Bouncing Back from Rejection

Who knew two little letters could cause so much grief? Hearing the word “no” probably evokes the worst feeling, especially when it comes to a matter that was of extreme value to you. Perhaps you were pitching a new idea to your colleagues, asking for a raise or trying to close a sales deal. Rejection and the accompanying sentiment is enough to make you evaluate your skills, growth and sometimes, even your worth.
It’s important to remember that rejection is an important part of the growth and accomplishment processes. The word “no” provides you with the opportunity to re-evaluate and revise your approach to a situation. It also requires you to hone in on strengths and techniques that you may have overlooked or even dismissed initially. “No is a transitional word that demands that you persevere. Here are some tips to help you bounce back from the word  “no”:

1) “No” is not never— Rejection is temporary. In fact, as much as you were hoping for a “yes”, you only have a 50% shot of getting that answer. Think of it this way, no is not definite. It can also mean, not yet or maybe after a few improvements have been made. Don’t allow those two little letters to deter you from continuously pursuing your target. Who knows?  Your “yes” could simply require one more try.

2) Don’t shoot the messenger— Although the person bearing the bad news is just as discouraging as their negative response, remember, they are still a powerful tool in your success. So reconsider your thoughts about lashing out at them. Instead, ask them to give you feedback on improving your chances for next time. Figure out if they can help you achieve your goals through a stringent evaluation, constructive criticism, successful examples or even a point in the right direction. The messenger may have the information you need in order to get past “no”.

3) Narrow your focus— Sometimes “no” is the result of the wrong approach or the wrong focus. If you’re not completely qualified or capable of handling a task, you may be setting yourself up for failure in the first place. Make sure your target is aligned with your capabilities. As bold as you may be to pursue something out of your reach, you may actually be pushing it further away. Try narrowing your focus with your pitch– no matter what you’re pitching about– this should help you pursue the best opportunities that bring you more positive results.

4) Dust yourself off— Don’t wallow in self-pity. No can be a harsh word, but self-pity can make the sting last longer than it should. After receiving rejection, allow some time for it to settle in, vent appropriately, then dust yourself off and try again. You’re going to face a decent amount of rejection in your lifetime– even with tasks that you thought you were surefire to win.  It’s okay.  Don’t beat yourself up about it. Be willing to give anything you really want another shot.

These are just a few tips on dealing with rejection. For more tips, please contact me. Do you have ideas of your own? Please share them! I’d like to hear your feedback.

Turn a Compliment into a Customer

As a business owner, you know that customer satisfaction is an essential part of keeping your doors open. Compliments on your product, service or general operation mean that you are meeting the needs of your market and you’ve probably got customers spreading the word for you. However, an abundance of compliments does not necessarily create an abundance of sales. In which case, a gold star for effort may not pay for your expenses.
It’s important that business owners take charge of a compliment and don’t treat it passively. Compliments are direct, qualified leads for a new opportunity to  create revenue. Here are some tips for turning a compliment into a sale:
1) Acknowledge the compliment beyond “Thank You”: Every compliment deserves a polite response, but it shouldn’t stop there. This is the beginning of  transitioning to a sale. Discuss details about the compliment such as what the ingredients are, how it’s made, where it comes from or a brief history about its concept. This will engage the lead and identify any pain points, which is critical in closing a sale.
2) Reverse the compliment:  Reversing the compliment means noticing a pain point, tying it to the compliment and identifying a value in using the product or service. For instance, if you make shirts and a woman compliments you, reversing the compliment would mean: “Thanks for noticing! It’s handmade from organic cotton and non-toxic dye. In fact, those jeans you’re wearing would look amazing with this shirt.” This is a tricky step. But if it’s done correctly, it’ll decrease the gap between a compliment and a sale.

3) Discuss other products or services that are related to the compliment: If you’ve got a full offering of inventory, the person who is complimenting you should be made aware of it. Don’t be cold about it and pull out brochures, refer them to a website or leave them with a business card (just yet). Transitioning a compliment is about building rapport. In the above example of the shirt maker, talk about the dresses, pants or accessories you make as well. Give your potential customer an option of “yesses” to pique their interest and open up about what they may be looking for. If you don’t offer the product or service now, perhaps you could customize an order for them or at least maintain a warm lead for the future.

