Saturday, October 30, 2010

Your Sales Can Soar With TLC

  • What does your customer need & want?
  • What are their likes & dislikes?
  • What’s important to them and what isn’t?
From this moment on, stop thinking like you've thought before, and use TLC.
It means "Tender Loving Care" right?  No!  TLCThink Like a Customer!
Begin by asking yourself, How does my customer think?

Barnes & Noble Bookstores used to think like a retail book company. “Our customers love books so we'll stock lots of books in our stores and sell them. We'll get our market share in spite of other bookstores, online companies and discounters.”

Then they used TLC, and decided that . . . “Our customers really love to read! So let's create a store made to meet that need. A place to relax with a book in a big chair, drinking a specialty drink, listening to a piano playing softly in the background.” 

Shopping for books became enjoyable and fun. Sales soared!

Now—right now—Think Like a Customer—your customer—and watch your sales soar!

Friday, October 29, 2010

Making Employees Feel Important Creates Loyalty, Pride and Productivity

Many years ago Larry and I became acquainted through the Sales and Marketing Executive Club of Phoenix. Larry was what I call a "Corporate Angel." No, he didn’t have wings or a halo—he didn’t even have hair. Larry was short and stocky, yet when you met him, he made you feel good. Do you know people that when you’re with them they just make you feel good? 

From our first meeting it was clear Larry had a way about him that seemed to draw others to him. He wasn’t good looking in a physical sense—hey, he was short, fat and bald. That’s how he’d describe himself. Yet, he was so attractive because of his smile, his gentleness and the tone of his voice.

Through our relationship in that business club we got to know each other, and the more I got to know Larry, the more likeable he was. He would direct his conversation to you—not to him. Larry would remember your discussions from last time and build on them the next time. It was so obvious he was interested in others. You know the opposite type—the person only interested in themselves. The kind of person who says to you: “OK, I’ve been doing all the talking and telling you how great and amazing I am, now it’s your turn, you tell me how great and amazing I am!” That wasn’t Larry Palder!

As our relationship grew he hired me to come into his company, Palder Equipment, and conduct a series of meetings. When asked, “What do you want these meetings to accomplish?” Larry said, “I just want you to help my employees believe in themselves and know that their lives are their choice. I want them to be very successful.”

That was different. So often my clients say their meeting objectives are to increase sales, stop complaining and whining, work a full day, prospect more, reduce costs, increase profits, etc. Not Larry—his mission was to uplift people and help them. He was a Corporate Angel.

Prior to our first meeting, Larry set a time on a Saturday for me to meet him at his company headquarters. That was different too—since his business was closed on Saturday. We met, we talked and then he said: “I wanted you to come in on Saturday when all my employees weren’t here so I could show you around.”

What he showed me has never been forgotten. Row after row of private offices furnished with expensive desks, chairs and files. Thick, expensive carpet flowed from office to office. I asked: “Are these for your Sales and Corporate officers?” Larry put his chubby fingers around my neck, gave me a quick squeeze, laughed and then said: “No, these are my machine shop workers' offices.”

Shocked, I said: “What does Palder Equipment do?”

“We sell and service industrial machinery. My employees are mechanics, machinists and millwrights. I’m the sales guy.”

That’s right, he provided executive offices for a bunch of dirty, greasy, hourly workers—my audience and his company family.

Shocked I said: “How can these offices be so clean and neat?”

"Oh, that’s easy. When they leave the shop to do paperwork or look something up, they wash their hands and remove their work boots. They take great pride in their office. For most of my guys, it’s the only office they ever had. When I first built this new building and set up their offices, Saturday was a busy day around here.”

“Oh,” I said. “Working harder to pay off your building costs?”

Larry smiled, grabbed my neck, squeezed and said: “No-o, it was so busy those Saturdays with their family tours. They brought their moms, dads, wives, kids, and one guy even brought his entire softball team to see his office!”

Now I got it. Larry was so successful in his business because he treated his employees with such respect and dignity. In return they gave him 200% commitment and unflinching loyalty. No tool theft. No wasted time on the job. No policing their every action.

Larry Palder, Corporate Angel, had discovered a timeless truth about people and business. It paid off financially. He was very successful that way, and it paid off emotionally too. Larry Palder was a happy man.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Stop Smoking Instantly When YOU Decide!

It was over 20 years ago that I learned the amazing power of these words:
“I just decided to ...”

During almost all my corporate seminars on change and improvement, I would ask the audience this question … "Is there anyone here today who smoked for at least 10 years, stopped smoking on their own at least five years ago, stopped instantly and never smoked again?”

In most cases a few hands would go up and I’d interview one or two people and have them share their story. Some of the stories were extraordinary! They told what motivated them to stop instantly a habit they had been chained to for at least 10 years. The reasons ranged from their doctor’s dire predictions of health problems, to their children’s pleas …”I don’t want you to die, Mommy! My teacher said smokers die of lung cancer. Please don’t die and leave me alone!”

After their description of the event that led up to their breaking of the habit, I’d ask, “So, as a result of that, what did you do?” It was startling to me that the vast majority of those sharing their story would use the exact same words to explain their actions. They would say: “After my doctor said that, I decided to stop” or “When my little girl asked for her birthday gift to be that I would stop smoking, at that very minute I decided to never smoke again—and I never did!”

Why such power in just two words? Let’s take them one at a time. The first word is the most important—“I.”  It wasn’t the doctor, the child or anyone else—it was the individual! Of course! The individual was the only one who could take the necessary action!

It’s the same with you and the things in your life you want to change or do—it’s up to YOU, not someone else. Real permanent change begins with the acceptance of personal responsibility—“If it is to be, it is up to me.”  Make that your motto and creed, and know that it’s you, and only you, who can and will make the improvement happen!

Next word —“decided” means “to reach a decision.” A decision is the act of making up one’s mind. It’s not wishing, hoping or trying! It’s a firmness and a determination that “I will” do something.

The brilliant philosopher Goethe said this: ”At the moment of commitment, the universe conspires to assist you.” Oh, how true! Just think back to your past commitments — those “I decided to” moments like going to college, getting a certain job, losing weight, stopping smoking. Once you truly “decided to” you found the resources, the people and the support you needed. In many cases they might have just seemed to magically appear. Well, not really magically…it’s just that universal force coming to the aid of those who decide to!

When those audience members told their life changing stories and said “I decided to stop smoking that minute and never smoke again,” it was over! The end! Decision made—no second thoughts!

My follow-up question proves this. After the audience applauded for each story, I’d quietly ask, “So how hard was it to stop a habit you’d had for so many years?”

The answers, again, were almost always identical. “Oh, it was almost effortless.” Now, you might say, “No way. You can’t just stop smoking cold turkey and not face a severe struggle.”

Again, I’d ask a follow-up question. “Had you ever attempted to stop smoking before that incident and then found you couldn’t stop?” Most of them had the exact same reply: “Oh yes, dozens of times…but that’s because I didn’t really decide to. I wanted to, tried to, hoped to, but only when I really truly decided to, could I do it.”

Now it’s your turn. Think of something you’d like to do, but just haven’t been able to do yet. Lose weight? Run a mile? Break 90 at golf? Learn to speak Spanish? Dance? Play piano? Be rich? Whatever it is, decide to do it!  

It’s not just saying those words, “I decided to” — it’s really meaning it and committing to yourself to do it. You CAN do it! Just decide to!