Wednesday, March 30, 2005

The Grump Factor

You are sitting at your desk, reading your email and open the latest missive from your boss. Once again the bonehead has come up with a new direction for your company. You clear your throat and ask the person next to you "Have you seen what the idiot has sent us now?." In the cafeteria you sit with your co-workers grossing about how stupid this company is. But this doesn't just happen today. Everyday you find yourself at odds with the management. And while you have always been a "good soldier" and done exactly what was asked of you, you can't help but let your feelings be known.

Or perhaps you are the more silent type. Sighing, rolling your eyes, and simply showing through your body language that you are greatly put upon.

You might think that if you are really good at your job, and you do everything that has been asked of you that you will remain, in the eyes of your employer, a valuable member of the team.

However, in these times of cutbacks, more and more employers are considering the "grump factor." Simply put, the grump factor is a measure of how difficult it is to deal with an employee. How grumpy you are.

Recently a Fortune 500 company had to make a 20% cut in their workforce. The management chose the people that were going to be laid off. Every single employee was a hard worker, in fact some off them were the best at what they did. Each employee tried to figure out why THEY were chosen? What was the reason that the more incompetent employees were left standing while they were let go? Was it that they earned more money? Was it a personal vendetta against them? Was it sexism or ageism? Each employee failed to look at where the blame lay. Which was at their own feet. In a discussion with the management they stated that they used the "grump factor." Employees that had a bad attitude were considered expendable.

Obviously when it comes time to downsize many factors are considered. But more and more employers want to work with people who are easy to deal with. Employees who love what they do, and show others that they love it. I am not talking about a saccharine sweet phony attitude, I mean a sincere joy.

When Barbara Walters is asked by young people "What do I have to do to get ahead?"
She tells them "Don't complain, don't whine. Just make yourself so good that they cannot let you go. And don't be afraid to get the coffee if they ask you to get the coffee."

Not sure if you're being perceived as a grump, take this simple test.

Do you find yourself very easily identifying problems with your company and/or co workers?
Do you share that information with others? (including family, friends , co-workers)
Do you discount possible solutions as unworkable?
Is your criticism a validation of your over all perspective?
Do you often hear others with similar complaints?
Do you lend a willing ear to their complaints?
Do you sigh, roll your eyes or otherwise display your negative feelings using body language or tone of voice?
Are your creating less because of your displeasure?
Are you late to work or meetings?
Do you resent helping others finish their work?
Are you waiting for a change to happen?
Has anyone pointed out your negative behavior?
Do you have "good reasons" to be unhappy at work?

If you answered yes to more than 3 of these questions you may be a grump. I can guarantee that you will limit your growth unless you work on turning your attitude around.

Today, look at the three things you like best about your job. Try and focus on the good. Let others see and hear your positive comments. Start turning it around today.

Wednesday, March 23, 2005

Reject their Rejection

I just had a conversation with a friend of mine who owns a very successful business. He was hoping to expand his workforce so he placed an ad in one of those online job listings. He said that he was getting one resume about every 10 minutes. He said that about half of them were qualified for the job. He then said "I am turning them all down." I was shocked. I knew he needed to expand his sales force. He just got through saying fully half of them met his expectations. Yet he was rejecting ALL of them. "Why?" I asked. "I want to see if they continue to pursue the work." " But you just told them that you were rejecting them." "I want them to reject my rejection! If they take 'no' for an answer, without some sort of followup they are not going to be the kind of sales force I need."

Are you accepting "no" from your customers? Or are you rejecting their rejection? Are you following up to find if there is any other information that you could provide them that might change their mind.

Now mind you, I am not advocating stalking your customer until they finally say "YES!" That would be a bit creepy.

But, if you really feel that you have a product or service that meets their needs why not take it a step further. Without being pushy, ask if they need anymore information about you or your product or service.

Reject their rejecting and see what happens! Let me know!

Monday, March 14, 2005

Gratitude, the gift that keeps on giving

Last night I was watching Boston Legal, and at the end of the show an announcer said "thanks for watching ABC" I was floored! Now maybe all television shows thank you for watching them, but I don't think so. But as I thought about it, they all should be thanking us. We are the reason they get to go to work everyday and we have a LOT of choices what to watch these days.

Last week an automotive sales consultant in my class said that he always thanks his customers for coming in. I didn't get the sense that this was a perfunctory "thanks", but rather a sincere expression of gratitude. And when you think about it we all should be grateful for our customers.

Gratitude is the gift that keeps on giving. Think about a time when you did something nice for someone and they didn't say "thanks!" You didn't need them to say thanks in order for you to feel like you did a good deed. You know that what you did was kind or thoughtful. You needed the thanks to know that they "got it." But the loser was really the person who didn't say thanks. It meant that for what ever reason they were not able to really get the fact that someone did something nice. Gratitude feeds us by allowing us to see the good around us. The more we can express gratitude, the more we are able to notice the good and then feed off it.

Your customer might liked to be thanked for coming in. In fact I am sure they would. But do you think that you also might treat a person differently if you felt grateful to them? I know I would.

And wouldn't your day feel better if you spent a few minutes in the morning thinking of ten things you are grateful for. Wouldn't that change your attitude?

I am grateful that you have taken time to read this blog. Let me know what you are grateful for!

Monday, March 07, 2005

Give to Get Back

I just read an article about Miuccia Prada, the men's clothing designer in the March issue of GQ. She said "Everybody wants love for themselves. I hear this all the time from the women I work with. I hear them say "I want, I want", I never hear them saying what they want to give." Now you might be thinking, great Laurie, I thought this was a sales blog, how does a fashion designer talking about women's love lives have to do with me and selling? Good question. Well, in the 18 years I have been training sales consultants I generally hear" I want more sales, I want more customers" and like Ms Prada I rarely hear what the salespeople want to give.

The more we think about what we have to offer, our value proposition, the more successful we will be. What sets you apart? What are you willing to do to make your customers life better or easier? What are you willing to give your customer. This giving can and should take the form of community involvement, volunteer work or just plain going the proverbial "extra mile" for your customer.

Customers are egotists (as we all are) and they want to know "what's in it for them?" Your job is to let them know what you are willing to give. It could be your time, your expertise, your understanding of their unique needs and wants.

So the next time you encounter your customer think to yourself "what am I going to GIVE this customer", "NOT what do I want from them?" Let me know if it makes a difference!