Leadership with a Conscience – Customer Service http://www.perdidomagazine.com/taxonomy/term/6 en The Art of Influence Without Manipulation http://www.perdidomagazine.com/articles/art-influence-without-manipulation <div class="field field-name-field-image field-type-image field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even" rel="og:image rdfs:seeAlso" resource="http://www.perdidomagazine.com/sites/default/files/styles/featured-article-large-square/public/field/image/how-change-minds.jpg"><img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://www.perdidomagazine.com/sites/default/files/styles/featured-article-large-square/public/field/image/how-change-minds.jpg" alt="" /></div></div></div><div class="field field-name-body field-type-text-with-summary field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even" property="content:encoded"><p> </p> <p>It’s Tuesday morning, and Dan is running a little late for his annual physical. He’s been seeing his doctor on a yearly basis for over a decade. As he puts the key in the ignition, he smiles and thinks, “I know how this is going to go.”</p> <p>Sitting in the examining room waiting for his doctor gives Dan a little time to reflect on the year since his last visit. He promised to take off some weight. Instead he has put on a few pounds. He promised to exercise more. He has been exercising less. Business is tough, and who has time to exercise? Besides, he’s exhausted by the time he gets home from work.</p> <p>When Dan’s doctor finally does appear, the appointment, and the lecture that go with it, don’t disappoint. “Dan, you need to make certain lifestyle changes!” Dan nods and promises he will, but deep down both men know that no changes will take place. They are both wrong.</p> <p>Two months later it starts with a shortness of breath, and some pressure in Dan’s chest, which goes away as fast as it started. Then the shortness of breath and pressure recur, escalating rapidly to discomfort in one of his arms, and nausea. His wife rushes him to the hospital where Dan’s life is saved.</p> <p>Of course, the double bypass he must endure is more brutal than he ever could have imagined. The missed work, the rehab, and the financial issues with an operation like this are also part of Dan’s story. Today, my friend Dan is doing well. Not surprisingly, he’s finally taken the weight off, and he has developed a steady and disciplined exercise routine.</p> <p>This kind of frank and harsh scenario plays itself out over and over again, every day of the week, every week of the year, and every year of a lifetime. Sometimes it’s a different vice, or no vice at all. It can be as simple as a poor study habit, or as complicated as an emotional scar stemming from a dysfunctional childhood. The players change, and certain elements of the plotline change, but the results are the same. And there’s often a sense that there’s nothing we can do about it. But I believe we <em>can </em>do something about it, and I want to show you exactly how.</p> <p>In the early nineties when I was still with Xerox, my job was to work with outside clients who wanted to learn how to persuade the “Xerox way.” I saw all kinds of clients you would not necessarily connect to selling, who had no difficulty connecting to the message of changing minds. However, a favorite client was one of the nation’s largest churches. I was hearing the same story with a different client: “We want to help people find their way. Unfortunately, those who really need us don’t want our help.” (You probably know the rest of the story.) “It seems that those who do want our help and are seeking us out always seem to be coming as a result of a recent tragedy in their lives.”</p> <p>What a coincidence. Or is it? The church in question became one of my best clients. Why? Because in less than five minutes I was able to convince the ministry that to save people, they had to stop preaching, and instead learn how to influence behavior and give the plotlines they were describing a good, old-fashioned <em>push</em>. When I formally taught them how to persuade, they succeeded, and are now one of the largest churches in the country.</p> <p>Now notice, I didn’t say “pitch,” I said “push.” So many people get squeamish when they hear the word “push.” It sounds like you are shoving people toward a solution they cannot seem to find on their own. Guilty as charged; that’s exactly what I’m proposing. Boiled down, we are often faced with only two choices: Either <em>pitch </em>a solution to someone, or <em>push </em>someone toward it. The focus of this book is a defense of the latter, because when it comes to changing minds, I’m no fan of the pitch.</p> <p><strong>It’s Not a “Pitch,” It’s a “Push”</strong></p> <p>I received an email from a good friend who asked me what I thought of the word “pitch.” She was relating it to a salesperson she worked with who had an uncanny way of using the word to describe his daily sales activities, reveling in it every time. Never shy, I presented my opinion in three words: “I hate it.” I can hear my mother now: “Hate is such a strong word.” So, out of respect for my mother, let me put it this way: “I’m offended by it.”</p> <p>Let’s do a little test. What is the first thing that comes to your mind when you hear the word “pitch”? Something tells me your first thought is not “ask questions” or “listen.”</p> <p>Maybe I’m too emotional here, so let’s consult <em>Webster’s</em>, which defines “pitch” as a high-pressure sales talk. Imagine setting up a meeting with a client, or phoning a friend to say, “For the record, I intend to have a high-pressure sales talk with you.” Sounds like a surefire approach to getting the click of a hang-up in your ear.</p> <p>I suppose you could just surprise your friend with your pitch, but I think you get the point here. If this is something we have no intention of doing, and it’s offensive to anyone you speak with, why is this word still even in use?</p> <p>The irony here is that true influence in its purest form could not be further from the concept of a pitch. In fact, it’s the complete opposite. Instead of talking, it involves listening. Instead of hammering on a one-idea-fits-all concept, it involves shaping the solution to fit another person’s specific needs. Instead of obsessing on a solution, it involves studying another person’s potential problems.