Steve Ferrante's High Performance Blog for Sales/Customer Service/Leadership Champs and Progressive Professionals!

As a long-standing resident of Planet Earth, no doubt you’re familiar with the expression “Rise and Shine”.

Well I’m here to set the record straight once and for all…

The expression has been bantered about likely as long as folks have been sleeping, a very long time indeed.

In the literal sense, “Rise and Shine” means ‘get your butt out of bed and be lively and energetic’!

So, are most folks doing that? More personally, are YOU doing that? If you’ve been working somewhere you’re not particularly enthused about after you rise then the odds of you ‘shining’ there are quite low.

Sadly, countless companies across the globe are populated by the walking dead… zombie employees dragging themselves through the day. All rise, no shine.

Often, the problem stems from a poor corporate culture lacking effective leadership.

More on that here > Eight Great Practices for Creating a Winning Team Corporate Culture

In any event, with regards to high “Pinnacle Performance” achievement, the expression itself is backwards…

One does not merely rise and shine.

A living testament to this, I was rising for years and wasn’t shining much at all. It simply doesn’t work like that.

To truly shine, you must first be excellent at what you do. Once you master your craft you will ‘shine’, and once you do, you will most certainly rise to higher levels of success.

When you truly ‘shine’…

Your customers will notice (You’ll improve relationships and increase sales)

Your team will notice (You’ll set the winning example for all)

Your employer will notice (You’ll stand out and position to promote)

So please, don’t rise and shine… Shine and Rise!

Make a Great Day!

Steve

Former Apple CEO, Steve Jobs, said, “People with passion can change the world.” A bold statement for sure, but perhaps you’re not looking to change the world. Perhaps you’re just looking to create a more successful business. Then does passion really matter? In short, yes – and quite a bit at that.

What is passion? According to Merriam-Webster Dictionary, passion is “a strong feeling of enthusiasm or excitement for something or about doing something.”

Do your team members have a passion for their work? More importantly, do you?

Consultants who study high-performance organizations and high achievers (conspicuously raising my hand) will tell you that passion and success go hand-in-hand. It’s no great secret that many folks have little to no passion for their work. They consider their work little more than a paycheck and their No. 1 goal is getting through the week to cash out and receive it.

As the above quote suggests from legendary football coach Vince Lombardi suggests, Mr. Lombardi was quite serious about passion and enthusiasm with his players. He knew that passionate, enthusiastic players would possess the magnetism to drive each other to give it their best to succeed. This same contagious “magnetic effect” is also true in the workplace and, when properly managed, can power your business to new levels of success.

Sadly, the average business typically has many more unmotivated, unenthusiastic employees. Often poor management is the root cause of the problem with uninspired managers demotivating team members with their disengaging behaviors and lack of on-the-job enthusiasm. However, a poor or weak manager should be no excuse for each employee’s personal responsibility in delivering excellence (PRIDE) on the job.

“Put Some Zip In Your Do Da!” is one of my favorite Pinnacle Performance maxims and for good reason… it is the fuel of high performance! We all have that daily “Do Da” we do, but all too often there’s little zip in it.

The fact is that positive attracts positive in all we do. A positive, upbeat attitude typically influences a similar positive response in your customers, co-workers, and everyone else you interact with. Conversely, a negative or poor attitude repels, typically influencing a similar negative response from others.

High achievers in sales or customer service demonstrate zip with their upbeat friendly tonality, never sounding bored or tired. This is especially important on phone interactions where only 30% of communication is what you say (content) and 70% is how you say it (tonality). Simply put, to engage callers (and turn more into customers) you must be engaging.

Your outward appearance also says a lot about your “Do Da.” High level politicians up to the President of the United States are coached on body language and how to present themselves to the public because we the people expect leaders to look a certain way.

Leaders (that people want to follow) and successful folks in general are not those that look like they’re carrying a heavy burden and dragging themselves along day after day. We’ve all seen those sleep-walking Sally’s at work. To quote Aerosmith, their “get up and go must have got up and went.” A sweet emotion interacting with these folks it certainly is not.

For your selling/customer-service/ life purposes, recognize that people naturally gravitate toward people who are successful and conversely avoid failure at all costs. High-achievers project zip with an energetic pep in their step, good posture and a can-do demeanor that delivers a message of confidence and success.

Test Your Passion

It’s not hard to assess your passion and/or those of your co-workers on the job. Refer back to that opening definition: “a strong feeling of enthusiasm or excitement for something or about doing something.” Is that how you feel about your work?

Passion is all about engagement. Those with true passion are “fired up” for and at their job. They are positive, look forward to their work, have high energy, and their time there seems to fly by. Those with little to no passion are negative, dread Monday mornings, bring no energy to their work, and their on-the-job time seems to crawl by as they count the minutes until they can run away from it.

Obviously, one of these folks is far more productive than the other.

