How many of you have been approached at at networking function by someone and all you could think about is getting away from that person? I remember one such occasion where a guy selling vacation packages got into my personal space and really tried to sell me on the spot. Bad breath and all. I moved away and he moved closer. What do you think my first impression was? How many of you have made a similar mistake?
Ok, first lesson. Stay out of peoples personal space. This is easy to figure out. If the person keeps backing up you have entered their space. Respect that first.
Second you are not their to sell them something. You are there to build relationships with people who could possibly use your product or service or they may know someone who does.
So if that is the case then what should you be doing? Asking them questions about their business and get to know why they are there. When you have asked them enough about their business they will get curious about your business and ask you what they do. Now you can give them your elevator speech and if there is some mutual interest then you can suggest you have a coffee and learn more about each others business.
The biggest mistakes I see are people is they try to sell something before gaining any rapport whatsoever.
Network is about relationships and connection with others who have a strong desire to help others. When you show people that is what you are about you will find that people will go out of their way to help you.
I agree with you Vern.
I often think of winning sports teams that I was on or one of my favorite hockey, football or baseball teams. What the energy was like when we were winning. It is contagious and how it brought everyone together. We were like a band of brothers. My friends and I still talk about a baseball team we played on in our teens where we went 17 an 0. We never lost a game all year. We had a culture of winning. Corporate culture has energy. How does one create that kind of culture? First thing is being totally honest with oneself. I can’t tell you how many times I have talked to a business owner who said he has great moral at his/her company only to chat with the team who says it sucks. First thing is to take you head out of the sand and just be honest. It doesn’t mean you are a failure it just an indicator of opportunity.
Here is a great little article writing by Colleen Keenan on six questions to ask your team. If you have positive responses to these you are well on your way to a healthy corporate culture. Six_Important_Questions_To_Ask_About_Your_Team
Work on your corporate culture and watch you business start to be more fun.
According to the Harvard Business Review, 67 percent of customers who choose a new supplier said they were satisfied with their former supplier! On an average, most U.S. companies lose half their customer base every five years. So why would customers who are satisfied stop doing business with you? Well consider this – “Customers go where they are wanted and stay where they are appreciated”.
Varying estimates place the cost of acquiring new customers at six to ten times more than selling to existing customers. Losing customers can drastically affect your company’s reputation, credibility, referrals, sales, and profitability.
Seven Ways to Retain Your Valued Customers:
- Never assume you know what customers want – ask them! Customer surveys are a great tool for understanding customer needs and identifying innovative ways to solve their problems or exceed their expectations.
- Measure and reward customer satisfaction. If customer satisfaction is really a priority in your business, demonstrate this to your team. Develop a method to measure it, set goals for improvement and reward the team when the goal is accomplished.
- When you hire people to interact with your customers, make sure they possess good customer service skills like trust, empathy, flexibility and verbal communication proficiency. Each customer contact with your team is an opportunity to build your reputation or destroy it.
- Say Thank You. Sounds obvious but consider this. When was the last time you received a thank-you note from a company you do business with? This simple strategy can really make an impact and says a lot about your company and the value you place on customers.
- Stay connected with your customers – by phone, mail or email. While the frequency may vary, every customer should receive a ‘touch’ at least once per quarter.
- Make valuable customers feel more appreciated than non-customers or prospects. While new customers are critical to growth, make sure current customers get some VIP treatment. Programs, offers or specials just for current customers work well.
- Look for opportunities to sell multiple products or services to your existing customers – to create the perception of a one-stop solution provider. Research shows this builds loyalty and retention. It’s also a great way to increase revenue and profit!
Finally, make customer service everyone’s responsibility – especially in a small business where team members wear many hats. Train your team on customer service. From the receptionist to the delivery driver, your team will make an impression. The kind of impression they make is up to you.
Were you born an entrepreneur? Does it run in your blood? Can you become an entrepreneur? The answer to your question may be found at http://www.aboutbradsugars.com/?p=1259
We want team members who want to be involved. They put their hand up saying. “Yes I want to take that on.” They have to be proactive in being a part of the team that makes the business grow and innovate. Once they are keen to be involved it is up to us as leaders (remember as a business owner you are a leader whether you like it or not) we must make sure that everyone feels included. Think of any sport team. You have every level of talent. The top players who score the most points often get all the recognition. How do you think the players who really you can’t win without and in fact the stars wouldn’t be able to do what they do without their help feel if they weren’t included or didn’t feel appreciated? How hard do you think they would work feeling not appreciated? Simply make the gal who puts the grease in the wheel is just as important as the person who tunes the engine. Make sure all your team feels appreciated and watch your production go up. This does not include rewarding bad work habits or behavior thinking you might motivate these folks. Reward the ones who put the effort in and have consequences for those who float.
