Posts Tagged ‘free’

What if this was meant to be good news?

October 25, 2012

Einstein once said that in the middle of difficulty lies opportunity, which is the inspiration for the following question.

Many years ago my brother was diagnosed with terminal cancer, a devastating situation with absolutely no recourse. While many of us would have gotten stuck in the pain of the situation, my brother saw things differently. He looked at the news he had been given and asked himself, “What if this was meant to be good news?” He knew he couldn’t change what had happened to him, all he could do was change how he interpreted the situation. My brother chose to believe that the cancer that had invaded his body was there for a reason. Armed with this passionate belief, my brother shared his story with everyone who would listen. He visited churches across Canada; he spoke to friends and strangers alike. He spoke of hope, awareness and the bountiful life he would lead in Heaven. He opened hearts and healed old wounds; he gave back life to people who had been dying inside! He moved countless people with his story of seeking out a greater purpose.

When my brother passed away he left as an accomplished man, someone who had lead his life with meaning and shared his pain so that others could heal in theirs. I still think today about the awesome lesson he taught us. How he looked at a devastating situation and how he asked himself, “What if this was all meant to be good news?”

Think about your own business, where could you apply this lesson? If a new competitor moves into your market space, a new technology threatens your existence or your VP of Sales resigns, how would you handle the news? Too often in most companies panic sets in, pessimism and skepticism are a natural and common reaction. However, what if instead of panic you were to look for the underlying opportunity in the cards that have been played.

For example, what if a new competitor was in fact moving into your market space? How could you turn this into good news? Here are some ideas:

You could leverage off their branding and awareness activity to build your own name.
The new competitor could cause your other competitors even more pain and distraction therefore allowing you to take an even bigger step forward?
This new competitor could help reinforce the significance of your product or your market sector therefore leading to more people wanting to buy what you sell.
You could learn new ideas, new ways of positioning and new insight from a new competitor.
A new competitor could reinforce to potential customers just how complete your solution is.
You could welcome this as a wake up call and start connecting more with your own customers.
What are some of the other possible benefits that would support the belief that a new competitor in your industry could in fact be good news?

Every company needs a strategy for turning the low points in their business into good news? What could you do to reshape your interpretation of the world as it has unfolded for you? What new beliefs could you have? Shifting your thoughts from negative to positive can give you a whole new view of the situation, a whole new perspective of what lies ahead. Shifting your thoughts can turn a negative stranglehold into an empowering view of the future!

BRAINSTORMING IDEAS

List as many ideas for the following questions …

  1. What are the current aspects of your business that you have been treating as bad news?
  2. How could you shift each of these situations to be considered good news?

Spend a few minutes and think about this, share your thoughts with others and explore the possibilities that will uncover themselves.

ABOUT CURT SKENE
Curt Skene is an inspiring Canadian professional business keynote speaker, sales trainer, and certified hypnotist who specializes in helping companies and associations look at their business, their relationship with their customers and their future opportunities in a powerful and positive light. Curt offers over 75 rapid-fire insights based on over 20 years of award-winning business experience (Microsoft, ExecuTrain and BrainBuzz) and combines his experience with the kowledge he has gained as a certified hypnosis/NLP practitioner.  Find out how easy and affordable it is to hire Curt Skene by going to his website at
www.curtskene.com

Are you aligning with customer expectations?

February 5, 2012

Fair or unfair everyone sets expectations of people they meet in business and or life.  Expectations are influenced by corporate title, education, industry association, family ties and many other things.  My point is before you and I ever meet there’s a pretty good chance I already have an expectation of what I expect our relationship might be like.

Working with Microsoft I saw first hand how quickly expectations were set.   I quickly became a Canadian thought leader not because I was brilliant but because people set expectations through my connection to Microsoft.  I became brilliant through association.  The challenge was I needed to live up to a very tall order!

