Aliveatwork's Blog


Hey Mr Postman … Listen and See!

P.O'd at the P.O!

Monday of this week I sent an audio CD on managing your energy via the U.S. Post Office to one of my clients.  Tuesday, I found the same envelope that had I dropped off at the post office the previous day in my mail box with a stamp on it that read “Returned For 43 Cents Additional Postage.” This, on top of the $1.28 cents I had already paid.

Why? Because they couldn’t  bend the 9 1/2″ by 11 1/2″ padded envelope that was stuffed to the brim with one small  5″ by 5″ audio CD. And why would you need to bend it I thought to myself?

Well let’s just say at that particular moment in time, the envelope wasn’t the only thing that was a little bent!

Walking back to my office, I envisioned going down to the Post Office. And then I remembered my last visit. There I was standing in line behind 25 people watching multiple post office workers walking around or sorting mail while just one worker waited on customers.

When it was my turn to be waited on, I brought up the issue of poor service to the person behind the counter. What I heard next shocked me. She told me that Postmaster at this location does not allow more than one line open regardless of how many people are waiting. Then she added, “It’s only going to get worse!”

There must be a better way!

Once I was back in my office and  after a little research, I compressed the audio file from iTunes and uploaded it to a free service called You Send It. Next, I typed in the appropriate email addresses and hit the send button. Within 2 minutes I received a confirmation of delivery. I called the client to let him know that he had an email with an attachment waiting for him in his inbox.

It was then I realized that this process took less than 5 minutes and my client could learn how to start increasing his effectiveness while he was driving home … TODAY!

Meanwhile … back at the Post Office a Postmaster and her colleagues are on their way to extinction because they do not understand two basic business principles … take care of your customers and stay ahead of the competition. So that got me thinking …

3 Questions To Ask Yourself:

  1. Are you holding onto to people, processes, or policies, that prevent you from providing an extraordinary customer experience?
  2. Has technology left you and your business behind your competition … because you’ re afraid to embrace change or the unknown?
  3. Are your customers being inconvenienced because some of your employee’s have a personal agenda or a misaligned belief?
Everyday 1000’s of customers are deciding to stop doing business with a  particular company. The reasons are usually the same … poor service, poor product, or poor value. Are you giving your customers reasons to stay?
Remember: It’s much easier and far more cost effective to keep a customer than it is to find a new one!
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Here’s a few resources to help:

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Exceeding Expectations and Beyond …

It was late in the day and I had just found out that a dear friend of mine had returned home from having back surgery earlier that day. I wanted to send flowers however,   there is a 2 hour time difference between Phoenix and Chicago and it was already 3:45 PM in Illinois! Oh well looks like a delivery for tomorrow … not so fast!

I searched the web and found Donna’s Custom Flowers in Mundelein, IL,  I chose her store based on the great reviews I found on Google. 3 minutes later I was     entering an order online with special instructions to add some of my friend’s favorite flowers and colors. At 4:36 PM Central Time I received an email from Donna (the owner ) with a picture attached of the arrangement. At 5:35 PM I received a text from my friend thanking me for her beautiful custom floral arrangement that included all of her favorites!

Apparently, Donna decided this order was important enough to make sure they were delivered today …  so she delivered them … HERSELF!

I was shocked, Donna had totally blown away my expectations! So of course this got me thinking …

3 Questions To Ask Yourself:

  1. As a salesperson, leader, or business owner, when’s the last time you took the initiative to blow away a customer’s expectations?
  2. Does stuff like this happen in your business with your employees or is your business about exchanging a product for dollars?
  3. Donna’s Custom Flowers now has a customer for life … how many of your clients would say the same thing about you and your business?

Sometimes we get so caught up in the “busy-ness” of our business that we forget to focus on the reason we are in business to begin with … our customers!  Or maybe we get so wrapped up in our “stuff” that we lose sight of the fact the we don’t generate revenue … our customers do! And yet some of us spend more time trying to meet our own needs that we leave our customers needs unfulfilled … and we lose revenue and customers.

So here’s my challenge to you this week … do one thing that blows away your customer’s expectations and see what happens … who know’s somebody might blog about you!

And by the way if you want to send some amazing flowers to one of your customers go to:  http://donnascustomflowers.com/index_home.html



Arrogance … The Death of a Leader!

