slidedown

3 Ways to Tap Into the Link Between Service and Sales

Posted on April 4, 2016 | No Comments
Categories: Books, Communications, Customer Service, Entrepreneur, Guest Blogger, Leadership, Sales

Red Carpet on StairsThere are three keys to tapping into the link between service and sales – technical prowess, hospitality, and the wow factor. If you’re able to get your organization to focus on these three elements of service delivery, you can expect outstanding results.

Today’s post is by Donna Cutting, author of 501 Ways to Roll Out the Red Carpet for Your Customers (CLICK HERE to get your copy).

The character Don Draper in the television show Mad Men once said something to the effect of, “The day you sign a client is the day you start losing them.” While Mr. Draper is a fictional character, his words couldn’t be truer.

A study by Harris Interactive in 2011 determined that 89 percent of consumers quit doing business with a company (and went to a competitor) because of a bad customer experience. Compare this to 59 percent in 2007 and you’ll see that one of two things is happening. Either customer service has gotten worse; or consumers are becoming empowered. Perhaps both are true.

Your customers have more choices and louder voices than ever before. It probably won’t shock you that, according to the White House Office of Consumer Affairs report, news of a bad customer experience reaches more than twice as many ears as praise for a positive one.

However, take heart! The good news is that 55 percent of consumers are willing to recommend a company due to outstanding service over product or price. (source: Consumer Impact Report by Harris Interactive/Right Now, 2010.)

There is a direct link between sales and service. The real sale is made after you earn the customer. Once you get them in the door, it’s time for you to decide. Is it uphill or downhill from there?

There are three specific areas of customer service you’ll want to pay attention to: Technical, Hospitality and WOW!

Read More…

How do you deal with “steamrollers” on your team?

Posted on March 31, 2016 | 2 Comments
Categories: Leadership, Poll

EKG Pulse Graph with Glowing Blue Line

Our reader poll today asks: How do you deal with “steamrollers” on your team?

– I coach them to be more sensitive: 68%
– I leave them alone — they’re getting great results: 9%
– I change their roles so they have fewer difficult interactions: 20%
– I send them to a different team: 3%

Slowing down the Steamrollers. It’s hard to have a difficult conversation with a Steamroller because many times they’re turning out solid results. Tackle the issue head-on instead of avoiding it by changing their roles. They’re never going to drop the rough behaviors if they’re not coached on doing so. Don’t pass a problem along to someone else. Give the person the coaching they need to continue delivering great results without stepping on so many toes along the way.

Do you agree with these poll results? Let us know in the comments below!

Mike Figliuolo at thoughtLEADERS, LLC

Did you enjoy this post?  If so, I highly encourage you to take about 30 seconds to become a regular subscriber to this blog.  It’s free, fun, practical, and only a few emails a week (I promise!).  SIGN UP HERE to get the thoughtLEADERS blog conveniently delivered right to your inbox!

Read More…

Protecting Yourself When You Make the Tough Ethical Choice

Posted on March 30, 2016 | 2 Comments
Categories: Balanced Lifestyle, Business Toolkit, Career, Communications, Leadership

Man Silhouette on SummitI can guarantee you’ll face a major moral/ethical dilemma situation at least once in your career. Even if you make the right decision, you’re still at risk for bad things happening. Here are some tips on navigating those sticky situations.

When I was a cadet at West Point, we learned the Cadet Prayer. We didn’t learn it as part of some religious education but rather because there were points in it about ethics. The one line that stood out for all of us was “Make us to choose the harder right instead of the easier wrong.”

Sounds awesome. Tough to do.

There have been times I’ve lived up to that and others I’ve fallen miserably short. I’ve had friends, colleagues, and clients have similar experiences. While it sucks to choose the easier wrong and deal with the consequences later, it’s even worse to choose the harder right and still get screwed over when bad things happen to you as a result.

