Archive for July 2013

How Far Would You Go For a Customer?

July 17, 2013

There’s a story told of a middle-aged man and a teenage boy who checked into a hotel together while traveling. The staff noticed that both seemed quiet and somber and that the boy appeared pale. That evening, the two had dinner at the hotel restaurant. Again, they seemed unusually quiet, and the boy barely touched his food, before excusing himself and returning to his room.

After finishing his meal, the man asked to see the hotel manager in private. Concerned that he was dissatisfied with the service he had received, the manager obliged his request.

Once alone, the man explained that he was spending the night with his son, who was set to begin chemotherapy treatments at a nearby hospital the next day. Instead of waiting for his hair to fall out on its own, the son planned to shave his head that night, and the father was doing the same. He wanted the staff to be aware of their situation, so they wouldn’t be alarmed when the two showed up for breakfast with clean-shaven heads. The manager said he would let the staff know and that the man need not worry.

The next morning, the man and his son (now with shaved heads) came down for breakfast. As they walked into the restaurant, they looked around and saw the staff busy at work taking orders, clearing tables, and seating guests. But something was different than the night before. You see, while each staff member was going about their business just as they would on any day, several had taken it upon themselves to shave their own heads that morning, too.

This story (whether true or not) provides a good reminder for how each of us should treat the people we encounter throughout our day. Whether customers, coworkers, or strangers on the street, it’s easy sometimes to forget that the people we meet are just that — people — with individual challenges and struggles we may never know or understand. How we choose to interact with them can go a long way in determining how they will interact with us (and our companies) in the future.

So, while you may never shave your head for a customer like the staff members in our story did, going out of your way to treat the people around you with kindness, dignity, and respect is more than just good manners. It’s good business.

Why Sales Should Be Your #1 Priority

July 4, 2013

One of the keys to a successful business — and a fulfilled life in general — is to not only have a plan but to also have forward momentum pushing you in the direction you want to go. Many times, the problem in moving forward isn’t the goal but the struggle to generate the drive needed to accomplish what needs to get done.

When the momentum is lacking, it’s easy to become disheartened and slack off or abandon the goal altogether in favor of looking for a new magic bullet. In almost all cases, the missing ingredient is very close. Typically, that missing key involves taking massive action. Not just any action, but action that is focused on the fundamental steps needed to drive the company forward. More often than not, that action revolves around sales. After all, if there are no sales, there is no business.

“Nothing happens until a sale is made.”

Every business and industry has its own subtleties and nuances when it comes to sales, but there are core activities that apply to all.

What are these core activities?

Generating sales momentum is not as complicated or difficult as you might think, but you must have an effective plan for prospecting every single day. Begin by dedicating time on your calendar for prospecting and getting new clients. Nothing should interfere with this. Focusing on prospecting and sales is what creates forward momentum for the entire organization.

Sales should be the number one focus, whether you are a one-man show or a company with hundreds of employees. If sales activities aren’t the focus and the priority, they’ll be too easy to put off until tomorrow. You’ll always have fires to put out and other tasks to attend to. Making sales the number one priority for the whole organization creates the momentum to move the entire company forward.

If sales is not the number one priority in your company, try this approach. For the next 30 days, make sales your number one priority every day. Don’t stop selling even when you pick up new clients.

Create a dedicated time on your calendar every day for prospecting. Create and send direct mailers, make phone calls to reach out to prospects, attend a networking event, give a talk, send personalized emails, and visit top clients, asking for referrals. Seek momentum. It’s the wind for sailing the ship forward. Dedicated, laser-like focus on prospecting and selling activities creates that momentum.

If you perform these activities without fail for 30 days, you’ll be amazed at the positive energy you create. That activity and the results it brings will give you the boost and motivation to continue. Success and growth in business comes from focused sales momentum. Dedicate the next 30 days to making a permanent shift toward becoming a sales-focused company.