In response to this question, many will say the organization’s Board of Directors holds the vision. After all, they plot the course for where the company is headed. Others adamantly believe it is held by the senior executive team. They determine the day to day operations. Some may think it’s their branch manager, because she has the branch goals. All of these answers are right. And any of these answers are wrong.
If any of these mentioned hold the vision, it is often framed and hanging in the lobby or the employee break room. The idea is if you read it, you will get it. How many times do you pass the same billboard every day on the highway and have no idea what it advertises? How often do you pull into your driveway and wonder, what colors were the last three traffic lights? We often see without reading. And we often pass by without taking hold of the message.
It’s the same way when you want to list all of the benefits you offer to a new customer. After awhile, he stops listening. Or when you are on-boarding a new employee. Can she really understand all the terminology on day one? We think exposure equals hold.
- Explain the affect when a process isn’t followed.
- Describe the how and when of a product that will put the customer in a better situation,
- Point out the benefits of taking the medication exactly as prescribed to your patient.
You aren’t just listing the what, how and when. You are telling a story. What happens when? How does it work? Where is the benefit? Tell the story! People remember and respond to the story. You make it personal. You make it relevant. They get the message. And you get the vision!
“People get the vision because you share it, not because they read the framed poster hanging in the lobby.” ~ Becky McCrary, CSP
We spend almost every waking moment on the phone. We’re on the phone in the car and in the grocery store, sitting in meetings and standing in line, at ball games and concerts. We cannot tolerate being out of the loop or spending time quietly with ourselves. Yet the cry continues from small business owners, sales associates, and customer service representatives that they hate to make calls.
Here are a few of their reasons and a suggestion or two of how to overcome the fear.
#1 the fear of being rejected. With so many sales gurus out there, we really believe that the buyer has to say NO six times before he will buy. Their great plan is for us to make so many calls that we have to average a couple of Yes’s a day. Can your ego take that? Mine, neither.
I prefer to put my name, my face, my expertise in front of the decision maker several times, without asking for the business. Each time her peers mention my name, each time she hears about my programs, each time I meet her at a chamber event, the door is opened slightly. I live by networking and word-of-mouth advertising. Buyers want to know that you can deliver…every time. Make your calls count.
#2 the fear of being interrupted. Nothing has impacted how we treat sales calls more than the telemarketing industry. The number one complaint I hear is that they want to read the entire script, with appropriate pauses for emphasis, without taking a breath. Interrupting them will only make them start over.
So don’t read to your prospects! You don’t get interrupted in a conversation. Get the buyer involved in the dialogue early. And don’t think those cleverly crafted questions that can only be answered YES count. Identify the real decision maker, the need, the timing, and the budget by sharing information. Give your prospect permission to add to the conversation. When you aren’t doing all the talking, you may find time to listen. Remember, though, listening is more than waiting for your turn to talk.
#3 the fear of seeming unorganized. Do you dial a number without having the file open on your computer or on your desk? Have you taken a moment to familiarize yourself with the account, the last purchase, or the last requested action? If there was a previous misunderstanding or error, have you verified the outcome and the customer’s satisfaction?
The person who makes the call controls the call. Don’t ask prospects to call you back. They may catch you at an inopportune time when your mind is on something else. You may not be able to fight back the urge to put them on hold while you locate the information you were calling about earlier. Or worse, you could confuse them with another buyer. Organize your thoughts and information before the contact is made.
#4 the fear of not knowing the answer. No one has to know everything about everything. Have you ever watched a computer genius? There is more button pushing and screen hopping and cable repositioning than one can bear to watch. Afterwards, I don’t have any idea what he did and I’m not sure that he does, either. But now it works.
You have permission to learn something new every day. How you stall for time is what separates the professionals from the fearfuls. “That’s a good question. Do you have a minute to hold while I verify that for you?” “I may need to research that. Are you able to hold or may I call you back?” “No one has ever asked me that before. Would you give me the opportunity to look into this on your behalf?” Prospects, customers, patients, and clients would much rather give you time to check on their questions than have you simply hazard a guess. Know It All – not at all.
