Tag Archives: relationships

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workplace intentions

Workplace Intentions Forge Stronger Connections

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What are your workplace intentions? Are you striving to do good work, have effective communication, and foster stronger workplace relationships?

There is almost always some difference between what is said and what is heard.

It may be because we haven’t planned our words wisely, our emotions jumped in the way, or the receiver of the communication misunderstood.

Chances are good that both parties have some responsibility.

It’s true for working with peers, direct reports, and your boss. It is also true when communicating with the customer.

Much of what we hear is based on our expectations. You can recognize a difference in the flow and understanding when someone says, “I wasn’t expecting that.”

Workplace Intentions

Those differences between what one party says and the other party hears are enough to breakdown trust, sour the relationship, and cost the organization money.

An angry customer who feels insulted may leave forever. Their emotion of anger and insult is likely the result of their expectations not being met. Their expectations are often driven by their past experiences or clever advertising, marketing, or sales presentations.

What was the intent?

With co-workers, friends, or customers, your intent compared with their expectations will either forge stronger connections or tear them down.

It may be a good idea to express where you are coming from.

When everyone understands your intentions there is more empathy for communication that feels like a pinch.

Consider the value of recognizing when a salesperson is selling, the boss needs you to shift directions, or your co-worker is giving you some advice. It’s an opportunity to adjust your expectations.

Stronger connections are intentional.

-DEG

Dennis E. Gilbert is a business consultant, speaker (CSPTM), and culture expert. He is a five-time author and the founder of Appreciative Strategies, LLC. His business focuses on positive human performance improvement solutions through Appreciative Strategies®. Reach him through his website at Dennis-Gilbert.com or by calling +1 646.546.5553.


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sales relationships

Sales Relationships Still Matter The Most

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The most important element for your success in sales or success in your career are your sales relationships. Even transactional sales may be conditioned, or not, by the relationship.

People Influence Sales

When you ask a friend about a new barber or hair stylist you’re really asking about their brand. Are they reputable, will they do a good job, or will they botch me up?

The barber with no reputation is a barber of high risk.

Barbers often build relationships with the customer. Those relationships mean that not only is the customer a living example, they also are able to influences future sales.

A haircut is really not a transactional sale. It is a consultative sale. When you treat it like a transaction you limit the possibility for future sales. In other words, “I can get my haircut anywhere.”

This logic still matters across nearly every platform.

Amazon is a close example to transactional selling. You browse the website and place an order for a commodity product. Done.

Yet there is still a service side. How will it be packed, shipped, and delivered. Does a relationship still exist? In some ways, yes.

Sales Relationships

Today even face-to-face selling is different. You spec your new car on-line first, you check out the restaurant menu on-line, or you search the web for customer reviews.

The relationship still matters for many. It especially matters for consultative selling.

You may not always have to be face-to-face, in fact, in some cases perhaps not at all. Yet, being considered for, or earning the sale will often have to do with what someone else has to say.

Build stronger sales relationships, it may be how you earn your living, or how you get the promotion.

-DEG

Dennis E. Gilbert is a business consultant, speaker (CSPTM), and culture expert. He is a five-time author and the founder of Appreciative Strategies, LLC. His business focuses on positive human performance improvement solutions through Appreciative Strategies®. Reach him through his website at Dennis-Gilbert.com or by calling +1 646.546.5553.


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customer work

Customer Work Matters The Most

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What is your product or service? Is it relationship oriented or based on the materialistic nature of production? Customer work, being in the relationship business, likely matters the most.

It happens with retail banking. Everyone has nearly an identical product. Checking and savings accounts, mortgage or automobile loans, and other aspects of their business are commonly known as the product.

Only, that isn’t their product.

Their product is their service and customer excellence. It is about the relationships being built, strengthened, and maintained. It is about future transactions and retention.

Shifting Marketplace

Once upon a time, nearly everything was purchased at a store. A retail environment where the store front and people mattered. Today, often the closest relationship you form is with a website, FedEx, or UPS.

Largely, Amazon doesn’t make anything it sells. The same goes for eBay or other forms of online retailers. Walmart doesn’t make anything.

You don’t buy your automobile direct from the factory. Largely, the same is true for electronics, clothing, and shoes.

Who is really servicing the customer? Who owns the customer relationship? Is it the manufacturer? If you buy a gallon of milk or a carton of eggs at a retail grocery store, is your relationship with the farmer?

Managing the end-customer relationship may be the hardest part. It is where the markup occurs.

Customer Work

Manufacturing, farming, or other aspects of a product or service creation matter. Without this aspect there is nothing to sell.

Yet, at the same time it is the work of creating, building, and maintaining the customer relationship that closes the sale. Online or traditional retail.

