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

5-ws-of-service

Any sports coach worth his whistle will tell you that you must first learn, practice, and master the fundamentals if you’re going to be truly great in your sport.

That same philosophy is true of your business: your sales and service team needs to learn, practice, and master the fundamentals of customer service if you’re going to have a truly great service business.

Continuing the sports analogy, many businesses are playing without a good grasp of these fundamentals. They hope to win the game, but are not familiar with the playing field.

With that in mind, let’s take a look at the fundamentals of customer service by answering the essential “Five W” questions.

Read the entire article here > The Five W’s of Customer Service

Defying The Odds To Succeed

A big part of achieving success is overcoming the challenges and obstacles encountered along the way.

With average or poor performers these challenges and obstacles usually hinder progress and limit success. For high-achievers, challenges and obstacles are anticipated and met head on.

High achievers understand that either the obstacle wins or you do and prepare both mentally (commitment, discipline, accountability) and physically (practice, behaviors, execution) to breakthrough and succeed. 

Either The Obstacle Wins or You Do

With that in mind, have a look and listen at the great little music video below from the band X Ambassador for their hit song “Renegades”. The video showcases an amazing group of disabled athletes and daredevils defying the odds and doing things average people do not–including the band’s keyboard player Casey Harris, who happens to be blind as well.

 

Make a Great Day!

Steve🙂

Need More Inspiration? Check-Out Nothing Is Impossible

no fly zone

Not a very good morning here in New Orleans as I awoke to find that American Airlines cancelled my flight @ 10:50am and booked me on another flight @ 4:05pm.

Being a frequent flier, I understand these things happen and surely the airline had no malicious intent rescheduling me to another flight that would have me getting in some 6 hours later than originally planned.

Having been on the road all week and not wanting to miss another full day from the family, I took it upon myself to search flights and see if there was something that would have me home a little earlier.

The best I could find was a flight departing at 1pm, connecting in Charlotte, and arriving in Boston at 8pm. Although my flight out was from Manchester NH, some 50 miles away from Boston, and my vehicle is there, I thought this would be a better option than getting in at 10:30pm as they had re-booked me. So I called American Airlines customer service..

Enter AJ, customer service support extraordinaire. Or so I hoped. Initially, AJ was quite pleasant assuring me he understood my situation and would “do whatever it takes” to take care of this for me.

All it was going to take is a $200 change fee to re-route me to Boston from Manchester. I explained again that the original cancellation was not something I did, but rather they did to me, and that re-routing to Boston was actually adding to my inconvenience as I would need to be picked up and then have to retrieve my vehicle 50 miles away.

Suddenly, AJ transformed from “do whatever it takes” to “that’s the best I can do”, saying that “policy” restricted him from making the flight change without collecting the $200 change fee.

It’s worth noting that I am an American Airlines Rewards Member. Although AJ had my flight record with rewards member identification, this never came up in our communication and nothing resembling ‘rewards member’ consideration was given.

This is great example of how a business can let a policy get in the way and prevent taking care of the customer – in this case, me.

AJ’s transformation from customer advocate to customer assassin was a clear case of lack of empowerment. Ultimately, he was handcuffed by a corporate policy that prohibited him from doing the single most important aspect of his customer support job.. ensuring the customer receives proper service recovery for his or her  situation.

Sadly, this is not my first incident of customer disservice with American Airlines > Customer Disservice Lesson From American Airlines Seat 36F

Steve

 

 

Attract and Employ Top Talent

Having difficulty finding talented employees? Have a look at the engagement of your existing employees first.

Spending the last 21+ years in business consulting, the past 10+ in my own practice, I have heard the plea “we can’t find good people” countless times from business owners and/or management personnel. In fact, if you’re a business owner or manager, there’s a very good chance you have said this yourself at one point or another.

Of course, every business wants to attract, hire and retain “good people” but only the best businesses seem to do that consistently well. Why is that?

Read the entire article here > Creating a Winning Workplace to Attract and Retain Top Talent

Help People

Make a Great Day!

Steve🙂

Business Insider Article Worth Reading > KFC founder Colonel Sanders didn’t achieve his remarkable rise to success until his 60s

Harland Sanders

Recently I came across this cartoon…

Who Wants Change

I’m not sure who the artist is but the depiction bears an uncanny resemblance to a speaking engagement I had a few years back. I was speaking at an automotive industry conference at the beautiful Baltimore Marriott Waterfront. There were about 1500 people in the audience. I was on stage with a movie theater size screen behind me. About 5 minutes into my presentation, I put this slide up on the screen..

