What Does Sales Success and Body Building Have in Common?

What good are excuses?

What good are excuses?

Several weeks ago I conducted a sales and product knowledge training in Burlington, Vermont for Mohawk Industries. In the front row was a rather petite, attractive and outspoken young woman named Marion Posluszny. Marion is part of the management team at Wholesale Flooring in North Hampton, NH.

Marion was extremely sharp and when I mentioned exercising, she stated, “You just don’t know.” The statement stirred my curiosity and I went on Facebook to find that Marion is a body builder. As a dedicated gym rat, I’m aware of what someone has to do to be successful at body building. I decided to give Marion a call.

Marion, tell me a little about body building, how did you get interested in it and why do you like it?

I was always fascinated by the “look” of these super fit athletes. I just never knew how to get involved in it. I met my trainer Laura through the referral of a mutual friend. I like the ever-changing challenge that comes with it. It is always evolving, and it’s a continual process that has to be constantly worked on.

How does it relate to sales success?

I would say it relates to success in the way that you need to combine drive, work ethic, attention to detail and letting go of the fear of failing. It’s ok to fail; I look at it as a lesson learned. It paves the way to getting it right. What keeps you motivated to be a good manager or salesperson? I love people that I come into contact every day. I love the creative aspect of designing a project alongside them. I believe it is very helpful to continue to branch out and seek information, be it conventions, sales seminars or trade shows. I always like to see what other’s perspective is. It gets the creativity going. I have gotten some of the best ideas form other people. Arnold Schwarzenegger once said that “The only way to be a champion is by going through these forced reps and the torture and pain.” Although he called it pain, he still said he loves it. How do you feel about this?

Well funny you should mention him; I refer to his “Six Rules of Success” often. His story is just amazing, he says, “Never be afraid to fail.”

The amount of drive he possesses is amazing.

He recounts when he was first competing and was in the Austrian Army, he had to sneak onto a freight train to get to Germany to compete. The point is he stopped at nothing.

I love the” just go out there and get it attitude.” His attitude is ‘anything is possible,’ and so far I think he’s right!

I’m assuming like sales, you don’t “win” all the time. How do you stay focused?

If you let negative thoughts run through your mind it’s time wasted towards your goal. There will always be days that self-doubt gets the better of you. I don’t focus on self-doubt: I focus on being positive and winning. I’ve realized it’s easier to move forward by having this type of attitude.

The only thing a negative attitude does is erode yourself-esteem. There have been times when I didn’t place in a competition; instead of letting it bother me, but I used the information to develop a plan to improve my skills.

What advice do you have for anyone in sales who want to be above average?

  1. Pressure will help you stay focused. Remember, everyone else is out to win your customer.
  2. Don’t procrastinate; you must get out and do it. Procrastination makes your task harder and longer.
  3. Surround yourself with like-minded people. This way, you can support each other.
  4. Keep yourself invigorated by staying on top of what your industry has to offer and don’t be afraid to fail. Failing helps you evaluate your technique and make changes.
  5. Always keep educating yourself on communication and building relationships.
  6. Taking part in trade shows will build confidence and keep your approach fresh and creative.
  7. Always deliver more than you promise—and promise a lot!
  8. If it’s what you really want, never give up. Giving up is just an excuse for “not wanting it bad enough.”
  9. Believe in yourself and what you’re doing is good for yourself and your customers. Everything comes from your values and what’s important in life.

And lastly, “I personally like this one the best, “Be excited and passionate; no one can take that away from you!

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By |October 12th, 2014|beliefs, Blog, Sales, Success|0 Comments

“Think Pink.” What are you Doing to Connect with Your Customers During “Breast Cancer Awareness Month?”

Beat breast cancer.

Beat breast cancer.

According to the National Breast Cancer Foundation,  more than 200,000 women will be diagnosed with breast cancer across the United States this year, worse; approximately 43,000 will die as a result of being afflicted with the disease. I lost both my sister and cousin from this dreaded disease. There aren’t many months that give us an opportunity to stay in front of our female customers and make a difference.  October, Breast Cancer Awareness month is one; the other is Women’s Heart Month, February.

