Friday, July 29, 2011

10 Ways to Compel through Connection!

"There are no traffic jams along the extra mile." - Roger Staubauch

Businessman & Heisman Trophy Winner (born February 5, 1942)

While there is much talk about how to serve clients, below is a top 10 list of ways to truly make a connection. This approach means not just customer service, it means client care. This means not just reacting to a situation, it means responding to the person in the situation. Often we think we want to tell people about something, but that is just chatter, and then we make the attempt to sell them on an idea, but that has a lot to do with convincing and persuasion, and if we reach a level where someone is compelled to work with us and/or partner with us as a client or customer, then we have built a relationship through true rapport!

10. Wow them with your words, and make them ambassadors through your actions. Say what you mean and do what you say you will do. Offer incentives and ask for referrals. Welcome people back instead of asking where have YOU been? No need to discount you or your product, instead, show appreciation with special offers/opportunities.

9. Think and say "Yes, and", and demonstrate an "Absolutely I can" attitude. Start positive and stay positive. Focus on what is RIGHT versus what is WRONG. Be humble in your errors and show moxie in your solutioning. Have fun in what you are doing.

8. Plant the SEED (Strive to Exceed Expectations Denoted) for Success. You have to know what is expected to meet/exceed the expectation. Be humane...not just human.

7. Know your "difference", live your truth and be memorable. Remember the win is not just in getting a customer, it is also about keeping customers. Each client's perception of you and/or your company will determine how well you do this and that perception will depend on how compelling you are to them. Make things a memorable experience. The connection of knowing someone's name and smiling sincerely are great for a start. Leave people with something they either cannot get elsewhere or cannot get in a way you deliver it. Know your 2-4 areas of expertise and stick with them. Otherwise, say "no thank you", and connect, connect, connect as the referral source.

6. Get and Give Feedback. Take notes, use names, and really listen. Listen to understand instead of just to react. If you are a challenged listener, notes will slow your pace. Agree with a person and disagree with an idea (not the other way around). When you survey your clients, and I encourage surveying, share the results quickly and without defense. Own the results and state the actions you'll take...and then do just that!! Address the issue at hand, and then dig into the root cause.

5. Adopt a no-corner-cutting mentality/approach. If you already have one, let everyone know! Our society is about "gimme more"...and what else can I get. Be the one with the integrity to walk away.

4. Give back...for the right reasons. Checks are nice, actions make a difference, and advocacy allows for learning. People like to do business with people who are more than business. Earn their respect and then share about charities/groups for the reason of advocacy and learning, and not just to get recognized or to be a top fund-raiser. Strive for fun-raising instead...and your give backs will get even more!

3. Appropriately Promise and Appropriately Deliver (Instead of Under Promise and Over Deliver or Sandbagging). Be a business of both empowerment and accountability. Offer options...only 2-3 and only those with which you are okay.

2. Strive for inclusivity instead of exclusivity. There is a difference in when people are part of something versus people attempting to "get in" where there is a level of discomfort. Make people feel welcomed and a part of your success.

1. Know that the quality of customer service cannot exceed the quality of the people who provide it. Your team, even if you are a team of 1, will treat others how they are treated. Start with a positive view of you...that view carries far! There is a connection with how we feel about ourselves and how we care for others. Invest in you/your team a set % of earnings, and only let that grow as your success grows!

Pick and choose what works for you in your situation. How can you enhance your customer and client relationships through care and connection? After all, aren't we all about compelling customers and clients to drive Client Satisfaction and Build Lasting Rapport?

Friday, July 22, 2011

Charity for Giving...and Getting!

“Be charitable before wealth makes thee covetous.” - Thomas Browne, Sr.
It’s almost as though the idea of giving back is supposed to be unique and almost auspicious, and yet there are so many simple, yet thoughtful and thorough ways to invest in your community, and really, in the long run, invest in you…from a heart and soul perspective.

