Author Archives: Dennis Gilbert

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negative bias

Negative Bias, Is It Limiting You?

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Positive versus negative, we hear about it all the time. People flock to social media for positive vibes, or spend time posting about their negative experiences. It is not just on social media. It is at your water cooler meeting, in your phone calls, and what you share with your friends and family. Is negative bias limiting you?

I have certainly done it. Proclaim that I am being positive but what I’m really sharing is negative. In fact, so much so, that I insist I’m not being negative. Often, from my point of view, I’m trying to be helpful, but what I speak is not necessarily so positive.

Negative Bias

Do you have a negative bias? Recently one of my brilliant good friends and I tossed this stuff around for discussion for nearly an hour. It seems simple, but you have to dig deep within yourself to have it hit home.

Here are a few short case studies.

  1. Someone proclaims they have been searching tirelessly for a new job. He or she states that they are being positive regarding their search. What do they talk about? All of the reasons why someone won’t hire them, how they are being discriminated against, and how it is just not fair.
  2. Another person proclaims they start their day on a high note, but quickly weather conditions, the work commute, or the people they work with ruin their good mood. Much of their morning talk is about how someone else is ruining their day. However, they also say, “but I’m staying positive.”
  3. Still another person claims that they are very focused on selling but they can’t achieve their goals. They repetitively state that the goal is lofty, the economy is off, and that the competition has a better marketing and advertising campaign. Yet they insist they are putting their head down and being positive.

In all three of these cases, the person is being effected by negative energy. They have a negative bias. Which also sets them up for confirmation bias, but that is another story.

Seeing Negative

Here is how this breaks down, it is simple, but sometimes hard to see at first.

  1. The new job seeker isn’t focused on finding the job, he or she is focused on why they won’t get one.
  2. The high note day starter is not looking for all the great things that surround them, he or she is looking for who is going to ruin their day. They believe it is coming, so they are watching for it, and find it.
  3. In the third case, the sales person is not focused on more sales, he or she is focused on why they aren’t getting enough.

Positivity is not something you say. It is something that you do and say. What you say is what you think and it will strongly condition your outcomes.

Positivity Test

Do you believe you are a positive person who is focused on the positive? Do you have a negative bias? There is a pretty simple test that you can give yourself.

Do you feel stressed or have high anxiety? Game over, you are likely living, at least at the moment, with a negative bias.

No matter how much you tell yourself you are positive, your mind is seeing (feeling) negative. You expect it to happen. It is all you see and it is what you find.

– DEG

Dennis E. Gilbert is a business consultant, speaker (CSPTM), and corporate trainer that specializes in helping businesses and individuals accelerate their leadership, their team, and their success. He is a five-time author and some of his work includes, #CustServ The Customer Service Culture, and Forgotten Respect, Navigating A Multigenerational Workforce. Reach him through his website at Dennis-Gilbert.com or by calling +1 646.546.5553.

Dennis Gilbert on Google+


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training customers

Are You Training Customers or Is It My Imagination?

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Marketers, account managers, and brands all have something in common. They want to achieve more sales, build the brand, and make the most of their high value customers. Are you training customers? Do you realize what you are teaching them?

Our professional business interactions are driven largely by emotion. As people we act and react to joy, pain, and adversity. Many business people will suggest that everyone should remove the emotion, but the act of trying removing emotion is driven by emotion.

Businesses and organizations everywhere are conditioning their clients and customers for future interactions. As people of emotion and habit, we learn to adapt to situations. What we learn leads us to make decisions and choices that our connected with our past experiences.

Training Customers

Our restaurant is closed on Monday.  Later the restaurant wonders why business is off. Monday is a business day and people want lunch. The people don’t remember what day, they just know that they are not always open.

Every weekend we have a sale. Why go there on Tuesday, just wait to see what happens on the weekend. Otherwise, you’ll pay too much.

We will email you sixteen times before the sale ends.  No need to act now. I will be notified repeatedly. Maybe something else comes along and I don’t act at all. I also don’t trust or understand the deadline.

When I call, I can get a better rate. (Hotels) Don’t use the online registration system, they charge more there. Continue calling a staff that is untrained and unavailable since the hotel strategy is to move reservations to the online system.

You: I want to cancel my subscription. Vendor: Wait, I can give you a better deal. Punish the auto-renew or higher lifetime value customers. Who cares, they are not planning to cancel.

Punishment

Do you believe your business or organization has a customer centric focus? Do you have a culture of service? How are you training customers?

