Posts in ‘Sales and Marketing’

PrintThis is the first part of a 5 part series about What I Wish I Knew More About…Sales.  I will cover 5 different areas that we all confront in sales.  I hope you enjoy the journey.

Sales is not an attempt to convince someone of something. It has nothing to do with trying to talk someone into something. You are not even trying to get someone to agree to something.  Sales is about causing a new possibility to be present for another, such that they are touched, moved and inspired by that possibility. If the new possibility occurs this way, then the sale is made.”

Naveen Lakkur

President & CEO, Compassites

http://www.compassites.net/

Too often in today’s marketplace salespeople are too focused on making the sale solely on price.  Too often sales managers stress the importance of selling the value of their product or service and how they differentiate from the competition when they don’t really understand their marketplace.  Too often though, no one is listening to what the customers concerns are and creating an offer that inspires them to not only accept your product or service, but to continue to accept your offers in the future.

In today’s tough marketplace, many companies are taking the approach of gaining revenue and customer share by lowering their prices.  This might get customers in the door as you manipulate them with marketing blitzes and discount offers, but it won’t get them to stay.  The only way to build customer loyalty is through inspiration and the way to create inspiration is by involving your customers in how you do business.  The key in building and growing this relationship is by listening to your customers.  We salespeople tend to push our products or services to customers without first listening to what our customers concerns are.  By opening yourself up and allowing your customer visibility in to your business and simply listening to them will set you apart from your competition in the marketplace.  You have to learn to step back every now and then and take off our blinders so that you can create offers that are unique and specific to your client’s needs.  This in turn will create marginal value in your offer as it will be uncommon and more powerful than what is being provided by your competitors.

These types of interactions with your customers can spawn creative ideas within your organization in turn keeping you ahead of your competition and in turn growing your company.  Having open dialogues with your customers not only inspires them but it can also inspire those within your own organization as you work to create these new offers.  Over time, as you continue to have these dialogues with your customers and they begin noticing that you continually are able to take care of their concerns, you will start to build loyalty with your customers as they begin to see you as their trusted advisor.  This is when you know you’ve inspired your customers.  Inspiration coupled with customer loyalty is what makes small companies in to big ones.

Note:

Logo was created by Stacy Driscoll who is a freelance designer based in South Florida where she continues to provide her clients with innovative design solutions while continuing to grow her client base and skill set.  More of her work can be found at her website www.stacydriscolldesign.com.

The Balancing Act of Innovation and Revenue Growth

by Robert Driscoll on October 15, 2009

KuhnBalancingActWhat’s better?  Metered or flat-rate billing?  This question has been asked for as long as people have been transacting.  Do you charge on a per transaction basis or a simple flat monthly rate that allows your customers to use your services all they want?  Do you continue to innovate and possibly affect revenue growth?  Telecommunication service providers have been struggling with these questions for quite some time as they fight to gain market share.  There’s pros and cons for both businesses and customers.

Flat rate billing made it easier for the end user as it eliminated confusion every month on what they would be charged.  Remember how great it was when your local ISP offered a flat monthly rate for their broadband services or when your cell phone provider offered unlimited monthly calling and data plans?  No longer were you worried about overage charges. 

Now look at it from the standpoint of the provider, at&t for example.  While at&t’s  wireless revenue was up 15.8% for the second quarter in 2009 versus the second quarter in 2008, data services surged.  This month, at&t’s CTO, John Donovan, announced at the CTIA IT & Entertainment conference how their mobile data traffic has increased over 5,000 percent on the at&t network over the past three years with the introduction of the iPhone, netbooks and e-readers to name a few.  Most of these devices access the internet with unlimited data plans offered by the service providers.  Using the example of at&t’s iPhone, these customers tend to use 400 Mb of wireless capacity per month versus 40 to 80 Mb of wireless capacity per month with a typical smartphone user.  This surge in data traffic has overwhelmed the at&t network in certain parts of the country as was reported in a recent Los Angeles Times article even though at&t states that the network is “ample and sufficient”. 