A good product or brand may be considered trustworthy, but the relationship built inspires trust.

Are you mindful of your role in the supply chain?

Everyone has a product. Doing the work of customer management matters the most.

-DEG

Dennis E. Gilbert is a business consultant, speaker (CSPTM), and culture expert. He is a five-time author and the founder of Appreciative Strategies, LLC. His business focuses on positive human performance improvement solutions through Appreciative Strategies®. Reach him through his website at Dennis-Gilbert.com or by calling +1 646.546.5553.


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building connections

Building Connections Is More Than a Tactic

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Are you building connections? Friending someone on Facebook is a connection, yet it is does not ensure a human relationship. Who makes up your network and why?

People Connections

People attend business breakfast meetings, luncheons, and evening mixers. What is their reason or motive? In part, it may be to build relationships.

Why do people come away from the conference or convention feeling motivated and pumped up? It probably has something to do with the connections made or relationships built.

What inspires or motivates people in your workplace? It probably has something to do with the people, the environment, and the culture.

Building Connections

On-line or in-person people are often seeking a community. Communities of like interests, hobbies, or professions. People who have something to give, share, or gain from the interaction. It doesn’t make them fake. It makes them real.

The statement often is, “Everyone is in sales.”

Yes, it is true. We’re all probably selling something. Sometimes, more often than we realize, we are selling ourselves. That doesn’t mean a forced activity, it means building relationships.

Connection is more strategy than it is tactic. The tactical approach may be the literal part of a technological connection. LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, or many others. Friends, followers, and social networks. Your connection count is a tactic.

Think more strategic and less tactically.

In order to connect, you have to find other people. You have to arrive, engage, and take risks. You have to look for the opportunity in misfortune, adverse conditions, and economic challenges. Celebrate wins, good fortune, and growth.

Building connections are part of the strategy for growth.

-DEG

Dennis E. Gilbert is a business consultant, speaker (CSPTM), and culture expert. He is a five-time author and the founder of Appreciative Strategies, LLC. His business focuses on positive human performance improvement solutions through Appreciative Strategies®. Reach him through his website at Dennis-Gilbert.com or by calling +1 646.546.5553.


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trusted relationships

Trusted Relationships and Other Marketing Fails

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Everyone seems to agree that trust is important for business relationships. Do you have trusted relationships or are marketing efforts slowly eroding them?

Recently I received a call on my cell phone that I wasn’t sure I should take. I didn’t recognize the number and largely I don’t openly distribute my cellular number, but it also isn’t a secret.

When I answered the call, a female voice seemed somewhat robotic, but honestly, I couldn’t tell for sure. Was this a digitized voice, an advanced form of telemarketing? I was thinking, “Siri is that you? Cortana, Alexa, is it you?”

I interrupted, asked a question, and still I was stumped. Was a real person on the other end or a computer? I stopped listening and starting trying to think of ways to trip up the caller. Finally, after I quit interacting the caller hung up. I’m still not sure.

Marketing Fails

My email inbox gets some interesting messages. First, if you want to build a business relationship with me, my name is Dennis, not Denise. This is not the same as Denny or Dennis. Denise is not my name.

Occasionally, I will get the popular, “I wanted to reach out to you personally” email, yet the content is a complete duplication of an unknown volume of email messages that many others have also received. I guess I am somehow missing the feeling of personal.

Certainly, we cannot ignore the database merge email. Do they spark anyone into action? They start off friendly because if they have the correct name in the database, and a little bit of data about you or your company, at first glance they appear sincere and trusted.

They may start off with, “Dennis, will you be at Expo 2.X in September?” or they may try to be more friendly, “Dennis, we’ve missed you.”

In a moment you feel violated. You thought they were addressing you personally. You are really just another number.

Trusted Relationships

Many people will give you the benefit of trust. You don’t always have to earn it, at least not the first time around. As we all know trust can be destroyed in a moment. Rebuilds are difficult and costly.

If you are seeking new opportunities, building a sales funnel, or otherwise trying to grow a business that you believe depends on trusted relationships, be careful how you market.

Trusted relationships take time and sincere effort. Do your efforts feel sincere?

Easy for you, may mean easy off for your target.

-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 RespectNavigating 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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apologies improve performance

Do Apologies Improve Performance?

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Apologies are important but they shouldn’t be a crutch. Do you have to apologize often? Do you believe apologies improve performance, or the perception of performance?

Excuses and Dropped Balls

In business or our workplace relationships, we often hear excuses for poor performance or dropped balls.

I forgot about that, I’ll do it right away. 

Sorry I missed you on the email distribution I must have been very busy when I sent it.

If I don’t call you back please reach out again. I’m really terrible about getting back to people.

