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

Posts tagged ‘pinnacle performance’

Never Mistake Activity for Achievement

Good Day Pinnacle Performers,

This next John Wooden MAXIM is one of the best of his best.

Never Mistake Activity For Achievement

Over my 25+ years in sales/sales management and sales/customer service training, I have witnessed countless sales and customer service people that confuse activity with achievement, many on a daily basis.

The fact is many sales and customer service people routinely engage in activities that keep them busy rather than focusing their efforts and attention on the behaviors that will move them forward towards greater success. They perform their going through the motions routine and have the outward appearance of  lots going on but, like running on the treadmill, tomorrow they’re no father along then they are today.

It reminds me of the wonder years coaching my kids soccer teams. During games, everyone would run around (lots of activity) but hardly anyone would score (achievement). At the end of the game everyone would feel like they worked their butts off and accomplished something but the score would reflect otherwise.

When you improve a little each day, eventually big things occur…. Not tomorrow, not the next day, but eventually a big gain is made. Don’t look for the big, quick improvement. Seek the small improvement one day at a time. That’s the only way it happens — and when it happens, it lasts. — John Wooden

This MAXIM ties in perfectly with the previously posted Ben Franklin Lesson 3: Stop Procrastinating! where I wrote about Managing Your Cash Flow Zone and the the difference between high-value and low-value activities

As I often say in training, there’s a difference between activity and prosperity. What will you do today to prosper tomorrow?

Make a Great Day!

Steve 🙂

Do Not Let What You Cannot Do Interfere With What You Can Do

Good Day Pinnacle Performers,

This next John Wooden Maxim ties in perfectly to one of the principles I preach and teach to my Pinnacle Performance clients; Focus On What You Can Control.

Excerpt from Wooden: A Lifetime of Observations and Reflections on and Off the Court:

When you get too engrossed in those things over which you have no control, it will adversely affect those things over which you do have control – namely, your preparation.

All too often, individuals get bogged down by things that are beyond their control. High-achiever Pinnacle Performers do not allow themselves to become a victim of competition, market circumstances, pricing or other external issues they cannot control that would otherwise undermine their productivity and results.

The reality of sales is you cannot manage your results. You can only manage (control) what you do to achieve those results.

You must be well-prepared, maintain the proper positive attitude, focus on your behaviors (Doing the right things) and your execution (doing the right things the right way).

By focusing on the things you can do you are maximizing your time and best positioning yourself to succeed!

Do Not Let What You Cannot Do Interfere With What You Can Do

Make a Great Day!

Steve 🙂

Be Quick, But Don’t Hurry

Good Day Pinnacle Performers,

Let’s kick-off the week on a high-note with the next John Wooden Maxim; Be Quick, But Don’t Hurry.

Excerpt from Wooden: A Lifetime of Observations and Reflections on and Off the Court:

“When you hurry you tend to make mistakes.  On the other hand, if you can’t execute quickly, you may be too late to accomplish your task. It’s a delicate but crucial balance.”

This little maxim has big meaning when it comes to maximizing your performance. Customers want you to be pro-active and “act quickly” to address their needs. They also want personal care and attention and, if you hurry this area, they won’t feel your behavior was sincere and you put the relationship at risk.

World class customer service pro’s maintain proper balance; quick in service but slow in interactions with customers. So, like a supercar, you must be “Quick” and responsive when needed and also properly paced “Don’t Hurry” when called for.

Wooden Be Quick But Don't Hurry

Walk The Path!

Steve 🙂

Customer Disservice… With a Smile!

disservice

There’s a lot of talk about the importance of providing quality customer service and superior customer experiences to improve customer loyalty and sales and, as you know if you’ve visited this blog before, these topics are a primary elements of my Pinnacle Performance training seminars and consulting practices. But, on the flip side, there’s relatively little dialogue about the aspects that turn customers off, harm customer relationships, and can ultimately have customers not only leave your business for a competitor but do so while complaining about your business to everyone they come into contact with.