I’d like to offer some thoughts on how you can protect yourself when you’re choosing to follow the moral high road. It’s a funny thing – when you’re walking up on the high road, you make yourself a nice target silhouetted against the skyline. In situations where you’re doing the right thing, someone else is probably doing the wrong thing. Those are the folks who will try to take that shot at you while you stroll along the high road. If you don’t protect yourself, you’re going to find bad things happen to you. Sometimes those people taking the shot will walk away from the situation unscathed. Now that is a bad outcome. Here’s how to avoid it.

Be Right

If you’re going to make a difficult choice, be sure you’re right. Calling the Ethics Line? Ensure you have all the proof of wrongdoing you need before picking up that phone. If you’re filing a report and it comes to light that you’ve submitted inaccurate information, you’ve just made some hefty accusations against someone that weren’t warranted. Even if nothing happens to them, you’ve tarnished their reputation. You can expect some less-than-favorable responses from doing so. Also realize the Ethics Department won’t look too kindly upon you for filing a “false report.” Be absolutely, unequivocally right before reporting something.

Seek Counsel

Read More…

Sisters, Service, and Sales

Posted on March 28, 2016 | No Comments
Categories: Books, Communications, Customer Service, Entrepreneur, Guest Blogger, Leadership, Sales, Training

Glove on the GroundCustomer service that is focused on customer relationships will impact your ability to make sales and to improve your business.

Today’s post is by Kate Edwards, author of Hello! And Every Little Thing That Matters (CLICK HERE to get your copy).

There is a scene in the Tina Fey/Amy Pohler film “Sisters” that is hilarious. The scene takes place in the dressing room of a trendy shop where the eponymous sisters go shopping for dresses for a party they are hosting that night. They go to a boutique and try on a number of party dresses, but they are clearly clueless. Each dress the sisters put on is completely unflattering as they wear the dresses in all sorts of inappropriate ways.

The shop clerk watches them in deadpan horror and her face expresses what we are all thinking: each dress is worse than the next. The clerk, however, doesn’t help them put the dresses on correctly or offer them sizes that fit; rather, she says “that looks amaaaazing” in a completely flat tone. This character is the epitome of the lackluster clerk who clearly has been told to compliment the customers. No. Matter. What.

Service that is inauthentic, unhelpful or pushy is the stuff of horrible Yelp reviews and comedic movie scenes. But service doesn’t have to be like that. Businesses that take time to connect authentically to their customers will build a client for life. And businesses that ignore service in the sales moment are doing themselves great harm as sales are based on a human connection. Here are some easy ways to connect with your customers that will make the sisters of your business – service and sales – shine.

Establish Customer Quotas, Not Sales Quotas

Too many businesses focus on the number of sales rather than the number of customers. You must remember that customers make sales. Ask your salespeople to create relationships with every type of customer – not just the ones they already know.

Read More…

Which is harder: improving a slacker’s performance or getting a high-performer promoted?

Posted on March 24, 2016 | 1 Comment
Categories: Leadership, Poll

EKG Pulse Graph with Glowing Blue Line

Our reader poll today asks: Which is harder: improving a slacker’s performance or getting a high-performer promoted?

– Getting a slacker to improve is more difficult: 70%

– Finding a way to get a high-performer promoted is harder: 30%

Slackers Rule. Finding that slacker’s motivation is a tricky task. They have the skills but they’re simply unwilling to apply them. It’s inherently a motivation challenge and your job as their leader is to find a way to light their fire. First, talk with them. Get them to explain why they’re not excited by their work. You’d be amazed at what they’ll share. Consider changing their role, changing incentives, or eliminating dissatisfiers that prevent them from applying themselves. If you can unlock their motivation, you should see instant productivity improvements.

Do you agree with these poll results? Let us know in the comments below!

Mike Figliuolo at thoughtLEADERS, LLC

Did you enjoy this post?  If so, I highly encourage you to take about 30 seconds to become a regular subscriber to this blog.  It’s free, fun, practical, and only a few emails a week (I promise!).  SIGN UP HERE to get the thoughtLEADERS blog conveniently delivered right to your inbox!

