Selling white-glove contact center solutions is a lot like running a high-profile Hollywood restaurant. Both succeed by providing extraordinary customer experiences, which garner great reviews and earn repeat business.
There are, in fact, parallels between my role as senior vice president of business development at Working Solutions and being a partner in Viva Hollywood, a modern Mexican restaurant in Los Angeles.
In sales or service, success requires communications to engage, responsiveness to serve and confidence to build trust. That holds true in the boardroom or the dining room.
My food service industry experience began about a decade ago. It started more as an opportunity than an occupation.
Internet technology had been my career. Then, through friends, I had a chance to invest as a partner in a pan-Latin restaurant, Beso Hollywood, backed by actress Eva Longoria and chef Todd English.
After a run of eight years, a remodeled Beso became Viva Hollywood—same address at 6350 Hollywood Boulevard. Like any good business, it changed with the times and tastes.
In the process, I couldn’t help but compare success in sales, my day job, with creating a first-class dining experience. For both to work, you should:
It all begins by pretending you’re the customer or client. Ask: “What could be done differently to improve things?”
Walk through the operations. Examine the workflow. Evaluate the workforce. Do a front-to-back assessment. Question: “What am I selling, doing to impact and create a better experience?”
And while I don’t bartend, cook or serve tables, I now know what it takes. The training, skills and commitment required to get it right—as a partner, and most importantly, for patrons of the restaurant.
That client or customer mindset translates to any company and industry. To sell business, you must first know the business—and understand a client and its customers’ needs.
In business, you can never be too attentive. For a restaurant online, it’s making ordering effortless. If dining in, it’s exemplary service, starting at the front door.
Everything plays a part: The décor and ambiance. How and where you’re seated, speed of service and paying the check. It all makes an impression, with reviews on social media and repeat business—or not.
It’s the same for sales: How many times you reach out to a prospective client. How you follow up. How you show your commitment. How you complete the deal.
And what you do afterward, upon receiving payment. Never drop the ball after getting paid. Because there’s always more business to be had—and a reputation to be maintained.
Customer insight and responsiveness are both important. The end game, though, is bringing it all together wherever you do business.
At Viva Hollywood, for instance, dozens of professionals work in the kitchen. There, a sous-chef oversees the different stations, making sure the staff collaborates to prepare, cook and serve the Mexican cuisine.
Everyone and everything must come together at the right time to deliver the meal, out the swinging door to the patron’s table. It’s a personalized experience in a special place.
The French have a word for it—terroir. Applied to business, it’s where things converge to produce the best results. The terroir effect can happen dining at an LA restaurant or doing business on Main Street.
It occurs when great things together in services or sales. Elevating them for customers or clients. Right then and there.