Please allow me to provide you a very personal experience of my recent family vacation in sunny San Diego. I didn’t know it (or expect it) going in but left with plenty of examples of what not to do when providing proper customer service. First, please know I am removing the destination name we stayed at because this is not intended to slam them directly but rather to learn from their mistakes and ensure you’re not doing the same with your customers.

The first thing you should know is that this was not a bargain basement motor lodge. It is a high-end, “luxury resort” that advertises “first class” vacation experiences. Sounds wonderful… let’s go!

Traveling with another family, we required two separate suites. Using a special American Express promotion I was able to secure a desirable “free room upgrade”, a significant savings of $50 dollars per night over paying for the rooms without the AMEX card. On the online reservation return receipt I noticed that room upgrades (like the ones I just reserved) are “based on availability” so I promptly called the hotel for clarification and was told to call back a week before traveling out and they would reserve the room upgrades at that time.

Enter Patsy. Patsy and I had a wonderful conversation and she was most helpful saying that my room upgrades were “all set” and would be waiting for us when we got there. So we got there and, lo and behold, found that was only half true. Seems only 1 room upgrade is available, the other is not. Not particularly good news and certainly not what we were expecting. I explained my previous “all set” call with Patsy. The reply from the front desk employee? “Patsy is in reservations, she doesn’t upgrade rooms”. Let me see if I have this straight… Patsy is in reservations and she doesn’t manage reservations? You would think the person most empowered to manage reservations would be the person whose job is to interact with customers on their reservations line, right? Evidently, wrong. So much for being “all set”.

Lesson #1: Be Accountable.

A big part of delivering great customer service is assuming responsibility and standing behind your commitments. Saying it is not the important part. Doing it is. Sales and service professionals already have their work cut out for them to gain customers trust. Broken commitments are a warning sign of mistrust that can seriously jeopardize the health of the relationship. You will never see this type “it’s not her job” finger pointing at elite customer service establishments. They focus on making it right for the external customer not on who made it wrong internally.

Once settled in our suite we realized there was no silverware, glasses, plates or any other kitchen utensil in our kitchen. So we called the front desk. Remarkably, their first response was “many guests bring these household items with them”. We traveled across the country from Boston to San Diego with two kids and four suitcases. Did they actually expect us to pack and lug our kitchen items as well?

Lesson # 2: Never make your customer feel like they did something wrong.

 When a customer feels like their being accused of wrong doing they typically get defensive, annoyed and uncomfortable. Obviously, these are not the best emotions for positive customer relations. Never make the issue the issue, focus instead on what you can do to help the customer. Managed properly, the front desk employee should have replied with something like, “I’m sorry to hear that, we should have asked you upon reservation if you would like us to supply the kitchen with these items, I’ll see to it that this gets taken care of right away.”

In any event, after the initial inquiry nothing happened so a few hours later we called again. Each time the staff member on the other end of the line was polite, helpful sounding and ensured us it would be taken care of in short order. But, for the entire day, exactly nothing materialized and we were still completely utensil-less. So the next morning while staring at our dry cereal we decided to physically go to the front desk and seek redemption. Once again, the smiling staff member entered the information into “the system” and ensured us that the utensils would be sent over right away. A few hours later when (unbelievably) no one showed up I made the last call, the call that makes it clear that we are beyond displeased, have no faith in anything that is spoken to us, and asked what manager I should speak with when nothing happens after this call-in-progress too. That’s all it took to get some basic kitchen utensils at this “luxury resort”.

Lesson # 3: It’s not what you say, it’s what you do.

 The old adage is true; actions do speak louder than words. Many people think providing great customer service is about being friendly, polite and smiling a lot. While that’s essential it is only part of the total equation. You can smile all day but if you don’t fulfill your commitments and meet your customers’ expectations then the net effect is greatly diminished. Customers ultimately view the gestures as insincere, and you’ll end up with an unhappy customer.

Unfortunately, we experienced at least a couple more incidents of customer disservice that week. Clearly, there is a detrimental disconnect between what staff members are demonstrating/saying (behaviors) and what they’re doing (actions/execution) at this vacation resort. True world-class customer service can only be achieved with a proper unity between the two.