Today because of my active coaching schedule I meet many senior executives who I have set high expectations for long before they ever meet me.  I expect marketing execs to be pretty darn brilliant at communicating their worth.  I expect CEO’s and VPs to have a clear strategy about how they are going to lead their people (and more importantly themselves) in doing great things.  I expect sales reps to be doing deals regardless of the economy because they are deal makers (not order takers) and be very clear deal makers create opportunity when little exists.

So honestly I am a little disappointed in the world today because it seems many have forgotten about the expectations they need to be living up to.  It’s almost like they feel greatness is owing to them so just bring it on.

Customer Testimonial
“Curt, our managers needed to hear your message!  It gave them a great sense that they can be competitive in this marketplace.  Almost everyone said they felt well armed to tackle their duties thanks to the rapid fire ideas you gave them.  I personally thought your mix of humour and straight shooting made this session fly by in a positive and enlightening way.” – V.P. Caressant Care

Now I am writing this because I am passionate about helping you do great things and the best way I can help you is by aligning your world with the expectations people have for you.  This month I need you to ask a really tough question and that is, are you aligned with your customer’s expectations?  Are you exceeding the great things people already expect of you, if not what needs to change immediately?

I want you to have fun with this question because investing in your future will reap you more pleasure than pain.  Ask, do you need to be investing in new intellect because the world is evolving so quickly?  Do you need to be pushing the envelope in your thinking because traditional thoughts will quickly go unnoticed?  Do you need to be upping your game because walking to opportunity is the kiss of death when you are running a race that is only going to get faster?

You may as well face it, we all set expectations for others and they set them for us.  The secret to success is exceeding those expectations well before the benchmark is ever set.  I am not exempt from this rant.  I have things I need to be doing right now to deliver greatness on the stage because clients expect me to be a great speaker.  So I am off to ponder what I need to do and put on socks because apparently, so I have been told, my clients expect that too!

Looking for a Great Keynote for your next event?
Curt Skene delivers over 75 rapid-fire insights on how to find more business and create more opportunity in his fun and informative keynote “Master  The Marketplace!” Visit www.curtskene.com

What if certain things just don’t add up?

November 1, 2009

add-upBeing smart is a funny thing because sometimes knowing too much can get in our way.   For instance, do I really need to know how Santa gets from house to house making gifts magically appear or could I just accept the fact wonderful things happen simply because I choose to believe?  Now stay with me because this message isn’t really about the jolly ole guy, it’s about taking a chance to try things that maybe just don’t add up in your mind.

I bring this to your attention because aside from being a brilliant motivational speaker I am a certified hypnotist who focuses my energy on rapidly changing lives.  You can probably imagine how many people tell me that being hypnotized just doesn’t add up because they believe there’s no way a stranger can step into their life and tweak their brain like that.  Well, that may be true but what if it’s not?  What if the changes you needed were simply a hypnotic session away?  Isn’t it worth taking a chance to find out?  I find that for many just because things don’t add up in their mind they often dismiss them.  This means that sometimes they miss wornderful opportunities!

Let me share a recent coaching experience with you.  A senior executive was struggling to find the passion in her life.  To demonstrate something, I asked her what she saw in her husband and whether he was the vision she always set for herself and surprising (or not) she said no!  She married the guy who didn’t add up and now today she couldn’t be happier!  I then asked her to think of a time when she was happiest at work and surprisingly (or not) she was happiest in a career radically different from the path she was on.  In less than 60 minutes we redefined what was important to her and she realized that many things she thought added up really didn’t make sense at all.

My point is sometimes we can “over-think” our situation trying to rationalize things and because of that we miss precious opportunities standing right in front of us.  Do you really need to know why and how certain things happen or maybe you could just accept certain things as different and tell yourself that’s ok!      As a career coach people often say, “I just don’t understand how you can help me.”  I just smile and say, “but what if I could?”   No one really knows what the perfect answer to life is but I can almost assure you it’s never the one you thought it was.  The reality is, people who come for coaching often get jobs faster.  Is it the coach or just luck that made the difference or more importantly does that answer really even matter at all?   