Plain and simple, people grow by making mistakes. Would you give your child grief and scolded them every time they tried to walk? Of course not so why do some business owners/managers give their team members grief and scold them when they fall down. They forget that they at one point in their careers had to learn this new skill and somehow believe that this new person should just know it. Someone said, “show me someone who isn’t making mistakes and I will show you someone who isn’t doing anything to improve.” When people try new things we need to support them in the learning and let them know that it is ok to make mistakes and it fact you will make mistakes. I remember the first manager I had who really embraced this concept. He encouraged me to make decisions and that he would support me and back me up all the way. That is not to say that if I made a mistake he would ignore it and in fact I did make a mistake or two and we had a long conversation about it and I learned from that experience and never made that mistake again.
If you own a business or you are a manager you must become a leader, a teacher, at coach of your people. You are there to bring them along not for some ego trip. You are a grower of people. Nurture them, encourage them, and help them in their development not hinder them.
Zig Ziglar said, “If you help others get what they want you will get everything you want.” Here is your opportunity to help someone else and by default help yourself.
Have a great day.
The fourth key to a winning team is to have an action plan. Nobody follows someone who is unclear as to where they are going and how they are going to get there. Think about it, when is the last time someone came up to you and said, “Hey lets go on a trip,” and you said, “to where”, and they said, “They didn’t know” and you said, “Ok?” The more clarity that you have as to your plan to reach your goals/vision/destination, the more likely people will see themselves reaching their goals, by helping you reach your goals. You see in the final analysis they are not working for you to watch you get rich while they toil away. So begin with the end in mind, we covered that in key number #2 the common goal (vision as well as smart goals, Specific measurable achievable result with a time frame) and then start to create the road map as how you will get there. Don’t get caught up in the idea that the plan is written in stone, it shouldn’t be. It has to have some flexibility because as sure as you are that you will succeed in your business, it will change and evolve. Some people start out in one business and in the end it evolved into a completely different business. The “A” team members really just want to know that you are capable of planning so they too can plan their lives. Stay tuned for key number #5
One last thing before I go, whether you like it or not as a business owner you are a leader. Get used to it!
There are tons of great books on leadership and team building. A great start is Brad Sugars book Instant Teams
Key # 3 is to have rules of the game. I like to put it this way. This is your sand box and you get to set the rules of play. These are not just things like, “no smoking on a job site or no bad language” or how many holidays you are entitled to, these are your values. These need to be all over your company, talked about at company meetings as a reminder and to drive them into the consciousness of the company and they should be part of your hiring process. Things like honesty, integrity, ongoing learning, fun, commitment to excellence, good communication amongst team members to name a few. Nothing will scare off a low integrity, dishonest person faster than being told they have to live up to a set of values. I see this as a two part process. Yes you need to have an employee handbook which does spell out things like holidays, sick days, what time you start and finish ect. The second part is what creates the culture in your business. Think of it as the boundaries of a football field and the rules of play. As long as you play by these values you can play in my game, which of course is your business! click here for a great example of rules of the game that help define your culture. One last thing before I go, if you don’t set the rules of play in your game, your team will and it won’t likely be according to your values.
Key number 2 is to have common goal. This answers the question, why would I come to work for or work hard for you? “A” team members have goals and want to know if by hooking their wagon to yours they can achieve what they want to. You see if your goal is only about you want and what you get… you will only the worst kind of employees applying. When I say the worst kind I am speaking about the “Duds” who don’t have a goal in site. Some of you are saying and I can hear you, if I hire a “A” person they will only up and leave after a while. First as long as they are getting value from your business they will stay and help and when they do leave and yes they might, at least you will have had the help of a first rate person. The other side of the coin is you have a dud who won’t leave and all they do is take up space and part of your budget…your money! For a little more on vision click here .
Summary: Be the strong leader you need to be and have a compelling vision to attract “A” team members.
There are six keys to helping you build a winning team. The first key is to have strong leadership. Ask yourself what are 9 characteristics of being a strong leader? Now rate yourself on those characteristics on a scale of one to ten, ten meaning you are the greatest (hint if you rate yourself as a ten you would default back to about a five because being full of yourself isn’t one of the characteristics… there is always room to improve. One is you suck, the fact that you do the exercise moves you above a one, so none of you should be a one) Now prioritize them in order of the importance that you give them. Now search out books, CD’s, DVD’s white papers (google leadership or buy Brad Sugars book, “Instant Teams” on the subject and study it putting one or two ideas in to play each day or each week. Watch as people begin to respond to you differently?
I don’t know where this originated from but it pretty well says it all.
“If you will change, everything will change”
Stay tuned for the other five Keys.