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Welcome to the March 2019 edition of ‘Terrific Tips’ delivered to your desktop free each month. 

Do enjoy this month’s edition. Putting it together is my favourite task and I take it as a compliment each time one of your friends or work colleagues asks to sign up.


The most powerful way to influence anyone

People learn by observing and replicating the behaviour of their boss and the most experienced staff members at their place of work.

Watch this 70 second video clip taken from a recent presentation organised by the Business Owners Board in Perth in which Jurek Leon explains how this can have unintended consequences.

Fly first class

While our schedule for the year is filling up rapidly we still have room for a couple of interesting projects. For example, the occasional presentation at conferences in luxurious settings at five star hotels with first class travel arranged. To discuss your project and check our availability click on First Class Service at Business Class Prices and I will be in touch.

Avoiding negative words and phrases

We often work with clients on using positive language in face-to-face, telephone and email conversations with customers. This also involves cutting out negative words and phrases, especially when you have to tell customers something they don’t won’t to hear. For example, when you can’t get a service technician out to them straight away or even today.

In their book The Effortless Experience the authors call this ‘experience engineering’ – managing or engineering a conversation using carefully selected language to improve how the customer interprets what there are being told.

They include an example from Disney World where new hires who will become ‘cast members’ learn the art of positive language during their training. They are asked to come up with options as to how they should respond to answering the question, “What time does the park close?”

Disney’s preferred response is, “The park remains open till 8.00pm then we open for even more fun at 9.00am tomorrow morning” rather than, “The park closes at 8.00pm”.

While this may seem a bit extreme, there is no doubt that raising awareness and working on the language we use can make a big difference to the customer’s perception of how they are being treated by your company. Here are four examples from their book:

  • Instead of “We can’t ship your order until…” say “We can ship your order on…”
  • Instead of “We’ll need to order you a replacement” say “The best way for me to handle this for you is…”
  • Instead of “Your order won’t be ready until…” say “Your order will be ready on…”
  • Instead of “You’ll need to write your return number on your package” say “Please be sure to include your return number on your package”.

To help you with preparing and using thoughtful language, I’m making available for you free of charge a brief report I recently shared with a client. You’ll recognise some of the examples from previous editions of this newsletter. Dowload your complimentary copy of 9 Danger Words and Phrases to Avoid When in Conversation with Customers and 2 Positive Ones That Work.

The trouble with customer service is…

Providing ‘good customer service’ is a bit like parenting. Most people believe they know how to do it effectively – especially those who don’t have children.

A marketing lesson from a 5-year old

Why wouldn’t a 5-year old want to go to a birthday party with her friends? It doesn’t make sense.

Yet the same thing often happens with our customers. We enthusiastically explain how fantastic our product, service or experience will be for them yet they say, “No thanks”.

This cautionary tale explains why. Take the time to read Marketing lesson from a 5-year old related by her Mum, Kavita Herbert … especially if you like happy endings. 

The difference visibility makes

It was Tom Peters, co-author of ‘In Search of Excellence’ who back in 1984 first introduced me to MBWA – Management By Walking Around. 

It seemed so obvious yet over the years I’ve noticed the difference it’s made to customers and team members when it is practised. How managers spend their time has a huge effect on the culture of any organisation.

And today it’s just as important, as you can read in these observations from Michelle Gibbings of an amazing leader in action at Sydney airport.

“Recently, I was at Virgin’s airport lounge in Sydney waiting to catch a plane back to Melbourne, and at the same time Richard Branson was in the lounge saying hello to guests and chatting with staff.

“Apparently, he does that every time he is in town. No doubt he’s busy, but he finds the time to do it because he knows that taking the time for people matters.

“It also has direct business benefits because it makes the employees feel good about working at Virgin, and it makes the customers feel appreciated and therefore pleased that they chose to fly Virgin.

“It’s an easy thing to do…” and yet it is so often overlooked.

Read Michelle Gibbings’ article Common Sense Leadership. My thanks to Keith Ready for sharing this.

I wish I’d thought of that

Do you find it hard to avoid a negative initial reaction to someone’s idea or suggestion when it differs from yours? If so, you are not alone.

Here’s a wonderful tip to help you with this from Paul Hellman in his fascinating book, You’ve got 8 seconds.

Greet an idea the way you’d greet a person – with a friendly “Hello” followed by a pause. That doesn’t mean you have to agree with their statement. As Paul puts it, “You can greet an idea with respect; that’s different from endorsing it. And you can disagree without being disagreeable.”

Reduce customer anxiety to win more sales

Perry Marshall, author of 80/20 Sales and Marketing put it well when he said, “Too many people think that selling is about talking people into buying things, as if you can wear people down with an avalanche of words.” 

You can’t. 

You can continually be putting out messages about how you’re the best, offer great quality, provide fabulous service, offer great prices. However, it’s all for nothing if your potential buyers have any doubts. 

Doubt creates hesitation. Hesitation holds back sales. 

The answer? You have to reduce the perceived risk people feel so there is no reason to hesitate.

And that’s the key — risk reduction through a strong, believable guarantee. For example, at Terrific Trading our guarantee is: 

“If at any time you feel we have not fulfilled our part of the bargain or in some way failed to meet your expectations, you have my guarantee that we will redo the work you are not pleased with at no charge or if you prefer refund the fees involved.”

This is particularly important if you are selling a service, as we do at Terrific Trading, or if you are selling online.

As Perry Marshall explains, “Remember that if you’re selling online, people can’t experience the thing you’re selling before they part with their money. They can’t see it, hear it, touch it, taste it, or smell it. So there’s always a level of uncertainty and risk. A guarantee helps you lower the feeling of risk by answering questions such as “Is it all you say it is? What if it isn’t? Can I return it if I want to? Is there a catch?” 

With a guarantee, prospective customers feel confident that they won’t be stuck with their purchase. And the very act of offering a strong guarantee lets buyers know you really do believe your product or service is worth the asking price. 

The difference between word of mouth and social media reviews

There is a belief in some corners of the business world that social media is word-of-mouth, or that social media has replaced word-of-mouth as the driver of consumer awareness and preference. It isn’t. And it hasn’t.

Social media is a critical component of the overall word-of-mouth equation. In fact, offline and online conversations are almost exactly equal in size, according to recent research from Engagement Labs. Today, online and offline word-of-mouth each drive almost precisely the same economic impact; they just tend to do so in different circumstances.

Word-of-mouth has the benefit of personalisation. The talker/promoter customises their recommendation and their story about the brand or experience to fit the receiver’s interests whether at the dinner table, the water cooler or over the phone. That’s what makes word-of-mouth so incredibly powerful.

Source: Jay Baer in his new book, Talk Triggers: The complete guide to creating customers with Word of Mouth.

Read the sign

While the presentation of this sign on a scruffy chalkboard could be better, the wording is perfect for this beauty salon on the main street in Leeton in western New South Wales.

It says, “How old you are is your business… How young you look is our business.”

What a great way of attracting attention, promoting your strengths and stimulating positive word-of-mouth. Well done Exclusive Skin and Beauty in Leeton.

Terrific quotes

“You can find beauty almost anywhere if you pause and look for it, but the battle to get through the day makes it easy to forget that this totally cost-free luxury exists.” JK Rowling

Appreciative Enquiry: “In every community something works. Instead of asking what’s wrong and how to fix it, ask ‘What’s worked and how do we get more of it?’ This generates hope, energy and creativity.” Peter Kenyon

“If you want to command higher prices than anyone else, then guarantee better results than anyone else.” Perry Marshall author of 80/20 Sales and Marketing

Have a wonderful month.

Jurek Leon

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