DO YOU WANT TO WIN

The sheer amount of people and the rally environment of the conference made this the loudest response I’ve ever heard in the many times I’ve used this slide as they seemingly all cheered loudly, many raising their arms/fists to demonstrate their support. After all, who doesn’t want to win?

Then, I said “Great! What are you doing about it?” Like someone pulled the fun plug, the cheers faded away, the arms went down, and the place fell nearly silent as I switched to this quote from Coach Paul Bear Bryant..

The Will To Prepare To Win

Having trained thousands of folks in dozens of businesses, I’m convinced most people want to be better. They want to win. However, few people turn that desire into action and make the necessary changes to succeed at at a higher level. I believe this is your single biggest advantage for success.

????????????????????????????????

When I talk with clients, and people in general, about achieving higher levels of success (“Pinnacle Performance”) they all want it. But, when we address the changes it’s going to take then I often receive halfhearted commitments or excuses. Finally, I discover who I’m really dealing with in the actions they take or, most often, do not take.

Ever heard of a New Year resolution? The research studies all conclude the same findings, approximately 80% of people that make a New Year resolution do not keep it. There are a number of reasons for this but they are all driven by self-discipline and a commitment to change.   

Now this ‘change’ principle is certainly not the latest in professional development advice. In fact, English literary James Allen published this famous quote in one of the most popular self-help books of all time, As a Man Thinketh, way back in 1902:

“Men are anxious to improve their circumstances, but are unwilling to improve themselves; they therefore remain bound.” — James Allen

Improvement, by design, is change. When you effectively apply this change principle to a organizations culture, where everyone is committed to continuous improvement, it is a very strong competitive advantage.

From 2007-2012 I conducted my “Strong Selling In A Weak Economy” seminar to dozens of organizations and associations. A popular program at the time, I would hear from many business owners on how they were trying to “weather the storm” and assuming a “bunker mentality” trying to make it through until the economy improved. I would ask how this was working for them and their business. It was not.

They all wanted to be better, yet they weren’t really doing anything about it other than trying to survive.  I would ask, “now that the economy has changed, what have you changed?” In most cases, nothing. I would point out how Einstein called this the definition of insanity; “doing the same thing and hoping for a different result”.

jim-rohn-change quote

So if positive change creates positive results then why don’t most people change? Here’s my top 3 reasons:

1) Change Is Hard?

There is no glitch in the Matrix.. That curious question mark at the end of this common statement is on purpose. The reality is change is only hard when you don’t know what and how to change. If you’ve been winging it, as a example, then “yes” change is hard. If you’re following a proven path then change is not easy, it’s just less hard, much less.

For instance, if you do not play the piano but were committed to playing really well, you wouldn’t buy a piano and just wing it. You would take lessons from a professional piano teacher who would help you change, with patience and practice, from an amateur to a professional yourself. 

You would recognize that in the beginning of your piano playing, like anything new, you would not be good and, very likely, would just plain stink. You would understand that this phase is a part of the learning curve on your way to mastering your skill.

If you understood all that and did persevere, you would be in the minority as the majority that try new things don’t succeed at them, much less master them. For them change is too hard. It’s much easier to retreat back to the comfort zone, so that’s where they end up. 

You gain strength, courage and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face. You are able to say to yourself, ‘I have lived through this horror. I can take the next thing that comes along.’ You must do the thing you think you cannot do. – Eleanor Roosevelt

2) Your Environment

If you’re looking to lose weight then it only makes sense that you would not want to frequent the local ice cream parlor or pizza pad. If you want to succeed in your role, you need to take the same approach. Build a supporting cast by surrounding yourself with folks that are committed to the same change (or changes) you’re trying to make. Distance yourself from the naysayers and surround yourself with winners.

HANG OUT WITH EAGLES

For businesses, this is a culture issue. If a company is looking to achieve higher levels of success (a change) but their people are looking to stay the same (no change) then, ultimately, the company will not achieve its goal.  

Leaders must continually communicate the case for positive change and how it is ‘good for business’. They must create a culture that embraces change and strategically replace those on the team that are stuck in their ways and refuse to change.

3) Procrastination

Statistically speaking, there will be a great number of folks that read this and insist it’s not really about them. They are the ones that want change. They’ve just been so busy managing their current affairs that they haven’t really had the time to focus on all this change stuff.