Read More…

5 Elements of Plain Language that Can Help You Close the Deal

Posted on March 23, 2016 | 3 Comments
Categories: Communications, Entrepreneur, Sales

55 Gallon Drum of Itching PowderBig words confuse people. If you want to sell your product or pitch your idea, speak simply. Don’t use huge words that hinder understanding. Just tell people exactly what you want them to know. They can’t buy or invest in what they don’t understand.

Don’t worry – this isn’t some rant about English being the official language of the U.S. It’s a rant about using plain, simple language to get people to want to learn more about your business and purchase your products or services.

Over the years I’ve judged many an idea pitch competition where companies compete to be named company, product, service of the year. It’s a pretty cool way to recognize companies for their accomplishments and give them exposure to broader audiences and prospective clients.

During one pitch competition in particular, as I read one of the submissions, my head almost exploded. Their pitch was riddled with awesome $5 and $10 words and phrases. If you read it at face value, it sounded like this is the greatest company ever to walk the Earth. Allow me to illustrate with some selected portions of the submission:

“Our product is a game changer. It is shifting the paradigm on how an organization can better protect its assets.”

“But just like any quantum advance in technology, many are still waiting for the early adopters to validate how this paradigm changes the playing field.”

“But looking beyond the obvious cost benefits and immediate ROI, what makes our product uniquely worthy of Product of the Year is the scope of the solution. Its holistic approach to security is unlike anything on the market.”

What. The. Hell?

Read More…

Overcoming Challenging Situations through the Power of Storytelling

Posted on March 21, 2016 | No Comments
Categories: Balanced Lifestyle, Books, Communications, Entrepreneur, Guest Blogger, Innovation, Leadership

Bamboo ThicketWe face leadership challenges every day. Rather than tackle them head-on, sometimes the best way to get your organization to overcome them is through the power of storytelling.

Today’s post is the sixth in a series by Paul Smith, thoughtLEADERS instructor and bestselling author of Lead With a Story.

You’re busy as a leader. You don’t always have time to invest in learning new leadership skills. I recognize that and I’m here to help. Below are 5 great lessons in easy-to-digest 10-minute podcasts you can listen to at your convenience.

These podcasts are based on interviews with 100 executives and leaders at dozens of companies around the world as they learned their most important leadership lessons – sometimes the hard way. They feature stories from executives at Proctor & Gamble, Dollar General, Hewlett Packard, Kellogg’s, Dun & Bradstreet, Saatchi & Saatchi, Verizon, and many more. Each episode brings you an important leadership lesson through a single compelling story.

These next six episodes will help you communicate more effectively as a leader through appropriate storytelling and better writing, learn how to create strong and more productive working relationships among your team members, consider an unconventional method to get to ‘Yes’ faster, how brutal honesty can sometimes be the best thing your customer needs to hear from you, and find the courage to make that critical investment even during tough economic times.

The intimacy threshold: storytelling differences across cultures

Meet an expert storyteller who’ll learned a great lesson about cultural differences in the use of emotions in business stories when one of his best stories fell flat on a new audience.

Read More…

How do you invest your time and energy in your team members?

Posted on March 17, 2016 | No Comments
Categories: Communications, Leadership, Poll

EKG Pulse Graph with Glowing Blue Line

Our reader poll today asks: How do you invest your time and energy in your team members?

– I spread it around evenly so it’s fair: 38.53%
– I invest more heavily in low performers: 15.58%
– I invest more heavily in high performers: 45.89%

Change Your View of Time Allocation. Low performers are being shortchanged. Your high performers might not want so much of your time. After all, they’re pretty self sufficient and your “investment” could be seen as “micromanaging” or a lack of trust. You’d be much better off investing your limited “leadership capital” (your time and energy) where it will yield a higher return in terms of improved performance. When you understand the relationship between your investments and team member results and learn to look at it differently, your allocation of time should shift significantly.

Do you agree with these poll results? Let us know in the comments below!

Mike Figliuolo at thoughtLEADERS, LLC

Did you enjoy this post?  If so, I highly encourage you to take about 30 seconds to become a regular subscriber to this blog.  It’s free, fun, practical, and only a few emails a week (I promise!).  SIGN UP HERE to get the thoughtLEADERS blog conveniently delivered right to your inbox!