You may have seen national retail stores marketing pink-themed products over the last few years. Every time a pink product is purchased – be it a makeup bag, purse, scarf or t-shirt – a portion of the proceeds is donated by the merchant to the breast cancer organization of their choice. If you don’t want to peddle pink merchandise, how about holding an event in your store and have a pink theme? How about holding a pink hat contest?

Whatever you do, make it matter. To make it matter even more, Fabulous Floors Magazine is giving away $100.00 to the store that has the best party with the most people supporting Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Please send me your photos and the details, so I can blog about it either in October or November. I know; the rules are more subjective than objective, but one of you will win. Please share your stories; it’s the stories that keep the fight alive.  My sister was too late; my cousin wasn’t up for a repeat fight.

I look forward to your entries, whatever you do, it will make a difference.

I can’t wait to see the photos.

Thank you for making a difference.

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By |October 7th, 2014|beliefs, Blog, Building a Brand, Reaching the Consumer|0 Comments

Are you a Victor or Victim of the Environment?

American novelist.

American novelist.

Today I attended a Weight Watchers meeting. What started out as a “fact-finding mission,” has turned into a lifetime membership. I’ve been attending for a year; weighing in weekly and often staying for the meetings. I never thought I would stay, but I find the people and the meeting inspiring. Today we discussed things in the environment that we can’t change.

I went out to eat the other night and noticed that everyone was taking home more than I was eating. There were mounds and mounds of food on everyone’s plate. I kept thinking, if I ate all that food I would just continue to gain weight, but the food looked so appetizing. I heard a little voice say in my head, “It’s not for me.” I guess that’s what going to Weight Watchers for a year will do for you.

You become what you hand around.

You become what you hand around.

Is your environment unhealthy? Here are some tips for staying on top of it.

1. Remember stress of some form will always be in your life. You may choose to see it as stress or change it to excitement. We may not be able to change the stress but we can change how we react to it.

2. Have an escape plan. If things get too much for you, get out. One of the men said he was so overwhelmed by the food at an open house; he just left via the back door. Occupy your mind with something different. I have a friend who “worries it forward.” Instead of waiting for the “think to happen, “ in her mind, a “possibility that it might” means it has. According to a poll on the health site, for example, roughly 70% of readers find themselves ruminating quite often, and only around 5% find that they are able to let things go almost immediately. To ruminate is one way to think or exercise the mind or one’s power of reason in order to make inferences, decisions or arrive at a solution. Instead of getting done with it, you think about it over and over.  Do you think you’re prone to “ruminating?” Take this test and find some helpful tips to get you away from this habit.

3. Distract yourself from the uncomfortable thing. This will help you forget about it and put together a new plan. You can read a book, turn on the television or take your dog for a walk. Be a good friend and look for positive people.

Get some exercise

Get some exercise

4. Be mindful of your situation. Instead of going off into the “what if,” become grounded in reality. Reality might not feel like the safest place to be, but you will have more options there.

5. If you’re stressed, make sure you get enough sleep. Without the proper amount of sleep, things look a lot worse. Consider a short nap to perk up your stress coping abilities.

6. The best way to lessen your stress is to go for a run or exercise. Exercise raises your endorphins and will give you energy. The environment continually changes giving us more things to deal with. The better we are with coping the more pleasant our lives.

Lisbeth helps businesses improve their customer service and the customer experience. To have her talk to your team or schedule a call, reach her at 518.495.5380.

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Not Paying Attention to “A Couple of Bucks” Can Put you out of Business

I have been fascinated by business since I was young. My dad loved to go to dinner with his customers, and for some reason; I always went along. I was never very quiet, but my dad didn’t mind my chatter. One time after looking at the menu I was overwhelmed by the prices. (As a six-year-old, they seemed very high.) “Dad, I said, they must make a lot of money here. Look at the prices on the menu.” My dad laughed and said there are lots of things to consider when making money. You can’t  sell just one dinner; you have to sell lots of them. It also depends on how many people can sit in the restaurant, and how much they ate. I was fascinated and began counting the chairs.

