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

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!

Steveūüôā

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.

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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:

‚ÄúMen are anxious to improve their circumstances, but are unwilling to improve themselves; they therefore remain bound.‚ÄĚ ‚ÄĒ 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, ‚ÄėI have lived through this horror. I can take the next thing that comes along.‚Äô 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!

Steveūüôā

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!

Steveūüôā

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

Steveūüôā

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

For many business people, conference calls are a regular part of the job.¬†If you’re one of them¬†than this great little parody from the fine folks Tripp & Tyler¬†will certainly seem familiar to you.¬†

Make a Great Day!

Steveūüôā

Walt-Disney-it-takes-people-to-make-the-dream-a-reality

I have been referencing that great Walt Disney quote regularly to my training clients over these past 10+ years since I started Sale Away. To use Walt’s word, I have many examples of great ‘places’ delivering less-than-great, and sometimes just plain poor, customer experiences. ¬†This 2012 family vacation certainly comes to mind.

Sadly, this recent account has joined the my list of great places diminished by a disappointing customer experience. 

2 Tickets To Paradise..

To celebrate our upcoming 20th wedding anniversary we decided to leave our teenage kids home and take a long weekend to somewhere special that we had never been before.  After much research and deliberation we decided on the Waldorf Astoria Casa Marina Resort in Key West. As you can see on their site here, the place is just beautiful.

A gorgeous setting and that world-renowned Waldorf Astoria name set high expectations for a top notch customer experience. What could possibly go wrong in paradise?

Here’s a few examples that left us with less-than-happy memories:

 1) Special Requests

Preparing for our arrival, the Casa Marina emailed me a reservation confirmation with details on the resort and included a request on any “special occasion” that we may be celebrating on our visit. ¬†Using this “Pre-Arrival Assistance” form, I informed that we would be visiting for our 20th Wedding Anniversary. I fulfilled a similar request at the Casablanca Hotel in Times Square for our 15th Anniversary and fondly recall how we were welcomed appropriately (“Happy Anniversary!”) by the check-in staff and pleasantly surprised by a bottle of champagne and card in our room.

Apparently, this was ignored as nothing was ever mentioned or offered during our entire stay. I know what you’re thinking.. they never received the request. They would never ignore it and, in fact, had they received it then no doubt they would go to great lengths to ensure it was acted upon. That what I was thinking too but, as I later discovered, this was only the beginning of a troubling trend.¬†

 2) The Beach Incident

First off, if anyone ever asks you if you want to drive from Miami to Key West.. SAY NO. Anticipating a pleasant scenic drive for 3 or so hours, we decided to fly to Miami International Airport and drive to Key West. Ended up being¬†a 5+ hour mostly stop n’ go ride with plenty of time spent traveling traffic light to traffic light in, you guessed it, traffic. Of course, the resort awaiting us had absolutely nothing to do with our experience at this point.

Then, finally, we arrived.

After our surprisingly unceremonious check-in (see #1), all we wanted to do is relax so, after a brief room pit-stop, we visited the private beach.  Around 5:45 at this point, the beach was fairly empty with plenty of chairs and cabana beds available.  Not ones to pass up an opportunity to be extra cozy, we laid out on one of the cabana beds. I was dozing off rather blissfully when, not 15 minutes later, a resort employee abruptly asked us to get up so they could move all the chairs back for beach grooming later (not right then). I sat up in bewilderment.. there were easily a few dozen other chairs/beds spread about that they could of moved before even considering disrupting our peace. Not a good second impression of service..

3) Breakfast On Us

Our first morning there, we decided to walk the 1.5 miles or so down to Duval St. and had breakfast at a funky little restaurant there. Pretty good eats for about $40 with tip. 

The next day we decided to stay onsite and have breakfast at the resort. Upon checking-in with the hostess, she advised that their rather extensive breakfast buffet was included in the package I had already paid for when I made our reservation. Well now, wouldn’t that have been a nice reminder at check-in? “Mr. Ferrante, I see you have purchased the package that includes our buffet breakfast. It’s really great and served just around the corner in our main dining area with additional seating on our outdoor patio. The hostess will be expecting you. Enjoy!”

Instead of that, nothing.

It’s worth noting that I regularly stay at Marriott’s all over the map for business, and occasional pleasure, travel. I cannot recall the last time the check-in staff did not welcome me as a Marriott Rewards member and inform me of their free breakfast. The Casa Marina is part of the Hilton Honors program. I am a long-standing Hilton Honors member. Although my reservation had my HHonors number on it, my membership never came up and there was certainly no distinction between ours and non-members service.¬†¬†

4) We Don’t Give A Tweet

As I often do with poor customer service interactions, I broadcast the post below on Twitter and included the resort wondering if anyone was paying attention there.  

The next day after incident # 3.. 

Apparently no one was paying attention as no reply was received on either tweet. Compare this lack of response to my recent experience at the Marriott and it becomes painfully apparent that there is a valuable customer service component lacking at this establishment. 

Upon departure, I requested to speak with the resort manager to discuss our experience and, when he could not be found, the front desk employee cordially provided his business card. I emailed him, along with Hilton Honors customer service, a detailed account of our experience. When no reply was received, I forwarded the email to them again requesting feedback for this article. That was 3 weeks ago now. No reply has been received.

A beautiful place may bring customers in but their experience is what brings them back

The Gap Between Us  

The gap between a business and its loyal advocates is the experience customers have when interacting with the brand. Every service interaction will either add or subtract from the customer’s overall experience. If poor interactions outweigh the good ones, as was the case here, then the customer’s memory of their experience will be tarnished and the likelihood of securing their future business jeopardized.¬†

In most cases, customer service interactions come down to the employees tasked to deliver them and whether or not they demonstrate PRIDE on the job. 

Still, even when PRIDE is present, employees can be limited by the organization itself, not having a true customer service culture and/or not being properly trained on what to do (and how to do it) to effectively contribute to it. Reflecting on our time at Casa Marina, I suspect this played a major role in the service shortcomings we experienced. 

Ultimately, it doesn’t matter how nice your business looks if your service is substandard. As Walt Disney said,¬†People make the difference.

Steve Ferrante is the Grand PooBah & Trainer of Champions of Sale Away LLC. As producer and host of Pinnacle Performance Training, Steve delivers sales, customer service and winning team culture training, speaking and professional development services to success-driven organizations 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

This article is also on LinkedIn here

While having great products and services is certainly important, the results in any business are ultimately created by the people that represent your business and those products and services.

Those ‘people’ are your corporate culture and they, above all else, are responsible for the level of success your business achieves.

Truly great companies have great workplace cultures. So, if your company has everything but a great culture than you have everything but a great company.

If Your Company Has Everything But A Great Culture

This short video speaks to the importance of corporate culture and establishing clear values to support and guide proper employees behaviors.

tony hsieh culture quote

For more corporate culture, see my LinkedIn article here > Eight Great Practices for Creating a Winning Team Corporate Culture

Make a Great Day!

Steveūüôā

Steve Ferrante is the Grand PooBah & Trainer of Champions of Sale Away LLC. As producer and host of Pinnacle Performance Training, Steve delivers sales, customer Service and winning team culture training, speaking and professional development services to success-driven organizations 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

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