Read More…

Learn the Power of Shutting Up

Posted on March 16, 2016 | 5 Comments
Categories: Communications, Leadership

Run DMCIt’s hard to keep one’s mouth shut. While there are times to share your thoughts and ideas, many other times require a much quieter approach. The more self-aware you are about the balance between talking and listening, the better you’ll be able to lead your team.

To help you be a better team member, colleague and boss, I’m bringing you a pointed lesson in the art of being quiet. Today I’m conjuring up the spirit of Run DMC. To quote the immortal Rev Run:

You talk too much! You never shut up!

Run DMC nailed the heart of the issue with this verse:

You’re the instigator,
the orator of the town.
You’re the worst when you converse,
just a big mouth clown.
You talk when you’re awake,
I heard you talk when you sleep
Has anyone ever told you,
that talk is cheap?

Now let’s take DMC to the workplace. You know the person they’re singing about. It’s that guy on the team who can’t shut up about anything. Hopefully he simply blathers on about his antique smurf collection (and boy was he jazzed about the live-action movie). More likely though, he’s the guy who is talking about everyone and everything going on in the office.

But guess what? YOU might be that person. If you are, you’ve got a big problem. First let’s discuss your symptoms then some ways to fix it.

Read More…

How to Harness the 4 Aspects of Focus

Posted on March 14, 2016 | No Comments
Categories: Balanced Lifestyle, Books, Business Toolkit, Guest Blogger, Leadership

Focus on a Movie ScreenMultitasking doesn’t work. It’s only through true focus that you can make meaningful progress on your work. By using the four aspects of focus, you can excel at any task you put your mind to.

Today’s post is by Achim Nowak, author of THE MOMENT: A Practical Guide to Creating a Mindful Life in a Distracted World (CLICK HERE to get your copy).

Let’s face it. Pretty much every facet of our work lives conspires against us staying focused. We rush from one meeting to the next. We have too many emails to answer in any given moment. There are days when it seems we do nothing but respond to last-minute requests and fly by the seat of our pants.

And yet, the leader who stays focused is the one who creates exponentially more success.

Focus, at its very best, is our exquisite commitment to a goal, and our full engagement with the process of attaining this goal. Before we explore some common-sense focus practices, let go, once and for all, of the notion that multi-tasking works. Yes, you know how to do it. You are likely quite good at it. Research, however, consistently shows that multi-tasking dilutes the effectiveness of the tasks we perform. We tend to confuse motion with achievement. Instead of our relentless focus on achievement, why not focus on the art of focus?

One activity at a time is a fine place to begin. Successful focus, however, is defined by the levels of awareness you and I bring to the performance of this single activity. The following four aspects of focus help us shift from the purely transactional performance of a task to a deeply conscious engagement with this task:

Read More…

  • ©Copyright thoughtLEADERS, LLC. All rights reserved. All materials contained on this site are protected by United States copyright law and may not be reproduced, distributed, transmitted, displayed, published or broadcast in whole or in part without the EXPRESS WRITTEN CONSENT OF thoughtLEADERS, LLC. Content may not be republished, reproduced or distributed in whole or in part without the proper attribution of the work and disclosure of its source including a direct link back to the original content. You may not alter or remove any trademark, copyright or other notice from copies of the content nor can you modify the content in any way. However, you may download material from this website for your personal, noncommercial use only. Links to websites other than those owned by thoughtLEADERS, LLC are offered as a service to readers. thoughtLEADERS, LLC was not involved in their production and is not responsible for their content.

    thoughtLEADERS, LLC has worked to ensure the accuracy of the information included herein. thoughtLEADERS, LLC is not engaged in rendering legal, accounting, or other professional services beyond training, coaching, and consulting. Its reports or articles should not be construed as professional advice on any particular set of facts or circumstances. thoughtLEADERS, LLC is not responsible for any claims or losses that may arise from any errors or omissions in our reports or reliance upon any recommendation or advice provided by thoughtLEADERS, LLC.

    thoughtLEADERS, LLC is committed to protecting your privacy. You can read our privacy policy by clicking here.