</p> <p>As a parent, spouse, manager, or friend, our part of the plotline is always the same. We <em>want </em>to influence behavior, and we <em>want </em>to help, but we just don’t know how. It’s a fascinating paradox because we know what the solution is! It’s so clear to us! We often rehearse what we need to say. Once we say it, we are hurt, if not shocked, that our well-rehearsed words seem to have no effect on the person we are trying to help. The reason for this is that most of us don’t know how to give those we are trying to help the <em>push </em>they so desperately need. We don’t know how to change minds.</p> <p>Is it because we don’t believe we have the right to do so, ethically? There is a moral line between influence and manipulation, but before we discuss it, let me repeat, you must believe that “influence” is not a bad word. It all begins with believing.</p> <p><em>There can be no substitutes, no do-overs, no thinking about it. You </em>must <em>believe in your solution.</em></p> <p>Why do I tell you this? Because, before we can start our journey to influence, we must create a foundation from which to begin. That foundation is based on belief.</p> <p>Ask yourself this simple question: “Do I believe, without a shadow of a doubt, in what I am prepared to influence another person to do?”</p> <p>Sound corny? I hope not, because it’s one of the most important questions you can ever ask yourself. I’m about to take you on a journey that will unlock doors that have been previously closed to you. My commitment to you is not only to teach you to influence others, but to give you tools that will be repeatable and predictable. But there’s a catch. You must <em>believe </em>in what you are influencing others to do.</p> <p><strong>A Crisis in Believing</strong></p> <p>We need to believe. We need to believe that the act of influence is not a skill that should be ridiculed or questioned. It should be inspected, respected, and, dare I say it, admired. But it starts with believing. Believing there is a desperate need for people who can save us from our inability to question ourselves. Yes, there are scenarios begging for these skills.</p> <p>There is a murky line between the art of influence and the act of manipulation. When you see the scenarios that demand influence, and the line that exists between that and manipulation, you will no longer fear the act of influence. You will believe.</p> <p>(To continue reading more of Rob Jolles' book, see the article titled "Committing to Change" in the article archives.)</p> <p> </p> <p><strong>Rob Jolles </strong>draws on more than 30 years of experience in sales and management as he teaches audiences worldwide how to change minds. He is also author of <strong>Customer-Centered Selling </strong>and <strong>How to Run Seminars &amp; Workshops</strong>. Rob lives in Great Falls, Virginia.</p> <p> </p> <p>Excerpted with permission from <em>How to Change Minds: The Art of Influence Without Manipulation</em> by Rob Jolles (c) 2013 Rob Jolles (Berrett-Koehler Publishers, <a href="http://www.bkconnection.com">www.bkconnection.com</a>). </p> </div></div></div><div class="field field-name-field-tags field-type-taxonomy-term-reference field-label-above clearfix"><h3 class="field-label">Tags: </h3><ul class="links"><li class="taxonomy-term-reference-0" rel="dc:subject"><a href="/tags/influence" typeof="skos:Concept" property="rdfs:label skos:prefLabel">influence</a></li><li class="taxonomy-term-reference-1" rel="dc:subject"><a href="/tags/personal-development" typeof="skos:Concept" property="rdfs:label skos:prefLabel">personal development</a></li><li class="taxonomy-term-reference-2" rel="dc:subject"><a href="/tags/leadership-skills" typeof="skos:Concept" property="rdfs:label skos:prefLabel">leadership skills</a></li><li class="taxonomy-term-reference-3" rel="dc:subject"><a href="/tags/customer-service" typeof="skos:Concept" property="rdfs:label skos:prefLabel">customer service</a></li><li class="taxonomy-term-reference-4" rel="dc:subject"><a href="/tags/persuasion" typeof="skos:Concept" property="rdfs:label skos:prefLabel">persuasion</a></li></ul></div><div class="field field-name-field-article-categories field-type-taxonomy-term-reference field-label-above clearfix"><h3 class="field-label">Article Category: </h3><ul class="links"><li class="taxonomy-term-reference-0"><a href="/taxonomy/term/1" typeof="skos:Concept" property="rdfs:label skos:prefLabel">Personal Development</a></li><li class="taxonomy-term-reference-1"><a href="/taxonomy/term/4" typeof="skos:Concept" property="rdfs:label skos:prefLabel">Leadership Skills</a></li><li class="taxonomy-term-reference-2"><a href="/taxonomy/term/6" typeof="skos:Concept" property="rdfs:label skos:prefLabel">Customer Service</a></li></ul></div> Mon, 14 Apr 2014 17:54:49 +0000 Mary Rundell-Holmes 298 at http://www.perdidomagazine.com http://www.perdidomagazine.com/articles/art-influence-without-manipulation#comments Committing to Change http://www.perdidomagazine.com/articles/committing-change <div class="field field-name-field-image field-type-image field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even" rel="og:image rdfs:seeAlso" resource="http://www.perdidomagazine.com/sites/default/files/styles/featured-article-large-square/public/field/image/how-change-minds_0.jpg"><img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://www.perdidomagazine.com/sites/default/files/styles/featured-article-large-square/public/field/image/how-change-minds_0.jpg" alt="" /></div></div></div><div class="field field-name-body field-type-text-with-summary field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even" property="content:encoded"><p> </p> <p>It all begins with trust. Nothing else really matters, nor will any other tactics that are taught really matter, if there isn’t trust. Can the art of creating trust be learned? Yes. Is there a process that can be defined for creating trust? Yes. You want to create trust? Ask questions, and then listen.</p> <p><strong><em>My Father-in-Law</em></strong></p> <p><em>I’ll never forget the first time I met my future wife Ronni’s father. I was understandably nervous, but Ronni kept insisting, “You’ll like him. Everyone likes him.” Everyone likes him? Perhaps, but this did little to ease my apprehension.</em></p> <p><em>Then came the big meeting. He warmly shook my hand, and we began to speak. To my surprise, it was one of the easiest conversations I had ever had with a person I had never met. I looked up at the clock and couldn’t believe we had been speaking, freely and effortlessly, for over thirty minutes. I was elated, and told Ronni, “Boy, you weren’t kidding, I really like him! He’s so easy to talk with!” She nodded her head and smiled.