Sharon Drew Morgen

What Should Coaches Be Listening For?

A coach’s job is to facilitate potential change, usually by asking questions to identify the components of the problem and decide between solutions while reinforcing the changes and maintaining a trusting relationship. To achieve the excellence that all coaches seek, it’s necessary to avoid the listening filters that could prejudice the interaction, such as:

Bias. By listening for specifically for elements of the stated issues – problems, hopes, missing skills or motivation – a coach will merely hear what she/he recognizes as missing. If there are unspoken or omitted bits, if there are patterns that should be noticed, if there are unstated historic – or subconscious – reasons behind the current situation, the coach may not find them in a timely way, causing the coach to begin in the wrong place, with the wrong timing and potentially creating mistrust with the client.

Assumptions. If a coach has had somewhat similar discussions with other coaches, it’s possible that s/he will make possibly faulty assumptions or guesses that do not take into account the coaches specific, historic, unconscious, and certainly idiosyncratic challenges.

Habits. If a coach has a client base in one area – say, real estate, or leadership – s/he may enter the conversation with many prepared ways of handling similar situations and may miss the unique issues, patterns, and unspoken foundation that may hold the key to success.

As I write in my new book What? Did you really say what I think I heard? the problem lie in our brains. Once we listen carefully for ‘something’, we restrict all else that’s possible to hear as our brains interpret the words spoken according to our bias, often missing the client’s real intent, nuance, patterns, and comprehensive contextual framework and implications.

To have choice as to when, whether, or how to avoid filtering out possibility, we must disassociate – go up on the ceiling and look down – and remove ourselves from any personal biases, assumptions, triggers or habits, enabling us to hear all that is meant (spoken or not). In What? I explain how to trigger ourselves the moment there is a potential incongruence. For those unfamiliar with disassociation, try this: during a phone chat, put your legs up on the desk and push your body back against the chair, or stand up. For in-person discussions, stand up and/or walk around. [I have walked around rooms during Board meetings while consulting for Fortune 100 companies. They wanted excellence regardless of my physical comportment.] Both of those physical perspectives offer the physiology of choice and the ability to move outside of our instincts. Try it.


About the Author

Sharon Drew Morgen is a visionary, original thinker, and thought leader in change management and decision facilitation. She works as a coach, trainer, speaker, and consultant, and has authored 9 books including the NYTimes Business BestsellerSelling with Integrity. Morgen developed the Buying Facilitation® method www.sharondrewmorgen.com in 1985 to facilitate change decisions, notably to help buyers buy and help leaders and coaches affect permanent change. Her newest book What? www.didihearyou.com explains how to close the gap between what’s said and what’s heard. She can be reached at [email protected]

Jeffrey Gitomer

What investment in your business are you REALLY making?

‘Return on Investment’ (ROI) in business is predicated on the ability of the company to deliver as promised in product, profit, and its accompanying service.

It’s amazing to me that everyone measures ROI to the penny, and no one measures ROS (return on service) at all.

Most companies are too busy pissing their money away on customer satisfaction surveys when they could eliminate the survey costs, and spend half of that money training people to improve service, and measure the only three things in business that matter: repeat business, profit margins, and referrals – all the rest of the ‘satisfaction’ process is an empty waste of time and money.

Let’s get real here, when J.D. Power gives the customer satisfaction award to an airline, what could the category possibly be? Least crappy?

The object of service is to be so amazing that one person tells another person, or one person posts to their Facebook account, or both. How’s yours?

The key to profitable repeat business and unsolicited referrals is to create genuine word-of-mouth, and word of mouse about the company, the products and services, and especially the people.

ROI REALITY: Do you want to deliver service that’s satisfactory or remarkable?
ROI REALITY: Do you want to deliver service that’s satisfactory or memorable?