Save a penny, earn a penny.

Save a penny, earn a penny.

I asked for a pencil, so I could figure out how much money would come from fifty chairs. By the way, I was a math wizard; to me, it was a game. The more questions I asked, the more dad answered.  I wondered, was it really as simple as dad said? The most important thing he said, which I’ve never forgotten is that ‘you have to take in more money that you pay out.’ That made sense to me since I was selling seeds to pay for my baseball glove! Of course, there are things that get in the way of ‘money in money out.’

Some retailers don’t subscribe to the theory of “taking in more than they give out.” Simply put, business is about numbers; how you get the numbers isn’t that simple.  If you don’t know your numbers, eventually you will have a problem. Forget all the things between ‘money in money out,’ this is about money.

  • Does your staff give away things to make customers happy? (Things you need to charge for?)
  • If a customer is short, do you just forget it? (It’s just a few bucks.)
  • Do you waive a service charge because you forget to put it on the bill? (Who’s moving the furniture?)
  • Do you forget to bill a customer because it’s only a few bucks?
  • Are your employees embarrassed to tell the customer she added wrong? (It was only a couple of bucks.)
  • Are your employees embarrassed to tell the customer they added wrong? (It was only a couple of bucks.)
  • The customer decided to take the discount despite the bill was over 30 days.
  • Do you give out supplies and don’t bother collecting? (It was only a couple of bucks.)

When was the last time you checked out your piggy bank where you throw your change?

Taken from Lisbeth’s book, “101=1 Ways to Heat up Your Bottom line.” Available at Amazon. To have Lisbeth speak at your business or schedule a consultation; reach her at 518-495-5380 or Lcalandrino@nycap.rr.com.

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By |September 26th, 2014|Blog, Building your business|0 Comments

Get off the Couch, it May be a Matter of Life or Dealth

Getting off the couch might save your life.

Getting off the couch might save your life.

I have become extremely interested in health over the past five years. Two years ago I became a certified personal trainer bringing health to the forefront of my live. Cancer and heart disease have taken at least 10 people in my immediate family.

There is new evidence on heart disease since the 1990’s that has shown that heart disease is irreversible. Basically, it has to do with changing your diet and getting off the couch. It’s not just getting off the couch; it’s getting off and pushing the body. Ever since my two days at Engine 2 and my continued reading about heart disease, the more I am committed to daily exercise. Many of us live a  very sedentary existence. If you are interested in your health, pick up a copy of Engine 2 by Rip Esselstyne.

I remember when going outside was what I lived for. As a kid, I wanted to jump on my bike, feel the wind against my face and ride. To me, it was more than transportation; it was freedom; I was in my own world away from my mother’s watchful eyes. Sitting on the couch wasn’t that much fun.

I wasn’t that much interested in television, and the iPad wasn’t released until 2010. You would think it’s been around for 20 years. Most of us come home, eat dinner and relax on the couch with several connected devices. We can watch television, answer mail and shop in our own home. According to Bob Thacker, former CMO for Office Max, “The consumer is engaging in discovery for not only large things, but for small things also.” That means more time on the couch.

What about those people at work?

If you’re like the rest of us, you’re sitting at your desk for hours at a time. If your job involves cranking out paper, how can you avoid it? What’s worse, when you get home, you’re sitting on the couch until you go to bed.

The British Journal of Sports Medicine studied the health of people who watch TV and compared it to those who don’t watch TV. According to the study, we can expect a reduction of 21.8 minutes from our life span for every hour watched! If you watch six hours of television daily, you’ll live 4.8 fewer years than a person who doesn’t watch television. Apparently, it’s not the television or the iPad; it’s the sedentary lifestyle. We’re all turning into the dreaded couch potatoes.

Walking a working with a treadmill fitness desk.

Walking a working with a treadmill fitness desk.

