What moments take your breath away? When you stop to reflect on life what is front of mind? Who do you think of and worry about in moments of great anxiety? All of these are indicators of what is important. They make up the parts of your life that...
Have you ever heard the words, “I have some constructive feedback” and cringed internally knowing that statement precedes negative feedback? Of course we all know this is meant to be constructive criticism but ….
In a previous blog on 'Feedback and Mindset', I covered how organisations can make receiving feedback easier and a productive element in individual and team development. This week I wanted to speak to you - yes ‘you’ the person reading this. How do you personally receive information that is counter to what you want to hear, and/or what you are currently doing?
Today, 1st August, marks the birthday of my best friend, my wife and the most amazing Mum (and yes they are all wrapped up into one very special person). We have 10 great kids between us ranging from 10-25. We are often told we are lucky to have such good kids - while one must admit that there is a solid dash of ‘luck’, it is mixed with loads of hard work, tons of love, regular communication, quality time and lots of feedback. Watching someone juggle 10 kids, run a business and home, volunteer weekly for charity and radiate love is an honour and privilege. I thought I would share some of love and joy through the top 8 skills I have seen Kiri apply when it comes to FEEDBACK.
Hearing does not equate to understanding. Information does not equal knowledge. Feedback does not mean there will be growth. You only have to look at people who knowingly continue in destructive habits, like smoking, to know people do not always do the ‘right thing’ or even what is best for them. Effective feedback occurs when this is fully understood - sometimes people don't want to hear what they don't want to hear. This is often referred to as a fixed mindset.
"There is no failure. Only feedback." - Robert Allen
Feedback is woven into the very fabric of existence. Your brain is wired to receive, process, learn, grow and develop using feedback. You learnt to walk, talk and ride a bike by processing information received through various attempts and adapting until you mastered your new skill.
To plan or not to plan - that was the question being grappled with. On one side was the argument that planning never worked and on the other side that you need a plan to get where you are going. Air New Zealand came to the rescue - “I can go online and buy a ticket for for 8 months from today and they give me a flight number, time and even seat number! They don’t know what is going to happen on that day with weather, technical issues, staff, volcanoes, or anything, but they plan to deliver!” It was settled. A plan would be written.
“Success leaves clues” is one for my favourite quotes from “Think & Grow Rich” by Napoleon Hill. When I want to learn something, I look to people who have done it well and the ‘clues’ they have left and then turn those into ‘keys’ to help others unlock their potential.
Public speaking is one of these areas. For a recent Manawatu Chamber of Commerce “Lunch & Learn” session, I presented on “How to do a great 1 hour presentation” using 5 KEYS. The feedback would indicate this is a topic many people could do with some ‘keys’ on.
Can you sell?
What one skill would help you sell more?
How much could a core sales skill be worth to you and your organisation?
Provocative questions and statements are a great way to stir people up and heighten engagement. One of my favourite questions is, “What is the most important department in this business?” In a world of equality and ‘equal rights’ etc, that can get people quite animated! Then I state, and argue, that it must be sales because if you do not sell something no other role is required.
Irrespective of your stance every business acknowledges they need sales. Who's responsible for sales in your business? Do you have a “sales mindset” that defines your culture or is sales the domain of one or two individuals or a department?
Of all sales confidence killers, there is one to watch for. Its danger lies in the fact that it is so common, people become comfortable in its presence. It is easy to fix. Yet it remains and festers over years, through companies, permeating and draining teams until they succumb to such normality that they do not stand apart. What is this crippling malaise that brings such despair? A lack of an answer to one simple question.
When I want anything to do with cell phones I go to see Michael at 2 Degrees in the Palmy Plaza. I often have to wait to see him as he is the most popular sales rep. It is worth the wait as he “knows his stuff”. Can you relate to this - having a sales rep worth waiting for, your own “go-to” person?
How many people would see you as the “go-to” person?
Internal conflict hurts sales.
I am a production manager by training. After over 13 years in the role I still can vividly recall frequent orders to make huge quantities of product with impossible timelines. It did not make me like sales people. Or the sales department.
Do your internal teams spend more time fighting or one-upping each other than working together to serve the customer?