Now I would never suggest you blindly give faith to the absolute unknown but I am suggesting that sometimes it’s cool to do the things that may not completely add up to you.  It’s funny but sometimes smokers will tell me that their hypnotic session didn’t work but strangely enough they try to convince me that at the exact same time they decided to quit.  I don’t really care if they believe in hypnosis but I do care that they get the result they want in their life.

So this month I want you to ask yourself, “What are the things people are telling you to do and you are resisting because it just doesn’t add up.”  Ask yourself what is the harm in giving it a try as maybe just maybe, you will gain from your exploration. 

Now if you will excuse me I am going to sit by the fireplace and imagine that moment when Santa slides down my chimney.  I don’t know how he does it and I really don’t care but I do know that on Christmas morning our house is full of love and laughter and it’s all for my belief in a jolly ole guy who at one time didn’t add up in my mind.

ABOUT CURT SKENE
Curt Skene is an inspiring Canadian professional business keynote speaker, sales trainer, and certified hypnotist who specializes in helping companies and associations look at their business, their relationship with their customers and their future opportunities in a powerful and positive light. Curt offers over 75 rapid-fire insights based on over 20 years of award-winning business experience (Microsoft, ExecuTrain and BrainBuzz) and combines his experience with the kowledge he has gained as a certified hypnosis/NLP practitioner.  Find out how easy and affordable it is to hire Curt Skene by going to his website at
www.curtskene.com

If you had two minutes for your perfect customer what would you say?

October 25, 2009

A few months ago I had the opportunity to speak at a large consumer trade show. Before my talk I was walking around the show floor trying to understand their business more (and hoping to spend some money too!). As I looked at all the booths I noticed one in particular. At this booth they sold “painted” plates and I remember thinking to myself that they were really nice plates that were likely brought in from overseas like everyone else does. Not that a plate from another country is bad it was just my assumption that this booth was likely just like everyone else. As luck would have it I ended up speaking with the business owner and he told me that each plate I had been admiring was actually hand painted in Canada by a single artist in Alberta. In fact, as we spoke he constantly came back to this same compelling point of difference. In the space of ten minutes he likely mentioned it 5-6 times. I finally looked at him and said, “If I was your perfect customer and I agreed to give you two minutes of my busy day what would you say to me?” He looked at me and said, “All of our plates are exclusively hand painted by one artist in Alberta.” I said, “Great!! Show me how you communicate this powerful message in your booth.” He walked across the booth and pulled out a flyer and handed it to me. I said, “WOW you are making a few big assumptions aren’t you? One, you are assuming that I will enter your booth. On top of that you assume that I would be interested enough to stop and have this conversation with you. If I don’t, I completely miss your compelling point of difference, don’t I? The look on his face said it all. He knew I was right. If his selling value was all focused around a single artist designing every plate he needed to communicate that message in everything he did. He needed to communicate it in the name of the store, in the advertising and in the way the products were displayed. He needed to ensure that message jumped out at people. We spent the next 30 minutes redesigning simple things that would allow him to clearly communicate his message… “one Canadian artist, hand drawn, every plate is exclusively unique.” We designed a place for the artist’s photograph. We changed his slogan and we even turned some of the plates over so people could easily see the single signature on each and every plate.

I share this with you because my chance encounter that day really got me thinking about the question, “If you had two minutes with your perfect customer what would you say to them?” If you know the answer, great! If not, you better set aside some time to think about it. However, once you know the answer start asking/challenging yourself on how you communicate this important message in everything you do.

At Microsoft we called this our eight second elevator pitch. The idea was, what could we say to someone in the span of eight seconds that would get them to say, “Stop… I want to know more.”

So how would you answer this question? Would you even know what you wanted to say if the perfect customer came along? Is your message compelling enough for people to want to notice? Does your business communicate your perfect message in everything you do? More importantly, ask yourself does your message resonate from a distance. You see, most of us can do a reasonable job selling our value if we get close enough to the customer.