Many of us sit for 10 hours straight. At that rate, I will be dead before I know it, with my head on my desk. Does that mean us working couch potatoes need to buy a treadmill fitness desk, so we can walk and work? Apparently not only can you “walk and work” but you can eat lunch, answer your phone and lose some weight. Before you run or walk out to get one of these contraptions, you might want to think about it. I’m still not sure how I can walk, eat, talk and use my computer at the same time, there are some other suggestions. It’s obvious that sitting for 6-10 hours straight isn’t good for your short or long-term health. It doesn’t matter what you do, you just have to do something.

Dr. Saurabh Thosar, a post-doctoral researcher from the Oregon Health and Science University, found that five minutes walked can reverse harm caused to leg arteries during prolonged sitting. According to Dr. Thosar, “We have shown that prolonged sitting impairs endothelial function, which is an early marker of cardio-vascular disease and that breaking sitting time prevents the decline in that function.”

So don’t wait for your lunch break to walk. Get up every hour and put on some music, get on your treadmill, get out your hula hoop and get five minutes of exercise.

I just heard my timer; it’s time for me to start my five minutes.

Lisbeth Calandrino has been providing business consulting on sales and customer retention for the past twenty years. She has never forgotten her love for sports and has spent the last 5 years participating in Yoga and is a certified personal trainer through PTIA.

A recent Engine 2 retreat has continued to renew her interest in health.

 

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By |September 21st, 2014|Blog, Health|0 Comments

What You Can Learn From the Crash of 2008

How to keep going after the recession.

How to keep going after the recession.

Ben Bernanke, the former head of the Federal Reserve, said the 2008 financial crisis was the worst in global history, surpassing even the Great Depression.

His statement is raising eyebrows. While the “Great Recession” was scary, there’s a reason it wasn’t dubbed a depression: Bernanke’s aggressive policy response.

“Arguably, the financial shocks of 2008 were bigger than those of 1929. The outcome was not as disastrous because the policy responses were quite different,” said Jeffrey Shafer, a former Federal Reserve and Treasury official.

What happened in 2008 is worth remembering. If you were like me, you were surprised by the turn of events, but maybe we shouldn’t have been. Without much business, I turned to Craig’s list to reach out.

 

My ad read: “I’m creating my own mastermind group of unemployed smart people. I am over 40, don’t understand social media but am an unstoppable entrepreneur willing to share what I know.”

 

Six people showed up that week ages 23 to 70 with the enthusiasm of 40! We laughed, cooked, drank some wine and shared our stories. We vowed to help each other forge new paths. In our own ways, we were struggling. We had all come from successful careers, but 2008 had changed all of our circumstances. We listened, learned and offered advice. To this day, all of us except one remain close friends. When I got sick with cancer again in 2010, my new friends were around to help. it was the best piece of networking I had ever done.

Whether 2008 was the worst or not, it definitely had an impact on most of us. I don’t know if what I was experiencing was a prelude to the recession but there were unsettling signs in my world. When “bad” things happen, there are those that stick their head in the sand and those that stay on course.

For years, I saw business training declining in my industry. Several of my large customers were downsizing their employees, and it was obvious that something was happening to the consumer. I saw signs of a general “pulling back” and did very little about it. Could I have protected my investments? I don’t know. Large financial institutions were disappearing, and the mortgage industry was going crazy.

My friends were losing their homes and their businesses. I didn’t lose my home or have to file bankruptcy. My mother’s recollection of the Great Depression has never left my mind. It produced a “scarcity mentality” that in many ways has infiltrated my decision making.

Her advice, “Learn how to take care of yourself because no one else will; a scary piece of advice to a nine-year-old.”

The crash has left me with a new perspective about life and doing business. Times are still uncertain, and you don’t want to be on the receiving end of another disaster. Take these tips and weave them into your own life.

1. Stay in touch with the world. There are so many ways to get information these days; don’t ignore trends and what’s going on. Keep yourself and business “as cash rich as you can. Want to make an investment? You can buy a house, fix it up and resell it. Real estate still works.

