Thursday, May 23, 2013

Is too much professionalism hurting your businerss or career?

"An ounce of personalization is worth a pound of professionalism"

The world has changed and most people haven't noticed.   The old paradim for business success was to achieve a high level of professionalism.  And while our clients and customers expect a certain level of professionalism,  they want more even more.  

Competition today is far more intense and our clients are getting bombarded with massive information and sales pitches for products and services.   So what they crave is to like, trust and respect those they do business with so that they can simplify their decisions and choices.

"If you earn your business by having the best price, product or service you might one day lose that business to the next guy who comes along with a better price, product or service.   But if they really like you then you have to really screw up before they will go elsewhere"  

It all starts with liking who they deal with.   Because all things being equal we prefer and most often do business with those we like and get this.....all things being unequal we still frequently chose to do business with those we  like!  This is why its sometimes better to ease up on the professionalism and get more personal.

Making personal relationships with clients and customers is so incredibly important and the methods to do that are endless.   Mostly I just want you to appreciate how important it is and to give just a few examples to stir your creative juices about how to build a lasting rapport with your clients.

Get personal

Now a days it seems the only people that call you Mr. Mrs or Ms is probably one of the following:

Tax man
Bill collector

Not exactly a fun group to get a call from.   So as you can imagine where it was once a sign of respect today it puts people on edge when someone says....hello Ms Brown this is...etc.   However, when someone says...hi Rachel this is...    Well you get the idea, first names are personal and last names are professionalism.    First names are what our friends and family call us.  Get personal to get the sale!

The sweetest sound to a human is our own name,,,

Start and end all emails, letters and conversations with a persons name.   Use their name as often as you can without sounding unnatural or salesy.   It sounds so simple but like others before you who have tried will be amazed at the difference.  People like to  hear and read their name.   Using it goes a long way to create likeability and trust. 

Seek similarities

Professionals are taught to identify the customers problems and opportunties and then build their presentation around that.   Then they move in for the close. 

"Your first objective is not to make a sale, it is start a relationship"

Superstars build trust and likeability long before they even make a presentation.  One of the best ways to do this is to seek the similarities between you and the client.   Did you go to the same college?   Do you cheer for the same sports team?   Do you share a passion for motorcycles?   Do you read the same kinds of books?   Do you belong to similar organizations like; toastmasters or Chamber of Commerce?  Do you both have kids.

You can always find some similarities if you seek them out!

Have you ever been on a holiday in a foreign country and then happened to meet someone from close to where you live?   You felt an immediate connection.   And that's what you are after...a common connection. 

One phrase I've always had a distaste for is....It's just business!   Today its not just business, today it's personal!


Do you want to make your corporate gifts more valuable?    Then don't put your company name on it.    I realize that many people think this is effective marketing but it's not.   When you put your company logo on is advertising and is viewed that way by the recipient.   It diminishes the gift and the appreciation of it. 

We've all received calendars, pens and caps with logos etc on them.    And you probably do what I do with them.   Throw them in a drawer somewhere or give them to someone else.

What to make your gift worth more?

Put their name on it!   That's personalization that will long be appreciated and kept.  And don't worry your pretty little head about it....they won't forgot who gave it to them.

"By all means be professional and by all means get personal"


Tuesday, May 21, 2013

How novelty can make you more persuasive

"We are motivated by novelty"

It is completely irrational to line up for hours to be one of the first to get some new game or technology when if you just waited for a week you could simply walk into that same store and pick it up in minutes.   Why do we do that?

Turns out we love the novelty of new and the bragging rights to being the first to have or know about something.   It feeds our brains that feel good chemical dophamine.


"Sameness is boring and predictable whereas novelty is exciting and new"

There are several ways you can use this to your advantage if you are trying to sell, influence or persauade.   

First, a person will be more open to your proposals if they are in a new and novel location when you make your pitch.   If you are trying to persuade someone to buy your product or service it can help you make the other person more responsive if you take them to a new restaurant (somewhere they've never been before). 

Novelty helps us to learn.    We learn better if we receive the information in novel ways.   When I gave my last seminar on "Power Persuasion" the CEO had suggested that we use his boardroom.   I declined and insisted that we use an outside venue.   It worked beautifully.   In the novel location it made his excutives and managers much more receptive to the new materials I was teaching.