Return on service can take place in any part of the business. Here are the most prominent examples:

  • Provide positive attitude training for everyone in the company
  • Provide specific and customized empowerment service training for everyone in the company (what is EACH employee allowed to do and say to a customer?)
  • The receptionist or telephone operator. This is the customer’s first point of contact and sets the tone for the entire transaction.
  • Ship an order error free and backorder free. Get them what they want fast and seamlessly.
  • The delivery and arrival of a customer shipment. Packaging determines image, and the condition of the contents upon arrival proves their worth to the shipper and the care of the shipping department. A HUGE part of re-order consideration.
  • The accounting department people. Accounting can play a major role in customer loyalty. The way they talk to an account, the frequency of error, their accuracy of invoicing, and the common courtesy they may display when someone is late making a payment.
  • Damned automated attendant. No one on earth wants to hear their telephone call answered by a computer, yet every major company in the world employs these godforsaken things. There has to be a better way, and the person that creates it will make billions.
  • The speed, accuracy, and outcome of handling a complaint. Complaints go WAAAAY beyond one customer. They go all the way to social media.

You must perform REMARKABLE or MEMORABLE service for:

  • Following up and thanking customers for an order
  • Following up and making certain that the service call went perfectly
  • Making certain that everyone on the inside of the company is well rewarded, and well thanked for a job well done.

And for those of you who still possess an ounce of skepticism about ROS after these truths, here are some additional ‘return’ elements to consider.

Many Happy Returns:

  • Return on training. Especially for front line people.
  • Return on morale. Internal happiness creates customer happiness.
  • Return on leadership. The leader sets the tone and the attitude BY EXAMPLE.
  • Return on friendliness. All things being equal, people want to do business with their friends.
  • Return on getting the job done ahead of schedule. Real profit created by exceptional team effort.
  • Return on wowing the customer. Priceless. Period.
  • Return on accuracy. Beyond a good feeling all the way to respect – and reorder.
  • Return on quality product. This is a given, but creates more word-of-mouth than any other single forum.
  • Return on positive social media posts. Social media is the new “satisfaction” survey or report.
  • • Return on value messages offered to customers on a consistent basis. Weekly value-based messages to customers create life-long desires to stay connected.
  • Return on using voice-of-customer in YouTube, blog, and Facebook video posts. When you say it about yourself it’s bragging. When someone else says it about you, it’s proof. Video proof is the new proof.

Big companies hammer their entire workforce to make certain that their customer satisfaction scores are high or higher, when they could be (should be) creating an internal training program that begins with the word wow, and progresses upward from there.

Reprinted with permission from Jeffrey H. Gitomer and Buy Gitomer.


About the Author

Jeffrey GitomerJeffrey Gitomer is the author of The Sales Bible, Customer Satisfaction is Worthless Customer Loyalty is Priceless, The Little Red Book of Selling, The Little Red Book of Sales Answers, The Little Black Book of Connections, The Little Gold Book of YES! Attitude, The Little Green Book of Getting Your Way, The Little Platinum Book of Cha-Ching, The Little Teal Book of Trust, The Little Book of Leadership, and Social BOOM! His website, www.gitomer.com, will lead you to more information about training and seminars, or email him personally at [email protected].

Customer Retention: Stop Rolling the Dice

Banking on a steady stream of new business can be like gambling away your future. It’s a well-established fact that customer retention can yield a huge return—yet companies still struggle to make it happen. Doing things like creating a more positive customer experience right from the start and identifying the root issues that cause customer churn can ensure a stable and prosperous future.

Below is an infographic from Sparked that illustrates the dangerous mindsets companies have that ultimately lead to churn and a significant loss in profit.

BPM Process Methodology

Click here to view the complete infographic.

Jeffrey Gitomer

Tough sales issues, and not so tough (but not so easy) answers.

The 3.5 biggest issues facing salespeople today are:
1. Price integrity.
2. Customer loyalty.
3. Fighting hungry competition.
3.5 Quality, attitude, and belief of the salesperson.

These issues manifest themselves in BOTH lost sales that you could have won and lost profits that you could have earned.

