Recently, when I was at my home in the Philippines, I awoke one morning to find one of the dogs sleeping on the sofa. All curled up, nice and comfy having nice doggy dreams. (She’s the one on the left in the photo of Motivation Doc jogging club.)
So whispered in her ear – ‘Please wake up and get off the sofa CAS.’
And if you believe that, you’re as daft as me!
However, when placed in a situation of annoyance, shall we say; do you:
You probably answered ‘Think’ and ‘No’ to these questions, but do you ever catch yourself saying:
‘She makes me really mad!’
‘His behavior really annoys me!’
‘How dare she speak to me like that!’
‘If he thinks I’m just going to do what he wants!’
Is it possible, that in making any of these statements, that:
1, you’re reacting and 2, allowing other people to decide your behavior?
Does the other person make you mad, or do you decide to get mad?
Do you react to what a customer, or a colleague or your boss, does or says to you, or do you think before you take action?
You’re the boss
Before you achieve anything in your life, you need to take charge of your thinking. When you take charge of your thinking, you take charge of your life.
Thinking is all about communicating with yourself; it’s all the little things you say to yourself while you’re awake.
(Just don’t say them out loud or the men with the white coats will take you away!)
That’s a lot of thinking
I read somewhere that the average human has 12,367 thoughts every day. Now, don’t ask me how they worked that one out, but let’s just accept that we do a lot of thinking and communicating with ourselves. The thing is that, 70 percent of these thoughts or internal communications are negative and encourage negative behaviour.
How you think, your relationship with yourself is what decides how well you communicate with your customers, your colleagues, your team members, your boss, and the dog.
The most important relationship you’ll ever have is the one you have with yourself, so you’ve got to get that right.
Henry Ford said, (he was the guy who started all the traffic chaos) – ‘Thinking is the hardest work there is, that’s why so few people do it.’
Always on time
I’ve always had a thing about good timekeeping; it’s something that’s been programmed into my brain. If you agree to meet me at 8.30 in the morning, I‘ll be there at 8.20; I will always do my utmost be on time.
So I used to get annoyed when a member of my team would show up late for a meeting or an appointment with me.
When I got annoyed I’d get stressed, I would react, and end up saying something that I regretted later. So I learned to start thinking about the situation and try to see it from their point of view. I decided not to react or let my programming run my brain.
That doesn’t mean to say I ignored the lateness or did nothing about it; I thought very carefully about what I wanted to say, and spoke to the team member about how we would resolve this situation.
Don’t get stressed
The point is this – I’m not prepared to allow that team member’s behavior to run my mind.
Getting annoyed and stressed is not good for your health and it isn’t a productive way to motivate your staff, deal with your customers or handle your mother-in-law.
You have to decide who runs your mind; is it you or is it someone else?
So – think about that!
I know this may come out as a bit of a whinge. However, it really saddens me to see organisations who talk a good game about customer service, and then make a real hash of it.
According to their website – Lazada is Southeast Asia’s number one online shopping and selling destination.
Of course they are number one, because Amazon have no presence there. I suspect that is because there is no delivery or postal system that would meet the Amazon standard.
I ordered the machine for my partner in the Philippines, paid for it by credit card, and was given a delivery date.
However, a few days later, Lazada sent me an email cancelling my order because they had made a mistake with the price. I reckon the price difference was about £5 to £6.
I paid £140 for the machine, plus a transaction charge of £4.
Lazada refunded my credit card £134.
So I’m out of pocket £10 and no machine.
Okay, so this is starting to sound like a whinge, but bear with me.
My questions to people in business are
We all make mistakes
In any business, mistakes will be made from time to time, but there is always the opportunity to Recover with the customer.
In this situation, Lazada should have said – ‘We messed up; we got it wrong, but we want the customer to be happy. So we will have to take a loss (if it is a loss bearing in mind the difference is £5) on this transaction. Just as long as the customer is happy and continues to deal with us.’
Business have to run at a profit, but you need customers and more of them.
Lazada send me emails every day trying to sell me more products; I dump them all.
A positive customer service story
I ordered 50 copies of my book, How to be a Motivational Manager, from Amazon in the UK. This was to be delivered to one of my clients in the Philippines.
25 of the books were delivered, but the other 25 disappeared. (What did I say earlier about distribution and postal service in that part of the world?)
I contacted Amazon, and they immediately sent another 25 books to the Philippines at no extra cost. (The missing 25 books eventually turned up back in the UK)
Now that’s what I call Recovery!
Amazon took action immediately, they took the risk that they might lose out on this, but they just wanted to keep the customer happy. As it turned out, they didn’t lose out, other than extra delivery charges, and they made me happy!
Lazada still don’t understand that, hopefully on day they will.
Alienating customers is too costly – you can avoid that by recovering well and building a positive relationship with your customer.
