Thursday, December 31, 2009

What's in YOUR Dream Book?

When was the last time that you updated your dream book? If your answer is, “I don’t know” or “What is a dream book?” you have found another missing piece to your Success Puzzle.

A dream book is a graphic, numerical and descriptive collection of your dreams. It is a clear, constant reminder to you and others of WHY you are working so hard… WHY you are making sacrifices… WHY you must overcome everything that stands between you and Success. People who think that dream books are unimportant are the same people who struggle with consistently giving maximum effort… and are the same people who do not have the discipline to make the short-term sacrifices to achieve the long-term rewards.

Create or update YOUR dream book with pictures and descriptions of your dreams & desires. Look at it every day. Share it with every person in your Life.

Next, witness the proof that dreams DO come true.

Spam Is In The Eye Of The Beholder

In today’s world of easy ‘friends’ and ‘communication’, it is impossible to make personal, direct contact with everyone. Therefore, well-intentioned messages like, “Merry Christmas, everyone!” or “Happy New Year to all!” now come down upon us like a torrential rain. These generic messages are today’s equivalent of “To Whom It May Concern” or “Attention: Current Resident”

Up until this year, I have painstakingly customized almost every message & greeting sent out. Yes, I still did a lot of copy & pasting, but there was at least the person’s name (and usually a personal sentence or two) included. As my network of contacts grows exponentially, that level of personalization is no longer possible. However, I do not use that as an excuse to cover everyone with one simple click.

Consider this before the next time you hit "Send to All": Don’t at least some of the people in your life (Family, Friends, Co-workers, Clients...) deserve a phone call… or a personal e-mail, message or text?

No one will ever treat YOU special… if you treat everyone the same!

p.s. Happy Birthday to everyone who will have a birthday in 2010! (How did that make you feel?)

Thursday, December 24, 2009

The #1 Conversation Killer in Retail

I was asked the single worst question in all of retail multiple times today. Before I share my story, let me set the stage… Today is Christmas Eve, and I have just completed my last round of holiday shopping. It’s been over 5 years since I left the retail industry… but 20 years of front-line retail management experience still flows thru my veins.

“Do you need any help?” That was the first question asked of me at each of my shopping stops today. Not “Happy Holidays!”… not “WELCOME, how can I help find your perfect gift?”… just the typical “Do you need any help?”

What a waste! It amazes me that organizations and managers still allow variations of that #1 Conversation Killer to be used in their stores 99% of the time. When you are asked that question, what do you answer? Most people say, “No, I’m just looking”… The interaction is finished… Game over! Retail associates should be required to treat their customers like friends or family… having conversations and helping them the best way possible. As the self-service & online retail tidal waves continue to build, time is running out for businesses to learn how to create true relationships with their customers.

Hint: The answer is NOT to kill conversations before they even start.

What's Your Passion Level?

You can immediately tell if someone is passionate about what they do. There is a perceptible Bounce in their step… Flash in their eyes… and Excitement in their voice.

Passion counts! It determines how you think & behave… and definitely how you’re perceived. People who show passion seem more confident, more intelligent and more happy… and most people prefer to interact and do business with them.

On a scale of 1 to 10, what's your passion level?

Monday, December 21, 2009

Are You Building or Destroying Your Brand?

You ARE your brand… You ARE that impression or feeling that people immediately get when they think about, hear or see you. Branding deals in the world of absolutes.

Everything that you do either builds up your Brand… or destroys your Brand.

There is no middle ground. Every human interaction, whether it is face-to-face… on the phone… or thru the countless forms of media and technology sends out a message regarding who you are. The blessing and the curse of technology is that more of what we do and say are ‘out there’ FOREVER… creating a composite of our Brand.

People no longer ask YOU to describe you. They find out for themselves by looking you up on Google… or by checking out your photos on facebook. Nothing is off-the-record... Therefore, you no longer have the luxury of doing something great over here... and doing something stupid over there. Before you say, do or post something, ask yourself this simple question: "Am I building or destroying my brand?"

