Thursday, June 24, 2010

Please and Thank You!

How rare it is today to hear a well-placed “Please” or “Thank You”. Peter Drucker, Management Expert and God-Father of some of our foundational management principles that still endure today, says “Manners are the lubricating oil of an organization,”

He goes on to say: “Please” means ‘I respect you,’ and ‘Thank You’ means ‘I appreciate you.’”

Robin Sharma, successful author and business expert says, “To grow your relationships and lead the field, manage your manners so people see that you strongly value them.” Robin Sharma
From The Deeper Your Relationships, The Stronger Your Leadership.

Earl Nightingale, business philosopher with the golden voice, once wrote an article for Success Magazine and called it “Thank You Mrs. Jones.” In it he promoted the importance of always remembering these critical social graces of “Please” and “Thank You.”

My wife needs to hear “Please” and “Thank You.” So do your kids, your parents, you boss, your neighbor – Everyone should be extended this courtesy.

The point is this: Say the words, express the thought. Show good manners and lubricate your human interactions in all of life.

Thank you for reading.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

What We Need to Understand About People

When it comes to understanding and working with people there are two principles that we all should keep in mind.

1. Everybody wants to be somebody. Everybody wants to be regarded and valued by others. (John C. Maxwell in Relationships 101)

Mary Kay Ash says it this way: “Imagine that every person you meet is wearing an invisible sign around their neck that says “Make Me Feel Important.” If we can find effective ways of valuing people we make great strides in our relationships.

It is reported that John Dillinger, the famous outlaw from the 1930’s era, once ran into a farm house while being pursued by the local law enforcement officers and said, “I’m John Dillinger. I'm not going to hurt anybody, but I wanted you to know that I'm John Dillinger.”

Even a notorious person such as John Dillinger wanted to feel like somebody I suppose.

The second principle is this.

1. Nobody cares how much you know until he knows how much you care. (John C. Maxwell in Relationships 101)

How can we show that we care? The principles are simple and have endured the ages.
Show genuine interest in what they are saying
Use Eye Contact
Focus on the Person Speaking
Always believe the best in people
Always expect the best from people
Repeat back significant words and phrases to show understanding and interest

The word above all and in all is this – RESPECT!!!

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Top Ten Things Every Great Sales Person Knows

1. Smile. It starts before you greet your customer. Everyone loves a smiling face. Give your customers your best smile and watch what happens. More often than not they will give you a smile in return.

2. Know Your Product. How much do you know about your product line? Are you prepared to compare and contrast your varying products if you sell multiple lines and varieties of items? Can you point out advantages and benefits? Prepare, prepare, prepare!

3. Listen to your customer. Listening skills are critical in the sales process. Your customers will give you all kinds of clues as to exactly what they are seeking and it is your job to listen to what is being said especially to what is said between the lines. When selling mattresses I had to listen between the words for the exact product my customers were seeking. It is a good idea to repeat back to your customer, using their own words, the exact words you heard them use.

4. Use Eye Contact. Appropriate eye contact is critical in selling face to face. If you are serving more than one person, be sure to look each person in the eye at some point during the transaction.

5. Remember their names and say them correctly. Everyone loves the sound of his or her own name. When you remember your customer’s name you just paid them a high compliment. When I encounter an unusual name that is not familiar to me, I’ll often write it down and spell it phonetically so that I can say it back to my customer correctly. Use their name. A person’s name is their most important possession.

6. Know your systems. How well do you know your company policies? What is your return policy? Can you smoothly and quickly process an exchange or refund for a customer? Can you perform a simple ink cartridge change on the credit card machine? Knowing your systems, your computer, and your company policy are some of the most important skills you can develop as a sales person. You efficiency in these areas is just as critical as your ability to ask for and close the sale.

7. Let the customer engage with the products. When you can get a customer touching an item or holding a pair of shoes, your success in selling that product just increased. I watched this happen countless times when I served as a department manager for a large music store in South Carolina. Every time I could put something as simple as a CD into my customer’s hands they would more often than not walk out of our store with that purchase. When I sold choir robes, it was important for the customer to feel the quality of the fabric as I explained the differences in the materials we were comparing. We love to touch and feel. Use it to your advantage in selling.

8. Watch for buying signals. Common buying signals are: tugging on one’s ear, asking about price, asking about delivery, asking about technical data, reviewing facts about the product you covered earlier, asking about warranty, sometimes a quickening of the pulse or a small bead of perspiration on the upper lip, asking how long this price is honored, and more. The secret to successfully closing the sale when you start sensing buying signals is it stop talking, answer only the questions being asked, and otherwise keep your mouth shut. Don’t talk yourself out of a sale.

9. Ask for the sale. There are dozens of books on the market today that offer great tips on closing sales and they all offer their own hot list of closing techniques.

10. Confirm the order, review the receipt and give them your heartiest appreciation for the purchase and for their trust in you.

Good luck and remember, every person you meet is wearing an invisible sign around their neck that says, “MAKE ME FEEL IMPORTANT!”

Thursday, June 3, 2010

How Is My Serve?

I once had the reputation of being one of the better ping pong players in my home town. Every summer I would hang out at Little Park on the lower grounds of the county library next to Little Pool and play endless ping pong games. There were only two or three kids and one adult, Coach Shelton, who could usually beat me at my game.

Somewhere along the way I learned how to serve a great dancing curve ball that only the experienced players could handle. At times, I could predict with great accuracy exactly where their return shot would land on the table, if it landed on the table at all. What fun that was.

When one of the better players came along who could handle my serve, I would then change my tactics with short shots, right hand corner, left hand corner, inside spin and anything else I could think of to give me the advantage.

But it always came back down to the serve.

So, how is your serve? How is my serve?

Here’s the application.

The question is not “what can you do for me?” It is “What can I do for you?” I constantly ask myself: “How can I serve others better? What can I possibly write about that will encourage and inspire and offer someone hope today?”

Do I value people? Do I cherish and guard the divine within each person I meet? Do I hold out the possibility for greatness to exist in every individual?

Everyone is great at something. Sometimes we have to dig a little to discover exactly what that greatness looks like.

How is my serve?

Am I serving you in a way that betters your life, encourages you, and lifts your spirits? Do I cause you to see your own uniqueness and the possibilities that are inside of you? Do I act in a way to lift you up and cause you to like yourself, or do I point out your faults, your short comings and your inadequacies?

How is my serve?

Do I communicate clearly with you?

Do I speak to you as an equal or do I use a tone and demeanor that puts you down, causes you to feel less than respected or small and inadequate?

Do I look you in the eye when we talk? Do I allow you an equal share in our conversation, or do I over-talk you?

How is my serve?

Do I respect you enough to show up on time for our set appointments? Do I return your phone calls? Do I send notes of thanks and appreciation just because? Do I honor you by recognizing you as a fellow human being with wants, desires and needs as well? Do I see that you simply want to be recognized and made to feel important?

Do I nurture your nature? Do I esteem you? Do I allow your uniqueness to come out, or do I try to make you conform to my way of thinking, acting and living?

John C. Maxwell offers a quote in The 21 Indispensible Laws of Leadership that I really love.

John’s original quote is: “You’ve got to love your people more than your position.” My revision is “You’ve got to love your people more than yourself and more than your idea of what they should be, do, or become.”

John goes on to say, “The truth is that the best leaders desire to serve others, not themselves.”

There is a Bible verse in Mark 9:35 that states, “he who would be great must be like the least and the servant of all.”

Wow! What a nice serve.

Now, let’s go grab a cup of coffee and mull some of this over?

By the way, I’ll buy.