I also presented my information in a humorous way whenever possible.   I wanted it be a fun experience.   They loved it.

Second, ask yourself how can I make my presentation if a novel way?    Whether it is business cards or sales literature they almost all look alike.   Your client has seen a million like yours.  Everyone has been trained to make it professional.      Seek out someway to make yours novel and make them sit up and notice.  

I had one company print their literature on glossy and heavy paper with bold colors and graphics instead of the standard paper black and white professional approach.   That alone made a big difference.   When given the materials clients paused for a moment because of the novelty (unexpectactly different from others).   The novelty made them curious to know more....mission accomplished!

A surprising simple (novel) way to communicate...

Now a days most of our communications is done via emails, texts and social media.   It is highly impersonal and common.   So to be novel write a hand written thank you note.   It is so uncommon to get a hand written letter or note that when you get one it is incredibly novel.   Try it and you will be amazed.

I was having some difficulty with a person I know.   Talking or emailing was not doing much to clear things up.   So I got a card and wrote a personal message.   The result was amazing to me.    She not only responded positivily but very warmly.  Problem solved!

But don't do this...

Last year I received a personal note from a VP with WestJet Airlines in which he thanked me for all of the ideas that I had created for his company.  Nice...huh?   Only one problem, his handwriting was so atrocious it took me a long time to decipher it.   It kind of disgusted me that someone would be so sloppy.   I mean you can't really show it to your buddies how great someone thinks you are when they can't read it. 

If you can't take the time to write neatly don't bother!

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

How to find out what others really think about you?

"To find out another persons real opinion ask them what they believe everyone else thinks"

Humans are mostly delusional!

In a research study  done in 1997 a thousand people were asked this question...who do you think is most likely to get into heaven?   Here are some of the results..

52%  said Bill Clinton
79%  said Mother Teresa
87%  said themselves

In some ways it is an advantage to be a little delusional but the evidence is clear, if you want to know the truth you can't always trust your own judgement.  So is asking others the best way to get a true response?

When you ask someone for their personal opinion you many times get a guarded to distorted response.   The reasons may vary;   they may want to protect your feelings or they may not want you to know their true feelings about something. 

For instance imagine that you ask someone what they think about your public speaking abilities?    The truth might well be that they think you suck at it and should keep your day job.   Instead they may something like....well, you're new at it but I can see some promise if you work on it.   Their answer is trying to go easy on you and it doesn't reflect their true belief. 

Now imagine asking them.....what do you believe others think about my public speaking?    Now, they are free to be more critical because its not what they believe, it is opinion of others.   Except it's not!   It is actually what they believe. 

No matter the question you will get a more honest answer if you ask them what they believe others think?

"There is nothing you can learn from a compliment but much that can be learned from constructive criticism"

What are some benefits of using this technique..

*  Understand the true objections to a sale
*  Know how you are being perceived
*  Find out where you are in the sales process
*  Get to the truth quickly and easily

Just remember...don't ask if you don't want to hear the truth!

So what do you believe others will think about this idea?

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

The Public Praiser.....instant likeability and more persuasive

"We are most easily persuaded by those who like and admire us"

Even the most powerful people appreciate public praise.   I have yet to witness anyone who disliked having kind words said about them to others.   Some may say it embarrases them and maybe that is so but inside they love it.  When we are witness to someone telling others about how wonderful or talented we are it causes us to like that person.   It just feels good.

But wait it gets better...

When you praise someone in public it doesn't just affect the person on the receiving end of the praise.   It also affects those that are witness to the praise.  It has a positive affect on their opinion of the one doing the praising.   We like those that are generous to others as long as we believe they are sincere.   If it is phony praise meant to suck up to someone important then it becomes an exteme negative and can ruin your reputation.

5 Benefits of being a public praiser...

1.  Whatever resistance to you or your ideas is melted away by the  appreciation for a sincere compliment made in public.  That person is then open to at least hearing out your requests or ideas.