It’s not about your products or service…

As I advise my many market-leading clients in the tire/auto service industry, a successful (high-achiever) employee’s passion is rarely, if ever, tires or working in a tire/auto service business for that matter. However, they must have a passion for customer service, a passion to serve, a passion to help others, and above all, a passion to succeed. This applies to any type of business.

You may be thinking, “My work is not special. I’m only a salesperson, a customer service rep, another worker bee. What do I have to be passionate about?”

How About Being the Best at What You Do?

You may not have a deep-seated personal passion for the products and/or services that your business sells, and that’s okay. You should, however, have a passion for your profession and to be the very best you can be in your role.

As a sales or customer service representative, that means having a passion for selling and helping potential customers purchase your products or services, providing the best in customer service and exceeding expectations.

If you don’t have a passion for being the best at what you do where you are currently doing it, then you’re probably in the wrong job and positioned for failure or, at best, mediocrity. In other words, if you can’t do your job with passion then you probably shouldn’t do it all.

Face the fact that you’ll never achieve the level of success you are capable of achieving without true passion – you are costing yourself and your business – and move on. For when you follow your passion, success will follow you.

Steve Ferrante

Santa Claus Is…

As you’re likely aware, there’s a large jolly fellow in a red suit coming to town soon. As usual, Santa knows if you’ve been naughty or nice this year and, with the rather remarkable record-keeping tracked by his trusty team of elves back at the North Pole HQ, your presents in his sleigh (or lack thereof) will reflect his character assessment. 

Not sure how you fared this year? 

A great place to start is in the mirror with a comparison of yourself against the Santa Claus profile (in image below) as published in 1912 by Edwin Osgood Grover in The Book of Santa Claus.

I believe there is a Santa Claus in all of us, some folks just need to adjust their self-focus to see him. After-all, like proper sales and customer service, true Christmas spirit is not really about us; it’s about helping and giving to others. 

Ho Ho Ho!

Steve  

The occasion of Thanksgiving gives us the opportunity to be thankful for what we have but being grateful should not be limited to the fourth Thursday in November.

From a business perspective, practicing an attitude of gratitude means letting customers know how much you value and appreciate their business.

Since starting Sale Away 13 years ago this month, I have asked literally thousands of sales and customer service associates in many dozens of businesses all over North America if they appreciate their customers and, predictably, I always receive the same response; “Of course we do!” Then I ask them the real question… How do your customers know?

The sad reality is quite often customers really don’t know or, more importantly, feel appreciated. Often, employees assume customers know they’re appreciated because they regularly thank them at the end of a given interaction. That’s great but true displays of customer appreciation are about much more than a token “Thanks” at the end of interactions, they are heartfelt and consistent throughout the relationship.

Your customers (and potential customers) should always feel that you truly care for their personal well-being. This begins with treating them like human-beings and being grateful, not just because they’re interested in your product or service, but rather for the relationship or opportunity to help them.

Cultivate the habit of being grateful for every good thing that comes to you, and to give thanks continuously. And because all things have contributed to your advancement, you should include all things in your gratitude. ― Ralph Waldo Emerson

Although Thanksgiving is the time of year this sentiment is most talked about and expressed in others, true gratitude is not a seasonal affair. Your attitude of gratitude should be practiced year round for there is much to be thankful for.

Always keep in mind (and heart) that when a customer purchases a product or service from your business, even if the transaction did not involve you, the customer is indirectly paying you. For, without them, there is no paycheck – no job – no business to be had.

As the title of my Pinnacle Performance Training poster below reads.. Always Be Grateful.

Maintain and Attitude of Gratitude

It is human nature that as we settle in over time we “get used to” everything. When the company, your fellow team members, and customers become part of your daily routine it’s easy to lose the appreciation we had when these ‘good things’ were new to us. 

Of course, we don’t want to lose these things (our job, customers, etc.) to come to our senses and appreciate just how important they are! 

In order to not lose our sense of appreciation as new things become familiar to us, we must live in the moment and maintain an attitude of gratitude. This is easier said (or written about) than done. It takes a conscious effort where we mentally count our blessings and don’t allow ourselves to take the most important ‘good things’ for granted.

On the job, this takes true customer-focus.  You must not become complacent and go through the motions but rather execute with purpose and sincerity.

Of course, it’s not only what you say but what you do that makes the difference. Spontaneous “Thank You For Your Business” cards, follow-up calls to thank customers for their business and ensure they’re happy after the sale, random acts of kindness and consistent acts of exceptional service go a long way towards demonstrating genuine appreciation and gratitude.

Speaking of gratitude, I would be remiss if I didn’t Thank You for making it all the way to the end of this article. I appreciate your effort and wish you all the best for success!

Steve

Your Time Is Now

It’s true.. time does indeed fly by.

