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?
Things have changed. With your promotion or new hire, you are no longer “doing” the task. Now your focus is on “leading” others to do the task. But you really enjoyed doing it! I know. Now you’ll turn loose of it and inspire your team to take responsibility for it. And with the proper training and encouragement, they will see this as a building block for their own professional development. Then you will be able to assume additional tasks.
Managers focus on things. Leaders focus on people. As a supervisor, your job is now to focus on both.
Set the Tone: The attitude of the team begins with you! As a supervisor, you don’t have the luxury of bad moods. If you don’t feel that you can deliver 100% to your team, step away: breathe deeply, take a walk, get a drink of water, shake it off, scream in the closet if you need to. That is exactly what you would expect from your team, as they deliver 100% to your members, customers, patients, guests, and clients.
Make the Tough Calls: Everyone can’t perform every task at the same level. The tough call may sometimes mean retraining, reassignment or termination. You will hire for diversity in strengths, experiences and interests. You will push them gently into unfamiliar territory and expand their job knowledge. And you will hold them accountable for their successes and their failures. It’s tough, but you can do this.
Communicate: You probably inherited your staff. Someone else chose them and trained them. You may have even been one of them. But now, they are not your buddies. They are not your confidants. They are your team! Give continuous, specific and timely feedback. Solicit continuous feedback. Ask how they are doing. Ask how you are doing. Don’t wait for a mid-year review to discover a misunderstanding. And don’t EVER take someone else’s word for what another teammate is thinking. Ask. Ask. Ask.
Be a Great Delegator: If you attempt to complete every assignment yourself, you will fail. Spreading yourself too thin will make you physically ill and will make your team resentful. Train them. Train them. Train them, again. As their comfort level increases and you become more aware of their abilities, release the reins. Allow them to take responsibility for the task and ownership of the results.
As you move from performing to coaching, you will have a learning curve, too. Seek out someone whose leadership style you respect. Ask her to meet with you for twenty minutes. Have three questions or scenarios concerning team dynamics ready to discuss. Stop talking at twenty minutes, close your notebook and thank her profusely. Ask if she’d be agreeable to meeting with you, again. You will have someone to coach you through the settling in period. She will be honored to have the opportunity to help lead the next generation in your organization.
And don’t forget that I’m here for you. Call me. Email me. Send up flares. Let me know how I can help.
Becky McCrary, CSP is called the Carol Burnett of Conventions. She is fun, funny and relevant. She is a highly sought-after keynote speaker, corporate trainer, and facilitator who energizes and inspires association and corporate audiences. Her consistent excellence and expertise make her a favorite from Maine to Florida to California and even to the Caribbean.
Using personal experiences, side-splitting humor, and unimaginable insight, she guides audiences to a profound belief in their own passions, power and purpose. Participants consistently rave that her riveting stories are an inspiration to them.
There are four reasons you lose a customer.
- They no longer need products in your category.
- They are unhappy with your price.
- They are unhappy with your product.
- They are unhappy with the way they are treated.
Businesses usually tackle problems by addressing price, believing that it is enough to keep customers happy. But in fact, the major reason most customers are lost, according to the think tank the Database Marketing Institute, is really how they are treated.
What binds buyers to your company, the institute postulates, is the totality of the relationship. Price is a factor, but it is not the only one. Other elements include recognition, service, information, helpfulness, friendly employees, brand identity and product quality.
That makes Anger Management a pretty important tool for businesses. Certainly there are going to be difficult clients and challenging situations, but giving into anger instead of turning it around into a positive, is a surefire way to lose a client.
Certified Speaking Professional Becky McCrary is an internationally recognized expert on customer service and business communication. In this, the final part of the Unimaginable Service series, she addresses a problem each of us has had to deal with: losing our temper with a customer. And, more importantly, how to take volatile situations and turn them around – turning a confrontational customer into a client for life.
The essence of the Unimaginable Service series is understanding that outstanding service may be shared with one or two people, but bad experiences are often told to 20 people or more. Customers will talk about your service. The good news is you get to write the script.
In Part three you will learn:
- 7 ways to defuse anger
- How to turn difficult customers into partners
- What 10 mistakes you make that lead to stress
- 4 easy steps to take control, again
Want to catch up on the rest of the series? Parts 1 and 2 are available on-demand. Get information and sign up for all Becky’s on-demand and upcoming events.
Ready for the next step? Sign up for the webinar or visit Becky’s website for more information. For even more Becky, follow her on Twitter and Facebook!