What happens when you neglect your service for the sake of growing revenues?  Eventually it will lead to a defection of customers as some analysts are stating will happen to at&t if or when it looses its exclusivity agreement with Apple to carry the iPhone.  If you neglect your service and your customers, as AOL did when it failed to upgrade its dial-up customers to broadband during the tech boom, it’s just a matter of time before your business erodes as providers who continue to innovate and listen to their customers will not only grow their customer base but their revenues as well.  It’s a fine balancing act for businesses to continue to innovate and grow its revenues, but one that should be managed properly and not overlooked.

Listen for the action, test the speak

by Guy Ralfe on October 8, 2009

 Coordinate ActionHave you noticed how people come out of meetings and they question if someone that they were meeting with understood them or was telling the truth? I hear this often after meetings around negotiation when trying to find common ground or negotiating the way forward on projects. Our “bullshit” senses are triggered when we notice an inconsistency between what is spoken and what is done.

In business today people seem to be busier than ever before. With technology so many more interactions take place on a daily basis than at a lifetime ago. People find themselves in many situations daily where people are making requests and offers to them. Due thought is not always given to each request and the committed response is often based on a mood or a perceived ‘right’ answer just to move on to the next interaction. What people are not doing is thinking about the consequences of these spoken answers. How much time, effort and trust it costs each time the requester and recipient leave with different interpretations and then perform inconsistently with each others’ expectations.

Michel de Montaigne wrote over 400 years ago –

The true mirror of our discourse is the course of our lives.

What we really believe and think at the time is truly expressed in the actions we perform afterward. The good news from this is that humans have been consistent at this for well over 400 years so we can count on it continuing into the future and it will be worth our efforts to improve our skills in this regard, as it will greatly increase the efficiency with which we can execute projects and negotiate agreements aligned with both parties concerns.

Recently I was in a conversation where a client was very dissatisfied about a particular product delivery and they wanted to quit the development project. The supplier also liked the idea of quitting as the fixed price scope had crept out of sight and costs were at three times anticipated with an open punch list still to be contended with. As both parties were about to close and agree to walk away the supplier mentioned that they could have the components uninstalled in an hour, to which the client suddenly gasped out “why do you want to do that?”. While this startled the supplier it quickly became apparent that the spoken commitment by the client was very different from the actions that would have taken place had the conversation ended before the suppliers declaration of action.

This conversation ended well because the supplier declared the consequential action of the request, which avoided what would have been a very tense, and likely costly situation had the supplier just acted as he thought he had agreed.

Here are 5 tips to try in future engagements to build trust, coordination and efficiency:

  • Listen more – the more people speak the more consistent they will speak in terms of their true concerns
  • Repeat the request – when making a request ask the person you have made the request to, to tell you what they heard and/or what actions they plan to take.
  • Ask more questions – about the importance, value, action to be taken from the counterparts perspective
  • Always make an assessment of the moods – lookout for moods of resigned, despair, indifference, overwhelmed
  • Check-in informally – truths are often revealed in different settings and surroundings

There is a lot of posturing and politics in the marketplace, but one thing you can be certain of is that people act for what they truly care about. You don’t see people doing anything they do not care for. So always listen for the action.

whisperAll companies have politics, but how you handle them can make or break your career.  In a sales organization where the atmosphere can be intense and stressful, politics within this segment can make or break a company if not handled properly.

There are the “How To Play Office Politics” rules, such as:

  • Surround yourself with other ambitious colleagues in your organization and build a strong network of help.
  • Find a good mentor.
  • Ask for help and reciprocate.
  • Perception is more important than reality.

And the list goes on.  Politics is something we can’t avoid, but in a sales organization, it is important to minimize it and instead work on having your sales professionals foster and build not only their relationships within your organization, but more importantly, their relationships with their customers to help grow the business.  Office politics can distract your sales professionals from focusing on their goals when they should instead be making offers in the marketplace to your customers.  Reducing politics within a sales organization and creating a clear vision for your salespeople can be done by:

–          Setting goals for your sales teams in a timely manner

There is nothing worse for salespeople to sell in to a marketplace without understanding what their goals are.  If you want salespeople to be productive, give them their sales goals sooner than later and have them be realistic.  Include them in this decision making process and get their input as well to help provide a line of sight that they understand and believe in.  If you’re late in providing sales goals to your team, you will quickly de-motivate them and they will lose trust in you as you are unable to keep your commitments to them.