As a Generation X’r, I find it mind-boggling every time I hear a 1990’s song that has somehow become “Classic Rock”!

Everyone starts the week with the same amount of time:  7 days, 168 hours, 10,080 minutes, 604,800 seconds.

High-achievers, what I refer to as ‘Pinnacle Performers’ in my training business, maximize their performance and ultimate success by effectively managing their time.

 

High-achievers don’t waste time.. they take advantage of it and set out each day with a clear purpose and goal. Sounds easy, but all too often fine folks start the week with good intentions and then time goes by, life gets in the way, and those goals get postponed or fade away. 

Most folks are reactive, waiting for success to somehow come their way. High-achievers are pro-active, diligently working to create their success. As I wrote in Why Champions Don’t Have Time To Procrastinate high-achievers demonstrate a sense of urgency and face challenges head-on and typically excel at overcoming challenges to reach their goals.

We cannot go back in time. Except perhaps these folks…

Time traveling aside, those 24 hours a day are in your control. You can spend them wisely and advance or poorly and stay where you’re at or decline.

One thing is certain, there is only so much time to be had and all of it will go by.. quickly. What you do NOW will determine if it was time well spent or not at the end of the day.

Your Time Is Now Action Plan:  Make a Great Day!

I have a problem with the expression “Have a great day” and so should you. While it’s safe to say the intent of the expression is not meant to be malicious in any way, adhering to this advice can indeed harm your productivity.

Specifically it’s the “have” part I take issue with. The definition of have is to possess, own, or hold. “Have a great day” is passive and implies that this “great day” is already there… you just need to have it. 

If someone said to you “Have a great sandwich”, you would likely respond “Thanks… where is it?”  

One does not simply have a great sandwich… it must be made first. The same is true of a great day. It does not somehow appear… it is created.

Have a great day is well received by those reactive folks who are waiting for success to happen. Some days they end up in the right place at the right time and Presto! they have a great day.

As honored educator Marva Collins said, “Success Doesn’t Come To You, You Go To It”. Make a Great Day is for proactive performers that truly understand this, take charge of their actions and control their destiny. They create success… they create great days

If you’re in sales, customer service or a progressive professional in general, Make a Great Day is some of the best advice I can give you.

If you’re a manager, I encourage you to instill this winning attitude in your team members.

So, by all means, don’t have a great day…

Steve

AMERICAN PRIDE!

Celebrating the birth of our nation with some American Pride!

Have a Fantastic Fourth!

Steve

Often confused with National Barbecue Day, Memorial Day is the day we honor the military heroes who paid the ultimate price for our country.

While leaders in business do not typically risk their lives for the mission of their organizations, there is much we can all learn about leadership from those in the military that did.

Here are the top leadership traits possessed by military leaders accompanied by a relevant image quote:

  • Work Ethic / Preparing To Win

no-secrets-to-success

  • Commitment / Discipline

I cannot trust a man to control others who cannot control himself.

  • Honor / Integrity

Duty, Honor, Country. Those three hallowed words reverently dictate what you ought to be, what you can be, what you will be.

  • Self-less Service

Ask not what your country can do for you — ask what you can do for your country.

  • Perseverance / Overcoming Adversity

George-Patton-Success

  • Responsibility / Accountability / Lead by Example

true-courage-norman-schwarzkopf

  • Execution with Precision / Attention to Detail

When you are in any contest you should work as if there were – to the very last minute – a chance to lose it.

Whether you’re a manager in your organization or not, adhering to the traits of our military heroes can help you achieve greater levels of success!

Saluting those who gave all for our country. 

Steve

To varying degrees, we all face challenges. High-achievers view challenges not as roadblocks but rather as obstacles they must overcome to succeed. In essence, they turn obstacles into opportunities. 

With that in mind, the short video below is a trailer for a book I recommend,“The Obstacle Is The Way: The Timeless Art of Turning Trials into Triumph”. It features how Ulysses S. General Grant overcame major obstacles to gain victory at The Battle At Vicksburg.

 

The morale of the story..

Make a Great Day!

Steve 

Welcome to Monday. A clean slate. Everyone starts this week (and every other week) with the same amount of time:  7 days, 168 hours, 10,080 minutes, 604,800 seconds.

High-achievers don’t waste time.. they take advantage of it and set out each day with a clear purpose and goal.

 

Most folks are reactive, counting the days and waiting for success to somehow come their way. High-achievers are pro-active, making the days count and diligently working to create their success.

One thing is certain, time will pass.

What you do with it this week will determine if it was time well spent or not come Sunday.

Make a Great Day!

Steve

On this holiday marking the birthday of Mr. King, timeless advice for aspiring Pinnacle Performers..

If you can’t fly then run, if you can’t run then walk, if you can’t walk then crawl, but whatever you do you have to keep moving forward. ― Martin Luther King Jr.

Make a Great Day!

Steve

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