The challenge is getting the opportunity to get that close. As the world gets busier and time gets shorter you need to have a strategy for the customer to start seeking you out. Your message of value has to jump right out and stop them in their tracks.

If I go back to my story, I was very busy that day. This show was huge and my time was extremely limited. I wanted to spend money but I really needed someone to reel me in because every booth was becoming a blur. In your industry chances are there are lots of people who sell what you do. But no one does it quite as uniquely as you. At least you hope! This month take the time to capture the essence of what you stand for and then figure out how to communicate it loudly and clearly in everything you do.

ABOUT CURT SKENE
Curt Skene is an inspiring Canadian professional business keynote speaker, sales trainer, and certified hypnotist who specializes in helping companies and associations look at their business, their relationship with their customers and their future opportunities in a powerful and positive light. Curt offers over 75 rapid-fire insights based on over 20 years of award-winning business experience (Microsoft, ExecuTrain and BrainBuzz) and combines his experience with the kowledge he has gained as a certified hypnosis/NLP practitioner.  Find out how easy and affordable it is to hire Curt Skene by going to his website at
www.curtskene.com

What are your customers most unhappy with?

October 25, 2009

This month’s article really came as a fluke. Here I was looking up famous quotes on the Internet when I stumbled upon this quote from Bill Gates, “Your most unhappy customers are your greatest source of learning.” * It took me less than a second to realize Bill was right!

When was the last time you stopped to think about what your customers might be unhappy with? What part of your service would they like to see changed? Its sad, but often times most of their problems can be resolved so easily. What do you think would happen if once a month you met with your team and found one service shortcoming and you corrected it?

Many times we find that the reason our customer is unhappy is because there is a simple misunderstanding between the way we think they want to do business and the way they really want to do business. We think they want to work with us between 9am and 5pm and they need us available 24 hours a day. We think ordering off the Internet is a good solution and they don’t have access to outside websites. Whatever the problem is, if more than one customer has it, you need to be concerned!

So, do you really know what makes your customer unhappy? Who in your organization is listening and looking to find out? Are you searching for trends to understand if others are unhappy too? Finally, who is taking action to make sure these customers become happy? One word of warning though, don’t wait for your customers to tell you they are unhappy. Most customers never do, they just leave you!

At Microsoft, in order to ensure we were able to anticipate our customer’s needs, we had an expressions that stated, “We are a company that eats their own dog food”. This means that long before customers ever used our products, we were our own customers. If we didn’t like the way it worked, if we found it too difficult, if it broke too often we would let the Product Management group know and they would start finding resolutions. The idea was, if we didn’t like doing business with us, we knew our customers wouldn’t either.

One last thought. An unhappy customer can easily be your happiest customer, it just depends on how you go about to solve their problem. Customer research has shown that companies that take customers complaints to heart and take action to correct the situation, build strong business relationships that endure very tough times.

This month, ask yourself, “What are my customers unhappy with?” Make a plan to correct some of their concerns. It won’t take long and it will make a world of difference. Its a sad reality, but somehow with all the hustle and bustle we are all attending to, we seemed to have forgotten we need happy customers to stay alive!

Brainstorming Ideas

What are my customers most unhappy with?

  • Which of these things are easy are easy to fix?
  • Which of these things are strategic to our business to fix?
  • How can I anticipate my customer’s needs better in the future?
  • ABOUT CURT SKENE
    Curt Skene is an inspiring Canadian professional business keynote speaker, sales trainer, and certified hypnotist who specializes in helping companies and associations look at their business, their relationship with their customers and their future opportunities in a powerful and positive light. Curt offers over 75 rapid-fire insights based on over 20 years of award-winning business experience (Microsoft, ExecuTrain and BrainBuzz) and combines his experience with the kowledge he has gained as a certified hypnosis/NLP practitioner.  Find out how easy and affordable it is to hire Curt Skene by going to his website at
    www.curtskene.com

    What did you learn today… and how will you use it tomorrow?