Are you training them the right way or punishing them to fit your agenda?

– DEG

Dennis E. Gilbert is a business consultant, speaker (CSPTM), and corporate trainer that specializes in helping businesses and individuals accelerate their leadership, their team, and their success. He is a five-time author and some of his work includes, #CustServ The Customer Service Culture, and Forgotten Respect, Navigating A Multigenerational Workforce. Reach him through his website at Dennis-Gilbert.com or by calling +1 646.546.5553.

Dennis Gilbert on Google+


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customers telling

Who Are Your Customers Telling?

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Historically word of mouth has been considered to be one of the best forms of advertising. Do things right and your customers will tell others, who are your customers telling?

Today with our robust social media channels, it is possible for your customers to tell the world. Instead of word of mouth, we now have world of mouth. This is nothing new to most, but it may be new to some.

The biggest question, or the most difficult to answer, may be who or what are your best customers telling? Do you have a way to measure or index the customer who spreads the word about the great products or services you provide?

Customer Stories

Two days ago, I received a direct tweet from an airline. At first I was confused, was this some type of scam?

After a moment or two, I realized that a colleague had a bad flight experience and I added on comment on his thread about customer service being about culture. The airline was trying to be sure to capture any of the bad news and correct the problem.

Personally, I’m undecided about tweeting out bad experiences, but I may not be the norm.

Think about the last customer service story you heard about. Was it a story about how incredible the service was or how delighted they were? Chances are pretty good that you hear more disappointment stories as compared to those of delight.

Customers Telling

A customer who recommends you, tells the delightful stories, provides referrals, loves connections, and participates on social media platforms may be one of your best customers. They may not spend as much. They may not generate the most gross revenue. What they do however, it may be priceless.

What key performance indicators (KPI’s) are you monitoring?

Knowing the big spenders and high profit customers are absolutely important. Identifying the ones that sell for you shouldn’t be forgotten. In a world of mouth environment, do you know who your customers are telling?

– DEG

Dennis E. Gilbert is a business consultant, speaker (CSPTM), and corporate trainer that specializes in helping businesses and individuals accelerate their leadership, their team, and their success. He is a five-time author and some of his work includes, #CustServ The Customer Service Culture, and Forgotten Respect, Navigating A Multigenerational Workforce. Reach him through his website at Dennis-Gilbert.com or by calling +1 646.546.5553.

Dennis Gilbert on Google+


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comparing performance

Comparing Performance, Is That The Best Way?

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People who shop for a new car often compare feature by feature with a competitive brand. The same is often true for buying a television, a washing machine, or the new techie gadget. Do you believe comparing performance is important for your career or is it mostly counterproductive?

Amateur or Professional

Professional business coaching is an interesting skill. So many amateur coaches want to dive right in and give the textbook representation for what to do next. The reality is that it isn’t that simple. Each person is different, at a different place, with different needs, and as such, they need different coaching.

I love it when I talk with people trying to start a practice. They’ve often invested in training, but their training seldom teaches them that one size does not fit all. If there is an attempt to teach it, the students apparently fail to learn.

It happens with the fitness coach. Pick up that kettle bell and swing it until you puke.

And the change coach. You must let go of your fears. It is fear that is holding you back.

The truth of it often is that this is the recommendation that they use for themselves or something that has worked with a different client or is found on page 35 in the textbook. It is helpful and appropriate to some, but not all.

Data Comparison

The problem may be in the comparison. Data can be a great resource, but when the data is not used appropriately, it is not good data.

Many people find themselves comparing their performance to an expectation. That expectation may be based on observable data, past performance, benchmark data, or in some cases the expectations of others.

It may be that we are at a place where finding ways to be disappointed has never been easier. Some will compare their vacations, their home, or their eye makeup on social media. Others may observe job titles, inflated salaries, and someone’s MLM selling skills.

Their data is entirely based on their network of people, and frankly, it is easy to become disappointed. What many never consider is that the very data they compare to is exaggerated. It isn’t necessarily real. Of course the data may be real, but its origins and authenticity are questionable.

Those with research skills may quickly suggest that it is not valid or reliable.

Comparing Performance

Perhaps for your own individual performance the best comparison is against your own data. What (supposedly) worked for someone else may not be best for you. Try comparing performance against where you are at right now. Establish your own baseline and create goals appropriate for you.

It is easy to find someone else who has a better car, a better job, or is in better physical shape. What is the point of that? That isn’t your data, and you don’t even know if it is real.