Tough questions:

  • What are you doing to fight price pressures?
  • What is your sales team doing this year to dominate the market and the competition?
  • What is the perceived difference between you and the competition?
  • What are you doing to create real value for customers and prospects in your sales presentation?
  • What are you doing to build more value-driven, loyal relationships?

And the age-old question:

  • Where’s the beef? (AKA: Where’s the proof YOU are the best buy?)

The key success answers lie in:
1. Value offered by the salesperson vs. value perceived by the customer. Ask yourself: What am I doing to TRANSFER my value message so the customer receives it AND believes it to be valuable?
2. Reputation of the product, the company, AND the salesperson. Ask yourself: What is my TOTAL reputation and how do I continue to build it?
3. Proof of product, service, value, quality, and outcome – social and video testimonials. Ask yourself: How am I using “voice of customer” as both social proof and video proof to win customer confidence and sales?
4. Depth of customer relationships, both with the salesperson and the company. Do they just ‘like me’ and still ask me to bid or quote, or do they just call and order? Ask yourself: Am I still bidding on business, and waiting to be told I won?
5. On-going, on-demand weekly training and reinforcement to both help and support salespeople in the field or on the phone. Real-world, web-based training available on all mobile platforms. Go to www.gitomerVT for an amazing example. Ask yourself: What type of training am I offering that actually HELPS my team improve and make more sales?
6. Sales tool support. Easy answer: www.aceofsales.com – this program is a differentiator and a difference maker. Besides amazing emails and email magazines, Ace of Sales offers hundreds of graphics and optional scripted emails and subject lines for every salesperson. Ask yourself: Do my emails look exactly the same as my competition? Why have I not tried Ace of Sales?
7. Leadership support. Encourage and GO WITH your salespeople on sales calls. Coach them; don’t manage them. Don’t just lead by example; set the standard. Ask yourself: What would it take to become known as the BEST place to work in the city – and become known as the BEST boss to work for? Create real attraction!
7.5 Google in and Google out. You (and everyone on your team) should Google the customer and their company to do research before the meeting. HINT: The customer is Googling you as well. Ask yourself: How is my online presence and reputation affecting sales?

MAJOR CLUE: It’s not just one or a few of these answers, it’s ALL of them.
MAJOR CLUE: These answers don’t just happen. You make a plan to make them happen, and then execute the plan.
MAJOR CLUE: The quality of salespeople and willingness of management to help and support are more than half of the answers.

To gain a better understanding of what CAN be done, here are the sales psychologies behind the strategies and answers:

  • The first sale that’s made is the salesperson. If you don’t sell yourself, your product or service has NO chance.
  • The attitude and belief of the salesperson directly affect the customer’s decision to buy.
  • People don’t like to be sold, but they love to buy. Stop selling. Start finding motives to buy.
  • All things being equal, people want to do business with their friends. All things being not quite so equal, people still want to do business with their friends.
  • People buy for their reasons, not yours. Find out their reasons first, and get them to buy based on that.
  • The old way of selling doesn’t work any more.

Got issues? Or got answers?
The difference is your sales success and your profit.

Reprinted with permission from Jeffrey H. Gitomer and Buy Gitomer.


About the Author

Jeffrey GitomerJeffrey Gitomer is the author of The Sales Bible, Customer Satisfaction is Worthless Customer Loyalty is Priceless, The Little Red Book of Selling, The Little Red Book of Sales Answers, The Little Black Book of Connections, The Little Gold Book of YES! Attitude, The Little Green Book of Getting Your Way, The Little Platinum Book of Cha-Ching, The Little Teal Book of Trust, The Little Book of Leadership, and Social BOOM! His website, www.gitomer.com, will lead you to more information about training and seminars, or email him personally at [email protected].

Jeffrey Gitomer

I know you love your business. Do your customers?

What’s the ‘RAP’ on you and your business?

What do you mean you don’t know? YOU CREATED IT!

Just ask Mother Google. She is standing by with millions of info-bits and info-bites about you and your business that you (or anyone) can have in a nanosecond. For free.

