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Professional keynote and customer service speaker and New York Times bestselling author, Shep Hyken discusses a powerful customer service and sales tool.

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Back in the 1980’s when I started my business, I read just about any book that I felt could help me. Back then if you went to the business section of the bookstore, there was maybe one shelf of books. One of those books was Harvey Mackay’s Swim with the Sharks without Being Eaten Alive. His company, MackayMitchell Envelope, is a prime example of how the product (envelopes, stationary and other printing products), while important, is really second to the customer service and relationship that he gives his customers. That philosophy made this book one of my “go to” business books.

Some say the book is a sales book. Some say it’s about customer service. Both those topics are covered, but my biggest takeaway from the book was about relationship building, which crosses into virtually every area of business; from sales, to customer service, to management – to just getting along with the people you work with.

One of the most powerful tools in the book, and there are a lot of them, is the Mackay 66. The best way to describe this is in Harvey’s words (from an INC Magazine article):

When I was a young salesman, I developed the Mackay 66, a 66-question customer profile that includes absolutely no information about the envelopes a company buys, but rather focuses on the person who does the buying. What are they like as human beings? What are they proud of accomplishing? What’s their life like outside the office? How do they want to be seen by others? In other words, what makes them tick?

The big lesson here is something I’ve written about before, and it is worth repeating:

Don’t focus on the sale. Focus on the person.

You may not only get the sale, you may get a customer for life.

In addition to the typical business questions, many of the 66 questions are personal. Some of my favorites are about where the customer went to school, what sports they were interested in or played, favorite menu items, proudest accomplishments and more.

You won’t get these answered at your first meeting. It will take a while, and it’s worth it. Harvey has an important philosophy that when you have a good product, a good customer service experience, and a good relationship (and a good place to start is by getting the answers on the Mackay 66) it will be very difficult for a competitor to come in and take your customer away from you. And while price is always important to the customer, because of the relationship you build, there is more price elasticity. Price becomes less relevant because of the value of the experience and the relationship.

So, take a few minutes and download, at no charge I might add, the Mackay 66. I’m sure you’ll find it is an excellent investment of your time.

Shep Hyken, professional keynote and customer service speaker, customer service trainer, and New York Times best-selling author, shares his customer service tips. These tips are your how to guide to customer complaints, delivering amazing customer service, customer loyalty, customer service training, customer trust, company culture, customer experiences, sales tactics, and employee retention.

To hear more customer service tips, listen to interviews, read his blog and learn about The Amazement Revolution go to Shep is a customer service expert and the Chief Amazement Officer (CAO) of Shepard Presentations. As a professional speaker and author, Shep helps companies build loyal relationships with their customers and employees.

For information about customer service training go to

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