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Posts from April 2013

What Excuses Are You Making or Allowing?

Disguised as their reasons for why something is or isn’t happening, many sellers offer explanations that are actually excuses.   Be careful to identify when this occurs so you don’t fall prey to them and can provide coaching on the importance of taking responsibility and being accountable.  Those two values make up the foundation of true empowerment.

Here are a few examples of the reasons I hear most often:
No one returns my messages
The president killed the deal at the last minute
I sent a proposal and now they aren’t responding
They keep pushing back the start date

I assure you that in each of these instances, the seller has been misled or missed something important early on.  Let’s take a look at each example individually.

No one returns my messages
It’s true that everyone is more mobile today and harder to pin down.  That said it’s the seller’s responsibility to prospect; it’s not the prospect’s responsibility to reply.   If you’ve left voice mail and e-mail messages that go unanswered either a) you haven’t discovered the best way to reach them yet; or, b) you’re not leaving an enticing message.  Try something else.  Half the fun of prospecting is figuring out how to ‘catch’ and meet new contacts.  Make it a game – give yourself a goal for the day of how many new people you can reach and see if you can ‘win’.

The president killed the deal at the last minute
Sorry, but when this happens you’ve not been working with the decision maker.  No matter what your contact may have led you to believe, the president had the final say so they were the decision maker you should have been working with all along. Ask more questions to uncover your prospect’s decision-making process before you come up with an idea or send a quote.  Understand what you’re getting into before you get into or involve your team in it.

I sent a proposal and now they aren’t responding
Although hard to hear, it’s likely that they weren’t really in the market to buy.  They were either shopping price, making sure their current supplier was their best choice or they wanted some information, which was likely provided at no charge.   Again, get better at asking more pointed questions upfront so you can more quickly disqualify those that are just ‘kicking the tires’.   Ask why they’d consider purchasing from you when they’re already working with a good supplier.  Make them get ‘real’ with you in the first conversation.

They keep pushing back the start date
Similar to the example above, it’s likely there is no planned start date.   If a date keeps getting postponed let that be a red flag for you that it’s not a high priority for them.  As a rule, if a start date is postponed twice or more, there’s no planned purchase.  Ask your prospect outright specifically when they plan to buy.  Then ask them why that date is important.  Then ask them what might get in the way of their making a purchase at that time.  Understand upfront what roadblocks you might encounter so you know how to prepare and predict.

We’re all in business to grow and succeed.  Let’s make sure we’re spending our valuable time with the most valuable prospects.   And, let’s commit to not making or allowing any more excuses.  When we hold ourselves, and others, to higher levels of responsibility and accountability we conduct better business.
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STUDY: MONEY MAKES YOU HAPPIER!

New research links money to happiness. The research comes from Brookings Institute and finds that in the world's 25 most-populous countries, as households get richer, people report feeling more satisfied. Researchers say this new study disproves older research, which claimed there was a "satiation point" for wealth, and that people didn't feel any better once they made more than 75-thousand dollars per year. The new research finds the more one has the better they feel, and that applies no matter how rich or poor the country, or how rich or poor the people are within the country. (The Atlantic) All I can say…DUH!!!!! ---
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It’s Time to Face the Music: Making the Leadership Connection with Your Custom

The bigger we get the smaller we have to think. Customers still walk in one at a time. – Sam Walton

A story is told of how many years ago a man conned his way into the orchestra of the emperor of China although he could not play a note. Whenever the group performed, he would hold his flute against his lips, pretending to play but not making a sound. He received a modest salary and enjoyed a comfortable living.

Then one day the emperor requested a solo from each musician. The flutist got nervous. There wasn’t enough time to learn the instrument. He pretended to be sick, but the royal physician wasn’t fooled. On the day of his performance, the imposter took poison and killed himself. The explanation of his suicide led to the phrase that found its way in to the English language: “He refused to face the music.”

Facing the music with your customer is a matter of good leadership. Knowing where you stand with your consumer is paramount to your success. The findings by the 2013 Edelman Barometer of Trust (http://bit.ly/VKfWVd) indicate that there is a great deal of work to be done. Everyone wants to be a leader and we understand the need for it, but there’s a problem: many consumers don’t trust leaders. According the to report less than a fifth of the general public believes that a business leader can be trusted to tell the truth or make an ethical decision.

Making the leadership connection with your customer is a leadership issue of the highest order. Facing the music is how you begin. Are you taking an honest look and properly assessing your relationship toward your customer in a way that will build trust and credibility? Here are three ways to begin the process.

Be open to the facts. Facing the music may not be a pleasant experience as you assess your current footing but if you are going to build trust with your customers you must be willing to do it. If you are not listening to them then they will go where their voice is heard and valued.