    October 25, 2009

    My niece was staying with us for a few days and she had just finished her one-hour of devotional reading for the day. Just by chance I met her in the hallway and I asked her, “What did you learn today and how will you use it tomorrow?” You see, I know how important her commitment to devotional reading is, but I also know that there is a difference between reading for the sake of reading and reading for the sake of learning and growing. I was pretty sure that I had surprised her by my comment but she got a chance to return the surprise. About one week later I went to our mailbox and there was a letter from her. I was most intrigued because in her 19 years, I think maybe she had written two or three times. I stared at the envelope and wondered what it was that she had written. Here is the essence of what the letter said…

    Dear Uncle Buck,
    I didn’t know what to say to you that day but you got me to think about what I was really doing. I realized, you were right, if I was really going to make a difference, I needed to stop going through the motions and start asking everyday what does this all really mean to me? I find now that my daily devotional is having more meaning and I am starting to see signs of how it is really changing who I am…

    I tell you this story because I wonder how often we go through the motions in our business. How often do we get customer feedback that goes nowhere? How often do we observe new ideas or find new approaches that never get implemented? My niece learned a wonderful lesson that day. She learned the importance of asking, “What did I learn today and how will I use it tomorrow?”

    Can you imagine how quickly you would grow, both as a business and a person; if you stopped to ask this question every day? What do you think would happen if you took just 5 minutes after meeting with a customer and you wrote down everything new that you learned about them and how you will apply that knowledge to future activity? What do you think would happen if at your weekly team meetings everyone was asked to share one thing that they had learned in the last week and provided examples of how they were going to use their new knowledge?
    In this world of constant change, knowledge is a critical success factor for getting ahead. This month I would like you to think about all the new knowledge you capture everyday and how you will start applying it in your life so that it makes a difference. I read somewhere that if you learned one new thing about your area of expertise every day, you would be a “genius” within two years. Do you think customers are attracted to industry geniuses? You bet they are! Do you think your margins will improve if you are the industry genius? You bet they will! Do you think your relationships will flourish and grow if you commit yourself to learning a little bit more about the people who mean the most to you? You know they will!

    Five minutes a day is all it takes to lead you to greatness!

    Brainstorming Ideas

    1. Ask what did you learn today?
    2. Ask how can you apply this knowledge to be better in what you do?
    3. Ask who else would want to know what you just learned?

    ABOUT CURT SKENE
    Curt Skene is an inspiring Canadian professional business keynote speaker, sales trainer, and certified hypnotist who specializes in helping companies and associations look at their business, their relationship with their customers and their future opportunities in a powerful and positive light. Curt offers over 75 rapid-fire insights based on over 20 years of award-winning business experience (Microsoft, ExecuTrain and BrainBuzz) and combines his experience with the kowledge he has gained as a certified hypnosis/NLP practitioner.  Find out how easy and affordable it is to hire Curt Skene by going to his website at
    www.curtskene.com

    What tough decisions do you need to make?

    October 25, 2009

    LETTER TO EDITOR – BURLINGTON POST (DEC 7, 2004)
    I remember reading a wonderful article in your paper a few years ago about the “Mayor of the Burlington Beach ”. While I know she wasn’t really the Mayor she sure acted like she was. I had the opportunity to meet her myself many many years ago. While our relationship never went as I had hoped it would, I know she was a lady who lived for the water, lived for tranquility and lived for making our beaches a little more spectactular for all of us to enjoy. I recently learned that the “Mayor” passed away in early November. She was young, heck at 72 years old she was still wearing bikinis. I can’t pretend to know her well, it has been twenty eight years since I last saw her, but I have heard from many in these last few weeks how she touched lives with her spirit, her drive and her passionate desire to keep the beauty of nature alive. Yes, I also heard that she was a lady that never minced words and she fought bitterly if anyone dared to wreak havoc on the splendor of her beaches. Yet, I wonder if maybe some of us, myself included, could learn from her passionate resolve. Upon learning of her passing I took the time to walk the beach; I just wanted to learn a little more about the place she called home. The “Mayor” was right; it really is a wonderful place. Maybe just maybe, I will throw aside some of my appointments, forget some of those never ending “to-do’s” and take my own family on a wonderful walk along the Burlington lakeside. We could laugh, we could sing, we could even tidy it up and yes, we could think about the “Mayor” and the wonderful lesson she left us all, “Death is not about dying, it’s more in fact, about learning to live!”