#5 the fear of taking it personally. Do you think problems go away if you ignore them? Recently, I arrived to view the proofs of our family photographs. Barely through the door, the clerk greeted me with, “They’re not in, yet.” What do you mean they are not in? This is my appointed time. “Well, they were held up in Nashville yesterday and they’re not in, yet. It isn’t my fault.” When did you know the pictures were going to be late? “Yesterday, but I was still hoping they’d be here. Yours aren’t the only ones. Is there a number I can call when they get in?” Wouldn’t yesterday have been the appropriate time to make that call?
No one wants to be the bearer of bad news. However, letting the customer know what is happening and what you’re doing about it before it becomes an inconvenience earns you huge payback in loyalty. If you’ve heard my Radio Shack story, you remember that Mr. Shelby didn’t explain their return policy when I asked about it at the time of my purchase, because “You can’t tell everyone all the bad stuff. They won’t want to buy from you.” Take customer satisfaction personally and build customer loyalty in the process.
Prepare yourself. Sit up straight. Put a big smile on your face. Have your material in front of you. Take a moment. Take a breath. And make the call!
I’m eager to hear of your results.
“Men acquire a particular quality by constantly acting a particular way. You become just by performing just actions, temperate by performing temperate actions, brave by performing brave actions.” ~ Aristotle
If you hate networking, get a job. You will become what you do.
You have seen those people who walk into a room and greet the world. They come in talking and hush only after they drive away. They never have a problem finding someone with whom to converse. That is just not me! Maybe it is not you, either.
Basically a shy person, I have found that I function better at networking sessions when I have a sense of purpose. It is easier for me to talk to others when I have a reason for being there. That’s why I always look for a job.
Don’t you find it easier to stand with purpose than to wander aimlessly? So get a job. I can’t be bashful, if I have something to do. You don’t have to wait until someone asks you to do something. Just look around and find a need. Event coordinators love volunteers. They love knowing that their members and guests are being greeted. It’s a tremendous load off their shoulders to know that i’s are dotted and t’s are crossed. You are their new best friend!
Volunteer to be a greeter. You don’t have to know everyone because volunteering will give you a reason to be at the door. Don’t collect the money or pass out the agendas. Those purposes won’t give you time to say any more than “here’s your receipt” or “put your card in the bowl.”
I want to say “Hi, I’m Becky McCrary. I’m so glad you’re here. Be sure to register for the door prize. Is there anything I can help you with? Were you looking for anyone in particular?”
While I have their attention, they are already reading my name tag and wondering what is a Professional Speaker. It’s a great intro.
With a reason, I have a place. I can’t be uncomfortable, if I know my place. You don’t have to wander around the room, looking for someone to talk to. You have a place and it goes with the job you’ve chosen. It’s yours.
With a reason, I make progress toward my goal. I can’t watch the clock, if I’m accomplishing my goal. You notice how uncomfortable people are when they are constantly checking their watches. Yet, when they are busy and getting something done, the time seems to just fly! It’s the purpose that helps free you to make progress. It enhances your comfort zone.
When you are physically, emotionally, mentally present, you’ll take that job to help others. Perhaps you will
- guide and help make networking beneficial for others
- rearrange, refine and retool to be certain of an optimal performance
- introduce your peers and contacts to each another
- lead the way around obstacles, hindrances and pitfalls
- allow others to learn from your experiences
An offer of help can be the catalyst to a new professional relationship. Now that’s a reason to hurry to your next networking event!
How do you network “On Purpose?”
We have our assigned tasks. We want to tell others what we know. We make suggestions as to what they should do. We want their signature on the dotted line. And we just want to move the line or get people off the phone.
Unfortunately, people don’t always follow our lead. They have opinions. They are suspicious of the deal. They are in a hurry. They don’t want to appear to make quick decisions.
But you can help them make those decisions. Asking the right questions can help them arrive at the right answers. Whether you are in travel, healthcare, education, financial services, flooring, or any number of industries, great questions help your customer get to the great answer of doing business with you!
