Measure twice and cut once…but by all means cut!

Measuring is the easy part today.

How many times has someone visited your website?   You can find that easily, along with what time they visited, their geographic location, and what key words are performing best.

Which pages did they visit?  You can measure that and how long they were there.

How did they find your information, did they forward it, did they like you?  All quantifiable.

Who are your top performing employees?  Who are your most profitable clients?  What service or product gives you the best ROI?  It’s just a couple of clicks away.  If it can be imagined, it can be measured – relatively easily.   Hard, quantitative data can be provided and presented that leaves no ambiguity.

But the hard part has not changed:  What are you going to do about it?


Our “Word” is Earned – Good or Bad

“I’ll take care of that.”

At the moment you utter those words, those to whom you have made your promise will think one of two things:

  1. No he won’t.  He never gets anything done on time, and I need to plan accordingly.
  2. That’s a huge relief.  He will get it done, and he will get it done right.

Our “word” is known to our colleagues and clients, perhaps better than it is known to us.

So, is your word your bond, or is your word empty?

Your word is your reputation – guard it… jealously.


Shady Deal

After experiencing a product defect with a (not cheap) pair of sunglasses and being requested to complete a form and send the product back to them (at my expense) – I sent them the following:

My Actual Email: The finish on my T-F790 glasses is coming off and leaving black marks on my face. I understand I am supposed to fill out a form, ship them to you (my expense) and pay for you to ship a new pair back – really?

I am taking time out of my day to tell you about a quality issue you are experiencing with one of your products – isn’t this a favor to you? Won’t this help you (if you correct the problem) have a higher quality product and in turn happy clients, better profits, etc…

I’m happy to send you a picture of the problem, but you might want to reconsider your policy of putting your clients through such a hassle, when all we want is to help you and continue to advertise your product every time we wear your glasses.

Their Actual Response: (Space left blank intentionally)

When we talk about how exceptional our product or service is we have at least three opportunities to prove it.

The first is the client experience with the product or service (i.e., they make a purchase). The second is the performance of the product or service (i.e., is it as good as advertised?). The third is when we have an opportunity to back up our product or service (i.e., are we willing to really back up our promise?).

This company failed on all counts.

Pucker up Piggy

We’ve had a lot of complaints about customer service, so we are changing your department name from the order department to the customer service department.

Do we have new duties and responsibilities? Do we have new initiatives and objectives? Will we now be empowered to solve customer problems and complaints?

No. We’re just changing the name – it sounds more “servicy.”

When there are problems with an organization, when you are losing customers and profits are shrinking, you need a new plan not a new placard.  Of course, this means the senior leadership team needs to spend some time looking in the mirror and doing something about the reflection, and that just doesn’t make anyone feel good.

So we’ll put lipstick on a pig and hope no one notices, at least for awhile.

Deal with the brutal reality and make real progress, or ignore it and deal with an even more brutal reality later.


Passion and Integrity

Are you passionate about the sale or the product?  Is your eye on the close or the customer?

I’ve attended plenty of sales classes and I get it; find the pain…close the deal.  And truthfully, I intensely dislike lingering opportunities.  So, yes close the deal with a yes or no!

My point is – believe in what you are selling…passionately.  The sales happen when that passion comes through; your fervent belief helps convert the prospect into a believer and eventually a buyer.  If the product or service isn’t a match – you lose credibility when you start using “sales techniques” to close regardless of your ability to genuinely help them.

Sell with passion.  Sell with integrity…and always remember everyone is in sales.

Deal With It

The only thing worse than dealing with those thorny, difficult, sometimes personal, emotional, complicated issues that require difficult decisions is…not dealing with those thorny, difficult, sometimes personal, emotional, complicated issues and leaving them to feaster with no decision.

Deal with it; don’t ignore it.

Shhhhhh – Listen

There are certain people that you really look forward to speaking with – and maybe you never considered it before, but it may be that the reason you look forward to speaking with them, is simply because they are excellent listeners.