2. Make your new motto, “change.” The world is moving faster than ever, decide you will go with it and not get in the way!

3. Learn how to network in this day and age. I’ve never been interested in working at the community garden but will teach customer service skills to not- for- profits and small businesses for free. I find it’s better than going to networking events. I keeps me sharp and forces me to continue to read and strategize.

4.Become an avid reader and follow successful people. Like me, many people ignored the signs of the crash. Is there something you are ignoring now? Ask questions, find out what is going on in your community and be part of it.

5. Learn everything you can about your customer. Are you going to training, taking classes and getting smarter? One short book to read is “ZMOT: The Zero Moment of Truth.” It’s Google’s rendition of what the customer is doing.

Who knows more than Google?

Are you interested in a two day seminar: Sales and Product Knowledge/Design? 9/23-9/24, 2014 Burlington, Vermont. For more information and to sign up, go to Mohawk University.

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By |September 13th, 2014|Blog, Change|0 Comments

Once Eva’s Customers, Always Eva’s Customers

Several years ago, I was called in to discuss training with a company in Minnesota. I said I would like to conduct a survey first and find out who were their best salespeople. I wasn’t looking for their mistakes, I wanted to see what worked and what could be the benchmark. If you watch the salespeople, you can get an idea of how the store and salespeople perform. Then you can build a training program that succeeds. You can also turn the best salespeople into superstars.

customersThere was a 43-year-old saleswoman (Eva) who out wrote everyone while working part-time. She was making about eighty nine thousand dollars yearly, working four days a week. Everyone said it was because she was pretty, flirtatious and had a great smile. I assume those were “supposedly” her secret weapons.

It never hurts to look good, and to smile a lot, but I don’t know about the flirty part. I think it was a question of others being annoyed at her success. She was so good she rarely took a walk- in customer and she was always on the phone. I found her quite pleasant and all business. She wasn’t calling customers from years back; she was calling customers she had sold during the past two or three weeks.

She said she loved her customers and worked hard at creating good rapport with them. Since they had spent a lot of money with her, she considered they deserved the best she could give them. She was a kitchen designer and would call and ask how the kitchen appliances were working and what they like to cook. She asked her customers for their favorite recipes and prepared a holiday cookbook for them. Too much time you’re thinking? It paid off for her.

She went places no one else dared to go. Most salespeople were afraid if they called their customers, there would be complaints. That didn’t bother Eva; to her, it was a good thing.

Eva said I won’t get any referrals, unless I make sure things are right, and they continue to stay that way. A kitchen cost between twenty to fifty thousand dollars and she felt she should treat them as if they just bought a Mercedes or Lexus. Since the kitchen wasn’t coming in for service, how would she know if they still liked it?

She had a system, call in a week, and call in a month and again in three months. Remember their birthdays and cook dinner for one’s whose kitchen cost over thirty thousand dollars. You can trust me that no one else was doing that. She had a service called Followyourcustomer that automatically created “touch” points for her and sent them out. The cost was eighty nine cents for three hundred names. To Eva, it was all worth it. Her theory was to not let them out of her sight.

Was she worried about being a pest? No. Unless they told her to stop calling, she knew she was doing the right things.

On her day off, she played golf with her “best” customers. Why not she said, these were the friends she had created.

Eva’s motto: “my customers will always be my customers.”

 

Did I tell you that all of their friends were her customers also? She was all about building solid relationships. Some of you would think she was overstepping her bounds. She knew if she followed her customers literally, she would never have to wait on another stranger.

Eva’s customers and friends will always be “Eva’s customers.”

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By |August 26th, 2014|Customer Satisfaction|0 Comments

“Don‘t Squat with Your Spurs On and Other Things we do to Sabotage Our Success”

Sometimes we do stupid things even when we know they’re stupid!

I love “Old Cowboy Wisdom,” even though I’m not a cowboy. How many times have you done something so stupid you wondered why you were doing it?