–          Be clear on your compensation plan

Don’t complicate the compensation plan for your salespeople.  Unless you have multiple products and/or services with different margins that require a different payout for each, try to keep your compensation plan as simple as possible.  Salespeople should be focused on selling and not on trying to decipher their compensation plan.  If you have to change your sales goals or your compensation plan, reveal the reasons for the decision.  If you hide the reasons why their compensation plan has changed or you are unable to provide a clear understanding as to why  it changed you will start creating an us versus them environment.  Be open and honest.

–          Measure and publicize performance data

Salespeople tend to respect what is being measured and publicized for their peers to see.  Not only is it important to measure and publicize it, but meet with your salespeople on a regular basis and tell them how they are performing against their goals.  Provide constructive criticism that will help them grow.  Beat them down and disrespect them and they will not respect you or their goals.

–          Eliminate back-office tasks for your salespeople and let them focus more on selling

Sounds  obvious, but a report done by the The Dartnell Group in 1992 showed that salespeople only spent 50% of their time selling with the remainder of their time traveling and/or waiting for and doing paperwork.  In 2007, a survey done by Robert Nadeau of Industrial Performance Group found that this figure had dropped to 38 percent.  Granted some of the other 62 percent is spent on account management and relationship building with their existing customers, but too often it’s dealing with internal processes and procedures (i.e. correcting billing errors, dealing with internal processes/procedures to get pricing or contracts approved).  With companies expecting more from their employees today and demanding they take on more responsibilities, this figure may continue to fall.  Eliminate some of these responsibilities from them by either automating some of the processes or hiring extra help.  Free up their time to meet with their customers and sell.  It will pay off in the long run.

Sales success also depends on intangible factors that are difficult to quantify such as the salespersons ability to build relationships and connect with their customers.  Salespeople are a major factor in determining if an organization will fail or succeed.  Eliminating as many barriers for them and creating an environment where their input is valued will minimize the politics and in turn create a powerful sales organization.

How hurtful is your product or service offering?

by Himanshu Jhamb on October 5, 2009

hurtAs an entrepreneur, whatever product or service that you sell, it is critical to look at not only how it helps your customers; but also to look at how it might hurt your customers. Most of the offers that exist in the marketplace end up being ordinary and have little value associated with them, because they end up “hurting” customers at places which have serious consequences for them. The “hurt” can be of different types (and depending on what the level is, it hurts the marketability of the product or service) and you want to stay as far away as possible from the one that comes with the serious consequences for your customers.

Here’s a little personal story of mine: I recently bought a new bed frame from one of the discounted retail stores. It was a beautiful wooden (brownish) frame; both my wife and I loved it. While my wife strolled around to the other parts of the store, I walked around the bed inspecting it and marveled to myself how it’d look in the room we were thinking of putting it in. While I was mentally playing taking this beautiful piece of furniture home, I heard my wife call me from the other aisle. As I started walking towards her casually; I felt a sharp pain under my kneecap and immediately sat down. That’s when I noticed that the bed had a protruding part on the corners of it (the corners where the legs would go) which could easily go unnoticed (Hello?) and “hurt” people. Suddenly, the beauty, the wooden frame and the comfort vanished from my mind and all I could remember was the “hurt” that I felt from my little accident with the bed frame and how “dangerous” it could be for people in the house. The product (or service) called “The bed” immediately lost its marketability with me, its customer.

While you are designing your product or service for providing the fantastic help that it’ll provide your customer, be sure you give a thought to how it might “hurt” your customers. While one can argue that it’s impossible to come up with a product/service that is “Perfect” in all aspects and causes no “hurt”, one can surely design it in a way so that the “hurt” is kept to a minimum. Here are a couple of levels of hurt to consider while you think of the design of your offer:
1. Fundamental Hurt – This is what I call the “Deal Breaker”. This is the hurt that will instantly kill any marketability of your product or service. It wouldn’t matter how aesthetically tasteful your product is; it wouldn’t matter how practical it is or how valuable it is. If your product or service hurts a fundamental concern; it will, in all likelihood, not be very marketable. My example, above fits the bill for “fundamental hurt”. The bed, regardless of how comfortable and elegant it was, was dangerous to the fundamental concern of my body. The moment that dawned upon me; the offer was outta-the-door for me.

