As the world shrinks, customers become smarter and better informed. Potential clients and buyers no longer have to "take our word for it". They are capable now, more than ever before, to come to their own conclusions and buying decisions. Sales and business professionals have become advisers above all else.
This means the playing field has leveled out. Professionals and customers are now much more closely related. The business-to-customer totem pole has been kicked over on it's side. If I'm interested in a product, I seek information regarding that product, and then I consult with a professional. If I don't like the individual, I immediately cut bait, and look for someone else. The saying "It's not personal, it's just business" is antiquated and no longer accurate in today's marketplace. It's ALL personal!
It's gone from No Tech/High Touch, to High Tech/Low Touch, to where we must be now - High Tech/High Touch.
Best selling author and business leadership expert, Marshall Goldsmith, talks often about the importance of not accepting your faults or negative behaviors. The only thing that's worse than that, in my opinion, is when we not only accept our debilitating behaviors, but we wear them like badges of honor! We attempt to spin our faults into favors, and nobody is buying it....especially customers!
Some noticeable faults that we try to take pride in that effects our businesses, as well as our professional and personal lives.
- Poor Punctuality: regularly running late and thinking it's acceptable to those around you because you're "busy". In the business world maybe your time is more valuable than the next guys, but in relationships, you'll go much further if you start placing greater importance on their schedule and time.
- Interrupting: This leaves the impression that whatever you have to say is more important than what the other person is already saying. Quickest way to lose a customer: devalue what's important to them. What's important to them? Easy. Whatever they're saying.
- Lazyness: I wasn't alive in the 70's, so I'm not sure what "chill out" means exactly. I do know that it's 2011, and people don't respect someone that doesn't take life seriously. I'm not saying to be a stick in the mud, but please, stop being a bump on a log.
- Over Opinionated: Sometimes (which is most of the time) the best thing you can do is give your opinion when actually asked for your opinion. Next time, instead of answering a question that wasn't asked, try actually asking one!
- Selfishness: Continue focusing on #1, and you'll find yourself surrounded with less than that when all is said and done.
- Arrogance: "What's that? You can bench press HOW MUCH??" "Pleeeassseee tell me more about how incredible you are!" "Wait, let me grab something to write with.......ok, start over, you played quarterback in high school..... and what did you say happened between then, and when you were telling me about how much better my life would be if I had children and was married?"
There are many more I'm sure you could think of as well: temper, stubbornness, rudeness, etc. The point is, we all have faults that have probably become habitual at this point. We know we possess them, but rather than invest the effort to kick these habits, we pretend we're proud of them. I'm not saying to not be proud of who you are, but, if you read the definition of "proud" again, you'll see it clearly says "feeling satisfaction of something that is considered highly honorable". Do yourself, your business, and those closest to you a favor, and change something that you SHOULDN'T be proud of.
Personally, I once thought being hard headed and insensitive was a great business trait. News flash: It's not. I learned that the hard way, but the point is, I learned. And as long as we're willing to keep learning, we will continue to give ourselves an opportunity to change, grow and improve our quality of life.
In no way is this meant to be "preachy".....I write this for me, because I can internalize it when I write it, read it and share it. If you take anything at all from any of this, I'm glad I shared.