Monthly Archives: April 2013

Most Hear – Few Listen


A person who reports to you has a problem. They knock on your door to ask if you have a minute. They tell you about their situation and you know exactly what the solution is. Feeling really smart, you give them the answer, save the day and send them on their way. The next week they are back with the same type of problem expecting you to solve it for them.

Your biggest customer calls you and explains that your proposal is not exactly what he or she needed and that they have chosen another vendor. You were sure that you had the best product and price yet the competition has the order.

Your teenager looks at you as if you are from Mars, when you tell them that they cannot have a smart phone just because all of their friends do. You don’t understand why they do not get it. After all, you have explained your position several times.

“Listen Learn and Lead” John C Maxwell

To influence others we must be genuinely interested in people. Understanding their prospective can make all the difference. If our ears work we can all hear, yet effective listening is one of the rarest and most important skills. It is a learned behavior.

How do we make that connection? Make more sales? Have greater influence?

Look at the speakerNot your phone, computer or the TV. Give them your undivided attention. (Preaching to myself on this one) 

Listen more than you talkOverall, in a one on one conversation, attempt to listen 75% of time – speak 25% of time. If you are in a meeting of several people you should do even less talking. One definition of a bore is a person who is talking when you want him to listen. 

Be genuinely interested in their thoughts, opinion and experiences. – We each have our own map of the world. You weren’t with them every second of their life so learn all you can from everyone you meet.

Do not think about what to say while you are also trying to listen to the speaker. – I know you have a speedy brain and lots to do, but your brain can easily leave the speaker behind and you will miss critical points. Trust that you will know how to respond to the speaker when the speaker is done.

Listen for the central ideas, not for all the facts.Experienced listeners develop a sense for noticing the most important themes and ideas from their employees. If you notice the major ideas, then often the facts “come along” with those ideas. 

Let the speaker finish. Do not interrupt – When they are done pause and then respond.

Ask questions, reflect back and ask if you are hearing accurately. – Try this. “So help me understand” or “If I hear you correctly your biggest concern is….”

Regularly share indications that you are listening to them. Those indications can be, for example, nodding your head, saying, “Yes” to short points that you agree with.

Be totally present in the moment. –  Let go of your own agendas and intentions to influence, control, or direct.

 “One friend, one person who is truly understanding, who takes the trouble to listen to us as we consider a problem, can change our whole outlook on the world.”

— Dr. E. H. Mayo

 When you make a clear, conscious choice to listen without judgment, to fully learn and understand what others have to communicate, you will inspire greater trust and enjoy greater mutual respect.  Listening with your heart as well as your head and your ears will give you the right to lead and have true influence over others.

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Boston Strong


This week I simply want to pay tribute to all of those affected by the events in Boston this week.

At this point, we do not know or understand the motives of the people who have committed this very cowardly act, but whatever that motive is, as long as we know that our way of life, is more important than the things we fear, we will face things like this with courage and heroism.

 “Courage is not the absence of fear, but rather the judgment that something else is more important than fear.”  Ambrose Redmoon


Spend this weekend loving and appreciating your family, and friends. Enjoy your life and make a difference for someone else, because that is more important than the things we fear.

Please add your thoughts and comments below.

I appreciate you,



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Rock Star Customers

English: Keith Richards, live in Hannover

English: Keith Richards, live in Hannover (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

No, I am not talking about selling insurance to Mick Jagger and Keith Richards (there might be some underwriting issues there) or selling Rogaine to LL Cool J.

I am talking about the clients who you were meant to serve. The ones who you enjoy serving and that do the most business with you.

The Pareto Principle probably applies to your customers. The top 20 percent of your customers contribute 80 percent of sales. These are usually the people who you are meant to serve.

If you have a core group of regular customers that make up a high percentage of your annual revenue and you enjoy working with, then you have to find ways to delight them, keep them coming back (and bringing their “rock star” friends.)

 Here are some ideas for keeping you 20% customers coming back and bringing more like them.

  • Treat your customers or clients as honored guest.  When guests visit your home, you greet them right away. You say “hello” or “Hi there” And you don’t make them wait at your door. Even worse opened the door and just stared at them. Yet we have all walked into a store where you were totally ignored.
  • Under-promise, over deliver.  I worked with a woman once who would say, “Now don’t be selling no rose gardens” You should always be looking for ways to add more value to your products and services without increasing the cost. Give your customers more than they expect.
  • Don’t be policy wise and customer foolish. Take a long-term view of your business. When you are dealing with customer service issues, remember that research shows every upset customer will tell eleven other people about their experience with your business and those eleven will tell five more people. A lost customer can mean hundreds, even thousands of dollars in future sales. Policies are there for a reason, but keeping a customer might be worth a lot more than saving a few dollars.
  • Keep in Touch. Communicate regularly with your current customers. Staying in touch with your current customers is one of the best ways to encourage them to keep coming back to your business. Provide them with educational and informative information. Add value to their lives and position you as an expert at solving their problems. Occasionally send them information about upcoming sales, new products or promotions.
  • Make them feel important. We all love it when people in our lives make us feel important. Your customers are no different. They want to feel like their business is valued and appreciated. Sincerely listening to their needs and desires can help you achieve this. Connect with your customers as people, not just a means to build profits.

These are just a few ideas on keeping your best customers.  What are your ways to keep them coming back?

Contact me to find out more about how I can work with you and your team to develop a culture of excellent service.

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Spring is the Time for Every Professional and Beginner to Review the Fundamentals

The-Harder-You-Work-the-Luckier-You-GetBaseball season opened this week, but before that Major League baseball players headed off to spring training to work on fundamentals and prepare for the new season.

The boys of summer have been playing the game since they were 6 years old, yet it is still important to work on fundamentals and technique. The same dedication should be applied leadership and customer service.

The Greatest play in baseball history

When dealing with customers/employees/peers, always remember the fundamentals. Polite tone, showing genuine empathy, taking ownership of their issues and situation are the basics of human interaction. Most of all reassure your customers/employees/peers that you are willing, able and want to take care of them. I think that is what is lacking in most customer’s minds these days is the lack of feeling appreciated.

Show empathy with and appreciation for the customers/employees/peers

  • I understand how frustrating that can be…
  • I know how you feel…
  • I truly understand your concern…(and want to help)

Reassure the customers/employees/peers that you can handle their request

  • I will be glad to resolve this issue.
  • Let’s work together to see how this can be resolved.
  • I’d be more than happy to look at this for you.

Avoid saying

  • There is nothing I can do.
  • No (Without telling what can be done.)
Contact me to find out more about how I can work with you and your team to develop a culture of excellent service.

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