You Can’t See?

In the colder regions of the country, the windshield gets frosted over during the night. In the morning, it should not be a surprise when you can’t see out of the windshield, but for many it is. A typical morning starts by rushing out, starting the car and realizing there is not enough time to defrost the windshield. We have all been guilty from time to time using the washer fluid (not so successfully), or simply driving away despite not being able to see clearly. The real answer is preparation. This would include waking up a bit early and starting the car a few minutes before it is time to leave. In doing so, the windshield would be clear as day when we were ready to leave.

To be successful in any arena, preparation is one key component. Some people rely on luck, winging it, or simply hoping for the best. None of which associate with success. The 5 p’s seem applicable; Prior Preparation Prevents Poor Performance. Going into a new year, let’s plan ahead. Let’s prepare for what lies ahead.

In business (and in personal finance) there are many components that need attention to have a successful recipe. One of which is planning for growth and another is planning for cost cutting measures. I once heard someone say “good habits are formed in bad times and bad habits are formed in good times”. In order to navigate the volatile market conditions and the unpredictable business growth within that volatile market, one must begin to plan for a market slow down by being responsible with expenses. If a slowdown happens, the good times will be over. By intentionally preparing now, one will be forming good habits as it relates to expense control. They will be ahead of the curve by being proactive and will be able to see clearly when others cannot.

Time For a Change!

Our family has a tradition of cutting down a Christmas tree on Thanksgiving weekend. This year was no exception. After roaming the field and finding that ‘perfect’ tree, it came time for me to cut it down. My teenage children certainly did not want to get ‘dirty’ and possible get a grass or mud mark on their pants, never mind sap. As I was using the hand saw, it was getting stuck in the trunk making it nearly impossible to saw. I asked one of my kids to press on the tree, hoping it would open the trunk enough to keep the saw moving. SUCCESS, as the tree is now in our house. I obviously had to change my approach or I would still be lying on my back with the saw stuck in the trunk.

We have sales people who have not sold what they would like to have sold by this point in the month. If what they have been doing up to this point is not producing the kind of results they desire, how long will they continue to do what is not working until they finally realize that something needs to change in order to produce the results they want? Sounds like a tongue-twister.

No matter the industry you are in, the circumstances you find yourself involved with, the odds placed against you, or more, you must change your approach if you want different results. If not, you will get more of what you have been getting. So, if your relationships are not what you’d like, change your approach. If you are not selling like you should or could, change your approach. If you are unhappy in an area of your life, change your approach. Too often we feel others are the problem, when really it is in us that is time for a change.

A Simple Acknowledgement

I find it interesting when dealing with adults, especially adults in any form of professional capacity. When we were kids, our Moms would butt in to a situation and say “what do you say?” when they wanted us to say thank you for something. This would also be a code phrase when they wanted us to say excuse me, I’m sorry, or some other form of basic courtesy to another human being. Simply said, they were teaching us to acknowledge a situation.

When someone stops to let us cross the street, we wave and smile in acknowledgement for their yielding. When we walk into a place of business and someone employed there motions to us that they will be with us momentarily, we nod our head or say thank you in acknowledgement. When someone sends us a text or an email with some sort of information or direction, we respond in some fashion to acknowledge the message. When someone asks if we are ready, or if we are OK, we might give a thumbs up as an acknowledgement as well.

I can only come up with 3 reasons why someone wouldn’t acknowledge another person. First, it is plausible that they feel superior and find no need to express the common courtesy to someone they feel is socially beneath them. Second, they are intimidated with the message or the person, so they feel avoiding it is the best possible solution, which we all know never ends well. Or third, their Mom never taught them the importance of a simple acknowledgement.

When Sparks Fly!

So, from time to time, in business, sparks fly among the employees. If people are disrespectful, racist, sexist, demoralizing, condescending, etc., I will immediately have a real problem with it. But on the other hand, if the cause for the concern is a good dose of passion, and the other negative factors I mentioned are not part of the equation, I see it as good.

