Aliveatwork's Blog


A Nudge … Towards Greatness?

Recently I attended the National Speakers Association (NSA) Annual Conference in Anaheim, California. For those of you who don’t know NSA is an organization made up of some of the world’s best professional speakers.

Zig Ziglar, Brian Tracy, Les Brown, Dr. Norman Vincent Peal, and Og Mandino are just a few of its legendary members.

As I sat listening to some of the current greats in the business, I found myself in a state of awe and fascination. Not necessarily because of the words they spoke, but more so by the delivery of those words … precise, accurate, perfectly timed, perfectly pitched, and eloquently spoken.  I saw myself as a student sitting at the feet of the masters, watching their magic unfold.

During a breakout session, one of the speakers from the main stage asked his audience why we chose his particular session. One of the audience members replied, it’s because you seemed relaxed, easy going, non-rehearsed, and not as polished as some of the other speakers while you delivered your message on the main stage.

The speaker replied, it has taken me 30 years to perfect my speaking, I have spent a lot of money on speaking coaches, mentors, theatre coaches, and worked extremely hard to be able to present that way, so please don’t think that it was easy or unintentional.

And that had me thinking:

Am I working as hard as I need to in order to be great … in my business?

A mentor and friend of mine by the name of Nido Qubein once said, “We are so busy being good that we don’t take the time to become great!”

3 Questions:

  1. Are you continually learning and studying how to be a great leader, sales professional, or whatever your chosen profession might be?
  2. Have you become comfortable being … good enough but not great?
  3. What action do you need to take in order to take your business or your life to a level of greatness?

Inside each and every one of us is the seed of greatness. Sometimes it just needs a little nudge in order to break through the surface and begin the journey upward towards its destiny … consider this a nudge!



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!


I Was Sick … But I’ve Been Keured!!

I’m Sick!

Approximately 14 months ago I had a routine physical. It’s now over a year later and I am still trying to get the insurance company (Aetna) the lab (Sonora Quest) and the doctors office to cover the cost of the blood work on a routine physical examination which is included in my plan.

Over the course of the year on multiple conference calls about improper coding and who’s to blame between the 3 of them, I have on numerous times heard the following statements:

  1. “I’m so sorry Mr. Contrera, I promise I will get this handled”
  2. “I promise to call you back”
  3. “We value you as a customer!”

The most recent conversation went something like this: “Mr Contrera has anyone ever told you that your plan has a $200 limit for a physical examination and that includes the Doctors visit, consultation, and any blood work associated with your visit?”

My response, “So let me see if I understand you, I’ve payed you over $6000.00 in premiums, I go to the doctor once a year for a physical, and it’s not covered because you limit the cost to a paltry $200 which barely covers the cost of walking in his office? AND it took you 14 months to come up with that brilliant answer? Well to be honest … that’s makes me sick!”

The Problem:

  1. The issue is still not resolved.
  2. No one has ever called me back when they said they would, I’ve always had to call them back to follow up.
  3. I will never do business with the doctor, the insurance company, or Sonora Quest Laboratories again!

I’ve Been Keured!!

Over a year ago I bought a Keurig coffee maker which just recently stopped working. When I called on March 17th and was asked when I purchased my machine I told them the truth, March 10 th of last year (It carries a 1 year limited warranty). Bottom line: I was beyond the warranty period.

To my surprise Amy the young lady on the phone turned me over to Frank the technical expert who walked me through a process and then said, “Well Mr Contrera looks like we’ll have to replace the machine,  let’s get you taken care of!”

Today is March 23rd I have a brand new Keurig coffeemaker sitting on my counter … it showed up yesterday, within 5 days of my conversation with customer service. It carries a brand new 1 year warranty.

The Lesson:

  1. Buying a new Keurig coffee machine over a year ago … $154.00.
  2. Enjoying a freshly brewed cup of chocolate raspberry coffee on my brand new Keurig coffeemaker this morning …. $0.00!
  3. Having a customer for life … priceless!!

Why is it that some companies “get it” and some companies don’t? You and your company make decisions everyday that communicate to your customers whether you value them or you don’t.