    Ada Alice Skene June 29th 1932 – November 7th, 2004

    In my new program, LifeLessons, I talk about the important decisions in our lives and the importance of taking control and making them. I never did call my Mother again, and I will live with that decision forever… but what about you, are there decisions in your life that you need to be making?
    Making a tough decision is probably one of the hardest life skills for any of us to master. No one can really teach us. There is no scientific formula or structured process, the tough decisions need to turn us inside and allow us to seek out guidance from our heart and soul. They really don’t teach you anything like that in Business U.

    No action in your life will happen unless you decide to make it happen. You will never have full control unless you decide to take full control.

    This month, I hope you take some time to make the tough decisions in your life. They won’t be easy to make but I gaurantee you, you’ll be better off for them. I remember at the age of fifteen, deciding it was time to go. I wouldn’t wish that kind of decision on anyone, let alone a fifteen year old kid but I knew, I needed to leave. Now at forty two years old, you won’t ever catch me saying I was happy making that decision but I will always tell you that I am better off for the decision I made.

    I always said I would be there at the end and I am proud to say I was. It wasn’t easy stepping back into a life I left twenty eight years ago. But I can tell you that for me, it was the right and honourable decision to make. Quite frankly, it’s not easy writing and sharing this with you but if just one of you makes a decision, and that decision changes your life then the awkward pain I feel right now will be well worth it.

    Here’s to your decision, whatever you decide.

    ABOUT CURT SKENE
    Curt Skene is an inspiring Canadian professional business keynote speaker, sales trainer, and certified hypnotist who specializes in helping companies and associations look at their business, their relationship with their customers and their future opportunities in a powerful and positive light. Curt offers over 75 rapid-fire insights based on over 20 years of award-winning business experience (Microsoft, ExecuTrain and BrainBuzz) and combines his experience with the kowledge he has gained as a certified hypnosis/NLP practitioner.  Find out how easy and affordable it is to hire Curt Skene by going to his website at
    www.curtskene.com

    Where do you struggle most?

    October 25, 2009

    Over the last few months I have been working a lot with Pitney Bowes helping them train their sales force. After one of these sessions Kevin Fancy, Pitney Bowes Vice President, came to speak to his team and he asked them where do they struggle the most?” His point was, “If you really want to make great strides in your business then master your weakness.”

    So when you think about all the things you need to do in order for you to “Master your Marketplace” where do you struggle the most? Is it time management, selling, networking, organizational skills or follow up? Whatever it is I want you to pick the one thing that is your real nemesis and make a commitment to make it your strength. Commit yourself to become absolutely brilliant at it. Invest the time, the energy and dedication to making this weakness your greatest ally. Kevin spoke about how his organizational skills used to be a real challenge for him so he became obsessed with being brilliant at it. Now, today if you walk into his office it’s almost scary, everything is neat, organized and he is a man who is on top of his business… and it shows!

    Too often we can find ourselves falling back on the excuse that we simply can’t change. Well, that’s not true, you can change if and when you really want to.

    If I were to ask you how much business you’ve lost because of your weakness, what would your answer be? Would it be 10, 20, 30%? When I think about my own personal experience I bet you I could double my business.

