The most important detail of the customer experience is building trust; we must start building trust on day one.

Jim Tracy, President and Founder of EZlocal, manages a sales force that's spread all over the United States, and they continue to grow. He says the first thing he teaches his sales force is trust. We have to listen to our customers. If we're not listening to our customers, if we're not paying attention to them, if we're not communicating with them, they will leave. A simple question during the initial welcome call can solve a problem and build trust. Tracy sheds light on his unique compensation model for his sales teams and how that leads into their customer service and success as a business.

Listen to the full episode here.

The Goods on Jim Tracy

Tracy is a graduate of Loyola University Chicago, where he served as Senior Vice President of National Translink Corporation, and over a span of 10 years, worked with thousands of entrepreneurs and small business owners looking to grow their businesses and reach more customers. Over the years he witnessed countless small businesses going out of business as a result of heightened competition from big corporations and online retailers. This led to the inspiration in creating America's Best Companies. Tracy strives to bring the issues of the small business owner to the forefront, while leading a dedicated and professional staff working to make a difference for the small business community. He has hired, trained, managed and motivated over 1,000 salespeople acquiring over 40,000 SMB accounts.

Takeaways

We are always striving to obtain the inside knowledge of people that fight the good fight every day; those who are talking to salespeople, working with clients, and who are making sure what is sold is being fulfilled. Tracy is a great example of that; he is in touch with what is happening on the street, what pain points salespeople are experiencing, what pain points customers are experiencing, and the greater organizations that we work within.

Challenges Speaking to Local Customers

A challenge agencies face is showing a customer a quick enough result. If small business owners are going to put their hard-earned money into something, they are looking for some kind of result, and they want it fast.

“I see this in the industry a lot, one of the challenges we talk about is going out there and explaining to these business owners, especially those that have been around a while, that they need to invest in their business online. Most of them give us the same objections that they did 27 years ago. ‘I don't think I need that. My customers know me.’ We tell them, ‘No, they don't know you.’ The next generations of customers to come aren’t going to know you, until they look you up online.”
- Jim Tracy, President and Founder of EZlocal

Imagine if today you were trying to convince a business owner they need to accept a credit card; it would be insane to open a business if you could not accept a credit card. Even though we've been challenged in the digital space for years now, it still is in its infancy with a lot of business people—they don't know what they don't know. If businesses don't know to syndicate their listing data across a wide array of sources, and having it correct, they will miss out on getting more business from that action.

Trust

As agencies we have to build a level of trust. As time goes on there is an evolution of a partnership, and trust has brought us to this point. One thing that we see young salespeople need to be taught is that you have to earn that trust before you can move forward. You can't walk in and hit the grand-slam, home-run customer right out of the gate.

“The first thing I teach my sales reps, if they want to make a sale, business owners have to like them and trust them. You are basically putting some piece of their business in our company's hands. In the credit card processing business, we had Visa, MasterCard, and the banks that were really in charge of what we were doing. We were a full payment processor. All of a sudden, regulations started getting tighter, things started happening. I'm like a business owner out there, when a salesman walks in, and they're saying, ‘Hey, we can help you. We can do this.’ Well, you've got to build that trust, and you’ve got to like the person you're working with. If you don't like them, you're not going to trust them. I teach my sales people that every day.”
      - Jim Tracy, President and Founder of EZlocal

What’s Next

EZocal has a unique sales compensation model that has allowed them to be in all 50 States in the USA. Their salespeople go out and close the sale and move onto the next one. The EzLocal headquarters will take care of the customer from there and bolster the relationship from there.

“This allows us to keep control of such a large sales force. If we were to allow those salespeople to be communicating with those business owners every day, then the salespeople are calling in every day with this issue, that issue. Everything would get watered down. We want to have that relationship with the customer, and we want the salesperson to have a relationship with the word "next”. Think about the next customer. We'll take care of the customer from there. They have every confidence we will, because we're paying that rep 20% of that ongoing revenue. It's an unusual model out there, but those reps have confidence. They're saying, ‘Yeah. EZLocal has to take care of these customers. They have to keep the money coming in. They're giving me 20% of it.’ It's a big part of what we do.”
- Jim Tracy, President and Founder of EZlocal

Woah, wait what?

EZLocal hires salespeople and pays them 20% of the ongoing commission. The only goal for the salespeople is to bring in new deals; EZLocal takes care of everything else.

Their model is quite interesting, let's break it apart. If you were an individual agency owner selling to customers, while doing all the fulfillment work yourself, there will be a point where you won’t be able to deliver the level of customer service you’re accustomed to, and you won't be able to add additional revenue. There is a growth ceiling, and as an agency owner you will have to figure out how to scale the fulfillment side.

Once an agency reaches a certain level of customers, they hit what we call the Peter Principle. They get to a point where it's hard to add more before they start losing the quality of the service, and they have to think outside the box in order to build their business to set new records.

Advice from Jim

“We find all kinds of crazy ways to communicate with our customers. A lot of people just do it through phone, or through email. One of the things we found is that we want to talk to those customers right up front, in what we call our initial welcome call, and we want to ask them, ‘How often do you want to hear from us?’ Then, we follow through with that. That's one of the biggest things. A lot of people sign up people, have that initial impact, and then forget about them.”
      - Jim Tracy, President and Founder of EZlocal

 


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