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April 24, 2013

Embracing Change

Filed under: Food for thought for friends,Leadership Skills,Sales — Alec @ 9:43 pm

Business, politics, and religion all have so much in common. Hard to believe right?

If you don’t have popular support (or a great majority of support) for your programs, you will probably have a battle on your hands. When the minority feels strongly enough about something, a call for change starts to happen. In the major wars of the past couple hundred years ie. Revolutionary, Civil, Spanish, WWI, Korea, Vietnam, and Iraq there was a small margin of approval—maybe not even a majority. Or take a look at the Japanese industrial revolution in which a minority of the population led to change. A few copied Juran and Deming’s ideals for Quality Management and now it is the world’s mantra. Religious Reformations are another example (for another day).

My point is that in our business, a few want to change and are hoping for improvement. Often a large number of people fight for the status quo. They like to stick to what they know. If you are the change agent, it is very helpful to have a coalition and get everyone involved. It can take some persuasion and it may not come easy. But just because no one follows at first does not mean it is wrong.

Change is not simple but as leaders you need to think about the opportunities for improvement. And maintain a very positive attitude! It’s easier for people to follow someone who believes that the change is GOOD, the change is RIGHT and the change will WORK. I am a student of the Pygmalion effect—if you believe, it will happen. Things seldom improve if you don’t change. In fact, if you don’t change, you risk a slide backwards into failure.

Great leaders want a majority to support them but to let’s be honest for a minute : leadership and decisions are not a popularity contest. But success is always popular. Embrace the Change:

[1] Support the initiatives

[2] Involve your people

[3] Listen to the obstacles

[4] Address the obstacles

[5] Make decisions based on data AND is in the best interest of your people and the customer

April 11, 2013

Needs and Wants

Filed under: Sales — Alec @ 3:40 pm

Successful sales is really all about giving your customer more than they paid. By going above and beyond expectations for a service or product you are providing, you will make them accomplish their goals sooner, easier, and better.

My sister Jennett gave me a pillow that says something like “I smile because you are my brother, I laugh because I know there is nothing I can do about it!” That is how I try to think about my customers. I smile when I think of them as my customer, and no matter what they do, I will like them and try to help them succeed.

Three Things to Remember:

[1] With your customers, you get what you earn and you get what you deserve. There may be a little bank of goodwill or grace from prior successes but you get what you put into it. Your customer is all about the future and how you can help them today and tomorrow.

[2] Sales is about giving your customer a gift. Sometimes they don’t see the value of the gift. Timing is everything. We must offer them the right gift at the right time, and make sure they see the value. Remind yourself that it is so much more fun to give than receive.

[3] If you truly comprehend what our customer needs and can really be of assistance, the customers will line up at your door.

April 3, 2013

Change Perceptions | Change Reality

Filed under: Food for thought for friends,Personal Philosophy,Sales — Alec @ 2:00 am

Many years ago, at a plant in Clarksville, Tennessee, Jim Fox used the phrase “perception is reality“. Jim was one of our best supervisors. Together we worked long hours with our leadership team to make sure that reality was that we cared about our employees and customers equally.

I was recently reading Doug and Polly White’s newsletter (check out their website dougandpolly.com). They discussed a quote by Doug’s first boss, “In business, only two things matter: reality and perception, and reality only matters to the degree it shapes perception.

How does this relate to sales? Your customer has a perception of you and your product.To them it is reality no matter what the facts are. If you want to change the customers reality, you must first change their perception.

According to dictionary.com perception is defined as: the act of faculty of perceiving or apprehending by means of the senses of the mind: cognitive; understanding, a unified awareness derived from sensory processes, intuitive recognition or appreciation, as of moral, psychological or aesthetic quality. That’s a mouthful.

But basically, if we want to change the customers reality, we must [1] Listen to their needs and [2] Link it to the perception we want them to see in our product. What or how can our product fit the customer’s need? We must make it so clear that they intuitively see the value and have an awareness of all the potential.

It seems too easy. This is so difficult because our perception is not the same as the customer’s perception. If we struggle to see how they perceive things, we can’t begin to understand customer’s objections. And even knowing that perception is reality is not enough; we must remember it and put it into action.

This food for thought is as much for my own self-improvement as it is for all you readers:
Shut up! Listen to the customer define their needs and their objections.

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