You know one … you’ve worked for one … you are one?

God I hope not!!

How would you know?

10 Things Arrogant Leaders Arrogant Do:

  1. They put their needs before the needs of their people.
  2. They make irrational business decisions based on their emotions and how they feel.
  3. They take everything personal.
  4. They attempt to control everything and everyone.
  5. They believe that people are in their lives to serve them.
  6. They’re the first one to point the finger of blame and the last one to take ownership for their mistakes.
  7. Their actions are incongruent with their words.
  8. They slow the development and growth of others so that they get ahead and stay on top.
  9. They talk big and play small.
  10. They play small because deep down inside they are small.
The good news is that just like Extraordinary Leaders … they always, always, always …. reap what they sow!


The Power of One

The Power of One

“Sometimes the slightest things change the directions of our lives, the merest breath of a circumstance, a random moment that connects like a meteorite striking the earth. Lives have swiveled and changed direction on the strength of a chance remark.”  – Bryce Courtenay (Author of The Power of One)

Sometimes we get caught up in the more is better syndrome and that more will make us happier. And yet, it seems that there is something deep down inside of us that reminds us that less is more … but how much less?

Have we lost sight of the of the extraordinary Power of One?

Perhaps it is that one simple act of kindness we take that could transform our life or the life of another?

Maybe it is that one idea that’s been percolating in your brain. Yes, the one you have pushed down many times before, but it keeps percolating to the forefront of your mind. What if that … was the one thing that could change your business or the world? How would you ever know … unless you took action?

I am learning that truth, real truth, lies in simplicity and that the more I over think, the more I complicate things, the further I move away from the truth.

The truth is that you already know the power of one on a deep level and yet … you haven’t taken the time to implement, reflect, or sit with it!

So what if you did?

What is the one thing you could say, the one thing you would do AND when would you do it!!!!



Change … an About F.A.C.E.

Life and it’s circumstances continuously offers us opportunities to change. Change might means that we need let go of the past and move forward. It could mean that we need a  new perspective on an old problem, a new idea, or simply the willingness to change by trying something different. Regardless of the change that may need to take place in our lives, the fact is that each of us deals with change in a different manner.

The good news is that we have choices in how we F.A.C.E change. We can:

  1. Fear it –  We can run, we can hide, we can pretend like it’s not happening and that we don’t have to change.
  2. Accept it – We can agree that it’s there and that maybe, possibly, someday, we might have to adapt … or not.
  3. Challenge it – We can confront it, fight it, and try to convince ourselves and everybody else around us why it     doesn’t apply to us or why we don’t need to change.
  4. Embrace it – We can wrap our arms around it and look for the gifts that this new opportunity might bring us.
So which do you choose most frequently? Do you find yourself clinging to the past, hoping that nothing will change? Or do you lean so far into the change that you can’t go back?
A few questions …
  1. What would you do if you could not fail?
  2. What if you believed that you were so powerful that you could change your life TODAY!
  3. What if you made a decision to not just F.A.C.E. change but actually embraced it?
Now wouldn’t that be something!


How Do You Respond To Your Constituents (Customers)?

Elected officials like Sales Professionals some times forget who their customer’s are  …

Recently I received an email from my favorite Phoenix City Councilman Sal DiCiccio asking for support on a local bill that would force the local Phoenix government to be more efficient in spending our tax dollars. He requested that we email, phone, or fax, our local representatives asking for their support of the bill.

What follows are 5 responses I received from 3 different representatives. 3 of them never even bothered to respond.

Which one is most typical of the way you respond to your constituents?

Response #1 – Telling Your Customer They Don’t Matter – Judy Burges (the complete response):

“You can quit writing as I am told that the bill will be assigned to my committee today and we will hear it next week.   Judy Burges”

My reply to Judy Burges:

Dear Judy,

Thank you for taking the time to respond, I understand that you are very busy AND I would’ve preferred a response that said something like, “Thank you for taking the time to write about this very important bill ….” Instead of one that started by saying “You can quit writing …”

Regards,

Joe Contrera

Response #2 – The Auto Respond Brush Off  – Just another way of telling your customer they don’t matter – Judy Burgess:

Thank you for e-mailing the City of Phoenix Mayor/Council office. Because of a public records request, your e-mail also will be reviewed by the Arizona Republic. If your e-mail contains information that you believe is confidential and should not be released, please immediately call 602-262-7029 for assistance. We apologize for any inconvenience this may cause.