</em></p> <p><em>A few weeks later, I met Ronni’s father again, and once again was astonished at how easily the conversation seemed to flow. I could spend all day talking to this man! Once again I told Ronni, “I love talking to your dad!” This time I looked a little more carefully at her reaction and saw her slightly roll her eyes when I reacted the way I did. When I questioned her about her reaction she smiled and said, “I know you like my dad; everyone likes my dad. Do you know why you like my dad so much? Because he never speaks. He asks questions, and he listens to the answers.”</em></p> <p><em>That was the first time it dawned on me that throughout our conversations, these conversations I enjoyed so much, he never told me a thing about himself. He dialed his questions into me. Not only did these questions make me like him, they made me trust him.</em></p> <p align="center">✸ ✸ ✸</p> <p><span><em>The more the people you are communicating with talk, the more they like the person they are talking to. </em></span></p> <p>Think about the last time you were led to believe in a solution because you felt comfortable with the person you were communicating with. Did he or she earn this level of trust by bowling you over with knowledge, or was it by asking questions and listening?</p> <p><strong>Is It Mean or Is It Merciful?</strong></p> <p>There’s no sugarcoating it: The most challenging part of influencing is asking the more difficult questions. These are the questions that are sometimes referred to as “pain” questions. In the end, success or failure often comes down to one thing: Can you create pain without creating conflict?</p> <p>I received an email from a former client I deeply respect. She wrote that she had just asked some of those “pain” questions to a client, successfully. The process of forcing her client to look at the most difficult aspects of his resistance to change, however, made her “feel a little mean.”</p> <p>Those four words made me stop what I was doing, take a deep breath, and swallow hard. At that moment, I had to accept the fact that I had failed my client. When you force someone to answer a difficult question—a question that makes another person feel the pain of not taking action, you are not being aggressive. You are, in fact, being empathetic.</p> <p>I’ll go a step further. I firmly believe it’s one of the most sincere acts of kindness you can offer another human being. We’ve all seen people who are struggling at home or at work, and we want to help them. Anyone can come to the rescue with his or her wonderful ideas that dictate what the other person should do. It’s a comfortable conversation, but it never creates change. It’s the tougher road, but ultimately, the one that gets you to your destination.</p> <p>If you can cross this bridge, and believe, then in the end you’ll get to do what so many cannot: You’ll <em>save </em>things. You get to save both people and businesses, because the path you took required discipline and courage. The results you initiated changed another person’s life. You were the one who helped someone move past his or her fear of change, and into the future. Doing something like that is never mean. It’s quite the contrary. It’s merciful, and it is something to be profoundly proud of.</p> <p><strong>Encouraging Commitment to Change</strong></p> <p>So here we are–after methodically creating trust, we earned the right to enter into a conversation–to a guarded area many don’t allow us to enter. Once allowed in, we not only asked questions so as to identify this problem, we carefully, and empathetically, dug deeper. As a result, we allowed those who were feeling this pain to understand the true ramifications of their actions, and thus we created urgency. Take a deep breath, because you’re on the cusp of applying influence and changing another person’s mind.</p> <p><strong>The most important question that’s never asked</strong></p> <p>When it comes to asking for committing questions, we’ve heard them all:</p> <p>·       “What’s it going to take to get you into this car today?”</p> <p>·       “Is Tuesday good, or is Wednesday better?”</p> <p>·       “Other than price, what would keep you from buying this toaster today?”</p> <p>·       “If I could prove that our vacuum cleaner is better than any other on the market, would you buy one</p> <p>         today?”</p> <p>They’re all interesting questions, and each may actually have its own place in a particular conversation, but there’s one question that no one asks. Ironically, if you are trying to commit someone to the change she is contemplating, there could not be a more important question. The question is simply this: “Are you committed to making a change?”</p> <p>If the answer you receive is no (quite frankly that answer is rather rare when you’ve taken the time and the trouble to ask the more difficult questions that create urgency), we’ll stop right there. However, if the answer to the question is yes, congratulations, you’ve just changed someone’s mind, and psychologically committed him to that change. Something tells me we’ll have a solution that will address the needs that are now appearing.</p> <p>We’ve finally arrived at the solution. How exciting! Strangely enough, I have little interest in the solution. Imagine that; we’ve finally arrived at a solution, and it’s almost irrelevant to me. Anyone can offer solutions. When you learn <em>how to change minds, </em>you learn that the struggle lies in trying to get another person to commit to solving the problem you want to solve. Ironically, when I conduct two-day workshops, I spend only about fifteen minutes on the actual solution. I spend the rest of the sixteen hours working on teaching the various tactics of influence, on getting people to commit to change, and on what to do after people have made that commitment.</p> <p>However, when you do discuss a solution, there are two pretty important words I’d like you to remember: <em>you said</em>. Those words were my reminder that we ask questions, listen, and let those we are communicating with paint their own picture. We work meticulously to allow the people we are communicating with to own the conversation we are having. It’s not about us; it’s about them. If we do this, when we get to the solution, we get to use the words “you said.”