Posts Tagged 'attitude'

Growing in a down economy? You must be kidding!

Yesterday, I participated in an industry sponsored webinar on surviving, even growing in a recession. For a first effort, I felt it was a success…as 325 contractors/operators signed up for the event.

My message, as it is in all my training, was that, if you take time to differentiate your company/product/service from the competition..and communicate the real, tangible value of the differences, you CAN sell and grow in a recession. I have clients who grew 18-23% this year…top and bottom lines! That is a fact.

Yesterday’s blog post on leaving the doom and gloom behind and getting back to business was based on this year’s positive experience. Since yesterday, a couple of people contacted me…telling me I was just another consultant…planting unrealistic expectaitons in the minds of generate business.

Holy cow! How silly! I am reporting what my clients are doing. Believe it or don’t, your call. But this I know, small to mid-sized businesses I work with are making it happen. To me, that’s good news and I intend to use my blog to tell the story.

Value sells…the probem is…we don’t take the time to hone our communications skills and we don’t tightly manage our marketing/sales process. If you want a more detailed discussion, let me know.


Get off the doom and gloom kick!

Flash! People are sick and tired of this recession. Over 90% of all Americans, those who want jobs, have them! And, despite what you hear, most have medical benefits too!

So, why are we hanging our heads? I’ll tell you; because the media is making hay, driving ratings scaring people to death! I don’t know about you but I’msick of it!

Don’t want to sound successful or anything not PC but…I bought a new 09 general motors car this year. And, low and behold…it’ still running! In fact, it’s a great car! So, life as we know it has not ended and, unless we let the sobbing, politically motivated pundits control our emotions, we can survive!

Let’s all decide to be positive for a change. We’ve been through tougher times….much tougher..and we’ve survived. And we can now. I’ve never Americans so down in the dumps without reason in my life. Don’t misunderstand…out of work is out of work. But, we can work through it if we go forward and get our heads out of the sand.

If you run a company, you’d better be showing a postive face 24/7. If you are an employee, representing a company, you’d better push back against consumers who are being sold the doom and gloom story. If we kick consumer spending in the rear, if we begin, again, to invest in the future, we’ll actually have one.

I know my positve view is not exactly typical but, I was part of a home serivce business during the 1987 recession..a tough time for the service business. I saw people pull in their horns and expect to fail. No surprise, they did! Self-fulfilling prophecy, I suppose. But my company did not! And my clients this time around are growing! Why, becasuse the refuse to buy into the media dribble which, in my view is mainly responsible for the malaise that has overtaken our country.

Good news! Our attitudes are ours! We can choose to be up…or down. Stay in the dumper if you must but, as for me..I’m not taking part in the negative recessionary doom and gloom any longer.

Gee, I feel better already!! How about you?

Selling requires a focus on how we can not why we can’t!

I’m just off another week on the road, training sales people.  Reflecting on the current situation, no way to describe it but dismal.  Dismal? To whom is it dismal? From my vantage point, the most dismal among us are found in two groups of people; the media and those out of a job! The former preach threat and fear for one reason…to boost ratings. The second, have a legitimate reason to be down.

What about selling home services in this environment? One would assume that, with all the chit-chat on cable talk shows and throughout the media, people would not buy. In fact, people aren’t buying….except, except in one particlar instance. Let me tell you about it.

I’m in Nashville.  The economy there is no better, no worse than in most other mid-southern cities. Talking heads, as they do everywhere, proclaim the end of life as we know it. So, what’s my point? Simply, that if we [the sellers] accept media BS and focus on the downside of things, the sad result becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy. We can’t sell.

In my training work there, I came upon one less than highly educated employee…someone asked to skip the negatives and sell what is still of value to homeowners…pride and investment in the single biggest asset most of us will ever have, our homes.  Knowing no better, the young man did what I asked.

Every night, after a day in the field, we’d role play the absolute and demonstrable value in a home investment. Over and over, I worked with him on moving the prospect’s mind from the deluge of daily media gloom to the notion of a better day; a day  that would see home values begin to stablize and even rise a bit. I showed him how to  lay out the increase in property value of a home with real curb-appeal. And, in the interest of brevity, let me just say, it has worked.