“Listeners” are rare, but a true joy with which to converse

  • They listen and ask questions
  • They don’t interrupt you
  • They give you their undivided attention
  • They show genuine interest in what you are saying
  • They don’t try to “one up” your story
  • Their attention isn’t dictated by your position in life
  • They are genuine and humble

And what is one of the hallmarks of the best sales people?  Yep, listening…and whatever your “called” profession might be– sales, management, product or service, public or private sector, blue or white collar, profit or non-profit – you are selling!

So are you listening?



Don’t Tickle My Ears

Tickle my ears with valid sounding excuses about why one of our best clients decided to leave us in favor of a competitor.

Tickle my ears and rationalize why the rising star employee for which we had great hope, decided to give up on our company and leave for other opportunities.

Tickle my ears and tell me its okay that we are just surviving, after all everyone is just getting by these days.

Tickle my ears and tell me what I want to hear, tell me words of comfort and console me because if you told me the truth, I would have to face the brutal reality.  And that’s just not very pleasant.

If what you have been doing has not worked – then making excuses or ignoring the reality robs you of the opportunity to learn.  The value in experiencing difficult times is not just enduring it; the value comes from learning and making changes based on your experience.

Don’t tickle my ears, tell me truth – I truly want life more abundantly!

Lucky, right?

How is it that their business is doing so good, don’t they know this economy stinks?!

Maybe they…

  • Have a plan – and they had the audacity to implement their plan
  • Insisted on getting in front of their clients face-to-face routinely – instead of hiding behind emails
  • Are not afraid to try new ideas – and delved into social media even though they had no idea…
  • Are not afraid to face their fears – and they accepted that public speaking engagement
  • Asked older associates to share their wisdom… and asked younger associates to be part of the team

Maybe they refused to give up, give in, or hold a pity party and are determined to make a way.

Or maybe they’re just lucky.

Choose Your Battles

Choose your battles

As a young lad of 16-years, with long hair and a loud car – I was a natural target for the police officer.  Driving by, minding my own business and breaking no laws, the State Police Trooper nonetheless pulled me over.  After going through my license, registration, and finding no violations he said, “your mufflers are too loud-replace them!”  To which I responded, “They are legal, cherry bomb mufflers, I just put them on my car.”  He paused for a moment and said, “I said they are too loud and replace them!” “Yes sir, I’ll take care of that right away,” was my Eddie Haskell response.

This was a silly argument for me to engage and it could have only caused me problems.  This officer pulled me over and come hell or high water, he was going to come up with something with which he could slap my hands.  Why argue with him?  What did I have to gain? There are arguments or disagreements that don’t amount to a hill of beans, yet we pursue them as if our lives depended on them.  When pride gets in the way it can ultimately end up sabotaging the harmony of the office, the projects on which you are working, and your relationships with your clients.

For example, on a few occasions I have shown up for an appointment with a client or a prospect only to find that they were not there.  When I follow up with them, I typically will say, “I must have written the wrong time in my planner.”

Now, I can honestly say that maybe once in my many years in meeting with clients has it ever been my fault.  But do I want to get in to an argument over this?  Of course not, I’ll take the heat and reschedule.  Ultimately, the purpose of this is to establish or further the relationship.  Usually, the client is very apologetic and very accommodating in rescheduling the meeting because they typically know that they dropped the ball even if they choose to defer the blame my way.

The same principle applies in the office.  Why cause a big argument over small issues that don’t affect either the quality or timeliness of the product?  A pretty good litmus test is this: Are you standing up for the integrity of your work product or are you trying to show someone how right you are and how wrong they are?

I never did replace those mufflers; in fact, they were on the car when I sold it a few years later.  I was right and the officer was wrong, but to argue the point would have been foolish and would not help me achieve my goal, which was to get out of there without a ticket – keep your goal in mind before you engage in a verbal battle.