</p> <p>The solutions we bring to the table are not coming from left field, and just in case the person sitting across from us needs a reminder, there’s nothing like saying, “Another reason I’m making this recommendation is that <em>you said </em>you were looking for a simple way to accomplish this goal. Let me tell you exactly how simple this is.”</p> <p>The words “you said” have an amazing way of putting someone right back into the conversation. These words act as a reminder that the solution isn’t for you; it’s for her. Think for a moment about the last time someone was talking to you and you heard the words “you said” inserted into the conversation. Assuming you <em>did </em>say it, that person sure got your attention!</p> <p>At this point we’ve done an amazing job gaining a commitment to change, and offering a solution that addresses someone’s specific needs, but it’s not time to celebrate just yet. I’ve spent thirty years of my life watching this story unfold, and guess what can often happen next? Nothing. And the reason nothing often happens is that, although we’ve gained a commitment to change, and shown a logical solution, we never really close the deal. Well, let’s fix that right now!</p> <p><strong>The Summary Commitment</strong></p> <p>Now prepare yourself for a simple, four-step approach to asking for a commitment. I have chosen this approach because, as you will see, it is a natural fit to finish off the process you have learned, and there is a lot of room for personalization.</p> <p>Step 1: Confirm benefits</p> <p>The first step of the <em>summary commitment </em>involves one last check with the person you are trying to persuade. Most people do not understand just how powerful this last check can be. Let me show you what I mean. Read the next statement, stop, and without reading any further, try to anticipate what the next step of this process would be.</p> <p><span><em>Don’t you agree that by doing your homework, you are going to see the results you said you were looking for?</em></span></p> <p>Okay, now what do you think my next question will be if the answer received is yes. I believe most people will assume a question requiring a commitment is sure to follow, and, in my humble opinion, that’s the genius of this first step. No one would dare answer yes to that question if he did not intend to go ahead with a solution.</p> <p><span><em>Uh, yes it does everything I want it to do, but, uh, no, I don’t want to change.</em></span></p> <p>That, my friends, happens to be the biggest strength of the summary commitment. In a sense, confirming benefits provides a trial close to your conversation. If there is an objection, the person you are seeking a commitment from will push back right here. It does not make me happy to hear a “no” at this point of the conversation, but so be it. At least you won’t be battling an ego as well as the objection.</p> <p>Step 2: Ask for a commitment</p> <p>Well, what do you know? At last, it’s time to ask for the final commitment. It’s amazing how easy gaining a commitment really is when you’ve earned your right to ask the question. As I mentioned before, your strategy here should be to aim for the highest <em>realistic </em>level of commitment.</p> <p>But how do you ask for a commitment? What words do you use? My recommendation would be to do it as simply as possible. This is a natural step, and the person you are influencing expects you to ask, so do it!</p> <p>Step 3: Discuss logistics</p> <p>With a commitment in hand, you must stay focused and finish strong. The only thing left is to work out the logistics to implement the commitment that has been made. Having conducted seminars for over thirty years, sometimes I feel like I’ve heard just about every question when it comes to teaching audiences how to change minds.</p> <p>Want to know one of the most frequently asked questions? “What’s the most forgotten step of the process?” That’s an easy one; it’s forgetting to go over what happens after someone agrees to a change. The repercussions are serious because without this conversation, guess what often happens <em>after </em>someone agrees to change? We have good intentions to change, but buyer’s remorse kicks in, a touch of fear of change joins the mix, and <em>nothing </em>happens.</p> <p>Step 4: Reassure</p> <p>Gaining a commitment from someone who is truly looking to make a change can be emotional. I have to admit that, although I felt it was a good idea to reassure the people I wanted to influence, I didn’t add the <em>reassure </em>step to the process until years after I began teaching my methods.</p> <p>I’m not sure if it was that I just assumed most people did it, or that I had a blind spot. However, I’ve seen so many shaky decisions get reversed over the years by people who talked themselves out of commitments that I won’t leave it out again.</p> <p><strong>The Most Forgotten Step in Closing</strong></p> <p>After teaching sales to many clients over decades of delivery, I think one of my favorite seminars was the hostage negotiation seminar I conducted in Baltimore twenty-two years ago. It was an exhilarating experience as I connected the world of selling to the world of hostage negotiation. My audience was receptive and engaged, but the presentation turned on a dime when I approached the concept of comforting those we are gaining commitments from.</p> <p>I casually mentioned reassurance, and that I liked to reassure the person I’ve gained a commitment from. I never before placed that step in my materials, nor had I ever really pushed that hard for others to do this. I could hear my New York Life manager telling me, “Jolles, once you’ve made the sale, get out of the house!” The thinking was, if you had a commitment, any further conversation could only lead to disrupting the agreement you had already achieved. In the situation with the hostage negotiators, however, I felt that the risk of a buyer’s remorse was worth the risk of throwing in a few comforting and reassuring words.</p> <p>I guess you could say this was a hunch of mine, and the response was clear with one, dramatic story from a participant in the audience. Once I finished throwing out this final idea, a participant walked up to the microphone and began to speak.