If Your Customers Aren’t Buying From You Like They Used To

by Stacey Hanke

woman-phone-operator

Your products and services practically sold themselves in the past. You and your company pride yourselves for having a solid reputation and strong relationships with your customers. Yet you’ve noticed that your customers don’t call you anymore when they have a problem your products and services could help them solve. Times have changed. As competition has increased, so have customers’ buying options.

Your natural response to this situation might be to:

* Over-sell, offering customers numerous options in the hopes that one will be the right fit;

* Take over control of sales conversations, creating customer frustration and confusion;

* Offer customers your solution, regardless of whether it addresses their pain points.

To gain more influence Monday to Monday™:

1. Stop talking and start listening. If you are not actively listening to your customers’ pain points, you risk offering the wrong solution, losing your customer’s trust and jeopardizing the relationship. Be patient and avoid the temptation to high-jack the conversation. An influential communicator understands the power of speaking less and listening more to discern what the customer really wants and needs.

2. Ask influential questions. Focus on asking open-ended questions that identify your customer’s pain points. Open-ended questions will give you more information about what is important to your customer and their objectives.

3. Adapt your message on the fly. Be flexible and willing to allow your customer’s responses to drive the direction of your message.

This week’s blog is an excerpt from Stacey Hanke’s book, Influence Redefined…Be the Leader You Were Meant to Be, Monday to Monday, which was released in early 2016.

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Change Management – It Begins With Me

By Mike Abrashoff

It’s tough out there today and no organization is safe. There are a lot of variables that many of us have absolutely no control over. It’s easy to feel like a victim and obsess over the uncontrollable. My advice to you is to forget about what you can’t control and obsess only over that which you can influence.

The most important mentor in my life once told me before I took command of USS Benfold, “Mike, no matter how hard you try, your ship is never going to be perfect. You are going to have disappointments every day. When you are disappointed in an outcome, don’t ever blame your shipmates first. Assume they want to do a great job. Look inward first and focus on the process. Did you clearly communicate the goals? Did you give your crew the resources to do a great job? Did you give them the training to deliver the excellence you were hoping for?”

You know what?  80% of the time that I was disappointed in an outcome, there was something I could have done differently to improve the outcome. This mentor caused me to constantly challenge our processes to see if we couldn’t do things a little bit better. That intellectual curiosity, always striving to improve, ingrained a culture that thrived on change and embraced it. It was implemented on terms that were favorable to us. Nobody became a victim of change and instead we led change.

I don’t have a crystal ball and I can’t predict what your industry is going to look like five years from now or ten years from now. What I can tell you, with great certainty, is that if you don’t foster a culture that celebrates and cultivates change, your best days will have been behind you.

Change management begins with your own attitude and how you show up at work. Embrace it and stay safe. Fear it and lose control of your own destiny. It’s all up to you. After all, IT’S YOUR SHIP!!!

The Big AHA: Three Unconventional Ways to Future-Proof Your Business Today

by Jack Uldrich

Every business leader feels it and knows it–the world is changing at an accelerating pace.Aha Business models are shifting, consumer behaviors and preferences are evolving swiftly, and emerging technologies and platforms are transforming the competitive landscape. In such an environment, it is difficult to look ahead to the next quarter, let alone the next year. Still, a business leader’s top priority is to position their company for continued future success. The question is: How?

As professional foresight consultants we’d like to offer a big “AHA” containing three unconventional ideas for how you can begin future-proofing your business today. “AHA” is an acronym that stands for Awareness, Humility and Action. You must strive to enhance your awareness of changes on the horizon; have enough humility to acknowledge that what served your business well in the past might not be sufficient tomorrow; and be willing to take action in the face of less-than-perfect information.

Awareness: See What You Can’t See

Many leaders today still rely on traditional methods to stay abreast of advances in their field, such as reading newspapers, industry websites, and attending trade conferences. This is all fine and well, but in an era of accelerating change tomorrow’s threats and opportunities are less and less likely to come at you through conventional means. This implies you must learn to see differently.

The Chinese have a wonderful saying, “The periphery is the new center.” Therefore, to see what you can’t yet see, you need to go to the periphery and expose yourself to fresh and unique ways of perceiving your industry.

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Improved Communication: 3 Simple Ways to Boost Your Team’s Productivity

by Laura Stack

“The most important thing in communication is hearing what isn’t said.” –Peter F. Drucker, Austrian-American father of management theory.

One of the things separating us from the animals is our ability to communicate easily and clearly. If fact, communication has helped us greatly widen that gap in the millennia since the first meaningful words left a human throat.Improving-Communication-carrier-pigeon

We’ve even adapted to speech biologically, with a special bone (the hyoid) that exists mostly just to support the tongue. If a clear communication method had never come about, we might never have invented writing, and our culture would have stalled in the Neolithic—if not earlier.

Every day, communication methods continue to improve, in ways both cultural and technological.  In this blog, I’ll suggest three basic ways to improve your ability to get your point across with increasing precision.

1. Hone Your Team Communications Skills

I can’t overstate the importance of open communication with your team. Unless you work for a corporation where client confidentiality requires compartmentalization, keep all team goals, imperatives, initiatives, and strategic alignments as transparent as possible. This helps your teammates find reasons to own their jobs and increase their engagement and discretionary effort. Learning which communication methods work best for each team member; using simple, clear language; listening to what others have to say; creating and maintaining a receptive atmosphere; and avoiding repetition will all save time and ensure productivity.

Encourage all these concepts among your team members, as well; and needless to say, act as a role model. Along the way, focus tightly on what you’re trying to say, say what you mean—and never let your body language undermine your verbal message. If you have a nervous habit or tic someone might construe as negative body language, get it under control. Continue reading