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The Fear of Being That Person

You don’t have to be a sleazy salesperson to get results

Carl Dierschow
choice magazine, vol. 13 no. 2

SleazyMost coaches are the primary marketing and sales engine for their own business. If you’re in a larger coaching company, you might have a separate sales force. Or if you’re an internal coach for a company, you may think much differently about the process of connecting up with clients.

The rest of us are our own marketing and sales department, which may be both the best news and the worst.

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Cobbles IcesMost sales processes assume that you have what the customer wants.  Or, you can convince them that they want whatever you have.  Or, that your product or service can be made to fit whatever their needs are.

When I state it that way, the fallacy is obvious.  Yet we continue to approach sales with this mentality.

You say you want food that’s gluten-free?  Well, uh, maybe these rolls don’t have much gluten in them.  Not satisfied?  Well, I can sell you a salad.  Not what you’re looking for?  But it’s such a fantastic salad!  You should really want it!

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New ImprovedI was watching TV this morning, being lazy on a gorgeous Saturday.  An ad came on for a product:

Get one can of this amazing product for $19.99!
Plus shipping & handling!
Order now, and we’ll double your order!
(Just pay extra shipping & handling!)
And we’ll throw in a bottle of this OTHER stuff too!

We see this all the time, of course.  It’s just more of the noise of advertising these days.

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I’ve been frequenting a local frozen yogurt shop for a couple of years now. It’s a wonderful break, especially during the summer. But they’ve been through rocky times, with changes of ownership and rebranding.

Ordinarily this would make me optimistic, but in this case the company seems to have lost its way. Honestly, I’m surprised it’s still in business.

This isn’t about a company’s size. Read the rest of this entry »

Employee experienceI ran across this great quote as I was reading the Don’t Do Dumb Things To Customers blog last week, and it was so powerful that I’ve been pondering it all week.

“The customer experience never exceeds the employee experience.”

I’ve been searching for examples which would disprove this statement, but haven’t found one yet.  In all cases I can think of, a great customer experience is ONLY found when employees also are treated right.

In most businesses, of course, this is a broad brush statement.  Read the rest of this entry »

BankI closed out my safe deposit box today and moved it to a different bank.

But let me tell you the interesting story behind this.

I’ve kept our box at this bank for 29 years now.  Even when we moved out all our other accounts from the bank, it was just too annoying to think about moving the box.  So every December, I’ve dutifully paid the bill for renting it for the next year.  They didn’t increase the fee, so it was just easier to let it sit.

This year, the bank popped me with a 51% increase in the fee.  Yikes!  Read the rest of this entry »

washing-machine-197211_640I bought a new washer and dryer a couple of months ago.  A decent investment of money, for sure, but this pair might last us another thirty years.

Overall, the experience was what I expected.  This is a major American brand, so it had the usual pile of random papers in the box, under an amazing amount of packing material.  But the machines work as expected, and are much more efficient than what we had previously.

We’re reasonably happy.

I got two emails today from the manufacturer which were seeking my feedback.  Fine.  Read the rest of this entry »

Open SignI had a meeting scheduled this morning at 8am at a local restaurant.  Sure enough, they turned on the “open” sign right on time.


They had pushed all the tables to one side, moved the booths, and were cleaning the floor.  The 7 of us debated for awhile, then ended up going to a local Starbucks.

The friendly gentleman behind the counter was focused on his cleaning task, and didn’t offer any solution to our dilemma.  He didn’t even suggest using the tables outside.

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For more than a century, smart leaders have promoted the concept that “the customer is always right.” Marshall Field and Harry Selfridge popularized this in the retail space, but it’s spread to being a general business maxim.

Taken literally, though, it’s not true. An amusing example is in recent MetLife ads, where Lucy Van Pelt from “Peanuts” stubbornly declares that the price for everything should be five cents. Clearly the customer can’t be “right” in the sense that she can make your business decisions.

Let’s not get too cynical, though. The customer holds the keys to your revenue stream, and without that, you don’t have a business.

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1280px-Experience_Music_Project_ceiling_02I don’t know if you have a chance to follow Seth Godin’s blog, but his post today really got me thinking.  He talked about the tradeoffs between being consistent, or being excellent.

Yeah, I know, you do both.  You have an amazing company, which is consistently excellent.  Unlike every other business in your industry, you’re able to actually deliver what your vision says.  Every day.  And make a great profit too.

For the REST of us, it’s a daily struggle.

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