Sometimes the best part about their data, is that it provides motivation. Motivation is good, just be sure to compare your performance to your own realistic goal.

– DEG

Dennis E. Gilbert is a business consultant, speaker (CSPTM), and corporate trainer that specializes in helping businesses and individuals accelerate their leadership, their team, and their success. He is a five-time author and some of his work includes, #CustServ The Customer Service Culture, and Forgotten Respect, Navigating A Multigenerational Workforce. Reach him through his website at Dennis-Gilbert.com or by calling +1 646.546.5553.

Dennis Gilbert on Google+


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born or made

Born or Made, Is This What Defines Your Career?

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It has been a debate for a long time. Are people born with talent, skills, and abilities, or do they work differently, harder, and with enough persistence to attain a higher level. What about your career, is it born or made?

When we see a really old tree, we wonder how it weathered all of those years. The cycle of the seasons, unexpected weather conditions, predators, insects, and even a human with an axe. There is almost a level of respect for its survival. It wasn’t born this way, it was made across time.

It is similar for the athlete. A fit, slender, or muscular shape, a stride or walk that displays confidence, they weren’t born this way. Most people give respect, because they know that it took hours of hard work, a good diet, and the discipline to stick with it.

About Your Career

Some people wonder, is a skill, talent, or simple good fortune born to you, or is it made? Certainly, some families have achieved levels of financial wealth, political positioning, or Hollywood status that jumps starts the career of their offspring. This is true for very few.

For everyone else, the extra effort is required. Everyone has a story of shortcomings, being overlooked, passed over, and unrecognized for what they offer. Additionally, many of the most successful have a story of countless hours and gigantic sacrifices they made along the way.

Of course, we can’t forget the envious, those with the misfortune, diversions, or a lack of money to really make it big. Certainly, these may be real factors that affect the speed, timing, and the ability to sustain. They often become an excuse, valid or not, about why some cannot achieve.

Does this answer the born or made question?

Born or Made

We see both ends of the continuum, but what is the third element? Either side has reasons for their position. Everything else is just in the middle, the mean, an average.

Some will talk about excuses. Others will express a lack of interest, a lack of desire, or unlucky breaks. Still others will proclaim that they weren’t born with it.

If you aren’t making your story better, maybe it is time to turn over a new leaf.

A tree may be born from a seed, how it grows is a different story.

– DEG

Dennis E. Gilbert is a business consultant, speaker (CSPTM), and corporate trainer that specializes in helping businesses and individuals accelerate their leadership, their team, and their success. He is a five-time author and some of his work includes, #CustServ The Customer Service Culture, and Forgotten Respect, Navigating A Multigenerational Workforce. Reach him through his website at Dennis-Gilbert.com or by calling +1 646.546.5553.

Dennis Gilbert on Google+


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speaking the truth

Testimonials and Speaking The Truth

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Not so long ago I was on a telephone call with a potential client. During the call, the client was clicking through some of the features of my website and specifically wanted to see customer testimonials. It causes me to wonder, are testimonials really speaking the truth?

Wanting Testimonials

As we talked on the phone, she was saying aloud the features she was seeing. “Okay, here is your seminar list. Oh and here are your blog posts. Okay and I see your speaking topics. Do you have any testimonials?”

Testimonials are valuable, certainly. They also have their own dedicated page on my site.

I wonder though, are written testimonials, the kind we see on a business web page real?

I don’t mean to suggest that anyone makes them up. Although, of course, someone could, what I question is how authentic these testimonials really feel to the reader or potential customer. Is this written word really speaking the truth?

Similar to references on a job application, would anyone knowingly list a reference that would say something bad, I don’t think so.

We live in a funny World. People cite in a negative sarcastic tone the perceived lack of authenticity related to online data, articles, and social media posts. There is a tremendous social atmosphere (movement?) which many people have labeled as, fake news.

Therefore, it may beg the question, “Why do people believe in testimonials?” How many businesses would display a comment that expresses disappointment with their product or service? Unless it is some paradoxical shift, I believe none. Zero, no one would do that.

Speaking the Truth

Testimonials may be one of the most intriguing inspirations for a call to action. They matter. Every marketer will tell you that. People believe in them. Psychologically, they move people to action. Are they fake news, maybe?

Perhaps the real truth exists in the number of clients or customers served, years in business, or when a friend of a friend provides a real spontaneous and unsolicited referral. I’m not saying that testimonials are fake news. They are probably real on most websites. What I am saying is what makes people so sure.

What did I tell the potential client? I directed her to my testimonials tab.