    Now you may have heard others say that you should simply delegate the stuff that you are lousy at and that’s a valid option too. However I believe there are certain skills that each of us have to take personal responsibility for. So, in this exercise I am really focused on challenging you to improve one of the core competencies that every successful business professional needs to have. You can’t always delegate someone to return all of your calls, ensure you are on time, treat customers nicer or dress you properly. That was Kevin’s point. We all need to take some of this responsibility ourself.

    This month my personal challenge is I am going to become brilliant at generating leads for my business. My partner, Steve White, commits to a minimum of one client meeting everyday that he is not billable. Adopting his strategy will surely help me grow my leads. If you have other suggestions that might help I would appreciate hearing from you.

    Make a commitment this month to pick one thing that you need to improve upon and make it your strength. Seek out guidance from others you admire, make it a topic of conversation when you are out for lunch, do whatever it takes to change your current behaviour. The process may be painful but I guarantee that the business you generate will surely help to ease that pain!

    ABOUT CURT SKENE
    Curt Skene is an inspiring Canadian professional business keynote speaker, sales trainer, and certified hypnotist who specializes in helping companies and associations look at their business, their relationship with their customers and their future opportunities in a powerful and positive light. Curt offers over 75 rapid-fire insights based on over 20 years of award-winning business experience (Microsoft, ExecuTrain and BrainBuzz) and combines his experience with the kowledge he has gained as a certified hypnosis/NLP practitioner.  Find out how easy and affordable it is to hire Curt Skene by going to his website at
    www.curtskene.com

    How can you paint a better picture?

    October 25, 2009

    Now I will be the first to admit that I am no artist. Heck.. I even make drawing stick people a chore. But real artistry in business isn’t drawn on paper it’s neatly crafted in the back of the customer’s mind. It’s the picture we help them paint when they think about our relationship with their business. Let me explain.

    Years ago I was speaking to a group of over 300 business owners about demonstrating customer value. My point was customers don’t trust what they can’t see. We can yell and scream and make all the claims we want but unless the customer can see it, it’s a struggle.

    Selling a tangible product is easy because you can touch it, feel it, try it and often times the customer can get a really good idea if this is the product for them. They even have the additional comfort of knowing that they can return it if it doesn’t do exactly what they thought it would. But the product is seldom where the customer makes a buying decision because in today’s highly competitive world anyone can create the product. Successful business leaders know that it is a matter of months, not years before the competition has their version of your product on the streets. So our real value is the invisible stuff we wrap around our product and everything we do. It’s the intangible that makes the difference and leads the customer to making a buying decision.

    So here I was trying to demonstrate how extremely difficult it is to sell value because it’s invisible and customer’s don’t trust what they can’t see because there is nothing to grab hold of, nothing to try and nothing to return if it doesn’t suit your needs. Now You can define value however you want but I think of it as service commitment, ethics, level of caring, ability to anticipate needs and the wealth of knowledge/intellect we can provide to our customers.

    Anyways, as I was sharing all my thoughts someone stood up and said, “Curt, if people don’t trust what they can’t see then why does ¾ of the world believe in God?” Well, I have to tell you, I had a divine intervention because I immediately looked back and said, “I think it’s because God has a better sales team!”

    Think about it. When are the two times in your life you adopt a belief in God? One, you are cultured by someone you trust; a spouse, family member or close friend.

    The second; a life crisis and you see how your life will be different with the belief of God in it. My point point is not intended to be a religous one but it is to demonstrate that your customers must picture in their minds how their lives will be different with you it. So if you help paint that picture I guarantee you will “own” the relationship.

    It’s extremely challenging today because there are so many choices and so many broken promises. We all say we are great but admittedly some of us have lied. So today’s customer has become confused or cynical. Our word alone means nothing. You need to be asking how you can demonstrate your value in a way the customer can see it and better yet start to talk about it. You need to be one of the very few that understands that your product is not the business but a small part of the value you offer.

    Take some time this month to start thinking about how you can make everything you do a little more visible. I can guarantee you most customers have no idea of what it takes to service them or how many people you have behind the scenes to support their needs. Yes, we all speak of great service but your challenge is to let them experience it first hand. The better you help them paint the picture, the quicker they will get the picture and in the end you win another great opportunity.