Here are 3 reasons why complaints can be a positive thing for your business.
75% of customers will buy from you again if you resolve their complaints to their satisfaction.
Sadly, a typical business will hear from only 4% of its dissatisfied customers.
Make your business easy to complain to – it’s good for you!
Okay, I can do that, I’m familiar with about 20 different companies that I’ve had contact with over the years.
So perhaps I could recommend one.
‘Why so few’ you ask?
Because I’ve discovered over the years that most of them do not practise what they preach.
I’m thinking particularly about the training companies who run customer service and sales programmes.
They will tell you all about customer relationship building, generating word of mouth, referrals and all that good stuff.
And it is good stuff, but they don’t practise it themselves.
Word of mouth
Now I know you’re thinking that this is just grumpy Alan having a whinge because I haven’t had a call back or an email reply. And after all I’m not exactly a potential client for any of these companies.
But I do know potential clients for these companies, and I do network, and have friendships with many business people.
“Word of mouth” is an extremely powerful way to find new customers or clients. (And it’s also a powerful way to lose them)
If you want positive word of mouth, then you have to do something about it.
What about you
Think of all the organisations you’ve had contact with. How many would you recommend to other people?
Every person who contacts you or your business, whether buying or selling, could recommend you to someone else.
So it makes perfect sense to treat them all with courtesy and respect. A thank you email or a thanks but no thanks reply, will only take two minutes out of your day, and may prove invaluable.
I can think of one or two organisations who have rejected my services (hard to believe – eh) but I would still recommend them to others.
That is because of their good manners and courtesy.
Gimme a job
I was listening to a young graduate on TV this morning. He has written around 1000 job applications and received replies from about 10%.
None of them have given him any feedback. (Perhaps someone needs to tell him that his CV or application letter needs some work!)
And to finish on a positive
In 2007 when I was trying to get my first book published, I sent my proposal to every publisher I could find around the world.
Rejection, rejection, rejection! But do you know what? Many of these notes of rejection, gave me some feedback or recommended another publisher I could approach.
Eventually How to Books said they would at least talk to me, and three books later…..
If you want to find more clients, and make more sales, then every connection counts.
So, do you want me to recommend a publisher?
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But first let me ask you; don’t you just hate it when people say ‘What’s wrong with you today, you don’t look very happy?’
Maybe you don’t feel like smiling on that particular day, for no particular reason. Or maybe you feel like punching them in the nose.
However, a report in American Psychologist states that:
Smiling and being agreeable influences the length of people’s lives in a positive way – Wow!
On the other hand, being grumpy increases the likelihood of a violent death, heart disease, cancer etc – oh dear!
And punching someone on the nose may result in a violent death!
If DC says it; it must be true
Are your teeth okay?
Another survey found that 75% of respondents thought that an unattractive smile would be bad for their career. While a whopping 92% said an attractive smile was a necessary social asset.
Watch out for the scary people
These sorts of reports have been around for years, but many of the people that I come into contact with don’t seem to have received the message.
I’ve attended business networking meetings where many non smiley people look downright scary. And they wonder why they don’t gain any benefit from their networking!
Many of the people at my local health club look downright unhappy. You’d think they were there as some form of penance rather than as part of their fun and leisure time.
Are you sure your teeth are okay?
Of course many people don’t smile because they’re nervous; they lack confidence or have low self-esteem. Some people on the other hand actually believe they’re smiling when the face they present to the world could actually turn milk sour.
Have a look at your face from your side
I’m not suggesting that we all go around with big smiles on our face grinning inanely at people we hardly know. If you did that, then the men in white coats would soon be dragging you off to a place of detention. However, I am suggesting that we think about the face we present to other people.
By sporting a warm smile at the appropriate time we can only smooth the path for the people we’re dealing with. We also boost our own confidence and it allows us to relax and make the most of a situation.
Here come the technical bit
Smiling stimulates the release of endorphins, the body’s feel-good chemicals, which has an ongoing positive effect. It’s a two way neurological process; when you smile you literally become happier, and when you’re happier, you smile more. If someone gives you an unsolicited smile, you smile back and in this way we directly affect each other’s moods.
Switching on a smile will only bring benefits – you’ll be happier and everyone else will be happier – so keep smiling!
And in the words of W.C. Fields:
‘Start each day with a smile and get it over with’.
(That was just to make you smile!)
And let me make you smile more often – put your email address in that box on the top right. Don’t worry, I won’t give it to anyone else.
Also, I’ll be running another new workshop:
How Managers Use The JAB Method To Drive Performance
I just love being in Singapore, and when I do some work there, it’s even better!
If your sales or sales management team would like to learn some new skills or refresh some old ones; please get in touch and we can have a chat.
Send me an email and we can set up Skype or Viber or phone call.