<em> </em></p> <p><em>“Mr. Jolles, I happen to agree with your suggestion. Two months ago, I was on the phone communicating with an individual for almost forty hours. After twenty hours, I got the children out of the house. It took me ten more hours, and I got the wife out of the house. Ten hours later, I was able to reach an agreement to get the suspect out of the house. His last words to me were this: ”I’m coming out, but not without my gun.” It was the best I could do, and my last words to him were, ”Just go slow.”</em></p> <p><em>The suspect stepped out of the house onto the porch. I moved up the driveway slowly with the SWAT team by my side. The suspect looked out, he looked back, he looked out, he looked back. Then he blew his head off.</em></p> <p><em>I had spent forty hours on the phone with this person, and I can tell you that this was not the kind of person who intended to come out and put on a show. In an instant, he changed his mind. I will always wonder if I could have handled this differently. If the last words out of my mouth had been, ”You are doing the right thing. I will be here every step of the way and everything I promised you will happen, I can assure you,” I wonder if I could have saved his life.</em></p> <p>Needless to say, this was an emotional moment for everyone at the seminar. I swallowed hard, finished the seminar, and since that day I have never again referred to this step as optional in the closing process.</p> <p align="center">✸ ✸ ✸</p> <p>The message is clear: People who have changed their minds will reconsider and wonder about the decisions they’ve made, particularly when these decisions required significant change. People fear change. Rather than hope they don’t reconsider, give them something to think about when they do. Not if, but when, they reconsider, let them hear your voice in their minds telling them they made the right decision.</p> <p> </p> <p><b><em><strong>Rob Jolles </strong></em></b><em>draws on more than 30 years of experience in sales and management as he teaches audiences worldwide how to change minds. He is also author of</em><b> <strong>Customer-Centered Selling </strong></b><em>and</em><b> <strong>How to Run Seminars &amp; Workshops</strong>. </b><em>Rob lives in Great Falls, Virginia.</em></p> <p>Excerpted with permission from <em>How to Change Minds: The Art of Influence Without Manipulation</em> by Rob Jolles (c) 2013 Rob Jolles (Berrett-Koehler Publishers, <a href="http://www.bkconnection.com">www.bkconnection.com</a>).  – See more at: <a href="http://perdidomagazine.com/articles/art-influence-without-manipulation#sthash.UKhIrWaN.dpuf">http://perdidomagazine.com/articles/art-influence-without-manipulation#s…</a></p> </div></div></div><div class="field field-name-field-tags field-type-taxonomy-term-reference field-label-above clearfix"><h3 class="field-label">Tags: </h3><ul class="links"><li class="taxonomy-term-reference-0" rel="dc:subject"><a href="/tags/influence" typeof="skos:Concept" property="rdfs:label skos:prefLabel">influence</a></li><li class="taxonomy-term-reference-1" rel="dc:subject"><a href="/tags/personal-development" typeof="skos:Concept" property="rdfs:label skos:prefLabel">personal development</a></li><li class="taxonomy-term-reference-2" rel="dc:subject"><a href="/tags/leadership-skills" typeof="skos:Concept" property="rdfs:label skos:prefLabel">leadership skills</a></li><li class="taxonomy-term-reference-3" rel="dc:subject"><a href="/tags/customer-service" typeof="skos:Concept" property="rdfs:label skos:prefLabel">customer service</a></li><li class="taxonomy-term-reference-4" rel="dc:subject"><a href="/tags/persuasion" typeof="skos:Concept" property="rdfs:label skos:prefLabel">persuasion</a></li></ul></div><div class="field field-name-field-article-categories field-type-taxonomy-term-reference field-label-above clearfix"><h3 class="field-label">Article Category: </h3><ul class="links"><li class="taxonomy-term-reference-0"><a href="/taxonomy/term/1" typeof="skos:Concept" property="rdfs:label skos:prefLabel">Personal Development</a></li><li class="taxonomy-term-reference-1"><a href="/taxonomy/term/4" typeof="skos:Concept" property="rdfs:label skos:prefLabel">Leadership Skills</a></li><li class="taxonomy-term-reference-2"><a href="/taxonomy/term/6" typeof="skos:Concept" property="rdfs:label skos:prefLabel">Customer Service</a></li></ul></div> Mon, 14 Apr 2014 17:30:18 +0000 Mary Rundell-Holmes 297 at http://www.perdidomagazine.com http://www.perdidomagazine.com/articles/committing-change#comments The Greatest Teacher: A Lesson for Leaders in Relationship Management http://www.perdidomagazine.com/articles/greatest-teacher-lesson-leaders-relationship-management <div class="field field-name-field-image field-type-image field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even" rel="og:image rdfs:seeAlso" resource="http://www.perdidomagazine.com/sites/default/files/styles/featured-article-large-square/public/field/image/man-relationships.jpg"><img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://www.perdidomagazine.com/sites/default/files/styles/featured-article-large-square/public/field/image/man-relationships.jpg" alt="" /></div></div></div><div class="field field-name-body field-type-text-with-summary field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even" property="content:encoded"><p> </p> <p>My client’s stock price is treading water, going nowhere, like a sailboat in the doldrums. Without a rising stock price, the options owned by the company’s senior management are worthless. They are, in the worst case, susceptible to a hostile raider.</p> <p>The company hires us to figure out why this is happening and to suggest remedial strategies. They are committed to getting to the bottom of things.</p> <p>We put our best team of analysts on the case. We even seek the collaboration of a brilliant finance professor at the London Business School.</p> <p>The diagnosis is clear: Investors in this company’s stock expect higher returns than the business generates. One of the major problems is that there is a retail store business saddled with expensive leases and weak product categories.</p> <p>They need strong medicine.</p> <p>We create a report incorporating the latest capital markets theories and analytical models. 172 pages long, it has charts and graphs that would rival the battle plans for the invasion of Normandy.</p> <p>Our first meeting to present the preliminary recommendations, however, is little short of a disaster. We should have remembered Helmut Von Moltke’s warning, “No battle plan survives contact with the enemy.”