    Let me leave you with one closing thought. If I were to ask who believes in God I bet many hands would go up, but when I ask who will be at Church on Sunday many hands would drop back down. My point is, it’s easy for the customer to say they believe but what we really need them to do is say they believe so much that they are prepared to commit to doing business with us.

    ABOUT CURT SKENE
    Curt Skene is an inspiring Canadian professional business keynote speaker, sales trainer, and certified hypnotist who specializes in helping companies and associations look at their business, their relationship with their customers and their future opportunities in a powerful and positive light. Curt offers over 75 rapid-fire insights based on over 20 years of award-winning business experience (Microsoft, ExecuTrain and BrainBuzz) and combines his experience with the kowledge he has gained as a certified hypnosis/NLP practitioner.  Find out how easy and affordable it is to hire Curt Skene by going to his website at
    www.curtskene.com

    How can you break the ice?

    October 25, 2009

    For three years now I have been involved in my children’s Kiss and Ride program at their school. This is a program where parents drive by and drop off their kids and head off to work. In recent months I have started to notice an interesting thing. Whenever I wave to someone the next 4-5 parents feel obligated to wave back too. This then reminded me of my old boss who always asked that I ask him a tough question whenever he spoke at a company function. His believe was that if one person asks, others will follow. This of course got me to think about the dance floor phenomenon and how the empty dance floor always fills up as soon as one couple has the courage to dance. My point is once someone breaks the ice many others will follow.

    So this month my question is, what are you doing to break the ice in your business? How are you influencing your customer to take that first big step? Years ago my father owned a well known donut chain, including a location on the Canada/US border. When he opened the shop, business was nowhere near what he expected. After thinking about it for a few days he had the answer, he hired three drivers to continuously go thru the drive thru and noticeably cut across border traffic leading people into the donut shop. The result – BUSINESS BOOMED! People needed to see others to make a purchase in order to get the idea themselves.

    My point is we are all creatures of popular behaviour. The more we see others doing something, the more we think we should be doing it as well. How do you know where is a good place to eat? You look for the restaurant with lots of people in it. Where do people like to go drinking? At the place with the biggest lineup.

    Some companies like to buy market share while others like to drive their message loud and hard and then there are the businesses who do nothing at all except sit and wonder where their business has gone.

    Intel locked up the computer processor business when they added the logo “Intel Inside” on all the computers that used them. What are you doing to communicate to others about who is buying from you? What are you doing to let others see customers buying from you? When someone sees someone else make a buying decision a seed is planted in their ownmind. If you don’t believe me just wait until someone orders dessert the next time you are out. Ask yourself, how many seeds have you been planting lately?

    Corporate professionals have an even tougher challenge because there is no store front for potential customers to see. That is why it is even more critical that you be out and around, reminding everyone about the business you are in and that there are many, just like them, who are buying from you.

    Abraham Maslow (Hierarchy of Needs) reminds us that humans have a basic need to belong. So if you want to Master your MarketPlace then you have demonstrate that same sense of belonging.

    This month take some time to make your customer’s buying habits much more visible for others to see. Whether you decide to give away t-shirts, provide case studies or testimonials or hire drivers to constantly “drive through” do one thing this month so that everyone knows that lots and lots of people are waiting in line to buy something from you.

    ABOUT CURT SKENE
    Curt Skene is an inspiring Canadian professional business keynote speaker, sales trainer, and certified hypnotist who specializes in helping companies and associations look at their business, their relationship with their customers and their future opportunities in a powerful and positive light. Curt offers over 75 rapid-fire insights based on over 20 years of award-winning business experience (Microsoft, ExecuTrain and BrainBuzz) and combines his experience with the kowledge he has gained as a certified hypnosis/NLP practitioner.  Find out how easy and affordable it is to hire Curt Skene by going to his website at
    www.curtskene.com


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