Now, for some of these folks, it’s just not that important. They’re simply not that committed. Their goals are really just wishes. If they happen, great! If they don’t, that’s okay.

For those people, good enough is good enough

For the others that say, “Heck no, it’s really important”, it’s often a matter of procrastination.

You can find my whole article on that here > Top 3 Reasons Champions Don’t Have Time To Procrastinate

I hope this article has changed you, even if just a little, to be better than before you read it!

Steve🙂

This article is also published on LinkedIn here > Your Single Biggest Advantage

Steve Ferrante is the Grand PooBah & Trainer of Champions of Sale Away LLC.  Through Pinnacle Performance Sales, Customer Service and Winning Team Culture training, speaking and professional development services, Steve creates positive change for success-driven businesses throughout North America. For detailed information visit Sale Away. Steve can be reached directly at 866-721-6086 ext. 701 or via email at steve@saleawayllc.com

As you likely heard over the weekend, Muhammad Ali passed away on Friday night at the age of 74.

A true Pinnacle Performer, Ali was considered to be the greatest heavyweight boxer of all-time.

In honor of the champ, here’s a collection of my favorite Ali inspirational quotes that tie directly into achieving greatness (Pinnacle Performance)

Ali_The Greatest 1

To Be A Great Champion

Ali

Ali-on-counting-situps

Ali on Training

He who is not courageous

impossible_is_nothing

Ali Make The Days Count

im-gonna-show-you-how-great-i-am

quote-live-everyday-as-if-it-were-your-last-because-someday-you-re-going-to-be-right

Ali 1942-2016

If you’ve been working in sales, customer service or just about any other professional services occupation for more than a week or so then you have likely come to the realization that you’re not the only one who does what you do.

In fact, there’s a very high probability that you’re one of many, an UN-monopoly in your marketplace, with many competitors trying to capture and serve the very same customers that you are.

So what’s your plan to stand out in the crowd?

As I advise all my Pinnacle Performance clients, if you look, sound and feel like your competitors in the eyes, ears and experience of your customers than their decision to do business with you will usually be based on price. If you’re looking to be the Walmart of your industry and can support high volume at the lowest price than this a fine path to travel.

On the other hand, if you’re not anticipating moving billions of dollars in goods or services, than I strongly suggest another path to prosperity; be different, be remarkable, be better, be worth more.

As I detailed here, being unremarkable is hurting your business.

ordinary pin

Most businesses and the sales/service people in them are perceived as ordinary and this contributes greatly to the ordinary results they realize. Of course, you’re not like most businesses or those average folks in them, right?

As I wrote in Would You Buy You?, YOU have a choice in the way you perceive yourself, manage yourself and, ultimately, sell yourself to others.

So take a good like at yourself and your business approach. How do you look, sound and feel from the customers point-of-view?

Remember, nothing perceived as ordinary is ever valued as something special.

Don't Just Be Another Brick In The Wall

Make a Great Day!

Steve🙂

Let’s LinkIn!

Steve Ferrante is the Grand PooBah & Trainer of Champions of Sale Away LLC., providing Pinnacle Performance Sales, Customer Service and Leadership training, speaking and professional development services to success-driven businesses throughout North America. For detailed information visit Sale Away. Steve can be reached directly at 866-721-6086 ext. 701 or via email at steve@saleawayllc.com

As I often say in my Pinnacle Performance Training, if you want to be better externally (at work/sports/life) then you must first be better internally by focusing on your personal development and the beliefs and behaviors that support success in your chosen endeavor.

All of this takes conscious self-reflection as to where you are, where you want to be, and what it will take to fill the gap between the two and achieve your goals.

With the hustle and bustle of our daily routines, few of us take the time to reflect on our past with consideration of changes to improve our future. Well here’s your chance…

The image questions below are some of my favorites from the thought-provoking site, Thought Questions. They do a great job of giving us meaningful things to think about.. what I call ‘reflection for progression’.

Keep in mind,  these questions have no right or wrong answers.  As they say, asking the right questions is the answer.

 

Thought Questions

Thought Questions 1

Thought Questions 2

Thought Questions 4

Thought Questions 5

Thought Questions 6

Thought Questions 8

Thought Questions 12

Thought Questions 13

Thought Questions 14

Thought Questions 15

Thought Questions 17

Thought Questions 18

Thought Questions 21

Thought Questions 25

Be Well

Steve🙂

See All of Steve’s Pinnacle Performance Quotes > Pinnacle Performance Quotes on Pinterest

Tag Cloud