2. Derivative Hurt – This is something that the customer sees as not impacting his or her core concerns and thus, is open to a cost-benefit analysis of whatever product or service it is that he or she is considering buying. It’s like your offer gets a Second-chance-at-least kind of hurt. This is where most of the “good” products or services fall in. They all “Cost” something (which obviously hurts the customer in a way since it eats into his or her resources) but if the Return is good, the Cost is viewed as more of an investment and the conversation suddenly centralizes around the ROI, and not just the “Hurt”. As an example, offers such as entertainment magazines and Television fall in this category. They provide customers with a sensation called “Relaxation” and “Fun” in return for the money and time they cost the customers.

When you are designing your products and services; look closely for what kind of “Hurt” they might cause your customers… and stay away from the “Fundamental Hurt” as much as possible!

It is the ROI, not the ROC, Stupid!

by Himanshu Jhamb on September 30, 2009

ROI ROCIn my earlier post on June 10, 2009 I shared an example of what ROI looks like. In this post, I am writing about if ROI is not seen as ROI, how your possibilities get killed even before you start to act on them. This happens when customers confuse the ROI (Return on Investment) with the ROC (Return on Cost).

ROI is a constitutive component of how we measure Value; so needless to say, it is a critical part of how we choose to transact (or not), in any situation. Then there is the Investment which is a critical part of the ROI. The biggest pitfall is how this shows up for your customers. Consider this example:

You are at the crossroads of your career. You work very hard at your job, day in day out… day in day out… day in day out… you get the picture. The more hard work you put in, the more of the same results are being produced (e.g. getting only a 2-5% raise year after year after year… ). There is no certainty of the promotion you’d hoped you’d get in your upcoming review. You met your goals, you fulfilled your promises and all that happens at the time of review cycle is you’re told the company did not meet its numbers so you’ll just get a 2% raise or worse, nothing at all.

At this point, you say “This is not working”. I need to go learn some new things. I need to look for where I can get more education… different education and with that you set out looking for it. Then you come across two choices; one education costs $20,000/year and the other $2,000/year. This is the crossroads at which you make a choice and the importance of this choice is huge because it will have an impact on perhaps your entire life.

The choice is made in how you think about this. Before I go further lets clearly distinguish that the “I=Investment” IS NOT “C=Cost”. Cost is usually thought of as something you have to pay in order to get something else RIGHT NOW. Investment is thought in the context of something you have to pay in order to get something bigger (than what you paid) in the future .

Most people look at the ROI as the ROC and that conversation closes the opportunity there and then. So, when you are talking to your customers about the value of what you are offering, make sure you CLEARLY bring forth that the price tag associated with your offer, is not a COST to them, it is, in fact an INVESTMENT, that they are making into a future possibility that will MORE THAN cover the investment they are making at that point.

If they still insist on looking at the “I” as the “C” ask them a simple question: “It is clear that you have considered the Cost of doing this. Have you considered the cost of NOT DOING IT!”

Try this in your next conversation. It works in bringing forth the ROI very clearly… and the results will show for themselves.

Is Open-Book Management Right For Your Company

by Robert Driscoll on September 22, 2009

open book management image_medOpen-book management (OBM) has been around for over 25 years since Jack Stack implemented it at Springfield ReManufacturing Corporation in 1983 and wrote, “The Great Game of Business”.  The concept is simple, yet implementing it can be overwhelming and it could be years before a company starts seeing significant results.  Some have called OBM the most important management trend in the country.  Others see it as a possible threat to their business as proprietary information is shared with employees that could be spread to rivals, and if business is bad, could be demoralizing to employees.

So what is OBM and why implement it?