Certainly, everyone has a slip up here or there, unfortunately sometimes this procrastination and faulty service becomes a habit, a very bad habit.

Relationships Matter

In workplace relationships, internally with the team, or externally with customers and vendors we have an obligation to support others. Sometimes this obligation is contractual and sometimes it should just be a common courtesy.

Relationships matter appreciative strategies

Good habits are hard to form and bad habits are hard to break. When you chronically come up short and provide an excuse that seems to let you off the hook what will you do the next time?

The best indicator of future performance is often past performance. It is true in business agreements, professional relationships, and even with personal matters.

Do Apologies Improve Performance?

Not a chance, always consider that your future success will depend on your business relationships. Just because you’re friendly or have known someone for a long time doesn’t mean you have an excuse for poor performance in business matters.

When you’re really sorry and you care about your professional image you’ll accept that you came up short, apologize, and change your behavior for the future.

Apologies won’t improve your performance, but a commitment to shift to better habits will.

– 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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meaningful workplace

Building Meaningful Workplace Relationships

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Work is, well, a lot of work. At least most believe this to be the case. Many of us will spend much of our adult lives active in the workforce. Do you build meaningful workplace relationships? Are there connections to relationships and your career?

One of the most important factors that affects your career are your workplace relationships. Some of them may be (appropriately) personal, others strictly business, and some are in between.

This is true internally within the organization and it is true externally with clients, customers, and stakeholders.

We have two main paths that form the relationships that we build, or the ones that we don’t.

Walls and Lines

The first may be to put up walls. Everyone is a jerk until he or she proves it to you that they are not. You look for what angers you, frightens you, or you use stereotypes to keep people at distance.

Taken one-step farther you may create challenges, obstacles, or draw a line and give warning that it should not be crossed.

You may discover that what you seek, you’ll find.

Inquire and Appreciate

A different approach may work better, what if you welcome relationships. Imagine if you seek to build them, ask for input, and inquire about thoughts that may be different from your own. Instead of building walls or creating obstacles, you invite ideas, different thinking, and new possibilities.

Imagine if the person isn’t old, isn’t young, male, or female. What if where they live, how they look, or where they went to school mattered less and the fact that they are just people who are invited to participate mattered more.

Again, you may discover that what you seek, you’ll find.

Meaningful Workplace Relationships

What you get from your job, your friends, and your life is largely based on your network. Size has some importance, but integrity and quality matter more.

Building meaningful workplace relationships can expand your opportunities, your intellect, and even your bank account.

There are times to choose sides, stick with the team, and work hard to beat the competition. In fact, is some regards they can be enduring qualities.

Just keep in mind that what you build will largely depend on what you seek.

– 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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customer service for vendors

Is Customer Service For Vendors?

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Let’s get this straight. You give a vendor a purchase order and the vendor gives you an invoice. It isn’t the other way around. What about customer service techniques or etiquette, does that apply to both sides of a transaction? Is customer service for vendors?

Customer service might mean more than just providing fast, friendly, and kind interactions with your customers. Perhaps it should apply to all scenarios.

Sometimes your vendor might be a website, but chances are good there is still some human interaction somewhere. One of the goals of exceptional customer service is to make people feel good. We strive to make them feel valued, important, and respected.

Vendors are people too. It might matter which side of the transaction you are on, but shouldn’t both sides feel good about the business? Of course they should.

Customer Service for Vendors

Here are a few fundamentals that should easily apply from customer to vendor:

  • Courtesy. Yes, you’re likely pushing hard for a great price, exceptional terms, and fast delivery. Negotiation means that both sides are willing to compromise. Negotiating hard makes good business sense but you can still be courteous in your demeanor.
  • Follow Up. You expect your vendor to follow up with status. You expect follow up if they encounter any delays or problems. As the customer, shouldn’t you have a responsibility to keep the vendor informed if there are any changes on your end?  The answer is easy, “Yes!”
  • Thank You. Who should express thanks and appreciation? You are both in this together. It should be a partnership. Extending kindness, expressing appreciation, and showing that you care is a two-way street.

Do You Choose Sides?

Certainly, the vendor side of any transaction has some differences when compared with the customer side. Do we really need to choose sides? Technically, yes, we do. However, in the spirit of a healthy relationship it really doesn’t matter which side you are on.

Do good business. Be appropriately assertive.

Relationships are about people.

Give good service.

– 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 four-time author and some of his work includes, Forgotten Respect, Navigating A Multigenerational Workforce and Pivot and Accelerate, The Next Move Is Yours! Reach him through his website at Dennis-Gilbert.com or by calling +1 646.546.5553.