Now, before you pile on….think about it for a moment. Here we have a young seller, not yet able to own a property but still believing it to be a future possiblility.  A young person who, like most, want to see a brighter future.  A young person unable to live in a negative world of daily disasters and, to quote our new leader, a world of “catastrophies”.

My point, so very simple and uncomplicated is…’s all in our heads! That is, unless you are one of those who either must sell your home now or is out of work. Still, with more than 91% of all employable Americans earning a living, there are lots of people out there looking for a reason to be positive.  They may not take that cruise or buy that new car this time around but….talk to them about building value in the one asset that matters most, and will for years to come, and they will listen!

Would tha media agree with my experience or even give it exposure? Not on your life! Why?  Because it takes away the play and exoses them for and the party in charge for what they are…people making a living by taking us down! the worse they all make it sound, the greater their accomplishment in “saving America”.To heck with politics! To heck with the media! Let’s focus on how to make things happen than describing why it can’t and won’t! Let’s not continue to fall for the media and political BS designed to make them successful and think about personal, individual responsibililty.

There, I’ve said it. I can’t live and work in a negative world….how can  you?

What Great Trainers Know

Ever sit through a classroom training program in our service industry’?  I’m sure you have and I’m equally sure you’ve been less than excited about the material.  In the old days it was slides.  Today, it’s ppt presentations….still boring, right?


Truth is, the kind of training we do is typically required by a state or the federal government.  So, having fun with these [mostly technical] topics can be challenging. 


Point: Great trainers…those whose sessions and presentations create real ‘water cooler buzz’, have one thing in common.  Great trainers help to fill the room with interested learners…those who want to be there.  They have learned that interested, involved people retain and use more of the information presented.


Wait a minute…I train the people we hire, right? I don’t get a choice do I?  That is exactly my point.  If the hiring manager[s] in your company does not carefully screen candidates and select only those people who come to your company believing in your company philosophies and willing to follow your procedures, training will never meet expectations.  Said another way, if you hire people who just want a job vs. your job, no training program can be counted on to convince them that your way is the best way..or to significantly impact their thinking.  Training can only help willing learners.


Year after year, time stressed ‘service industry’ managers go through their spring training process as best they can, often with little preparation and inadequate tools.  Inevitably, we see a few disinterested new hires yawning, heads down or staring out the window.  I want you to know that, while we owe our adult learners challenging and participative training, we cannot make a disinterested person interested.


So, don’t blame your training program for achieving poor results if the people in the classroom didn’t really want to be there in the first place.


Great trainers help management focus on candidate selection.  There is simply no excuse for hiring “warm bodies”.  To make training pay off, fill you seats with ONLY those candidates who have satisfied you that they want to learn the business and will follow your procedures consistently. 


Be certain your interview process includes effective, open ended, probing questions that uncover the candidates past behavior.  Before making the hiring decision, learn from each candidate what specific experiences they have had that convince you he/she will follow your procedures, learn and apply what they are taught? 


And, once on board, know this….training begins day one!  Great trainers control every part of the early employment experience.  Nothing is left to chance.  Learning is delivered effectively in small bites and reinforced with on-the-job ‘ride along’ coaching.  At the end of each training day, the new hire’s morale and feelings are monitored and help guide the trainer in his/her direction and handling of the trainee.  Not all of us learn at the same rate of in the same way. Some “get it” from our presentations, some don’t really learn until we are with them,  post-classroom, on the job. Both training situations are important and an effective program.


Great trainers ensure that each new hire experiences lots of support and early success.  They know that success motivates us all and that new hire who is taught to succeed early is far less likely to quit.


Let’s review.

  1. Great trainers impact the company hiring [recruiting/interviewing] process by helping ensure that new hires want ‘this job vs. a job’.
  2. Great trainers understand training begins day one and control the new hire’s early experience completely.
  3. Great trainers see to it that each new hire is heavily supported by positive people and experiences early success.


Think about the above three points. Where is your new hire training program?  Now, right now, is the time to improve.