood, sales tools going, says Leo F. Flanagan, Jr., Ph. D., President, Flanagan Consultants, LLC. Capitalizing on his background in psychology, Flanagan has developed a methodology that uses the tool in an interactive format to drive results.

"Say you're a commercial banking lender," says Flanagan. "What's more effective and cost-effective? Running through spreadsheets of qualifications, hours on end, face to face with a series of client prospects? Or, providing each client with an engaging, electronic tutorial that will enable him or her to work through their own qualifications, at their own pace?"

"I don't tell the client if he or she qualifies, they do that on their own," Flanagan notes. "And if he or she does qualify, processing goes much faster."

Flanagan has developed his approach after 20 plus years as a learning and development officer at major corporations. "It struck me that, as humans, we naturally communicate by telling stories. So it's not a great leap of faith to incorporate that approach into the modern selling process. And today we can deliver that process without ever leaving our offices."

To create the delivery mechanism, Flanagan partners with WisdomTools, an e-learning organization. WisdomTools has developed a number of platforms to engage customers in a story that's relevant to them.

"Relevance is the key," says Flanagan, "particularly in a turbulent environment like today. With the right vignette, you can engage a prospect in a story that connects, and do it in three to six minutes. After that, they continue on a brief interactive tutorial that gives them insight into how to achieve their own personal goals. Of course, this insight includes the value of your product or service offering."

The final product can be delivered through a hot link embedded in an email or as a link on an existing website. Or, it can be loaded onto a jump drive or DVD.

Flanagan's approach has applicability in a wide array of industries and client situations, and works for cross-selling as well. "If you're a home products retailer, you know that most homeowners would like to improve their home. Should they apply for a credit card? What's the cost involved? Their financial exposure? Credit risk? What are six things they can do to improve their home, at relatively minimal cost?"

The tutorial, told through engaging examples from other customer experiences, answers all these questions and leads them to their own conclusions.

"A great sales person may have to contact 100 targets to get 10 meetings to get one sale. The cost, in time and money, is enormous. And in today's environment it turns off prospects. An approach like ours enables you to contact literally thousands of targets, and achieve much more than you can accomplish in a face-to-face meeting, at a fraction of the cost. Most importantly, it's a process they value, rather than abhor!"

About Leo F. Flanagan, Jr., Ph.D., President, Flanagan Consultants, LLC

As founder and president of Flanagan Consultants, LLC, Stamford, CT., Leo F. Flanagan, Jr., Ph.D. has developed a unique practice around the formulation and execution of business, marketing and human resources strategies to drive sustained business success.

A hallmark of Flanagan's work is the ability to meet the unique challenges faced by individual leaders and their organizations, within the context of their markets...The alignment of an enterprise's people and processes with its brand and customer loyalty strategies.

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Dick Badler
Flanagan Consultants, LLC
203-321-8423
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