2.  Deepens the bonds of friendship and likeability.

3.  It is a confidence builder for both you and the other person.

4.  As long as it is perceived as genuine others will admire you and sometimes secretely wonder if you might one day praise them publicly. 

5.  When you get really good at it, you can make people cry  (especially women)  and nobody calls you a jerk for doing it.


When you shine the spotlight on someone else they will love you for it.   And the good news is that praise can be divided infinitly and never be diminished.  Making others feel good also makes us feel good. 

And it gets even better...

I've gotten a lot of really great hugs out it which was more than worth the price of admission for me.  

Something to really think about...

"If you get your business based on the best price, product or service; you could lose that business when someone with a better price, product or service comes along.   However, if they like you then you  really have to screw up before they will take their business elsewhere"

Friday, May 3, 2013

A small change in the way you hold your body can make you more successful

Your body language affects how you feel and how risk oriented you will be.   Adapting a power pose like the one above for just 2 minutes will make you feel more powerful and persuasive.  It truly is amazing. 

Here's why...

When you hold a power pose for a few minutes your testosterone level rises.   When you hold a low power pose it falls.   Testosterone is like a bravery or boldness chemical in your body.   It makes you feel empowered and confident.   That's a good thing!

Here are some other examples of high power poses...

and here's what a low power pose looks like...(and that's a bad thing)

Now we can't make a presentation or doing an interview with a power pose or it will create a bad impression.  However, if you can sneak away somewhere and do a 2 minute power pose you can walk in the room with a greater confidence and boldness. 

Keep this in mind if you have to give a talk or before you enter a meeting and you will be amazed at how it affects your presentation.   I've tried it and it works!

This is one of those 'fake it till you make it'  techniques. 

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

How to be awesome when you screw up!


Some people cling to the idea that if they admit they are wrong or ask for help that they will be seen to be week.    Even the powerful fall into this trap.   That just isn't true. 

The problem with not admitting you are wrong is that you then have to defend a position that you know is wrong.   It is a terrible position to get trapped into.  You become a prisoner of your own doing.  

What to do when you realize you were wrong but want to be seen as being awesome.

1.  Admit you were wrong
2.  Say you are sorry
3.  Say what you've learned

That's it!  

I am reminded of a master of this technique, Ralph Klein the former Premier of the Province of Alberta.   He was a leader who made many mistakes and yet the people loved him for it, because he used this technique.    Unlike almost any other politician I've ever seen he would stand before the cameras and admit he had screwed up, apologize and promise to make it right.

And how did the voters respond?    They gave him massive landslide victory after another.   Why?   Because they saw him as human.   They saw him as being one of them.   They were quick to forgive him of his mistakes and loved the guy for his honesty and vulnerability.  And it drove the opposition NUTS!

PLUS, he didn't get caught in the trap so many politicians make for themselves.   He didn't have to try and defend something that was wrong.   Why the other politicians never learned this lesson is beyond me. 

"Saying you're sorry and apologizing makes you look awesome"

What about asking for help?

As long as you are not just looking for handouts, asking for help is an incredible persuasion technique.   First, to the person being asked it is a great compliment because it demonstrates that you have the power to help.

It also takes a certain confidence to ask for help.   It shows you are not hiding behind a false ego.   A manager who asks an employee to help him has just gained a big fan.   It can be a great compliment and motivator to be asked by a superior to help out.   It is a much greater motivator than being told to do something.  It creates a bond between the asker and the giver.

It is also a shortcut to success.    Here is an example...

Recently I was attempting to sell an investor an expensive property.   I sensed my presentation was going nowhere fast.    So I stopped and said to him....I am wondering if you could help me?    I can tell you are not that interested in my proposal.   It would sure help me if you were tell me what it would take to get your business?

What followed is he really spilled the beans.   He told me exactly how to sell to him!  Long story short I made the sale.

Asking for help can also give you a tremendous advantage over your competitiors.   No sense wasting time and resources trying to guess what your boss or custormer wants.   Just ask for their help.   They will be complimented and recognize how smart you are for seeking their wise counsel.  

"Asking for help can make you look awesome"


I'm sure in my life that I have being wrong many, many times.   I'm sorry and please accept my apology.   I promise to do better next time!