Internally you must analyze your customer relationship in many ways. A great example of how this is being done is found with Amazon’s Jeff Bezos and their ‘culture of metrics’ (http://bit.ly/RrWmd4) approach that keeps all eyes focused on the customer. Amazon tracks its performance against nearly 500 measurable goals, and nearly 80% of those have to do with customer objectives. The first step to making the leadership connection with your customers is to be open to the receiving the facts as they currently exist.

Be willing to change. When you face the music as it relates to your customers and you have an honest assessment of your positioning with them you must then be willing to act. Change works to your advantage only because of what you do with your knowledge. For example, if you have a disgruntled customer then you have a choice. Listen to them, help them, and keep them, or lose them.

Writing for Inc., (http://bit.ly/12C9apz) Maria Tabaka says, “Be thankful that your customer is willing to tell you what most won’t. It’s a gift that may offer you insight into problems that other customers aren’t willing to share… It’s a proven fact that when conflict is resolved well, a customer can become an even more devoted fan than they would have if there was never a problem in the first place.” When you empower yourself with the facts and demonstrate a willingness to change in order to meet your customers’ needs then you are on the path to greater success. Embracing this leadership challenge is essential to building the kind of relationships that will sustain you today and into the future.

Be vigilant going forward. The corrections you make today will help you today but the longevity of your success is a matter of vigilance. The needs, desires, and wants of your customers is constantly changing and evolving. Are you prepared to meet the challenges they bring?

A working formula for your vigilance looks like this:

RB (Relational Building) + CK (Customer Knowledge) = MB (Mutual Benefit).

Simply put, making the leadership connection with your customers begins by building relationships and knowing their wants and needs. When these two things become your priority you will not have to worry about your success. It will take care of itself. And it shows good leadership.

Are you prepared to face the music?
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People : Jeff BezosMaria TabakaSam Walton




 

MANY U.S. WOMEN OWN 20 PAIR OF SHOES OR MORE!

The stereotype that women love shoe shopping might actually be true. A new survey from Racked.com finds that 35-percent of American women own more than 20-pairs of shoes, and 26-percent admit that Ugg boots are among those pairs. By contrast, the survey found that just four-percent of women said they own a pair of red-soled Christian Louboutins. The survey covered nearly seven-thousand women across the country in honor of Shoe Week. Fourteen-percent of participants said they own over 50-pairs of shoes, while 46-percent said they own fewer than 20-pairs of shoes. (Daily Mail) What about YOU?
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MANY U.S. WOMEN OWN 20 PAIR OF SHOES OR MORE!

The stereotype that women love shoe shopping might actually be true. A new survey from Racked.com finds that 35-percent of American women own more than 20-pairs of shoes, and 26-percent admit that Ugg boots are among those pairs. By contrast, the survey found that just four-percent of women said they own a pair of red-soled Christian Louboutins. The survey covered nearly seven-thousand women across the country in honor of Shoe Week. Fourteen-percent of participants said they own over 50-pairs of shoes, while 46-percent said they own fewer than 20-pairs of shoes. (Daily Mail) What about YOU?
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WHY SLEEP DEPRIVATION EASES DEPRESSION

Scientists have found that sleep deprivation is an efficient way to treat depression, and the results of a new experiment prove why it works. Previous research found that a certain cell, called an astrocyte, regulates the release of brain chemicals that make us sleepy. During the day astrocytes continually release neurotransmitters that eventually build up to make us tired. The new study investigated whether this process is what causes the antidepressent effects of sleep deprivation. To do this they monitored mice with depressive-like symptoms, and gave them doses of a compound that would make them feel sleep deprived. Though the mice slept normally, they showed a rapid improvement in their mood and behavior after 12 hours, and the effect lasted for 48 hours. Researchers say they hope this finding will lead to new drug development that would allow depressed people to reap the benefits of the brain chemicals without actually being sleep deprived. (Scientific American) This is opposite of my desires…I am depressed when I don’t get enough sleep…and that is FAR too often! ---
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RESEARCH FINDS THE KIND OF FACIAL HAIR WOMEN PREFER

Australian researchers have found that women generally do not prefer a man with stubble. To find this, they showed hundred of heterosexual women and men photos of ten men at various stages of beard growth. Participants were then asked to score the pictures on attractiveness, masculinity, health and potential parenting ability. They found that women found the pictures of men with 10-day heavy beard growth to be most attractive, while a full beard scored highest for potential parenting ability with both men and women. Men with light stubble scored the lowest with both men and women across all categories. Researchers say, "A threshold of density and distribution may be necessary for beards to function as an attractive signal." (Daily Mail) Quite frankly, I don’t like facial hair at all…maybe you love it, but give me a clean saven man any day… ---
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RESEARCH FINDS THE KIND OF FACIAL HAIR WOMEN PREFER