How you treat your customers determines whether you find yourself continuously replacing the ones that you’ve lost (as a result of delivering poor products or providing lousy service) or actually growing your loyal customer base and your sales revenue.

How Do Treat Your Customers?

  1. Do you make it difficult to resolve problems your customers have with your products or your service?
  2. Do you misrepresent the truth or hide it in the small print or in a fast talking words of the announcer at the end of a commercial?
  3. Are you flexible with your policies living by the spirit of the law rather than the law?
  4. Are the people who interact with your customers the most (customer service, inside salespeople, accounting, etc.) trained and knowledgeable or do they make promises that they don’t keep and give answers simply to get the customer off the phone?
  5. Do you have customers for life or customers for the moment?

Remember: It costs 5 times more to find a new customer than it is does to keep an old one!

One last thing: Did I tell you that my Keurig coffee machine makes the best coffee I’ve ever brewed at home … I highly recommend that you buy one … it is well worth the investment!



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?



C.Y.A.

CYA … Choose Your Attitude!

Sometimes thing happen life that don’t feel good, we don’t like, or we don’t understand why this had to happen to us.

The truth is that even though we may not like what happened we can always choose how we will respond to that particular situation or event. We choose what we make it mean and what we make it means determines our attitude.

Waking up on the wrong side of the bed is simply another way for saying that you’re choosing a bad attitude. The attitude you choose each and every morning can determine the quality of your day,  your week, your month, and your year.  The average person living in the United States will experience approximately 28,616 mornings. That’s 28,616 opportunities to wake up on the right side of the bed.

American author and clergymen Chuck Swindoll said this about attitude:

“The longer I live, the more I realize the impact of attitude on life. Attitude, to me, is more important than facts. It is more important than the past, the education, the money, than circumstances, than failure, than successes, than what other people think or say or do. It is more important than appearance, giftedness or skill. It will make or break a company… a church… a home. The remarkable thing is we have a choice everyday regarding the attitude we will embrace for that day. We cannot change our past… we cannot change the fact that people will act in a certain way. We cannot change the inevitable. The only thing we can do is play on the one string we have, and that is our attitude. I am convinced that life is 10% what happens to me and 90% of how I react to it. And so it is with you… we are in charge of our Attitudes.”

So what about you, how’s your attitude? Do you choose your attitude or do you give your power away and let someone or some external factor determine your attitude?

5 Things You Can Do To Shift Your Attitude:

  1. Decide: make a decision to choose differently. Remember that you hold the power to determine your attitude. Doing this will bring the power inside of you instead of allowing an outside factor to determine your attitude and your results.
  2. Do something physical, exercise, go for a walk just move! Physical activity can shift your attitude and get you moving forward.
  3. Pet Therapy … in other words go spend time with a pet. If you’ve ever noticed, animals, particularly dogs, don’t walk around with bad attitudes they just want to play. They want to chase a stick and bring it back, they want to play with their friends or the friend at the park they haven’t met yet. Watch them, observe them, you might learn something!
  4. If you wake up in the morning on the wrong side of the bed. Get undressed crawl back into bed and roll over to the other side and get out on that side telling yourself, “this is the side I needed to get out on, this is perfect!”  You think I’m kidding … I’m not! It’s called anchoring and it’s about tying a physical object or activity to a different way of thinking.
  5. Affirmations: before you go to sleep at night, tell yourself that tomorrow you’re going to wake up rested, refreshed , and with an attitude of joy and happiness regardless of what happens!

A  Brooklyn New York homemaker born in 1927 who once described herself  “As an overweight woman, married to an overweight husband, surrounded by overweight friends.” She also said, “It’s choice–not chance–that determines your destiny.”

Jean Nidetch is the founder of Weight Watchers, one of the most successful weight loss programs in the world. Based on her words and action she apparently chose a different attitude one day and started a business that not only changed her life but changed the lives of millions of people around the world! 

So what are you waiting for? You know what you need to do … when will you take that first step?

Maybe you just need to decide that you want an extraordinary life.

If that’s the case … remember that it all starts with your attitude … and that my friends all starts with you!