“Build confidence in every facet of your organisation - it makes it so much easier to sell.” - Mike Clark
Are you destroying your sale reps' chances of closing sales?
It is easy to do - damage their confidence.
The truth is, selling is easy. For many people who see sales as something sleazy or pushy, this statement seems laughable. As I have written about on many occasions, sales is a process and the better this is understood the easier it is to sell (or more accurately help a client get what they want or need). There is another truth - “Sales starts in your head” and in order to sell well, we need to believe in what we sell. Time and again this basic truth remains “Confidence sells”.
How does your thinking affect who you are? How you perceive life? What decisions you make? Obviously your thinking is the key factor in all of these. What was the last challenge you consciously remember wrestling with?
Word of mouth referrals remains one of the highest lead generating marketing tools of the current day. The busier we get, the more we look to friends, family and trusted referrers to help us make quick decisions. We do not have the time or the tolerance for a bad experience. The power of referrals can be seen in one of the most popular customer surveys - the Net Promoter Score (NPS). One question is asked after each interaction “Based on latest experience in dealing with us how likely are you to recommend us to a friend?”
Experience is becoming the the new accepted expectation with the benchmark tracking ever upwards. People want it quicker, easier, more personalised and intuitive, more, more more (ideally for less!) Technology can help. Paywave makes it quicker, self checkout makes it faster and more convenient, augmented reality helps us make right choices, apps allow us to engage on the go all the while prompting with suggestions and options. With the growth in AI we will soon have driverless cars and home help robots. Do we need people? Do we need teams?
I argue a resounding “Yes!” People buy from people. Notice the increase in online chat boxes? Notice how Amazon is ‘growing’ into bricks and mortar? More than just reaching out to customers in a tactile, interactive way, Amazon is investing billions in creating a workplace that will be environmentally friendly and allow team members to engage and interact in line with the “Day 1” mantra. (If you have never Googled Amazon Seattle offices, it is a sight to behold).
What about your team? Your culture? Your company focus and beliefs around the customer? Are they written up and clearly understood by everyone? Does engaging with your team “feel” different, is it “Wow those guys are amazing! They care so much”?
What experience do you want your customers to have? Many organisations have never considered this deeply enough to create a team focus and mantra that seeks to delight customers. Some have - Harrods, Zappos, Disney - and these stand out. Consider the below thoughts and questions, and work with your team to see how you can stand out:
What experience do we want customers to have?
What would we like people to say about us?
What have our competitors done so well even we hear about it & how can we go one better?
On a scale of 0-10 (where 10 is high) where would we rate our team culture?
On a scale of 0-10 (where 10 is high) where would we rate our customer experience?
How can we move closer to 10 on these two scales?
How can we engage our customers more effectively? (Asking this questions while running a kitchen showroom saw us install the only fully working showroom kitchen which occasionally brought a chef in to demonstrate and offered to clients to use to raise funds for schools. We also baked bread everyday and had fresh brewed coffee available)
How could we add more value to the customer while they were with us?
How could we and value and keep in touch after they leave? (Via social media, interesting newsletters, surveys, competitions, etc)
How can we encourage them to come back?
How do we get referrals?
How do we “WOW” them so we are the topic of the next dinner conversation?
If you would like some outside input or help in crafting your ideal customer experience do get in touch - we would love to help. Remember, customers are the lifeblood of any organisations. Create a heart of service that keeps that lifeblood healthy and flowing and business will be both pleasurable and profitable.
Every business has a point of difference (POD) – the people that make the team. A company’s ability to engage it’s people and enhance the strengths they bring, underlines the culture within the team. When people feel valued, seen, acknowledged and part of something bigger, they are more engaged. Woven into the ‘fabric’ of our being is a need to be seen and heard (Which is why solitary confinement is such a tough sentence). People need to have purpose and to know that they matter and are making a (positive) difference.
“How many of you know, beyond any shadow of doubt, that if you exercised 20 mins every day you would think clearer, feel better about yourself, be healthier, be more productive and focused and, in all probability, live longer?” This is a question I often ask during training and all hands go up. Then I ask, “So how many of you actually exercise for 20 mins a day?” Less than a tenth of hands usually go up.
What about you? Do you exercise daily? If not - why?