What is posted about you (not what you have posted about yourself) on Google, or on any social media, is a reflection of how others perceive you. It’s also what others, who are looking for you or what you sell, may think of you once they find you. In short, it’s your ‘RAP.’

The old word is ‘rap sheet.’ It was a police term for a summary of what was factual about your past – your record of events – mostly bad. It was a forerunner to Google.

I am creating and redefining a new ‘rap sheet’ that encompasses both good and bad. It’s not just about ‘what was’ – your 21st century RAP sheet is about both ‘what was’ and ‘what is.’ And just like the old rap sheet – you create it.

Unlike the old rap sheet, the new RAP sheet can help you attract and grow IF you’re aware of your online presence and how that affects and impacts your sales and your business.

The new RAP sheet – or should I say the ‘RAP of sales’ – is broken down into segments that define the process by letter (R.A.P.) and once you read them, you will at once have an understanding and a game plan to improve in each area. You’ll also have insight as to why the new RAP on you can make or break your business.

Here are the RAP elements:

  • Reputation. Built slowly over time, your reputation defines your present situation and your next sale. It documents how you react, respond, and recover from service calls and issues, and it cements your image both online and in the customer’s thoughts. Your reputation is a reflection of your status in the business world, and a reality check from your customer’s perspective.

DO THIS: Take responsibility for your reputation, and take all necessary actions to build and preserve it.

  • Attraction. Not the ‘law of attraction’ – rather VALUE attraction. What value-based messages are you sending? What messages are your customers responding to? How are these messages creating a bigger, more responsive, more positive, more loyal customer base? Everything from daily tweets and blog posts to one-on-one customer interactions create your word-of-mouth and word-of-mouse attraction.

ASK YOURSELF: What’s attractive about me and my business? Why would a customer follow me? What do I have to do to create more positive followers?

  • Profit. Not your profit, THEIR profit. Make certain that every customer knows and understands how they win AFTER purchase, how they use and produce, and how they benefit and enjoy. Concentrating on customer value also has a positive internal effect. When customers are happy and feel valued, it creates a loyalty-base of customers AND employees. Profit is way more than money.

Here are a few companies you can look at as examples of good, mixed, and bad:
BAD RAP: Borders, Blackberry, Yellow Pages, AOL
MIXED RAP: American Airlines, Goldman Sachs, JC Penney, DISH Network
GOOD RAP: Amazon, Zappos, Southwest, Bloomberg

It’s easy to see the RAP of others. It’s often way more difficult (and painful) to see your own.

Here’s a bit more on how you create your own rap:

  • Your corporate and personal philosophy guides your words, actions, and deeds. Your philosophy is comprised of the principles you live by. Beyond your mission, it’s how you help others and how you live your core values.
  • Create a culture of comradery and support, communication and truthful information, service and response, and availability and helpfulness. Culture is your long-term essence. Your spirit. Look at all the companies I listed under ‘good rap.’ They all have amazing internal cultures. Not a coincidence.
  • Treat your people right and they will treat your customers beyond your expectations.

Reputation, Attraction and Profit are THE three words that define your business in the minds, responses, posts, and actions (including purchases) of your customers and prospects. Now that you know the words, their definitions, and their impact, it may be time to do a review – both internal and on Google. Identify your RAP, define it, and make whatever positive changes are necessary to build it.

Your RAP is out there – the question is: what are you doing about it?

Reprinted with permission from Jeffrey H. Gitomer and Buy Gitomer.


About the Author

Jeffrey Gitomer is the author of The Sales Bible, Customer Satisfaction is Worthless Customer Loyalty is Priceless, The Little Red Book of Selling, The Little Red Book of Sales Answers, The Little Black Book of Connections, The Little Gold Book of YES! Attitude, The Little Green Book of Getting Your Way, The Little Platinum Book of Cha-Ching, The Little Teal Book of Trust, The Little Book of Leadership, and Social BOOM! His website, www.gitomer.com, will lead you to more information about training and seminars, or email him personally at [email protected].