In closing, always remember this fitting Ben Franklin quote, “Well done is better than well said.”

Steve 🙂

Success Lessons From Zig

Good Day & Happy Holiday Season All,

As you may know, famed motivational speaker, author and man with the coolest name in the biz, Zig Ziglar, died on November 28th at the age of 86.

Over five decades, Ziglar authored more than two dozen books on salesmanship and personal ‘self-help’ development, emphasizing that success is dependent mainly on ones attitude and motivation, rather than educational aptitude or salesy schmoozing ability.

Regarded as one of the best motivational speakers of our time, Zig would regularly pack arenas to share his message of positive attitude, motivation and success through stories highlighted with short quotes that have become like commandments for success with his legions of followers.

Below are my favorite lessons from Zig that apply directly to my Pinnacle Performance teachings:

You Have To Start To Be Great

Zig - Start To Be Great

Expect The Best

Zig - Expect The Best

Your Attitude Determines Your Altitude

Zig - Attitude Not Aptitude

People Buy Emotionally

Zig - People Buy Emotionally

Be a Friend First

Zig - Be a friend

Motivate Daily

Zig - Motivation Daily

Help Others To Help Yourself

Zig - All You Want In Life

Make A Great Day!

Steve 🙂

More > Misc Brain Food

See All > Pinnacle Performance Quotes on Pinterest

Back To Business

Good Day All,

Hope everyone had a good long weekend and all is well.

With September upon us it’s time to end Summer vacation (even if only mental) and have a renewed focus on business.

Pinnacle Performance can only be achieved by those who are committed to continuous improvement and consistent personal progression.

Don’t wait for success to happen… Make It Happen!

Steve 🙂

 

Discipline for Success

Discipline is a fundamental component of success in anything in life.

Have you ever seen an athlete achieve world-class greatness without discipline to their sport and a commitment to working on their game and honing their skills? Champions rarely wing it.

Have you ever seen a seriously overweight individual get in shape without discipline to some form of diet and exercise? Most likely, no.

Sadly, it is rare to see the same level of discipline in sales and/or customer service reps. Sure, the consistent achievers (Pinnacle Performers) have it. But they are often the exception and not the rule.

Everyone wants success in their sales or customer service role. True performers achieve success by committing to continuously improving their skill set and performance.

I once had a trainee tell me that he didn’t like to role play (customer interaction scenarios) because he didn’t feel he was very good at it and he would be “a mess”.

Imagine telling your (pick a sport) coach that you don’t want to practice because you’re not very good at running the plays?  That’s the point of practice!

I tell trainees all the time, the program works if you work the program. All it takes is discipline.

Steve 🙂

Persist To Succeed

Good Day All,

The attached image shows just a few but many of the world’s greatest accomplishments never would have been achieved without persistence.

Right now, in a tough economy, there is much to challenge your chances of success. Consumers limiting their spending, reduced traffic in the stores, etc.  It is easy to fall victim to these external issues and lose your internal drive.

Persistence takes practice. It’s something you bring to work every day. Regardless of what your goal may be, you can only accomplish it if you persist towards it with daily focused behaviors.

Commit to moving forward every day, each another step of progress and one step closer to your goal and ultimate success.

Steve 🙂

View All Pinnacle Performance Quotes > Pinnacle Performance Quotes on Pinterest

Applying Stephen Covey’s Seven Habits of Highly Effective People for Pinnacle Performance

Hi All,

As you may know, Stephen Covey, author of “The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People” and three other self-help books that have all sold more than a million copies each, died today of complications from a bicycle accident in April.

One of my personal favorite personal development authors, Mr. Covey’s taught invaluable lessons and principles that have inspired me and countless others to improve both their professional and personal lives.

The following is an article I wrote that is based on the relation of champion performers and Covey’s most popular work, The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People.

Applying Stephen Covey’s Seven Habits of Highly Effective People for Pinnacle Performance

Stephen Covey’s Seven Habits of Highly Effective People are a simple set of rules for life – powerful principles anyone can apply to improve their personal productivity and performance.