When the store is staffed full of passionate people, sparks are bound to fly from time to time. Usually people are passionate because they care. That is certainly better than dead fish that don’t care. When an employee wants to give his or her customer a great experience, they are passionate. When an employee wants to be sure the transaction is legal and ethical, they are passionate. When an employee is good at what they do, they are passionate. And , when an employee thinks another employee does not care, they can become extremely passionate.

I personally have an amazing team that truly cares for the guest and for the business simultaneously. They care that they themselves are treated fairly, and at the same time the guest is treated as royalty. They often feel respect for their fellow coworkers and think of many of them as their own family. This fact also makes each of them proud to be a part of an amazing team.

When we surround ourselves with passionate employees, the sparks are bound to happen. However, it is up to the management team and myself to ensure a fire does not break out from the sparks. So, let them fly, but be willing to air the concern in private and be quick to restore all relationships quickly.


Hi, Nice to meet you . . .do you want to get married?

So, in sales, it is always about the relationship. I am followed by many new people on a regular basis on the business social media, LinkedIn. It never fails to amaze me, that after 10 seconds of accepting a follower, they send a private message trying to sell me their product or service. I literally delete the message immediately and never consider their offer. It is analogous to meeting someone for the very first time and saying, “my name is so and so, would you like to get married?” How ridiculous?!?!

If you want to sell a particular product or service, get to know your prospect. Find out how you could truly benefit them, not just sell something and benefit yourself. The more time you spend getting to know someone, the more they will like you (assuming you are not annoying, have good hygiene, good manners, and are genuine). The more they like you, the more likely they will buy from you. YOU. MUST. EARN. IT!

No one wants to be surprised with your great offer. We don’t like it when someone jumps out of the bushes at the mall and tries to evangelize the lost, because it is out of place. No one likes a cold call at dinner time promising a free cruise, because it is out of place. No one meets a stranger and suddenly wants a lifelong commitment of marriage, because it is out of place. Consider the relationship the next time you want to “sell” someone on your product or service, because as for me, I do not want to “get married” if it is all about you.

What if a Celebrity Walked In?

Imagine yourself at your place of business, and suddenly a celebrity walks in. What happens next is simply amazing. All of the staff have a heightened awareness of every move the person makes. There is a sense of wanting to make the person feel comfortable. The celebrity is called by their name and offered a beverage. Extra customer service is given. More smiles are present. Everyone in the facility shows respect and gives attention to the celebrity’s every need.

WHAT IF! What if we treated each guest as if they were a HUGE celebrity. What if, when a normal unassuming person walks through the door, everyone employed at your place of business treats that guest as if they were the biggest celebrity ever?

Soon, and very soon, there would be such anticipation from the public to visit your place of business based on word of mouth advertising, that you would have to expand. People from all over would want to work there. You would be surrounded by employees who genuinely care to make each guest feel like a King or Queen.

So, what are we waiting for? If we make each guest feel like a celebrity, soon enough we will be elevated to one ourselves, as people love other people who make them feel important.

Long Live the?

So, as my family and I were out for the evening, I was taken back by a young girl who stopped to hold the door for us as she was exiting and were entering a building. Then it dawned on me; why on earth would that stand out? Have we have truly forgotten what good manners look like? It seems that most people are so self absorbed, have their face stuck in their phone, oblivious to others around them, simply don’t care, are grossly narcissistic, or – ALL OF THE ABOVE.

I remember a day, when I was younger, that it was normal to say please and thank you. It was normal to yield to someone else. It was normal to give up your seat for a woman or an elder. It was normal to hold doors for those coming after us. In fact, if you did not do these things, you were seriously looked down upon. Now we live in a world where if someone is polite and holds a door, we find it odd and certainly the anomaly.

Let’s get back to being the difference makers. There should not be an expiration on good manners. The good people of the U.K. say “Long Live the Queen”, because they know at some point it will end and they are trying to prolong the reign. We should not be saying “Long Live Good Manners”, as if it too has an expiration.