These day’s businesses still think they are in control of what the consumers think and do. It’s just not so.

Consumers are in control and more empowered than ever. They are creating their own experiences wherever they go and are demanding something unique no matter what the venue. They expect every retailer, not just major ones, to create an emotional experience for them every time they show up. Consumers want to be cool according to their standards of “cool.”

Last night, I went to our new Whole Foods Supermarket. It’s only been open for a month, and it’s still nicknamed “Whole Paycheck” by some of the locals. To compete as a supermarket you really have to work hard. Not only do you have to have great food and prices, but you have to come up with things no one has thought of. (I think I mentioned that Hannaford Brothers Supermarket had a gym within the store.) I wasn’t very impressed except for the produce department. The vegetables were arranged as if they were smiling from the shelves. That alone made them look like they should be more expensive. As I was checking out the clerk noticed there was no price on my candy bar. I explained I would go back and get one with the price on it. She said it wasn’t necessary I could have it for free! I told her I didn’t want it for free, but she insisted. Just because they made a mistake (or had they?) it should be free? To me this wasn’t terribly smart.

  1. Think you’re not  allowed to make mistakes; if you give it away to the customer, you must have high enough margins to let it go by. Smart customers get that. If you’re dumb, how long will you stay in business? This isn’t Whole Foods.
  2. Finish your sales presentation telling the  customer “To have a nice day.” Really, this is another overused expression.
  3. Think that you shouldn’t have amazing events that make customers want to come back “again and again.” I was surprised to see they had Rip Esselstyn author of “Engine 2 Diet” talking about how to eat healthy by eating green and was signing books. There wasn’t a seat in the house, and he must have sold 100 books at $27.00 a book. He was also hawking his two-day  seminars. Don’t think there’re many vegetarians, think again.
  4. Greet each customer the same way with some canned presentation. You and I both know that customers are very distinct  and want to be treated like they’re special. Spend time talking about different ways to greet your customers. Treat everyone as if you’re dying to get to know them.
  5. Never follow-up with your customers. If you believe once they’re gone,   they’re gone,  and then  you’ll be left with few customers. The customer in front of you night be linked to your next customer.
  6. Don’t update your technology.  Do you think that paying for high-speed internet  is something you don’t need? Not having it is just frustrating.
  7. Don’t think you need to train your new staff? If you’re still pairing them with your  old geezers, you’re ruining your business. Infuse new staff with wonderful ideas and a glowing picture of where your company is going.
  8. Are you throwing away your customer surveys? These should be taken seriously, and random customer should be called for more information. My dentist receptionist made me wait 45 minutes to pay my bill. Instead of paying the bill I left them a note that said my time was as important as theirs. They called me at least four times before I spoke with them.
  9. Let all your calls go into your voice mail. I called the continuing education division of the schools today to find out about a particular class. I called at nine this morning and never got any kind of return message.   I actually called two departments. Isn’t this how they make money? Doesn’t anyone answer their phone?

There’s no such thing as business as usual; only business the way the customer wants it.

Lisbeth has been a coach and business consultant for over 20 years. To schedule a call with her or have her speak with your staff, reach her at Lcalandrino@nycap.rr.com. http://blog.timesunion.com/success/author/lisbethcalandrino/.

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By |August 8th, 2014|Blog, Success|2 Comments

“Don’t I Deserve a “Twisty” With That Bag?”

Saturday I stopped at what I thought was a farmer’s market. You know the cry now is, “Buy local.” I picked up a few vegetables for my gazpacho and took them to the counter. Like you, I was out having another customer experience.

“You can put them in a plastic bag, “I said.

“We don’t have any, “she said.

“Paper will do just fine,” I said.

“Don’t have it,” she said.

“Well a twisty on that bag will do.” I said.

“Don’t have them,” she said. Okay no bags, no “twisties” and not really a local market. I should have guessed the eggplant was $5.00!

