Recommended Resources – Little Black Book of Connections

Little Black Book of Connections: 6.5 Assets for Networking Your Way to Rich Relationships
by Jeffrey Gitomer

About the Book

Little Black Book of Connections by Jeffrey Gitomer provides practical, step-by-step methods for connecting with others in a wide variety of different roles including:

  • Superiors
  • Mentors
  • Co-workers
  • Customers
  • Vendors
  • Family and friends

As with his other books and numerous articles, Jeffrey addresses each communication challenge with a concise list of immediately implementable actions augmented by insightful tips for further improving individual performance.

Benefits of Using this Book

Connecting with others is the foundation of individual success. Without personal connections, we are unable to positively engage and influence those around us in a way that propels us to the achievement of our personal and professional goals.

StrategyDriven Contributors like the Little Black Book of Connections for its immediately actionable advice for creating meaningful relationships with others in a way that positively engages them to support the communicator. We’ve implemented many of the recommendations Jeffrey presents in his book to great success.

Jeffrey’s principles for connecting with others promote respectful engagement. Recommendations contained within the Little Black Book of Connections focus on positive relationship building through the offering of open, honest communications and meaningful value provision by the communicator.

Little Black Book of Connections provides immediately actionable methods for effectively engaging others in a positive, respectful manner making it a StrategyDriven recommended read.

Jeffrey Gitomer

Who or what is the cause of aggravation? Not you, of course!

It’s Saturday night around 6pm. Early dinner for Jessica, Gabrielle, and me.

We’re sitting in Carrabba’s Italian Grill in Charlotte. We’ve been customers at this location for as long as it has been there. Seen several managers come and go, seen hundreds of servers come and go.

This particular visit was pivotal because it may have been our last. Their 10-year consistency has been compromised at least three ways: 1. New bread – lower quality. 2. New croutons – lower quality. 3. New espresso – lower quality. They used to serve the best espresso in the city (Illy). But it seems corporate decided to remove all the machines and substitute with a lesser (cheaper) brand.

Same price. Lower quality. More profit. Not good for anyone but them.

And they’re not bragging about their new low quality. I guess they figured no one would notice. I was disappointed. Not angry or anything, I just had an expectation when we entered the restaurant that wasn’t met when we were served.

The manager happened by. I asked him about the sudden reduction in quality. He smiled, hemmed, hawed, and looked embarrassed that we “caught” them. He, of course, blamed it on ‘corporate.’ I asked him for an email address to voice my concern. He promised he would return with it. Never did.

As the manager walked by our table a second time, we heard him say, “Another aggravated customer.” He was referring to some people waiting to be seated. Did nothing about it. Sad.

REALITY: When a customer is aggravated, complaining, or angry, there’s a REASON. If you’re smart enough, empathetic enough, and willing enough, you can discover the reason, help the customer, resolve the issue, and prevent the same thing from happening again.

STOP READING AND START THINKING: I’m not just writing about Carrabba’s. I’m writing about YOU. You have customers that complain, don’t you? How do you receive the concern or the complaint? How is a complaint handled? What do you do about it? How do you turn it into a WOW?

Here’s what it is – and what it isn’t:

  • It’s an opportunity, NOT an aggravation.
  • It’s an opportunity, NOT a problem.
  • It’s an opportunity, NOT a complaint.
  • It’s a chance for WOW, NOT an angry customer.
  • It’s a chance for management to convert to leadership.
  • It’s a chance to get a positive post on Facebook.
  • It’s a chance for the customer to ‘tweet’ their pleasure.
  • It’s a chance to create a loyal customer.
  • It’s a chance to generate positive word-of-mouth advertising.
  • It’s an opportunity to prevent this situation from reoccurring.

GRIPE REALITY: Defensive response is the normal first reaction…

  • Blaming others.
  • Blaming circumstances.
  • Telling the customer how to talk. (“I’d appreciate if you’d calm down” rather than try to find the reason they’re angry.) Condescending comments by “customer service” people makes a mad customer more mad.
  • Don’t defend it. No one cares about the reason or the excuse.

