It’s the time of the year again. The holiday season is upon us and it seems that we are stressing out and just trying to get it over with? A good number of people I know don’t really enjoy preparing for the holidays as much as our TV commercials make us believe we do. All those happy ads with kids smiling, parents gladly shopping, and everybody being together and laughing. Not exactly the vibe I am getting when I am out shopping. People seem more stressed, or at least more impatient than the rest of the year. So, my question is – what are we chasing?
Happiness? Well, that’s probably not going to arrive in a box.
The same holds true for business success. We are always chasing the numbers, increased revenue and KPI’s. What if our measure would include human aspects. After all, every company is only as good as their customers and adding the human touch can only increase brand equity. We could go back to the basics of human interaction when doing business and maybe money will follow us. What if our KPI’s would include the following?
I deeply believe that being grateful is essential in my personal and my professional life. Without gratitude, it seems to me, some people feel they don’t have enough – keep looking for things rather than appreciating what we have. Ask yourself how many times you actually paid gratitude to your clients and employees. I am always grateful for my clients because they provide me with invigorating and challenging work and my financial health. Why not show our gratitude by sending a little something that is meaningful (and if we are following a consultative sales approach we know a little bit about our clients, right?). It’s the little acts of kindness that really go a long way.
Being a good human being IS good business! – Paul Hawken
2) Paying attention
I’ve observed of late that there is a tendency for people to easily become more superficial than we’d like to be. Perhaps it’s a side effect of technology overwhelm and fast moving times. We all have so much on our plates that we often feel that we are on a treadmill in our current world of instant gratification. How many times do actually listen to your clients by honestly paying attention? Try it, it’s magical. Instead of thinking of other things, start to listen more often and you will discover many areas of opportunities.
Focusing on what’s really important also means being authentic. Being authentic means that we have strong beliefs and whatever it is that we do or decide, whether it’s on a personal or professional level it will come from a place of truth. For example, one of my former clients refused to work with tobacco companies, regardless of the money they wanted to pay him. He was authentic in his business approach and while he missed out on all the tobacco related business, his other clients respected him for his strong beliefs. You can actually increase revenue while being authentic. Put your stake in the ground! Develop your own yardstick!
The less respectful we are, the higher the probability that we will lose clients. Being respectful is an essential KPI when it comes to doing business. And there are many ways to show it. How often have you not returned a phone call? How many times have you been ill prepared for a meeting? We have all done it, but by paying attention to our behavior and being aware of it, we can all increase our level of respect when we interact with people, whether it’s employees, clients, the receptionist or the janitor.
There is nothing wrong with being humble and acknowledging that we are human. Which is the most vulnerable trait of humans? We make mistakes. All of us – bar none. Admitting mistakes, being vulnerable and maybe even having a sense of humor about it makes us more attractive, not less. It’s a simple formula. Humility = Success
Part of my success is in showing up and showing up on time. It sounds very simple and it really is when you are a professional. My motto is to under-promise and over-deliver. The more times we are on-time, prepared and deliver what we promise, the higher our chances of winning or keeping a client.
Last, but not least, let’s talk about honesty. For some reason there are some sales practitioners (and their management) who feel that it is all right to be a bit dishonest in sales. It happens in other business areas, too but it’s more accepted in sales. There are companies that wholeheartedly encourage their sales people to tell some white lies in order to get business. I deeply feel that’s just plain wrong. Not only does it reflect badly on you as a person, it leaves a horrible impression of your company. I think you would agree that every successful relationship needs to be based on honesty and every single time we are being honest, we are doing the right thing. And, when we do the right thing we are better business people.
So, going forward, why not build the “7 Ways of Measuring your Success” into your KPIs and you will see that not only will business thrive but you and your clients will feel better and your company will be more highly respected.
Going back to the basics and measuring our success by how your clients and customers feel after interacting with your company could add new dimension to KPI’s. It’s worth a try!
Happy holidays and hopes for a 2014 in which we and our clients are happier than we were in 2013!
Happy Holidays, Happy Selling and Wishing You a Successful, Healthy 2014.