4) Do some undercover research: When a customer or a lead compliments you, ask them why they like it. You’re looking for details about the product or service that could help you develop new strategies for advertising, sales, production and customer support. Of course, you shouldn’t divulge why you’re asking. Remember, this is a conversation, not a focus group. Keep the questions light and simple. In the instance of the shirt maker, you may ask, “So are you into organically made clothing?”

5) KIT: Keep in Touch– If you can’t close the sale directly after a compliment, make sure you follow-up with the lead. Exchange business cards and tentatively schedule a follow-up or invite them to an upcoming event regarding your company. Maintain a warm lead  by keeping them actively interested in what you offer. Exchanging email or business cards is not enough because those methods can become stale. The compliment is the bait and the effective follow-up is the hook.

These are just a few tips on turning a compliment into a sale. For more tips, please contact me. Do you have tips of your own? Share them. I’d love to have your feedback.

You’ve made a BIG mistake!

                                                                            Photo courtesy of thecoolwind.info

Mistakes happen everywhere, but in business, when a mistake happens it can cause system malfunctions, product recalls, brand crises and ultimately revenue decreases. These mistakes cause panic. However, it’s important to remember that mistakes are still a process in the way we learn. If we don’t accidentally do something wrong, how can we ensure to do something right? It is inevitable that a colleague or staff member will make a mistake that costs you time, money or resources. You may become frustrated having to report the mishap to a superior or possibly deal with the consequences on your own. But remember, you’re a part of a team and at one point or another, everyone will have their share of taking the blame or causing the mistake.
No matter the error, there are proper ways to deal with a mistake so that it is treated as a lesson well learned versus a an irreparable flaw. Here are a few tips:
1) Admire before you admonish: Take a moment to tell the person at least one positive thing related to their mistake. After you’ve genuinely discussed their effort and contribution, outline the mistake and what has happened as a result of the mistake. For instance, “Mary, you did a great job enlisting the team on this project. Everyone talked about your enthusiasm and willingness to assist them during this long process. I appreciate your effort. However, the client has stated that you omitted their updated contact information and slogan. As a result, they are asking us to redesign a new campaign in less than 24 hours for free. We have to accommodate this request.”

2) Ask why the mistake may have happened: The best way to revise a strategy is to figure out what went wrong in the first place. Ask questions that don’t directly place blame on a person; uncover their reasoning or oversight instead. The mistake may have been completely out of their control. In which case, fixing the problem may involve other people or resources. For instance, “Mary, would you happen to know why the updated contact information was omitted?” The reason could be because the client sent the information after a critical deadline. This would change the situation drastically.

3) Allow the person to accept the mistake: Most people feel bad when they’ve made a mistake. So don’t rush into scolding them or creating a hostile situation. Let them be forthcoming with information that may not only create a resolution, but helps them deal with the embarrassment, shock or consequences.

4) Allow the person to reject the mistake: Most people who honestly feel they are not at fault for a mistake, will openly reject any association with the blame. Allow them to express what they feel has happened and work with them to discover facts about the situation. If they are not at blame, offer a sincere apology and follow-up with them to let them know the status (not details) of the situation. If they are, in fact, at fault show them how you’ve come to the conclusion.

5) Give them an opportunity to assist with correcting the mistake: Putting someone “in charge” of their mistake allows them to accept responsibility to fix the mistake as well. Pulling from their strengths and understanding of what went wrong, work together to develop a strategy to resolve the issue. Create an open door policy to facilitate feedback and discuss progress or concerns as they work to fix the problem. Don’t forget to congratulate them after the mistake has been successfully corrected.

 

These are just a few tips for dealing with a mistake. For other tips, please contact me. Do you have tips of your own? Share them! I’d like to have your feedback.

Is your staff loyal to you?