Monday, December 14, 2009

Digital Footprint

Footprints are as reliable at determining your identity as DNA. They match YOU with traces that you left behind. They literally determine who you are. Digital Footprints are exactly the same. When people want to learn more about you, they don’t ask YOU any more… They easily gather the answers for themselves by looking you up online. What type of comprehensive Brand are you actively creating online so that people correctly understand who you are?

Your blog (you do have a blog, right?)… GooglefacebookLinkedInYouTubeTwitterFlickr… (to name just a few) should be representing & promoting you 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. Your official company website (the thing that you probably spent the most time and money creating) is only one miniscule piece of your online brand… something that many people either completely ignore… or don’t completely trust.

Having little or no Digital Footprint (other than your ‘official’ company site) is the same as being invisible. How is that working for you?

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Handling Objections - Part 1

Do you allow objections to stand in your way of helping customers? Most professionals do... even those who do almost everything right. They find prospects, initiate contact, build relationships, understand needs, present solutions and ask for commitment. And then, when the customer responds, they think they hear the word “No!” and run away in search of another prospect… to start the whole process all over again. What a waste!

There is a BIG difference between "No!" and:

  • “I’m too busy”
  • “That’s too expensive”
  • “I’m already doing that”
  • “Let me think about it”
  • “I’m happy with my current provider”
  • “Let me ask…”
  • “I don’t trust you” (unspoken)
  • “I don’t know who you are” (unspoken)

These are simply cries for help and more information... Always remember these two important things about Handling Objections:

  1. People rarely say, “No!” to your requests. They give you some type of excuse why they are hesitant to proceed.
  2. Everyone hates to change (even if it means doing something in their best interest), so don’t be surprised by objections… embrace them!
Would you be in a better position to handle objections if you spent 60 seconds before each interaction reviewing and preparing for them? Do you do that every time now?

What if you did?

Friday, December 4, 2009


People are afraid to dream. That’s the punch line of today’s message. People prove this sad reality countless times every day… thru their words, thoughts and actions.

“Have a good day”… is what millions of people say to each other. It sounds polite and perfectly innocent, but it strikes at the core of the problem. When given the chance to wish something for somebody (including for themself), the best that most people choose to wish for… is good. What a waste!

Being a consultant, coach and mentor to individuals & organizations, I ask a lot of questions about goals, and it amazes me how low most people set their sights. If someone asks me to help create a plan to achieve “Ultimate Success”, I can do that. If someone asks me to help create a plan to achieve a pitiful goal, I can do that too. The catch is that they will be different plans.

Wishes & Dreams should NEVER be wasted.

If you’re going to dream… DREAM BIG!

Have an Excellent day!

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

"Buy Now... or Get Out!"

I had an unfortunate customer experience at my favorite bookstore (Barnes & Noble) today. It illustrates The Good, The Bad & The Ugly about customer service in today’s retail world.

First things first, I am a very loyal B&N customer. I have been a paying member for over 3 years, and I spend well above the average amount on books for myself, family, friends and colleagues every year. I love to ‘hang out’ at my local store… working… reading… and buying. The one thing that I don’t do is drink $4 coffee or buy $3 brownies. That’s why today’s store visit was disrupted by a smiling rep telling me that I needed to buy something or move out of the seated area.

I quietly moved to another part of the store, but my favorite bookstore was not so special any more. After a polite phone conversation with the district manager, I continued to do my work at a less desirable location (without electricity). If the department manager had known how much annual business I represented, maybe he would have come over to thank me for being a loyal customer… instead of instruct his subordinate to kick me out. Appreciate every customer as if they are a paying customer.

The associate who was ordered to kick me out felt so bad that she came by later to apologize (and sneak me a warm brownie). Barnes & Noble is still my favorite bookstore.