She was satisfied.

– DEG

Dennis E. Gilbert is a business consultant, speaker (CSPTM), and corporate trainer that specializes in helping businesses and individuals accelerate their leadership, their team, and their success. He is a five-time author and some of his work includes, #CustServ The Customer Service Culture, and Forgotten Respect, Navigating A Multigenerational Workforce. Reach him through his website at Dennis-Gilbert.com or by calling +1 646.546.5553.

Dennis Gilbert on Google+


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Attracting customers

Attracting Customers The Facebook Way

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Do you want more clients, more customers, or to build your membership base? Most people believe that the way to do that is to get a bigger funnel. Big funnel concepts are inspiring, but are they targeted enough. Are you attracting customers?

The way most people think about more business is more awareness. The idea is that you have to get yourself out there, reach as many people as possible, and hope for a hit. It is the spray and pray method.

Social media has been the path where many are pointing, but will broadcasting on social media work?

The Facebook Way

Mark Zuckerberg just spent two days on Capitol Hill explaining Facebook and data. What was most alarming to me as I listened to some of the testimony was that many of the people asking questions (Senators, Congress) had very little knowledge of how anything data actually works.

Congratulations to the 60+ time billionaire on managing his time spent with the utmost respect, dignity, and patience.

Why does Zuckerberg matter when it comes to attracting customers? Simple, because he has built a platform that is likely one of the best and most affordable ways to reach a target audience. Provided of course, that the audience demographic you seek is using Facebook.

There is a catch though. The catch is that just because you’ve signed up for Facebook (for free) and you’ve connected to a few friends (for free) doesn’t mean that your target audience will be there, for free.

Additionally, it doesn’t mean that one hundred or so characters and a cool picture will be seen by (or attract) the World.

Attracting Customers

Social media provides a unique opportunity to hit many people at a very low cost. It doesn’t mean that the best plan is free. Mr. Zuckerberg and his team are running a business, which means free is never really free.

You still have to target your audience. Free broadcasts to one hundred, one thousand, or several million are meaningless if they aren’t your demographic. In fact, it could have a negative effect.

If you are interested in attracting customers, I suggest you consider how to do it through data. It won’t be free, but done properly it is currently the most cost effective option out there.

– DEG

Dennis E. Gilbert is a business consultant, speaker (CSPTM), and corporate trainer that specializes in helping businesses and individuals accelerate their leadership, their team, and their success. He is a five-time author and some of his work includes, #CustServ The Customer Service Culture, and Forgotten Respect, Navigating A Multigenerational Workforce. Reach him through his website at Dennis-Gilbert.com or by calling +1 646.546.5553.

Dennis Gilbert on Google+


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fresh start

Fresh Start and Leveraging The Boundary

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People sometimes ask for a do over. The idea is that if we throw away the mistake, the failed project, or the effort that we feel we wasted we can do better in our next attempt. Are you looking for a fresh start?

Clean Slate

The baby boomer with his or her yellow pad just rips the page off, crumbles it, and uses the nearest trashcan for a basket. The millennial highlights all the text, and then cuts it. Regardless of our generation, we often feel there is something magical about a fresh start.

We seem convinced in our fresh start that we will develop some newfound creativity. It is a clean white board, a new document in our word processor, or staring at the “What’s on your mind?” prompt.

For years, we’ve been told to color outside the lines, think outside of the box, and know no boundaries. The problem often is that no matter how hard we try we still face limitations, a framework that we believe we need to operate within.

Sometimes our frame is too small and our ideas are also limited. In other cases, our frame is too big. We can’t see a clear path for problem definition and most of all, problem resolution.

Leverage

Operating within our frame, our clean sheet, or a blank screen, still has value. The frame may not be our worst obstacle. Our worst obstacle may be discovering how we leverage everything on the edges of the boundary.

It may be the right turn on red at the traffic light, asking boss at just the right moment, or calling the client when they have just discovered more room in the budget.  At any other time, we would have been stopped and feel forced to operate within the boundary.

Fresh Start

Your next fresh start may feel like it begins with a clean slate, but instead of diving into the middle or upper left hand corner to get started think about working from the edges.

It may be the leverage of the boundary that holds the most value.

– DEG

Dennis E. Gilbert is a business consultant, speaker (CSPTM), and corporate trainer that specializes in helping businesses and individuals accelerate their leadership, their team, and their success. He is a five-time author and some of his work includes, #CustServ The Customer Service Culture, and Forgotten Respect, Navigating A Multigenerational Workforce. Reach him through his website at Dennis-Gilbert.com or by calling +1 646.546.5553.