Dennis Gilbert on Google+


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likability builds relationships

How Likability Builds Relationships and Represents Leadership

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Have you thought about how likability builds relationships?

Recently I was lost for words when a business associate asked me about the results of meeting I had with an executive they had provided as a referral. After stumbling and fumbling for a moment I said, “Let me just say that Emotional Intelligence training might be helpful.”

While I’m not in the habit of being critical of people, I definitely felt a little frustration during my conversation with the aspiring executive.

Normally it is the kind of discovery I want to have, because I can often help. However it is sometimes challenging when the person who writes the check is really the problem and they absolutely don’t see it that way.

Likability On Your Radar

I wouldn’t say that the gentleman was totally unlikable. I understand how he might think he is doing his job, but my guess is that much of the team is not very fond of him. He is the kind of leader that when asked about being likable, he would say, “I’m not here to win a popularity contest.”

The single most important message that I can share with any aspiring leader is that you need to care about being likable.

Certainly that doesn’t mean that every decision you make or direction you turn will be popular. It does mean that you need to have likability on your radar.

Likability Builds Relationships

Whether it is with your team or with vendors, customers, or other stakeholders here are a few things that will help improve your likability:

  1. Be Positive. Sometimes miserable people like to connect with other miserable people, but leaders need to be inspirational. Always maintain a positive outlook. Inspire faith in the process, share plans and actualize the vision. Light the path.
  2. Show Empathy. Demonstrating caring and concern helps connect people emotionally. It doesn’t mean choices are made from fear or sympathy, it does mean that people know you care and understand.
  3. Stay Humble. Arrogance really shows ignorance. Your position doesn’t mean you can push people around. It really means that you have to serve harder, care more, and understand people.
  4. Listen Well. Chances are good that the most likable relationships are built by those who talk less and listen more. Listening is a skill. It’s different from hearing sounds or voices. Listen to understand.
  5. Connect. Never try to shove your way around. Pushy and authoritarian isn’t a relationship, but it might be bullying. In the workplace your best people are connected to their work by purpose. Build bridges not towers.

Practice

When it comes to building relationships you become what you practice. Being likable is important for any relationship but don’t confuse likability with popularity.

In leadership roles adhering to your responsibilities might not always be the most popular, but they should always be respectful.

Respect is earned. Leadership is a skill. Likability builds relationships.

– 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 four-time author and some of his work includes, Forgotten Respect, Navigating A Multigenerational Workforce and Pivot and Accelerate, The Next Move Is Yours! Reach him through his website at Dennis-Gilbert.com or by calling +1 646.546.5553.

Dennis Gilbert on Google+


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Build Customer Relationships and Long-Term Wins

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Sometimes the problem with, “Get the deal now!” is that it doesn’t build anything. When you’re trying to build customer relationships are you focused on a short-term fix or long-term gain?

build customer relationships

Get the dime in your pocket now and worry about tomorrow later might sometimes seem like the best tactic. After all, you’ve achieved a win. Leading early is often good, but it doesn’t guarantee you’ll finish the race or win the game.

Short-Term Fix

Sometimes the short-term strategy creates a long-term loss.

You might push to close a sale even when it doesn’t align with the customer need. Perhaps you’ll persuade your way with a suggestion of scarcity.

Alternatively you might try to shove your way around with fear by pushing hard for the extended warranty. As a final stand, you might jump up and down, pitch a fit, or hold your breath until you get a yes.

When your short-term strategy is over will you still have any long-term customers?

Build Customer Relationships

There are a lot of businesses that don’t have continuous daily transactions with the same customer.

The realtor, the plumber, and the consultant, when they’re doing their job right it isn’t about a one and many, it is more about a one and done. With a job well done their customers might not come back around for many months or even years.

When you’re considering the customer experience, their satisfaction, and relationship longevity, it has to be built on long-term values, not on short-term wins.

Your culture and brand aren’t built overnight and neither is your reputation.

When you’re building a lasting impression, creating long-term value, and doing it with customers who trust you, you’ll create the kind of win you need. You’ll create a customer experience where the story of your quality and commitment are told, over and over again across time.

The thing of it all is people still talk, and more importantly, they get social, on-line. Some proclaim that word-of-mouth is now world-of-mouth. I think they’re right. What talk will you create?

Long-Term Win

A quick fix or short-term win to put a dime in your pocket today might not be a long-term win. In fact, it could have the biggest cost of all.

Build customer relationships and go for the long-term win.

– 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 four-time author and some of his work includes, Forgotten Respect, Navigating A Multigenerational Workforce and Pivot and Accelerate, The Next Move Is Yours! Reach him through his website at Dennis-Gilbert.com or by calling +1 646.546.5553.

Dennis Gilbert on Google+


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