Here’s how it usually works….
Bob: I need to make a deposit.
Sarah: Ok. Anything ease I can do for you? We have great checking accounts, VISA cards and loans. Not so great investment rates, but we are insured.
Bob: Do you have boat loans?
Sarah: We do. Would you like to talk to a loan officer?
Bob: Not right now. I’ve gotta go.
Sarah: Well, when you’re ready, call us. Thanks!
Here’s how it should work….
Bob: I need to make a deposit.
Sarah: I’m happy to do that for you, Bob. How have you been?
Bob: Pretty good. It’s been a good summer.
Sarah: What was the best part of the summer for you?
Bob: My brother-in-law let me borrow his boat for week. I loved it!
Sarah: Would you like to have your own boat?
Bob: I dream about having my own boat.
Sarah: What kind do you want?
What color do you want?
Where would you go?
Who would go with you?
Get Bob talking about the boat of his dreams. He’s imagining how it will look, how it will feel, how it will smell. He’s thinking about who will enjoy this boat with him. He can see himself at the wheel. During all this, you are asking WWWWWH questions and then letting Bob talk. What happens next?
Sarah: When would you like to have that boat, Bob? What if it were next weekend?
Bob: I would LOVE that!
Sarah: Let me see if a loan officer is available to talk to you.
You don’t have to be a salesman. You simply have to be present – physically, emotionally and mentally. Focus on the customer in front of you – or on the phone with you. When your product or service can meet that identified need, offer it. Just not a moment too soon.
(c)2013 Becky McCrary, CSP Often called the Carol Burnett of Convention, the Energizer in High-Heeled Shoes, a Red-Head Amy Poehler and Southern Sass, Becky is an internationally recognized expert in how we treat each other. From Sales & Service, Leadership, Diversity, Inspiration and more, her wit & wisdom has inspired association and corporate audiences to be physically, emotionally and mentally present.
One little difference. You can outline your entire business plan with one little difference. You can predict the professional development of your entire staff with one little difference. You can identify the stress level of all involved with one little difference. You can identify staying power with one little difference…a preposition.
Remember third grade English? Parts of speech? A preposition is that smallest of words expressing a relationship between a noun, pronoun or noun phrase. In other words, the relationship between people.
What’s the relationship between you and your peers, you and your staff, you and your customers, you and your family? What is your preposition of choice? Do others work for you or with you?
Webster defines “for” as a representative of, on behalf of. Look at the characteristics of someone who works for you.
- prefers detailed, written instruction
- is great at repeating instructions (i.e. that’s our policy; Daddy said so)
- usually follows through on instruction; may need some prodding
- shows up
- knows job description and responsibilities
- job security is critical
- knows your way is the best way and seldom offers suggestions
“With” is used to indicate that two or more persons or things are together, near each other, in agreement, harmony, etc. Look at the characteristics of someone who works with you.
- sees the big picture
- shows up early
- takes ownership
- possesses a sound reasoning process (i.e. share an idea and let her run with it)
- excited about process and opportunities
- finds and researches ideas in articles, commercials and other marketing plans
- gets job done
- enjoys personal satisfaction with a good job
- identifies challenges
A manager’s preposition of choice is for. Managers need to control the process. After all, they’ve usually been around longer, attended more conferences, have heard the best practices, and know what works. Managers often supervise employees with little or no job training, make decisions and need others to implement them.
A leader’s preposition of choice is with. Leaders desire a team of thinkers. They speak in big picture concepts, expecting those on the team to have ideas on influence, impact and implementation. They are the least concerned with taking credit for new ideas or plans. Leaders want to share the vision and then get out of the way. They experience the workplace excitement as the vision takes form.
The skills that make a great manager will often inhibit one from being a great leader. Everyone doesn’t make that leap. And everyone shouldn’t. There are many occupations where a great manager is necessary for success.
With today’s emphasis on leadership, take a hard look at your preferred style. Look at your business plan, the professional development plan of your staff, the stress level that everyone works under, and your turnover.
What is your real preposition of choice?