Thursday, May 27, 2010

To Shine or Not to Shine

Kim Zoller at Image Dynamics
//, says 55% of another person's perception of you is based on how you look. And this includes your shoes.

Every time I polish my shoes I feel better about myself, about the image I portray and I seem to walk a bit taller and with a more assured step in my gait.

When people meet you for the first time, whether just in passing on the street or in a face-to-face relational experience, the other person is taking in everything, and I mean every thing, about you. They are judging you on your smile, the cleanness of your clothes, the lack of wrinkles, do your clothes match and make sense from a style standpoint, and a myriad other tell-tell factors you may have never thought of.

So, how shined are your shoes? Does this matter to you? Why or why not? My friend and co-worker Steve always came to work with his shoes highly shined. That has so impressed me and I still remember even though we haven’t worked together for 25 years. Knowing Steve, this is still a key element in preparing for his day.

Some professionals in the dress-for-success mindset say that if your shoes can’t be shined then you are wearing the wrong shoes. What is the norm in your business environment? What should you do about the norm? Are you going to go along with this mindset, or are you going to raise the bar a notch and begin wearing a more appropriate footwear?

It’s all about presentation – image.

Clean them. Wipe them down. Shine them if possible.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

The Power of "Thank You!"

In Germany the word is “Danke” or “Danke Schön”.
In Spanish it is “Gracias”.
The French say “Merci Beaucop”.
Italians say, “Gracie”.
Our Japanese friends respond with “Kanji”.

In any language, for any small act of kindness, the words “thank you” are acceptable and pleasing to any ear and show good graces and great manners.

So, why do we fail to hear these simple words more in everyday life?  That is a question to ponder yet one for which there is no readily available answer.

I was preparing to speak for a group of people on a military base a few years ago, and I stepped out into the hallway a few minutes prior to my speech to catch a breath of fresh air. While standing just inside the doors leading to the outside, I heard footsteps behind me and turned to see a parade of seven individuals headed my way. Being the courteous southern gentleman that I am, I opened the door for this group of people.

Not one person in that group bothered to say a simple “Thank you” to me for opening the door. I was disappointed in their inconsiderate manners. You and I would have shown proper cultural upbringing and expressed this simple response.

“Thank You” is such a simple expression, yet I find few people willing to express it, whether it is a simple act as in holding a door open for someone, for good customer service, or for a myriad of other small acts of kindness rendered in everyday life.

In the course of our days we could utter these encouraging words dozens of times for dozens of reasons.
“Thanks for that great meal honey.”
“You gave great service. Thank you.
“Thank you for stopping by our store.”
“Thank you Mailman. You are always on time.”
“Thanks for your expert knowledge. You really helped us make a smart purchase.”
“Thanks for cleaning up after yourself.”
“That report really was right on target. Thanks so much.”
“Thanks for the improvement I see in your work lately.”
“Thanks for cleaning your room.”
“Thanks for those clear directions.”
“Thanks for holding the door for us.”
“Thanks for the ride.”
“Thanks for not smoking.”
“Thanks for making my life easier.”
“You emptied the trash cans. Thanks so much.”

This is just a sampling of hundreds of things for which we could express our thanks and appreciation.

Being able to express the words “thank you” is more than just a good social skill. It is a sign of a person in touch with themselves and one with an understanding of good social graces. Some wise person once said, “It’s nice to be important, but it’s more important to be nice.”

When someone says “thank you” to me I immediately note several traits about that person and about myself.
1. They have good manners
2. Their level of intelligence seems to grow in my estimation.
3. They become more likeable.
4. I feel better about myself.
5. I am more inclined to pass along my own “thank you” as soon as convenient and appropriate.
6. They become memorable for having said “thank you”.

Never underestimate the power of “Thank You!”

Friday, May 14, 2010

Judging Others

I made a $6500 sale not too long ago. Yes, you read correctly. $6500! He didn’t look very prosperous. He smelled strongly of tobacco, his clothes weren’t the neatest or the cleanest, but he bought my most expensive bed in our store and he paid cash!

I must confess that when he first came in he didn’t impress me. Yes, I was guilty of “judging a book by its cover.”

This wasn’t the first time I have had to learn that lesson.

Remember Susan Boyle, the Scottish singing sensation? She doesn’t look like a singer, but my goodness, wait until she opens her mouth. What a clear, musical, lyrical sound she produces. She is a true song-bird and she has taken the world by storm. In a lineup, would we have chosen her as the one most likely to sing her way into our hearts? Probably not.

How often do we judge others, and miss fantastic opportunities to know someone marvelous and wonderful? Not only do we miss opportunities in sales situations when we misjudge customers, we misjudge meeting and befriending interesting people just because we judge them based on their dress, their skin color, their social standing, their nationality and a myriad of other judgments we dish out at will.

According to Wikipedia, the very common phrase “don't judge a book by its cover" is a metaphorical phrase which means "don't determine the worth of something based on its appearance”. It is probably the most common expression used in English to convey vanity.

There are very valuable individuals sitting out there behind desks, walking into our retail establishments, and in those offices. They need your goods and services. Find ways to win their friendship, and above all else, Never Judge a Book by Its Cover!

Friday, May 7, 2010

The Law of Cause and Effect

Brian Tracy, in his book Million Dollar Habits, reminds us of this law:

"The Law of Cause and Effect says that if you do what other successful people do, you will eventually get the same results other successful people get. This is a universal law. The law itself is neutral. It works for everybody, everywhere." Pg 55 Brian Tracy

So what do we need to begin doing that other successful people do in order to increase our value and improve our successes in life?

The reverse is – what do we need to stop doing?

Great questions!

I constantly analyze my sales and productivity in terms of others whom I consider to be better than I. What do they do verses my own interpretation of what I do, and why is it better or more successful?

While reading, I notice certain phrases and expressions used and the layout and style of certain authors. I pay attention to the “feel” that is coming through other writers’ works and then seek ways that I might adapt some of what I see and experience.

Do you study others in your profession? If they are successful, they bear close observation. In sales, I’ve seen all dimensions of the good, the bad and the ugly. (Thanks Clint Eastwood.) From the good, I learned more acute listening skills, and some quality body language skills.

How about this: let’s find good role models, people we trust, people who are successful. Study them, learn from them, copy them, analyze them and then reproduce their good character traits and skill sets and see how it impact our lives.

Remember Brian’s quote above:  If you do what other successful people do, you will eventually get the same results other successful people get.

I’m going for it!