Open-book management is:

Giving employees all relevant financial information about the company so they can make better decisions as workers.  This information includes, but is not limited to, revenue, profit, cost of goods, cash flow and expenses.

The basic rules for Open-Book Management are as follows:

  • Give employees training to understand the financial information
  • Give employees all relevant financial information
  • Give employees responsibility for the numbers under their control.
  • Give employees a financial stake in how the company performs.

Companies that practice OBM teach their employees how to read and understand the company’s financials and get them to think like owners.  Not only are employees focused on increasing top line revenue, but decreasing expenses that are under their control, in turn having a more significant impact on the company’s bottom line.  A study done by The National Center for Employee Ownership in 1998 showed that companies that implemented OBM grew 1.66% faster than their competitors, and 2.2% faster if the companies created an employee stock ownership program (ESOP). 

Simply providing your employees with an ESOP will not guarantee increased revenues or profits.  Think of how many companies that have done this with little success such as United Airlines, Enron and WorldCom.  Granted, there were several breakdowns in all of these companies, but most of them operated in the labor tradition where most executives believed their employees disliked their work, were task oriented and couldn’t think for themselves, worked for only pay and security, felt they needed to be closely monitored and told what to do.  In this type of environment it’s an us versus them atmosphere between management and the company’s employees. 

There are four critical steps if you are wanting to implement OBM within your company:

  1. Develop trust between management and the company’s employees.  Trust by management that their employees will make sound decisions with the information that is provided to them and trust by employees that their management is providing them with accurate information. 
  2. Determine what the critical numbers that need to be measured are, both on a macro and micro level, and create a line-of-sight for what the company is striving for.  This will help employees understand how they individually can impact the organization as a whole. 
  3. Eliminate the bureaucracy that can develop within organizations and in turn flatten it as much as possible to allow for employees to be heard, for information to flow more efficiently between management and employees and more importantly, for decisions to be made quickly.
  4. Both the company’s management and its employees need to be patient and persistent as improvements will not be seen overnight.  Both sides will also need to be diligent in ensuring that in order for OBM to continue to prosper and succeed, they must keep their commitments to each other in improving the company’s financials and work as a team.   

I’ve had the pleasure of working for a company that implemented OBM, Atlas Container Corporation, and when implemented properly as it was there, it is an amazing thing to see and be a part of.  OBM is not for every company, but in today’s tough marketplace, it is something that, in my opinion, every company should look at.

To learn more about OBM and how it might help your company, please visit the following websites:

http://www.greatgame.com/

http://www.inc.com/guides/finance/23178.html

No one wants to see your Demo

by Wayne Turmel on September 21, 2009

dreamstime_9754785I have bad news for anyone who does product demos over the web: No one wants to see them. Seriously. Once you realize that it will be much easier to sell your software.

To clarify: They might have signed up for a demo OR they might have clicked a box on your website asking you to please schedule them for one OR they might have even agreed to watch it to learn what you’ve got, but they probably “want” to see it like you “want” to go to the bank on a long-weekend Friday. The point is: Yes, it does serve an important function but it’s no one’s idea of fun.

Understanding what customers want in a demo is critical in changing the demos from time-consuming events that are a necessary part of the sales process to a step in a shortened sales cycle that helps customers get on with their lives and makes them glad they met you.

Here are some tips – I apologize for any hurt feelings:

  • Customers have only one question on their mind- “Can this thing solve my current business problem?. If the answer is yes, you’re on your way to a sale, if it’s no, don’t waste their (and your) valuable time. Ask plenty of questions before you start presenting, even if it means you never get to actually demo the product. And don’t take all day getting to the stuff they care about or you’ll lose them.
  • Buyers don’t care how cool your technology is This one is a little hard to take, especially since many of us doing demos built the products in question and are quite impressed with it ourselves. The genius of your algorithm or the glory of your GUI means nothing if it doesn’t help the customer in some way: either it helps  them generate more revenue, lower their cost or simply makes their job easier. Lots of us like to show off all the features because it’s “value added”. Since it’s not valuable unless the customer says it really is, in most of the cases it’s really “time added”, and not “value added”.
  • Don’t talk like a programmer Odds are that early in the sales cycle the person watching the demo is not as technically adept as you are. They are probably not even IT people – they’re in Finance, or Sales or even HR- whichever group is actually going to use it.  Use a “programmer-to-mortal” dictionary if you have to and use their language not yours.
  • They need to know you understand their issues Two things will help put them at ease.
    • Tell success stories that relate to their business. If they’re a small business, don’t just tell them IBM uses your product and loves it (they’ll think you’re too complicated and expensive). Conversely if you’re selling to a big enterprise, don’t just tell them about the little company that uses it (you won’t scale to their needs). Make your success stories relevant to their business.
    • Use their examples. If they are in HR, show them how to do the task they need done. Don’t use a sales example to the IT group. And if they call it a “screen” instead of an “interface”, you can too.

    No one signs up for a web demo with a Slurpee ,a  jumbo bag of popcorn and a comfy chair. They want their questions answered, their problem solved and their lives back. You probably have better things to do, too.  Stop treating demos as presentations and more like sales calls and you’ll go a long way in achieving the purpose of the demo!


    Wayne Turmel PicThis article is contributed by Wayne Turmel, the founder and president of GreatWebMeetings and the host of The Cranky Middle Manager Show podcast. You can follow him on twitter at @greatwebmeeting.

    5 Ways To Lose Your Customers and What Not To Do

    by Robert Driscoll on September 15, 2009

    purestock_1574r-0918.mediumToo often we talk about how to get more customers and what sales and marketing strategies work best in building a companies revenue and not enough on what your company might be doing to lose customers.  SAS, a leader in business analytics software and services, recently released an e-book titled, “How To Lose Your Customers In Five Easy Steps,” that addresses five common practices that lead companies astray in their quest to drive revenue growth.  They are:

    1.     Don’t collaborate.

    Too often within companies, product houses run independently and inadvertently compete with one another.  They focus on what the company should sell to its customers and not on collaborating with other business units or product houses within the organization in building holistic solutions that not only can address multiple concerns for your customers, but create uncommon offers that help differentiate you from your competition.  Collaborating internally, developing offers that have the customer in mind and being quick and responsive in making them available to them will give you the competitive advantage in the marketplace.  Be seen as a trusted advisor not only to your customers, but internally to your peers as well.

    2.     Don’t find out what customers value.

    Creating offers that are not customer-focused, but rather company-focused, will eventually alienate you from your customers.  Having conversations with your customers, finding out what their concerns are and then creating an offer specific to their needs will build value in your offer.

    3.     Don’t consider the customer experience.  Just push price and product.

    Selling in to the marketplace strictly on price is the fastest way to marginalize not only yourself but your company as well.  Some companies thrive on this business model, such as the WalMart’s of the world, but they are few and far between as their sales models are built on volume and razor thin margins with minimal room for error.  Not all customers are price-sensitive and are willing to pay a premium for a service that truly addresses their business concerns and eliminates breakdowns.  Develop these uncommon offers and watch their trust in you and your business grow.

    4.     Don’t measure anything.  After all, marketing is more art than science.

    Not understanding who your customers are in the marketplace is like a fighter who doesn’t understand who they’re going up against in the ring.  With luck and raw skill, you might win some deals, but in the end you will eventually lose as you continue to be unprepared for what lies ahead.  For businesses, it’s important to not only understand the simple analytics about your customers (location, revenue, number of employees, decisions makers, etc…), but also why they purchase from you and also from your competitors.  This will help you fine-tune your current offers as well as develop future ones that more effectively address your customers specific concerns.

    5.     Don’t worry about tomorrow.  Just focus on making this period’s targets.

    Don’t just focus on this month or this quarters revenue numbers.  Focus on the long-term prosperity of your business and your customers as well.  As stated further in the SAS e-book , “It’s time to adopt a comprehensive view of the customer as part of a continuum, not just a sale – and manage the holistic value of the relationship over time.”

    Let your competitors focus on price and creating “solutions” that address your customers concerns today.  In time they will lose as customers won’t see the value in their offer.  Create your offers to be customer-centric and specific to their needs both today and in the future and this will produce marginal value for you in the marketplace and in turn win you business.