By giving back, I don’t mean writing a check (which is terrific, too, so I am not negating the impact, just focusing elsewhere on this blog entry!).

Not sure where/how to give? If you haven’t lately, consider:
• Taking inventory of the things for which you are grateful.
• Recording all the people’s names who positively influenced you and how
• Noting all things you are good at doing.

From those three lists, you will have a clear picture of what means the most to you, how you got there, and an action/sharing you can contribute. Perhaps you are grateful for being healthy, your grandfather was a painter who encouraged you with words and insights, and you are good with a roller…that is a super combination for “Paint Your Heart Out” or another painting style charity. The same would be true for you if you have a love of music, you had a music teacher who inspired you and you are very effective with children…perhaps you volunteer for a church or after-school program about music education.

Whatever your triad of lists reveals, take action on it…and watch the difference you make in your community, with those you impact, and even in yourself. After all, there’s an old adage that reminds us that charity begins at home…let your home base be charitable in a way that works for many!

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Time Working FOR You!

“Time is an illusion. Lunchtime doubly so.” - Douglas Adams, British comic Writer, 1952-2001

As many of you have heard me say, and it is still true today “there is no such thing as a time lottery”. In other words, nobody experiences the stroke of midnight to find 26 hours in front of him or her for the “next day” while others only get 22…it only feels/seems that way at times (full pun intended!)!

So often the focus is organization, time tracking and even time blocking in your tips, this tip is about remembering to make time work FOR you by not allowing time to recharge to get away from you or become an illusion as mentioned in the above quotation. How can you do that? Below are some items to consider:

-Schedule a “fun lunch” once every month…it is not about work, rather catching up or trying a new restaurant.
-Step away from your office or computer/desk for 10-15 minutes at least twice a day (not just for a meeting).
-Take a different route to/from work one day each week or month to experience (and even appreciate) what you get to see each day.
-Make a meeting request with your workout partner or trainer for 2-5 times a week, and respect it like a meeting (I bet you don’t blow off meetings).
-Take a lunch break…to eat, to meditate, to take a nap, to do a crossword, play a game on your smartphone, etc.

In all these cases, it is about intentionally respecting you and your time, allowing things to be experience, rather than just happen, and be fully engaged. Do whatever it is that allows you to recharge and appreciate/notice the time you are taking and how you are making your 24 hours work FOR you rather than against you or on you each day!

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Weekly/Monthly Scorecard

“The expectations of life depend upon diligence; the mechanic that would perfect his work must first sharpen his tools.” - Confucius

So often we think we know what is expected of us, and we believe we have communicated what we expect of others in our office, business, company or firm, and yet, I often hear of and experience miscommunication that leads to frustration and even lost accounts/opportunities. That plays to the timeless adage "inspect what you expect"!

In order to avoid not "being on the same page", please consider a weekly or monthly scorecard for you and for your team members. Like in school when we used to get grades fairly frequently (whether we liked those marks or not!), the scorecard has the following on it:

+The result area
+The goal
+The attainment for the time period
+Plan for improvement/recognition area

By utilizing a clear, quick approach to deliverables, it is far less likely that miscommunication and/or disappointment with performance will take place, and far more likely that the appreciation for the effort will!

Friday, July 1, 2011

Freedom Return On Investment

“Freedom lies in being bold."
-Robert Frost, America Poet (1874 - 1963)

On this, our Independence Day weekend, remember the freedoms most of us want in life, and therefore in our workplace, are those that come from leadership and allow for leadership, those that rise from sincerity, and therefore encourage sincerity, and those that stem from a common goal of growth, learning and success so that each individual, and therefore, the company, can grow, learn and succeed.

These all cost so little financially, and yet offer so much Return On Investment (ROI) in the way long-term investment in yourself and others...

Remember to be bold and afford, encourage and appreciate all the freedoms you have and you embody this holiday, and throughout the year!

Make it a safe, happy and healthy 4th of July!