Yesterday I went to the grocery store and couldn’t find my low salt tomato juice. I went to customer service and asked if they might get it for me, and she said, “I don’t know” and walked away. Now what would you have said? How about a big smile, some questions about “why” and then “Of course I’ll tell a manager.”” Don’t forget a tag online, “Give me your phone number, so I can call you when it gets in or let you know what happens.”

As a customer, I don’t care what you do with my request, I just care that you acknowledge me and my concerns. If you’re store is convenient, I’ll probably continue to shop at your store anyway. I can stop drinking the tomato juice, make my own or get it somewhere else. Just let me know I matter.

I don’t care if you throw out the customer’s request and call to tell them you’re never going to get the product. Just do something. Doesn’t anyone train on these things?

  1. “A smile and thank you for your inquiry or request.”
  2. “I’ll look into it for you.”
  3. “How come it’s important to you?”
  4. “We’re glad you shop here.”
  5. “Let me get the manager now and she what she/her says.
  6. “How often do you shop here?”
  7. “We don’t want our customers going anywhere else.”
  8. “Thanks for giving us a chance to find it for you.”

The customer experience is about making the customer feel valued and important. Acknowledging other humans is the nicest thing we can do in our society.

Lisbeth has been a coach and business consultant for over 20 years. To schedule a call with her or have her speak with your staff, reach her at Lcalandrino@nycap.rr.com. http://blog.timesunion.com/success/author/lisbethcalandrino/.

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By |August 4th, 2014|Blog, Customer Experience|0 Comments

How to Talk Crazy Customers “Off the Ledge” and Other Tactics

It is about them.

What to do when people are out of control.

The other day I was at Dunkin’ Donuts when a customer started yelling. The store was packed; he was a big man and pointing his finger at the clerk’s nose. His beef was he hadn’t gotten his toasted muffin or tuna fish sandwich. The manager was trying to explain that her oven wasn’t working, and she was sorry for the inconvenience.

The more she explained her side of the case, the worse it got. It didn’t matter what she said, he continued to berate her in front of the other customers. I thought about putting my hand on his arm in hopes it might calm him down. (I knew it wasn’t a good idea, so I didn’t do it.) I thought he might have a gun, and we would all be history. At this point, people were putting their heads down and leaving. I considered the same but realized there was a lot for me to learn. This was nothing about customer service; it was about a crazy and berating customer.

The clerk gave him his money back and explained she would give him the rest of the order for free. This wouldn’t satisfy him either. He slammed through the door and ran into the parking lot still yelling. His partner wasn’t impressed; she started screaming at him for not bringing the order; so much for a pleasant ride to the Catskills.

Was there anything else she could have done? She was upset, shaking but not on the verge of tears. It was obvious she was well trained but “not that well trained.”

  1. There’s a point where she should have shut up. The customer wasn’t listening, didn’t care and wasn’t logical.  He was very emotional. There’s no point trying to defend yourself.
  2. You can agree with the customer. So he believes you’re stupid for not having what he wants, and he believes he’s entitled. I don’t know what he would have said, but the rest of us would have enjoyed her approach and logic.
  3. It would have helped if she had raised her voice instead of retreating into her rather quiet approach. A loud “you’re right “might have helped. It’s called “talking the customer off the ledge.” Power it up, not with the same anger but with matching volume. Who knows what’s going on in his life?
  4. Don’t make the fire any hotter by explaining anything. A simple “sorry” is enough.
  5. Don’t take it personally. Sure this is tough to do, but it really has nothing to do with you. I watched an episode at the bank that was quite amazing. I didn’t hear the original conversation, but I did hear the teller say to  the customer if he said that again, she  would come around to the front and “pound him! “Okay she was fired but I had a feeling he might have been really out of line. Do you want more information on this subject? Check out this article, “10 Ways to Deal with Difficult Customers.”

Lisbeth Calandrino has been helping businesses to build loyal customers for the last twenty years. To have her speak to your company or schedule a consultation, reach her at Lcalandrino@nycap.rr.com or check out her web site, www.lisbethcalandrino.com.

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By |July 27th, 2014|Blog, Customer Service|0 Comments