</p> <p>We’re in a large meeting room at the company headquarters sitting around a table. I begin my presentation. I barely get started when the executives representing the retail business begin attacking every aspect of our analysis. Anticipating our conclusion, they have even <em>hired their own economist</em> to refute the assumptions in our analytical models.</p> <p>“Well,” the CEO, Trevor, sums up diplomatically, “it looks like we need to do a little more work on this to resolve our differences of opinion.”</p> <p>Back in our offices, my boss, James Kelly, is silent as we conduct a post mortem on the event. James is brilliant, as thoughtful a problem-solver as I have ever met. We spend the first 30 minutes mostly criticizing the client for being so resistant to our well-researched conclusions.</p> <p>James, who says nothing so far, looks up at me and asks, “What have you learned?”</p> <p>We avoid James’s gaze.</p> <p>“Well,” I volunteer, “we should have spent more time with the retail executives.”</p> <p>“Agreed,” says James. “And what else? What did you learn about influencing people?”</p> <p>“It doesn’t just come down to the numbers,” I answer. “They have deeply help beliefs about their business. They’re emotional about it. We have to work at different levels–rational, emotional–to win them over.”</p> <p>James notes. “And don’t forget <em>political</em>. Rational, emotional, political. All three must be considered. And what did you learn about relationship management?”</p> <p>“We focused way too much on Trevor, the CEO. We undervalued the need to build relationships with the other leaders in the organization.”</p> <p>James nods again. “Good. Oh–last thing. What did you learn about preparing for client presentations?”</p> <p>I smile sheepishly. James has a maxim. He’s repeated it many times to us: <em>Always preview your conclusions with the client.</em> Never walk into a room unless every client executive present has been briefed on what you’re going to say. Always know where they stand beforehand.</p> <p>“I know,” I admit. “Always review our findings beforehand with everyone. Encourage them to get their fingerprints on it.”</p> <p>Three months later, Trevor retires. A new, young CEO is appointed by the board to take over this troubled company. I have a very brief meeting with him shortly after he arrives, and I share a copy of our analysis with him. All 172 pages!</p> <p>A week later, his executive assistant calls me. “Mr. Early asks if you could please prepare an executive summary of your report. He wants something in between the one page of summary conclusions at the front and the 172 pages of analysis.” I look at the 172 pages sitting on my desk, and grimace. I roll up my sleeves. I have my work cut out for me.</p> <p>For days, I struggle to summarize our analysis. I work like crazy. I don’t want just a summary, I want a statement, a manifesto that is clear and bold and compelling.</p> <p>I finally reduce 172 pages to five, and send them to the new CEO. They are five hard-hitting pages. They tell a story. It’s a convincing, lively tale.</p> <p>A month later, Richard Early calls me personally on the phone. That is unusual–the CEO, calling me directly.</p> <p>“Thanks for the summary,” he says. “Now, I finally understand what you guys are saying. I really hadn’t seen it clearly before, based on the huge report you gave me. Now it’s apparent. It gives the answers we need. In fact, I circulated your summary to my board. I think it makes a compelling case. Can you come up next week? I’ve got time on Friday. I want to discuss some possible next steps.”</p> <p>Elated, I run to James’s office and tell him the good news. The CEO called me! James nods approvingly.</p> <p>“So, what did you learn from this?” he asks me again. Not a single word of congratulations.</p> <p>You don’t communicate with CEOs with 100 slides. They digest information in short, concentrated bites.”</p> <p>“Okay,” James says. “What else”</p> <p>“Top executives are not interested in methodology,” I add.</p> <p>“That’s right. They want to know if they can trust you. Can you do the job? Are you among the best at what you do? Will you always put their interests first? By the way,” he continues, “what would you say you have learned about trust?”</p> <p>“More analysis and expertise doesn’t build more trust,” I say. “We needed to invest in more face-time with this client. And with Richard Early, as soon as he started.”</p> <p>“Anything else?”</p> <p>I keep thinking about the 172 pages I was so proud of. And the condensed five pages that sold the CEO on our work.</p> <p>“Sometimes, less is more?”</p> <p>James answers me with a smile that slowly fills his face. I’m not sure which does more to make my day–the call from the new CEO, or James’s smile.</p> <p> </p> <p>Excerpted with permission of the publisher John Wiley &amp; Sons, Inc., <a href="http://www.wiley.com/" title="http://www.wiley.com">www.wiley.com</a> , from <strong>Power Questions: Build Relationships, Win New Business, and Influence Others </strong>by Andrew Sobel and Jerold Panas (c) 2012 by Andrew Sobel and Jerold Panas. </p> </div></div></div><div class="field field-name-field-tags field-type-taxonomy-term-reference field-label-above clearfix"><h3 class="field-label">Tags: </h3><ul class="links"><li class="taxonomy-term-reference-0" rel="dc:subject"><a href="/tags/leadership" typeof="skos:Concept" property="rdfs:label skos:prefLabel">leadership</a></li><li class="taxonomy-term-reference-1" rel="dc:subject"><a href="/tags/mentorship" typeof="skos:Concept" property="rdfs:label skos:prefLabel">mentorship</a></li><li class="taxonomy-term-reference-2" rel="dc:subject"><a href="/tags/relationship-management" typeof="skos:Concept" property="rdfs:label skos:prefLabel">relationship management</a></li><li class="taxonomy-term-reference-3" rel="dc:subject"><a href="/tags/influence" typeof="skos:Concept" property="rdfs:label skos:prefLabel">influence</a></li></ul></div><div class="field field-name-field-article-categories field-type-taxonomy-term-reference field-label-above clearfix"><h3 class="field-label">Article Category: </h3><ul class="links"><li class="taxonomy-term-reference-0"><a href="/taxonomy/term/8" typeof="skos:Concept" property="rdfs:label skos:prefLabel">Employee Management</a></li><li class="taxonomy-term-reference-1"><a href="/taxonomy/term/1" typeof="skos:Concept" property="rdfs:label skos:prefLabel">Personal Development</a></li><li class="taxonomy-term-reference-2"><a href="/taxonomy/term/4" typeof="skos:Concept" property="rdfs:label skos:prefLabel">Leadership Skills</a></li><li class="taxonomy-term-reference-3"><a href="/taxonomy/term/6" typeof="skos:Concept" property="rdfs:label skos:prefLabel">Customer Service</a></li></ul></div> Tue, 04 Sep 2012 20:49:23 +0000 charris 237 at http://www.perdidomagazine.com http://www.perdidomagazine.com/articles/greatest-teacher-lesson-leaders-relationship-management#comments MIssing the First Paragraph http://www.perdidomagazine.com/editorials/missing-first-paragraph <div class="field field-name-body field-type-text-with-summary field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even" property="content:encoded"><p>I get that we are busy. There are always more things to do than we have time for. Instant messaging and texting have become mediums of the present, symptoms of our obsession with doing "more" and being "more" available. Indeed, we are people in a hurry.