If you really want aggravation, complaints, and anger to diminish, here are the elements you must possess and execute:

  • Attitude of acceptance.
  • Attitude of reception.
  • Attitude that’s willing to listen with the intent to understand.
  • Attitude of taking responsibility.
  • Resilience of manager or leader.
  • Ability to respond in a friendly, pleasant manner.
  • Challenge yourself not to make an excuse, blame someone, blame something, or make some snide remark.
  • Challenge yourself to promote positive internal communication.
  • Genuine gratefulness to help and serve.

LOYALTY REALITY: Every aggravation, complaint, concern, discussion, or question posed by a customer is a huge, FREE, opportunity to improve your business by a factor of WOW – and for little or no money.

And a bit more reality: when managers and employees turn over at a high rate, it’s not the ‘nature of the business,’ it’s the cheapness and policies of the home office. When you try to milk a nickel to save a penny,when you sacrifice quality just to increase profits, you lose employees, customers, goodwill and reputation.

Me? I’ll go away with a little bit of noise – others will just go away.
You? Document the issue, the resolve, the response, and the outcome.

These are the steps: Listen. Process. Think. Take responsibility. Question. Respond. Say something positive. Do something positive. WOW.

Train that.

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].

Competing on Service: Eleven Ways to Beat the Competition by ‘Hugging’ Your Customers

The U.S. economy is still in a deep funk, and for many small business owners that means business isn’t exactly booming. Forced to do more with much less, the small businesses that have managed to survive and even thrive during these tough times have recognized one important factor: You can’t always compete on price, but you can compete on service. And the best thing about great customer service is that providing it doesn’t cost you an extra penny.

When your competition is scrounging for customers, you have to hold yours close, and that starts with great customer service.

Today’s small business owners need to understand that cutting costs will not save their business. Remember, customers are concerned about their own financial security. When they walk into a business, they need to feel cherished and special. They need to be ‘hugged’ by great customer service. Customers don’t expect to get bottom-of-the-barrel prices everywhere they go, but they do expect to be treated with respect.

Great customer service doesn’t just happen. It starts with employees who have been trained in the science of service.


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About the Author

Edward D. Hess is author of Growing an Entrepreneurial Business: Concepts & Cases and is a professor of business administration and Batten Executive-in-Residence at the Darden School of Business, University of Virginia. He is the author of nine books, over 60 cases, and over 60 articles. His work has appeared in over 200 media outlets around the world including CNBC, Fox Business News, Dow Jones Radio, WSJ Radio, MSNBC Radio, NPR, Forbes, Bloomberg, BusinessWeek, CFO magazine, Financial Executive, Journal of Applied Corporate Finance, Big Think, the Washington Post, and Financial Times. His book Smart Growth: Building an Enduring Business by Managing the Risks of Growth was named a 2010 Top 25 Business Book for Business Owners by Inc. magazine.

Micah Solomon

Seven Secrets of Driving Customer Loyalty – and Profits

In these rough and recessionary times, it’s important to escape the commodity pricing wars and to find ways to strengthen the marketing backbone of your company. The most reliable and affordable way to achieve both these goals is by building a strong personal bond with your customers. Loyal customers see you as more valuable than a mere commodity purveyor, and can serve you as a powerful marketing arm, going out of their way promote and defend your company online and off – for free. Here are seven ways to get process started of building customer loyalty.

  1. Did you shine that doorknob? Research shows that customers remember the first and last minutes of a service encounter much more vividly – and for much longer – than all the rest of it. Make sure that the first and final elements of your customer interactions are particularly well engineered, because they are going to stick in the customer’s memory.

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    About the Author

    Micah SolomonMicah Solomon is the co-author with Leonardo Inghilleri of Exceptional Service, Exceptional Profit: The Secrets of Building a Five-Star Customer Service Organization (AMACOM Books) and President of Oasis Disc Manufacturing. His free online resource site for customer service advice is CollegeOfTheCustomer.com.