 

Your company has a mission. You need to provide a stellar product or service to your customers in a timely manner and with little to no error. Additionally, you need to meet certain revenue goals in order to successfully remain in business. Business owners and executives understand and appreciate this type of focus when it comes to the daily operation of an organization. But what about employees? How often is a regular employee excited to help its employer excel?
When it gets down to it, most employees remain loyal to a company because their livelihood is attached to it. Quite frankly, steady paychecks may make up for the fulfillment they lack in their regular job duties. And yes, there are plenty of examples of employees who are committed to their job because they genuinely like what they do. However, neither of these instances relate to their commitment to your organization. If they could earn money or have their dream career elsewhere, there’s a good chance they could jump ship on your company at any time.
Building employee loyalty takes the right consistency  of effort from an organization’s leaders. Here are a few tips you can use on a regular basis to incite loyalty from your employees:

1) Incorporate their passion into their job duties: Your employees are multi-talented. Their professional capabilities extend beyond what they were hired to do. Take time to learn about what your staff’s’ hobbies are and come up with creative (and meaningful) ways to bring their true passion to their job or workplace in general. For instance, if your Administrative Assistant is  very passionate about baking, perhaps you can ask her to bake something for the next departmental meeting. The compliments and conversations she’ll get from her peers will add more pep to her step and get her more excited about preparing for and attending the next meeting.
2) Regularly provide development opportunities: An employee who feels he/she can’t grow is most likely wasting their time and yours. Most people thrive from knowing there are possibilities to advance.  You can provide these possibilities by adding courses, events and activities to an employee’s core requirements in their job description. Employees can participate in mentoring or shadowing programs, learn a new software or sit in on meetings to provide input or valuable information. Challenge your employees to better themselves. Your company will reap the benefits.
3) Recharge them during the day: 8 hours sitting in front of a computer or performing the same task repeatedly is enough to make anyone sluggish or lackadaisical. Offer recharging “stations” throughout the office filled with healthy snacks, fun but challenging toys (rubik’s cube anyone?), magazines or even a laptop full of music that they can download to their iPods. These quick breaks can revitalize your staff and also provide them with an opportunity to mingle with their peers, productively let off some steam and get geared to face the rest of their day.
4) Ask for their input and actually do something with it: When you ask an employee’s opinion, you shouldn’t do it out of obligation. You should genuinely care about what they’re saying about your business, products and workplace. Engage in an informal conversation about their opinions on the happenings and practices within the organization and follow-up with them to let them know you’re considering what they’ve said. You never know, their opinion could be your next million-dollar strategy. You don’t have to be have an MBA to have a great sense of business.
5) Interview them…again: Things and people change frequently. Some of your employees may be rapidly outgrowing their positions, while others are struggling to keep up. Make it a point to re-interview your employees to evaluate their satisfaction and adjustments within their current role. Don’t be too formal because it can come across as an employee having to compete to keep their job. Simply talk with them using some of the questions you may have asked during their initial interview. Note their comfort with their role, concerns they may have and accomplishment’s they’ve made. This will help you determine any necessary changes you may need to make to improve the chances of retaining a good employee.

These are just a few tips on how to create a loyal relationship with your employees. For more tips on this topic, please contact me. Do you have tips of your own? Share them! I’d like to have your feedback.

Responding to positive feedback

This morning I woke up to an email from a client who was on vacation. The email was two sentences long, but it spoke volumes:

“Thank you, Shannon for handling this project for my company. Job well done.”

This jolted me more than any cup of coffee could. Not only did my client approve the work I had done, he took the time to graciously respond at 6:15 am ON HIS VACATION!

So with this exciting piece of information, I immediately questioned, how should someone respond to a customer’s positive feedback?

Here’s what I’ve come up with:
1. Use social media to share the news with others.
2. Ask if you can use their feedback as a testimony on your website or in sales collateral.
3. Respond in an alternative manner such as sending a video response.
4. Write an article about what you did for the client and post it as a piece on your blog or send it to the client. Include their logo and company bio.
5. Ask if you can share the positive experience with people your client refers to you.

Either way, responding to a client’s positive feedback is a great way to show you’re appreciative of the relationship you have with them and it opens the door for more opportunities.

For more tips on this topic or to learn how you can expand on the tips I’ve offered in this blog, please contact me.