Response #3 – The Delegated Appear To Be Sincere Missing Punctuation Response – Councilman Anonymous:

Joe,

The councilman appreciates your sending this

My reply to councilman anonymous’ assistant:

Stephanie thanks for the reply … which Councilman is replying?

Regards,

Joe Contrera

Response #4 – The Auto Respond Brushoff – Councilman Anonymous:

Thank you for e-mailing the City of Phoenix Mayor/Council office. Because of a public records request, your e-mail also will be reviewed by the Arizona Republic. If your e-mail contains information that you believe is confidential and should not be released, please immediately call 602-262-7029 for assistance. We apologize for any inconvenience this may cause.

Response #5 – The You Matter Thanks For Writing Response – Steve Montenegro

Thank you for your input on this bill; I support it and I will continue to support it as it works it’s way through the Legislature.  Thanks for your input.

Here to Serve,

Steve Montenegro
Speaker Pro-Tempore
Arizona House of Representatives
Legislative District 12

My response to Steve Montenegro:

Steve thanks so much for your response, it is appreciated! Keep up the good work!

Joe Contrera

SO WHAT DOES POLITICS HAVE TO DO WITH SELLING? … EVERYTHING!

Everyday your customers have an opportunity to vote on whether or not they want to do business with you.

That’s why every email, every detail, every sales call, every interaction, that you or anyone in your company has with your customers needs to insure the customer has an extraordinary experience. You have to continuously give them a reason to vote for you and your company.

REMEMBER: Customers can have short term memory loss when it comes all the good things that you do for them. However they have memories like elephants when it when it comes to the bad experiences they may have had with you or your company.

You have to give them as many reasons as possible to vote for you again and again and again … besides you’ve worked to hard to get into their office!

One last thing …  So which representatives do you think I will choose to do business within the next election?



Work Life Balance: All Work and No Play …

I’m sure most people have seen the 1980 film by Stanley Kubrick entitled, The Shining. The story, written by Stephen King, is a psychological thriller about a writer who takes his family to an isolated hotel to be the caretaker in the off season. It will also give Jack Torrance (played by Jack Nicholson) some much need time to work on his writing.

At one point in the movie Jack’s wife stumbles across his manuscript which is comprised of line after line of this sentence, All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy. Well you can guess what happens next and the insanity begins.

Here’s the point:

Sometimes in our striving to be successful we lose site of those things that bring a sense of balance to our lives. We push ourselves to continuously do more, accomplish more, or be more yet we never take the time to occasionally pull the plug on our “work brains”  so we can recharge the batteries.

A mentor of mine used to say if you don’t stop occasionally to put gas in the car eventually you’ll run out of gas and you’ll be stranded.

10 Signs You Might Need To Stop And Put Gas In The Car:

  1. You’re family is crying when you come home from work … not when you leave for work.
  2. You would rather work late than go home to be with your partner, spouse, or kids.
  3. You’re family is going on vacation … without you!
  4. You wake up at 2:30 AM and decide you need to send an email to clarify some point you made to someone earlier in the day.
  5. You wake up at 2:30 AM and decide you need to send an email to ANY one for ANY reason.
  6. You have so much vacation time built up that you could literally take 3 months off and not skip a paycheck.
  7. You walk in the house one day after work and your spouse asks “Who Are You?” And then you realize your in the wrong house!
  8. You come back from a long business trip with a Teddy Bear for your little boy and you find him upstairs in the bathroom … shaving!
  9. You have this sudden desire to start typing “All work and no play makes Jack, Tony, Bob or any other name a dull boy (girl)!
  10. You come home from work one day and find that your family has moved out … when you track them down they tell you that they moved out … two weeks ago!

Okay so maybe you chuckled a bit and on a more serious note … you will be far more productive over the work year if you pause to fill up your tank and give the engine a rest. Besides their is no job, position, title, or amount of money, that can replace the your family especially your kids. Sad thing is some people never get this until they lose them (physically or emotionally).

Providing for your family is half of the equation … being with them to enjoy it is the other half of the equation … Stay Balanced!