Customer First….Not a gimic.

Customer first!! How many times do you hear that in the business world? What does it mean to you? If you are not careful you can alienate customers and then of course, lose those customers. Without customers you can just close your doors. So, customer first needs to be top of mind throughout your organization. Here is an article that elaborates a bit more on some key components of putting the customer first.

Read it here.

The Steve Jobs Biography

Have you read the Steve Jobs biography yet?? It is on my living room coffee table. Can’t wait to dig into it as I have been a huge fan and supporter of Apple since 1995.

In the interim, I have read an article from the Wall Street Journal about utilizing the biography and applying some of Steve Jobs’ principles. Bio as Bible: Managers Imitate Steve Jobs.

You can get the book at by clicking on this image.

Customer experience and the company life cycle

You need to check this blog post out from Mark Hurst. Outlines briefly the company and/or product life cycle as it relates to the customer experience. Short, sweet and to the point. My take-away….a company must continue to evolve and focus on the customer experience because the life cycle product(s) won’t change. Create, develop, innovate to stay a long time participant in the business world. It’s about the customer and you can’t forget that!

Read the blog post here.

Compensation Strategy Thoughts for 2012

An area that needs tended to and evaluated periodically is your compensation program. Here are a couple of articles that will shed some light on commissions vs. bonus and then on the actual incentive program keys. Good timing as this should be top of mind heading into a new year. A great way to focus the compensation program to match company goals and initiatives.

Read commission versus bonus and then designing a world-class incentive program.

Getting Prospects

As the new year approaches and the budget forecasts are finalized one thing that reverberates in attaining success in 2012…..NEW BUSINESS!! With that said, how do you get potential customers to come on board faster? Here is an article that will outline some basic principals to convince a prospect to switch. Keep in mind that the area to focus on is the customer. There are times we forget about that.

Read the entire article here.

Classic Success Secrets of the One-Minute Manager

I  just took an old cassette tape of the audiobook of the One-Minute Manager and recorded it onto my Mac and now was able to put it onto my iPod and had the opportunity to listen to this in the car. I have a print copy of this book by Spencer Johnson & Ken Blanchard and even though this book is now 30 years old it still resonates great leadership traits that can be used each and every day.

Here is a brief summary of the three specific areas on one-minute managing compiled by the editors at Selling Power. Great stuff. Apply it today.

The First Secret: One-Minute Goals

All good performance starts with clear goals. Ken Blanchard once had breakfast with Lou Holtz, the head coach of the Notre Dame football team. Holtz kept a little book for himself and one for each of his players in which everyone wrote individual and team goals for the season. Why did he use these books? He told Blanchard, “Of all my experiences in managing people, the power of goal setting is the most incredible.”

Create a model for good behavior by agreeing on your goals up front. Make sure you write out each of your goals. Limit the number of goals to five. Write down what the present level of performance is on each goal and then what level you want. The discrepancy between the actual and desired goal becomes the area for improvement.

Give yourself a deadline for reaching that new level. Make several copies of your goals for home and work so you can refer to them daily. Look at your goals, then look at your behavior and see if it matches your goals.

The Second Secret: One-Minute Praisings

The key to developing people is to catch them doing something right, rather than blame them for doing something wrong. Yet most managers persist in basically leaving their people alone until they make a mistake that’s noticeable. Then the manager criticizes. Blanchard called that a “leave-alone-zap” management style, or “seagull management.” “Seagull managers” fly in, make a lot of noise, dump on everyone, and then fly out.

Tell people beforehand that you’re going to let them know how they’re doing. Then emphasize three main points with praisings. Be immediate. Don’t save praisings for a holiday.

Next, be specific. Just saying “good job” is nice but not very helpful.

Third, share your feelings about their work. Tell people how good you feel about the right things they’ve done and how it helps the organization and their co-workers. Stop for a moment to let them enjoy feeling how good you feel. End with a reaffirmation, and encourage them to keep up the good work.

The Third Secret: One-Minute Reprimands

What do you do when people don’t perform well or make limited or no progress? You have to hold them accountable.

The first remedy for poor performance should be redirection, which means going back to goal setting, trying to find out what went wrong, and getting them back on track. Never reprimand or punish someone who’s trying to learn, but if you’re dealing with somebody who knows better (i.e., someone who has performed a similar task well in the past), then a “one-minute reprimand” might be appropriate.

Reprimand people immediately. Tell people exactly how you feel about what they did wrong. Then pause. This helps you transition to the most important part of a reprimand: reaffirmation. Reaffirm that you think well of them but not of their performance in this situation. You want to get them back on course, not try to make them feel bad. Remind them how much you value them. Realize that when the reprimand is over, it’s over.

Sales Worst Practices

10 Sure-Fire Ways to Fail at Sales – Sometimes a humorous perspective that highlights the wrong things to do can give you insight into doing the right things. I hope you enjoy our list of the top 10 sure-fire ways to fail at selling today. From the Brooks Group.

Sometimes it is great to see what not to do as opposed to what you should be doing. Enjoy and try to do the right things to make your sales career more successful.

Check out the article here.