In this article, we’ll overview each of the habits and how they apply to achieving Pinnacle Performance as a sales or customer service professional.

Habit 1:     Be Proactive ®

Covey states that this habit is the ability to control one’s environment, rather than have it control you, as is so often the case. This habit is in perfect harmony with one of my Pinnacle Performance Essential Elements of Extraordinary Service, “Responsiveness”. This element affirms that customers want their needs met with speed and purpose and service providers that take initiative and are proactive to their needs rather than them having to ask for assistance.

Habit 2:     Begin With The End In Mind ®

Covey describes this as the habit of personal leadership, the ability to lead oneself towards desired goals. In a meaningful way, this habit really is the foundation of my Pinnacle Performance teachings with focus on market-leading ‘world-class’ businesses and performers and how to apply their winning best practices and principles to individual efforts and the organization as a whole. In a nutshell, a sure path to achieving world-class performance is to begin with what world-class performance is, how it got that way, and then use that model to guide personal behaviors and those in your own organization.

Habit 3:     Put First Things First ®

Covey states that this is the habit of personal management and organizing and implementing activities in line with the goals established in habit 2.  This habit represents the execution elements of Pinnacle Performance. Too often sales and service personnel go through the motions and don’t follow any real process. Successful organizations and individuals recognize that success has a code and that by maintaining adherence to proven processes they can achieve their performance goals.

Habit 4:     Think Win-Win ®

This Covey habit is based on the principle that success is a natural extension of a co-operative ‘win-win’ approach over that of confrontational win-or-lose mindset. I see this all the time in sales organizations… Personnel try so hard to sell, to ‘close the deal’, that they lose focus of the most important person in the business relationship – the customer. By focusing on helping customers solve their needs/wants we properly position ourselves as trusted advisors (rather than salespeople) and create sustainable win-win relationships.

Habit 5:     Seek First to Understand and then to be Understood ®

This is Covey’s habit of effective communication. My personal favorite, this principle goes hand-in-hand with Pinnacle Performance. A chief component of successful communication is the ability to actively listen to what is being said first before responding. Too often sales and service personnel do not seek first to understand and instead push their agenda and alienate potential customers. The Pinnacle Performance Therapeutic Selling model aligns with this habit by positioning personnel to behave as doctors and diagnose first, then prescribe.

Habit 6:     Synergize ®

Covey says this is the habit of creative co-operation, the principle that the whole is greater than the sum of its parts. This is the glue of the Pinnacle Performance ‘winning team’ culture framework. Pinnacle Performance organizations recognize the sum of collective knowledge is greater than individual wisdom and they encourage information sharing and an environment of open communication where employees are comfortable contributing their feedback and ideas to improve performance.

Habit 7:     Sharpen the Saw ®

According to Covey, this is the habit of self-renewal, enabling personal growth and development. This is the reason many sales/customer service trainings fail, organizations conduct a one-time training and don’t continue to sharpen the saw. This is the reason most individuals are not Pinnacle Performers. They attend a training session and don’t continue to sharpen the saw. To truly create world-class performance and lasting success, you must consistently sharpen the saw with a disciplined and committed training regimen and personal continuous improvement.

For a pdf version of this article, click-on here > Applying Stephen Covey’s 7 Habits for Pinnacle Performance

The 7 Habits are registered trademarks of Stephen Covey.

Poor Wellbeing Is Killing Your Business!

Hi All,

Anyone familiar with my Pinnacle Performance training knows that we spend considerable time learning about market-leading companies and how, to the point of this post, building a winning team corporate culture leads to increased employee engagement and, ultimately, greater customer engagement and sales performance.

Well here’s a fantastic new article from the Gallup Business Journal that supports those principles and then some.

A Q & A wih Tom Rath and Jim Harter, Ph.D., authors of the bestseller Wellbeing: The Five Essential Elements, the result of decades of research into wellbeing.

Click-On Here To Open Article > Poor Wellbeing Is Killing Your Business!

Make a Great Day!

Steve 🙂

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