</p> <p>But how we present ourselves to others still makes a difference. It is important that we say hello and say it a way that communicates interest and openness. The same can be said of our good-byes. "How do we want to be together?" is a question I often ask of those around me, and one that frequently arises in my mind. Relationships are important because all the successes achieved in our careers or in our personal lives have come to fruition because other people have gifted us with their assistance.</p> <p>So, in our daily interactions, we must remain aware that we don't know the state of mind or life experience of those we meet, whether stranger, friend or fellow employee. How others experience us can make a difference–to them and to us. For instance, a person, who is hurting inside, may pass us by in the hallway and interpret our silence and lack of eye contact  as a sign that we upset with him/her. Or, he/she may conclude that we are aloof or arrogant. It is a fact that we humans often make guesses about the weather, the stock market and each other. And our guesses are often dead wrong. A kind word, a smile or a friendly nod can ward off the bad guesses that may damage future interactions.</p> <p>This thought also occurs to me in the context of the correspondence we exchange with others in the course of a business day. I've been intrigued by the number of people I've met–and sometimes supervise–who leave out the first paragraph and simply start with the facts of the transaction when they write letters. Many times these individuals have asked me to read over their correspondence and suggest improvements. Whether in person or via the Internet, I always ask the same question: "Where's the first paragraph?" Employees new to my style often struggle with the question, especially since I ask them to discover the answer on their own. Staff familiar with me usually express embarrassment and go back to the drawing board.</p> <p>The first paragraph is essential since it is there that we check in with the addressee. We acknowledge the passage of time, greet the person, ask how he/she is, wish him/her well and, if relevant, offer thanks. The paragraph reflects the quality of the relationship we have or wish to establish with the individual.</p> <p>How we want to be together does make a difference–even on a screen or on paper.</p> <p>-Art Dykstra</p> </div></div></div><div class="field field-name-field-article-categories field-type-taxonomy-term-reference field-label-above clearfix"><h3 class="field-label">Category: </h3><ul class="links"><li class="taxonomy-term-reference-0"><a href="/taxonomy/term/4" typeof="skos:Concept" property="rdfs:label skos:prefLabel">Leadership Skills</a></li><li class="taxonomy-term-reference-1"><a href="/taxonomy/term/6" typeof="skos:Concept" property="rdfs:label skos:prefLabel">Customer Service</a></li></ul></div> Mon, 06 Feb 2012 18:47:56 +0000 Mary Rundell-Holmes 208 at http://www.perdidomagazine.com http://www.perdidomagazine.com/editorials/missing-first-paragraph#comments Four Things That Business Can Learn From Nonprofits About Inspiring Customers http://www.perdidomagazine.com/articles/four-things-business-can-learn-nonprofits-about-inspiring-customers <div class="field field-name-field-image field-type-image field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even" rel="og:image rdfs:seeAlso" resource="http://www.perdidomagazine.com/sites/default/files/styles/featured-article-large-square/public/field/image/girl-heart.jpg"><img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://www.perdidomagazine.com/sites/default/files/styles/featured-article-large-square/public/field/image/girl-heart.jpg" alt="" /></div></div></div><div class="field field-name-body field-type-text-with-summary field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even" property="content:encoded"><p>When you hear many of today’s corporate promises and slogans, you would think they belonged to nonprofit organizations. A few of my favorites are: </p> <p>To inspire and nurture the human spirit –Starbucks</p> <p>Your potential, our passion –Microsoft</p> <p>To improve the lives of the world’s consumers–now and for generations to come –Proctor and Gamble</p> <p>To contribute to the overall health and wellness of our world –Pfizer</p> <p>These are not just lines from some social responsibility policy. They are core statements of mission and purpose proudly displayed on corporate Web sites. As today’s brands attempt to differentiate themselves from their many competitors, more and more of them must be truly inspiring. </p> <p>And why not? Companies that genuinely leaven their commercialism with a sense of higher purpose are more likely to build powerful connections–intellectual, emotional and spiritual–with their customers. Those are exactly the kinds of connections you need to acquire and sustain a loyal and passionate following these days. </p> <p>However, it isn’t easy. Unless you are willing to associate with and support an inspiring cause genuinely, consumers will strike back with a vengeance. As the Cone 2004 Corporate Responsibility Report noted, when a company is perceived as acting badly, 90 percent of consumers would consider switching to another company’s products or services.