Dennis Gilbert on Google+


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loyal customers

Who Are Your Loyal Customers?

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The importance of both internal and external customers should never be taken for granted. Often people quickly connect with the atmosphere of working with external customers but miss the emotional connection internally. Who are the loyal customers and how do we know?

Internal Customer Loyalty

Every organization has a responsibility internally. People are serving other people, other departments, and in one way or another, the sales or production effort. There are customer connections. Internal service is so important because the internal culture is always reflected, in one way or another, in the external brand.

Loyalty in an organization is often measured through the employee turnover metric. Those who stay are loyal. Those who stay have a good internal customer relationship.

Seems logical, except that many believe that they are not staying by choice, they believe they stay because it is a requirement. Requirements to earn a living, feed a family, pay bills, and survive.

External Customer Loyalty

External customers may have a different agenda. It may be easier for them to exit a relationship. There may be many competitive choices and options. In some cases, but certainly not all, they may not feel so trapped. They feel more freedom to choose.

When their automobile is not reliable, they may choose a different brand. If their athletic footwear is uncomfortable or short lived, next time they’ll try a different brand.

It is true for nearly any consumer purchase. Business-to-business is sometimes a little messier, but still doable.

Loyal Customers

So what are the indicators of loyal customers? Certainly sticking around and repetitive purchases are a good indicator. Lifetime value is an important measurement or metric. What else may be important?

Have you considered that a customer who offers feedback, even the feedback that sounds critical or like a criticism is sign of customer loyalty? Maybe you haven’t thought of it this way, but with so many choices, why bother with feedback?

People who have choices, but choose to stay are loyal for some reason. Offering feedback, even feedback that is critical may be a sign that they want to stay, but they also want to help strengthen the reasons why they stay.

Often people with nothing to say, really don’t care, they don’t mind, they’ll just go.

Feedback or criticism is often viewed as a customer about to exit. Instead, it may be a good customer who wants to stay and help you build it.

– DEG

Dennis E. Gilbert is a business consultant, speaker (CSPTM), and corporate trainer that specializes in helping businesses and individuals accelerate their leadership, their team, and their success. He is a five-time author and some of his work includes, #CustServ The Customer Service Culture, and Forgotten Respect, Navigating A Multigenerational Workforce. Reach him through his website at Dennis-Gilbert.com or by calling +1 646.546.5553.

Dennis Gilbert on Google+


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culture drives decisions

Culture Drives Decisions, Does Your Team Get It Right?

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It is Monday, or Tuesday, or any day of the week. You’ll make some decisions today, everything from what to eat to your next big purchase. In the workplace, you’ll make decisions too. Everything from how you’ll navigate the environment to the timeliness of your work. Culture drives decisions, are you getting them right?

Organizational Culture

Your organization has a culture. It is hard to imagine any assembled group of people who over time do not develop a way of doing things, how to interact, and what the rules are. When hiring, many organizations try to find someone with the required skills, but they must also fit their culture.

Is this a good idea? In many regards, yes it may be. However, when the organization is trying to build something, grow, develop, change, and inspire, more of the same is exactly that, the same.

It isn’t a secret. Culture, and its associated density, is driving the organization or team where you do your work. This is especially true for how you make decisions.

Your Way

You have a way you build brand, a way you schedule and hold meetings. There is a dress code (formal and informal) and a proper way to interact. There are hours of operation and expectations on how you’ll accommodate those. Organizational hierarchy is strict or loose.

You’ll manage relationships according to the flow of the culture. This is true for the customer, the vendor, and your co-workers.

All of these things and so much more guide what choices you’ll make today. They will guide the workflow, the pace, and who has the final say in any matter.

Culture Drives Decisions

Organizations often pride themselves on being unique. Unique can be interesting, diverse, and compelling.

If your organization or team is stuck, stalled, or just can’t seem to get out of its own way. You may want to check your culture. It is the way you do everything.

It is probably the most important decision that you get right.

– DEG

Dennis E. Gilbert is a business consultant, speaker (CSPTM), and corporate trainer that specializes in helping businesses and individuals accelerate their leadership, their team, and their success. He is a five-time author and some of his work includes, #CustServ The Customer Service Culture, and Forgotten Respect, Navigating A Multigenerational Workforce. Reach him through his website at Dennis-Gilbert.com or by calling +1 646.546.5553.

Dennis Gilbert on Google+


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