+63 917 517 5191
7500A Beach Road, The Plaza
#08-317, Singapore 199591
Now, if you’re a manager, or you probably work for one, then you’d almost certainly be able to list a whole range of actions and activities. They might include: interviewing, solving problems, dealing with customers, planning, report writing, analysing data, dealing with complaints and hopefully, leading and motivating the people who report to them.
Many managers seem to believe that, over and above these activities, the prime function of their job is to identify weaknesses in members of their team, and resolve them. In other words, they relentlessly focus on the negative aspects of an employee’s job. They do this, at worst, by criticising, and reprimanding or, at best, by coaching or training.
Too much focus on the negative
I am aware of managers that spend a great deal of their time exploring an employee’s performance looking for some perceived fault or aspect that could be improved. Parents often focus on the negative aspects of a child’s school report rather than the positive.
Too many managers are spending too much time trying to change people.
They seem to believe that if they train people, tell them what to do or even threaten them with disciplinary action or the sack, then they can get them to change.
The successful manager concentrates on developing the strengths of their team members, not trying to correct their weaknesses.
Sometimes you have to manage around a weakness, but you can’t make people what they’re not.
I’m just not musical
When I was a teenager, my father sent me for piano lessons for about three years. He was determined that I would learn to play the piano. To this day I cannot play a note. I realise now, as an adult, that I am just not musical.
Strange as it may seem, I’m not particularly interested in music. My CD collection consists of about 6 CD’s which I rarely listen to. If I had attended piano lessons for even more years then I’m sure I could have become competent. However, I would never be any good at playing the piano.
Don’t waste your time
It’s a waste of time trying to correct weaknesses that can’t be sorted. Some people just can’t build relationships with customers, others can’t work as fast as you need them to, others can’t write a report to save their life, (and ‘certain other people’ will never be able to play the piano)
Your most productive time as a manager will be spent focussing on strengths and how to develop these further.
If you give people feedback on what they do well; then it is often the case that there is an improvement in what they don’t do so well.
By focussing on the positives, they feel more motivated to improve the negative aspects of their performance.
So there you have it; whether in your business or personal life, focus on the positive aspects of other people, not on the negatives.
Remember: People have one thing in common; they are all different.
‘Selling is the art of creating a desire in the mind of a buyer and satisfying that desire so that buyer and seller benefit.’
Now that may seem a bit old fashioned for many of today’s salespeople, but I believe the principle still holds true particularly if we’re attempting to persuade another person; be it a member of our team, a colleague or a customer.
Change the mindset
If you’re going to persuade someone to change their behavior, their viewpoint, their attitude any other aspect of their business or personal life, then you’re talking about changing a mindset.
If anyone is going to change their mindset then they need to envisage benefits for them that outweigh their present circumstances or situation.
If you’re the person doing the persuading, then you need the following skills, qualities and characteristics which make you believable and credible.
Successful persuaders believe in themselves and what they’re talking about. After all, if you don’t believe in what you’re saying, how do you expect anyone else to?
I’ve known people who totally believe in what they’re saying but fail to communicate with any enthusiasm or passion. Many people find difficulty with this.
If you want to persuade someone, you’d better find a way to get enthusiastic about it.
You must know what you’re talking about, so make sure you have all the information, facts, figures and statistics to make your case.
Put yourself in the other person’s shoes. What do you think is important to them? Consider carefully why they should accept what you’re saying.
If someone is frightened of flying, then there’s no point in telling them not to be silly and to stop behaving like a baby. You need to think about how you might feel in these circumstances and what might persuade you to change your mind; you need to outweigh the fear with benefits relevant to the individual.
If you want to persuade someone, don’t give up on the first ‘no’ or rejection of what you say. Persist and persist – but do it nicely!
People wont necessarily react in a negative way to your persistence when they realise you really believe what you’re saying.
There’s a fine line between being persistent and being a nuisance.
Watch the other person’s reactions and if it looks like you’re persisting too much – stop!
Put energy into all your interactions with other people. Energy fuels enthusiasm; we are persuaded by people with energy.
Many TV presenters use their energy to sell us their ideas. Think of the celebrity chefs on TV persuading us to produce fabulous meals or other presenters who get us all excited about re-modelling our homes or gardens.
Everything you do or say is important, everything counts. If you want to be a powerful persuader then you must be consistent. If you’re trying to persuade someone to keep their promises, then you must always keep yours.
If you say, ‘I’ll phone you back in ten minutes,’ then phone them back in nine minutes.
To be a powerful persuader you need many skills, qualities and characteristics. Even with them all in place, there is still no guarantee of success.
People are more likely to be persuaded by people they trust, they like and have a good relationship with.
Sell yourself and change a mindset.
Excerpt from How to Manage Difficult People