</p> <h3>Make Me Believe</h3> <p>To inspire the consumer, you must help him believe in something he once thought was impossible. This is where innovators will thrive and hidebound institutions will die. Innovators think in quantum leap fashion while most institutions think incrementally. If you can only describe your company’s dreams and ambitions in the context of a percentage of growth, you will inspire no one. </p> <p>Here are two types of inspiration busters to avoid:</p> <ul><li>“We want to be the best.” (as in AutoNation’s “Driven to be the best”) </li> <li>“We want to be the most recognized.” (as in the United Airlines mission statement, “To be recognized worldwide as the airline of choice”).</li> </ul><p>Both are noble. Neither is the least bit inspiring. Making me believe in something I once thought was impossible requires words like imagine, dream, accelerate, change, empower and energize. A dramatic illustration of this occurred when Microsoft announced its HealthVault initiative, with a vision to build a platform that would store electronic medical records for every American–for free! It would then sell the service to other countries, providing the impetus to transform health care for good.</p> <p>So, as you assess the impact of your business on your customers and the wider society, ask yourself this question: “What would the world look like if I were to fulfill my mission tomorrow?” Try asking this at your next team meeting, and you will uncover very quickly whether you have the capacity to be inspiring or not.</p> <h3>Appreciation Works</h3> <p>To inspire the consumer, you must show genuine appreciation for her business. Nonprofit organizations are exceptionally good at making their donors feel special. Even the small contributor receives a thank-you note, and with a donation at the $100 level, there’s usually a phone call, too. By those standards, how many companies should have had someone call you to express their gratitude for your business? I should most certainly receive calls from the CEOs of Whole Foods, Starbucks and American Express! </p> <p>Loyalty programs are generally effective in retaining customers–until a better loyalty program comes along. People recognize that even so-called customer appreciation days are typically traps for more selling, so their “loyalty” is understandably tentative and short-term.</p> <p>Conversely, expressing genuine appreciation creates a lifelong relationship. Imagine how you would feel on receiving a voice mail that said simply, “Thank you for being such a great customer. We are not calling to sell you anything. We only want to say thank you.” I received such a call recently. It was my local nursery guy on whose business my wife and I spend much of our discretionary income. His call was short, genuine and simple: “I am calling to tell you how much I appreciate your business.”</p> <p>I also received a similar call from someone at Direct TV in the same week. Now, I won’t even consider going somewhere else to buy plants or get a television signal. </p> <h3>A Place at the Table</h3> <p>To inspire the consumer, you must also help him see that he is a part of a community of world changers. One of the most powerful fund-raising terms is the word join: “Join the fight,” ”Join the cause,” “Join me.” These exhortations all indicate that you can be a part of something bigger than yourself. More than ever before, our identity is defined by the communities we are a part of–even virtual ones! </p> <p>If business wants to follow the lead of nonprofit organizations, its leaders will participate in social media for the sake of connecting customers to other customers. Then, they, like donors, will show the way to new relationships and new markets.</p> <p>Create and/or tap into platforms for connecting people in and around your mission. Harley-Davidson has done this very effectively with its “Join the Family You Have Always Wanted” campaign. Think about what your business can offer that consumers will join you in enthusiastically. </p> <h3>Show the Outcomes</h3> <p>Finally, to inspire the consumer, you must convey how you are making the world a better place. A short time back, I had the privilege of traveling to Guatemala with the child sponsorship organization Compassion International. I had supported CI in a modest way for years, but after that firsthand look at how my dollars were being used to help truly impoverished children, my giving level will never be the same.</p> <p>I saw this principle illustrated in the most dramatic fashion when I toured the Huntsman Corporation offices in Salt Lake City, UT. Throughout the building, wall photos showed people in towns and villages all around the world where the company and its employees were providing medicine, clean water and education. The underlying message was: What we are doing as a company is helping to make the world a better place.</p> <p>I also find this illustrated every time I walk into a Chick-fil-A store and see a life-sized poster of the founder, Truett Cathy, alongside pictures of the young people in whose lives his company is investing. And, I see it at the headquarters of International Paper on whose Web site you’ll actually find a link to donate to the World Food Programme (wfp.org).</p> <p>No matter what kind of business you are in, the nonprofit sector can teach you how to inspire your customers–but only if you are making the world a better place and show it. Give those customers something to believe in that they once thought was impossible while also demonstrating genuine appreciation for their business. Furthermore, help them connect with other customers as part of a larger community, and communicate how your business is improving the world. </p> <p>Lead and they may follow. Teach and they may learn. Inspire… and they will never be the same. </p> <p> </p> <p><strong>Terry Barbe</strong>r is the Chief Inspirator for Grizzard Communication Group. As a speaker and consultant, he primarily serves the nonprofit health care sector, as well as colleges and universities, in the area of philanthropic branding. Barber is author of <em>The Inspiration Factor</em> (Inspiration Blvd., 2008). Visit his website at: <a href="http://www.giinspiration.com/" target="_blank">www.giinspiration.com.</a></p> </div></div></div><div class="field field-name-field-article-categories field-type-taxonomy-term-reference field-label-above clearfix"><h3 class="field-label">Article Category: </h3><ul class="links"><li class="taxonomy-term-reference-0"><a href="/taxonomy/term/6" typeof="skos:Concept" property="rdfs:label skos:prefLabel">Customer Service</a></li></ul></div> Fri, 01 Apr 2011 03:42:07 +0000 admin 7 at http://www.perdidomagazine.com http://www.perdidomagazine.com/articles/four-things-business-can-learn-nonprofits-about-inspiring-customers#comments