Australian researchers have found that women generally do not prefer a man with stubble. To find this, they showed hundred of heterosexual women and men photos of ten men at various stages of beard growth. Participants were then asked to score the pictures on attractiveness, masculinity, health and potential parenting ability. They found that women found the pictures of men with 10-day heavy beard growth to be most attractive, while a full beard scored highest for potential parenting ability with both men and women. Men with light stubble scored the lowest with both men and women across all categories. Researchers say, "A threshold of density and distribution may be necessary for beards to function as an attractive signal." (Daily Mail) Quite frankly, I don’t like facial hair at all…maybe you love it, but give me a clean saven man any day… ---
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Anger -Taming the Savage Beast

Anger is an acid that can do more harm to the vessel in which it is stored than to anything on which it is poured. – Mark Twain

A story is told of Abraham Lincoln’s secretary of war, Edwin Stanton, who was angered by an army officer who accused him of favoritism. Stanton complained to Lincoln, who suggested that Stanton write the officer a letter. Stanton did, and showed the strongly worded letter to the president.

“What are you going to do with it?” Lincoln inquired. Surprised, Stanton replied, “Send it.” Lincoln shook his head. “Put it on the stove. That’s what I do when I have written a letter while I am angry. It’s a good letter and you had a good time writing it and feel better. Now burn it, and write another.”

Anger is one of those emotions that if not dealt with can cause many problems for leaders. What’s more important is for your team to know how to deal with the anger of your customers. This was the topic of a recent Open Forum column by Rieva Lesonsky. In the column Lesonsky cited a Futures Company survey that was conducted last year that revealed more consumers are in a state of generalized rage – not necessarily about customer service, but about most things in general.

The general state of mind of most consumers’ worldwide highlights a growing challenge for business leaders, and having an intuitive staff that can handle the growing tensions is imperative. The survey highlighted three primary sources for this heightened consumer anger: stress, suspicion, and anti-business attitudes. Any one of these ingredients is cause for concern but when combined as part of a growing consumer trend it is important not to ignore it.

Stemming the sentiments of consumer anger will require a proactive approach. While space restricts me from presenting an exhaustive approach for dealing with the consumer anger issue I will offer starting points that can position you to address it. Here are three steps to begin with that can help you tame the savage beast of anger.

Create awareness. Internal awareness is the first step toward addressing consumer anger. Is your company or organization paying attention to the warning signs of consumer anger? How consumer anger is manifested towards your business should be on your radar. If you are not aware of how it affects you, your competitors, or your suppliers it can have potentially negative consequences.

Creating awareness within your organization is crucial to its health and vitality. Make sure your frontline staff is sensitive and proactive in how they represent your company and the image they are putting forth. Being aware of potential conflicts can prepare you to surprise your customer with a greater than expected experience. You win your customer over tomorrow by preparing your staff today.

Build relationships. Externally, the success of your business is grounded in relationships. Mark Sanborn nailed it when said, “Customers don’t have relationships with organizations; they form relationships with individuals.” How do you see your customers? If you merely look upon them as transactions you are missing the point and always will. The key to dispelling the consumer anger sentiment is to make it personal which begins by building relationships.

Value is created where value is given priority. The reason consumers feel suspicious is due to their belief that businesses are ready to cheat customers whenever they can get away with it.  Dispelling the anger is found in building trust. That can only happen in relationship. Loyalty to the business is not always an economic decision it is one of relationship.

Deliver service with excellence.  Taming the savage beast of anger is an internal work (creating awareness) and it’s an external work (building relationships), which can now be solidified with how you deliver your product. When excellence is the standard by which your company or organization operates then it will be reflected at every level of the consumer experience.
 
The blueprint of your success in taming the savage beast of anger begins with leadership. Your capacity as a leader to recognize the need is the beginning of solving it.  Creating a culture of awareness is essential to your teams’ ability to recognize consumer anger and defuse it. And everyone delivers with excellence at every phase of the consumer experience it will keep them coming back for more.

Are you taming the savage beast?

© 2013 Doug Dickerson  
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SOME PEOPLE ARE GENETICALLY LAZY

A new study from the University of Missouri is showing that some people are genetically less motivated to exercise than others. Rats were put on exercise wheels, separating the slow and the fast. This was repeated for 10 generations of rats and by that generation lazy rats were 10 times less active than the ones who ran faster. Study author, Frank Booth, Ph.D., said, "it's up to the animal to decide if they want to get in the wheel and run. The animal is going under its own willpower." Booth pointed out that the same can be true for humans but that's no reason to not workout. (menshealth.com)
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