    The Power Thank You

    by Mark Goulston on September 11, 2009

    thank-you-by-vernhart“Nine-tenths of wisdom is appreciation.”

    —DALE DAUTEN, NEWSPAPER COLUMNIST

    Clearly, there’s nothing wrong with simply saying “thanks” when someone helps you out. In fact, that’s usually the right thing to do. But if you stop there, your communication is merely transactional (you did something nice for me, so I’ll say something polite to you).

    Take Note: It’s polite, however it doesn’t touch the other person or strengthen the relationship between you.

    That’s why if you’re deeply grateful to someone who’s done an exceptional favor for you, you need to express that emotion by going beyond the plain words “thank you” and instead offer a Power Thank You™.

    When you do this, your words will generate strong feelings of gratitude, respect, and affinity in the other person. Here’s my favorite version of the Power Thank You™.

    It was inspired by Heidi Wall, filmmaker and co-founder of the Flash Forward Institute, and it has three parts:

    • Part 1: Thank the person for something specific that he or she did for you. (It can also be something the person refrained from doing that would have hurt you.)

    • Part 2: Acknowledge the effort it took for the person to help you by saying something like: “I know you didn’t have to do _______” or “I know you went out of your way to do_______.”

    • Part 3: Tell the person the difference that his or her act personally made to you.

    Here’s an example of the Power Thank You in action.

    Donna, a manager, speaking to a subordinate: Larry, do you have a sec?

    Larry: Sure. What’s up?

    Donna: Nothing. I just wanted to take a minute to thank you for handling the Bennett account so well when I was out of the office for my emergency surgery.

    Larry: Hey, no problem. I was glad to help.

    Donna: Actually, I’m sure it did create some problems for you. I know you were counting on taking your kids to the soccer semifinals and I heard from your coworkers that instead you spent the whole weekend in the office boning up on the details of the account. I don’t think many people would have rearranged their schedules so willingly—and I doubt that most people could carry off a meeting with Bennett as brilliantly as you did.

    Larry: Well, thanks. I was a little worried about it all, but I’m glad we pulled it off.

    Donna: Don’t kid yourself. You pulled it off. You made both of us look good, and you made a big score for the whole department. I’m very grateful, and so is the rest of the team.

    Donna could have simply said “thanks” in this situation, and that’s what most managers would do. If she had, however, Larry— although he’s an awfully nice guy—would have felt a little cheated.

    Why? If a person performs an extraordinary act of kindness or assistance and all you say is “thanks,” you create a mirror neuron receptor gap because emotionally you’re not giving back as much as you received. Saying “thanks” is better than nothing, but it’s not good enough.

    Donna’s Power Thank You™, however, made Larry feel totally mirrored. She didn’t just express appreciation; she also acknowledged Larry’s kindness, intelligence, commitment, and willingness to make a sacrifice to help other people. As a result, she strengthened her bond with Larry and gave him even more incentive to come through in tough situations.

    Notice, too, that the Power Thank You™ doesn’t just make the other person look good. It also makes you look good to everyone involved by showing that you have empathy and humility and that you care. It also shows that you can be trusted to give credit where it’s due—something that can win you important allies in a corporate world where people too often get burned by disloyalty.

    To make this an even more effective approach, offer your Power Thank You™ in a group setting if you can. The larger the audience for your words, the more striking their effect will be.

    Now that you know how to deliver a Power Thank You™, learn how to make a Power Apology™ – or give yourself a Jerkectomy™ …

    Book Links: Website: Just Listen | Amazon | Barnes and Noble | Borders

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    Mark Goulston, M.D., is a business psychiatrist who through his early career intervened with suicidal and violent individuals. This eventually led to his training of hostage negotiators for the police and the FBI. From this experience he developed an uncanny ability to get through to virtually anyone, and the methods he used form the basis of Just Listen

    Dr. Goulston currently resides in Los Angeles, CA.

    Click here to follow Dr. Goulston on twitter

    Image Courtesy: Vernhart on Flickr