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If you Can’t Change it, How do you Know When to Give it up?

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Where are you in your plan?

Where are you in your plan?

I just returned from Coverings; the largest stone and tile show held yearly in the United States. One of my topics was about the millenniums, how to hire and how to motivate them. There is much ado about them; for a group of business owners, the most upsetting information is their apparent lack of wanting to stay in the same job forever. A gentleman said he was disturbed because of his biggest need for installers. A position that takes years to train and would it be in vain? He wanted to know how what could he do to make them stay. He was extremely annoyed at the circumstances and wanted it to change.

I started thinking, what we can do when faced by a situation that is unlikely to change in our favor? Is there a value in forcing the situation?

I asked what he thought his choices might be. I was trying to see if he thought that it might be time to change or expand his business, so he wouldn’t be as dependent on this “disappearing” employee.  In my mind, the problem was taking on a new perspective. Would this mean he should close his business? Instead, I asked if he thought there might be some changes that would have to be made in his business to accommodate this shift. His reply was, “I just need more installers.”

When a shift happens in your life, what does it take to be able to stay still with the uncertainty of a situation until you can come up with alternatives? Sometimes you must live through the situation and actually grieve the impending loss before you can move on. Possibly you should talk with someone you trust who has more information or experience than you.

Not wanting to deal with reality often gets in the way of us seeing situations clearly. To become empowered, we must face fear head on so it has no power to frighten us. When we finally give up being led by fear can we examine the alternatives and make the best choice possible.

There’s no way to control the future; there is only the strength and our willingness to stay present and let the fear dissipate.

Lisbeth has been helping businesses grow and become more profitable through sales and customer service training for the past 25 years. To schedule a consultation, reach her at Lcalandrino@nycap.rr.com. She lives in Historic Hudson Park, Albany, New York with her cat Rainyday. If not out training, she can be found at the YMCA gym in East Greenbush.

 

 

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Why do we Care What People Think About us? 4 Ways to get Over it

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The sassy soprano with no talent.

The sassy soprano with no talent.

Most of us care what other people think; I would say it’s just human nature. However, some people are actually paralyzed by it. Are there people who really don’t care what people think and follow their dreams despite what anyone says? There seems to be one Florence Foster Jenkins, who fits that description.

Capital Repertory Theater in Albany, New York.

Capital Repertory Theater in Albany, New York.

Last night, we went to see “Souvenir, A Fantasia on the Life of Florence Foster Jenkins.” Florence Foster Jenkins, she always went by the three names, was born in Philadelphia, in 1898, studied singing and piano starting at the age of 7. Her parents stopped funding her hobby (no doubt they realized she had no talent) but she eventually went out on her own teaching piano and voice.

Her singing was absolutely terrible; she didn’t understand pitch or rhythm. Despite this “handicap,” she believed she was gifted and continued to sing. When her parents died, she inherited sufficient funds to get her long-delayed singing career off the ground. She took voice lessons and became involved with many social clubs in Philadelphia, which she funded. She became director of music for many of them and founded the Verdi Club.

She started giving recitals in 1912 and was always the main character of any event. People cheered her on, most likely because of her huge investments in the club. According to what’s written about her, she was convinced she was brilliant. Her accompanist, piano player Cosme McMoon was quite talented and somehow stuck it out with her. If he  tried to correct her, she would tell him the piano was out of tune. Every time he wanted to quit she would remind him he would be a star if he stayed with her because he could publish his own works.

At the age of 76, her fans convinced her to give a public recital at Carnegie Hall. The tickets’ sold out quicker than any other events and more than 5000 people were turned away. Up until this time, no public critics were allowed at any of her concerts but this was a public venue and the reviews were scathing.

Florence Foster Jenkins was devastated but vowed to continue her career. Unfortunately five days later, she had a heart attack in her favorite music store and died.  She is considered to have a cult like following of young and old.

puppetHow can you turn off those voices inside your head?

  1. Stop over thinking the situation. Most of the time when you think, people are judging you, they probably aren’t. Really unless you’re a huge public figure or movie star, why would they care?
  2. What they think about you is “none of your business.” You don’t have any control about what they think about you so why bother? It’s more important that you get a grip on what you think about yourself and do something about that.
  3. Give yourself the freedom to be who you are. You can’t be liked by everyone. It’s your life, enjoy it. Be confident in yourself and stop second guessing yourself.
  4. Learn to control your emotions and respect yourself. Building confidence comes from setting goals and achieving them. Not everyone will agree with you or like what you’re doing. But really whose problem is that? We should all have a little of Florence Foster Jenkins in our head.

Lisbeth Calandrino has been helping businesses improve their sales and customer service for over twenty years. She believes it all starts with their employees and teaching them how to be more confident and better communicators. To schedule a consultation with her or have her speak at your business, she can be reached at Lcalandrino@nycap.rr.com.

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By |2017-03-03T12:06:53+00:00March 15th, 2015|Blog, Blogging, Building a Brand|3 Comments

The Wild West of Customer Service

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trunkAlbert Einstein was the first to coin the phrase “The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.”

The Wild, Wild West of Customer Service

We have reached a time when there is a sales revolution afoot. For hundreds of years, salespeople were expected to “hawk” their products and convince customers to buy. This conjures up a picture of salespeople heading into town with their wagons and snake oil. Since that time, we’ve given them new names: sales consultants, sales associates or relationship partners. Whatever you call them, their main job has been to sell the customers. Salespeople that don’t sell, soon become history.

Separating the Herd

One of the interesting things that differentiates the good salespeople from the bad ones is their commitment to long-term continuous development. If you are not developing your skills, you are going backwards in your career. If you’re not keeping up with the trends, you will have trouble building rapport with prospective customers.

The Internet is insisting on good communication.

Cyberspace: The Final Customer Service Frontier

The Internet has changed the role of the salesperson. The consumer’s first stop in their shopping is the Internet. According to a study in 2013 by PricewaterhouseCoopers, LLP, 83 percent of U.S. consumers go online to research electronics, computers, books, music, movies and more before going to a brick-and-mortar store. If your business isn’t listed, don’t get too comfortable.

Ask yourself: “Do I go online?” and “Do my friends go online?” These days, everyone is going online to purchase something. Going online gives the customer valuable information and gives her a reason to sell herself on products. Most salespeople have had experience with their customers shopping online but aren’t comfortable in collaborating with the customer or seeing the customer as their equal.

According to Google, in their book “Why ZMOT Matters More Than Ever” they state the following: “Three years ago, we changed the marketing rule book. And by ‘we,’ I mean all consumers. Our shopping behavior — the journey each of us takes on our path to purchase — helped identify a new ‘Moment of Truth’ for marketers and brands. ZMOT, or the “Zero Moment of Truth,” describes a revolution in the way consumer’ s search for information online and makes  decisions about brands.

More customers are seeking solutions online.  Instead of the salespeople being the go-to people, the Internet has taken their place. If the internet is taking the place of the salespeople, what should they do? They need to understand the changes in their role and the changes in how they connect with their customers. The biggest problem for most salespeople is their lack of skill when it comes to using the Internet and social media tools. They’re used to having customers come to them instead of having to reach out to the customers. Business owners need to provide the tools for their salespeople.

Great salespeople understand the value of staying in touch with their customers through some type of communication. The Internet has given us many new venues to stay connected. Unfortunately, many businesses are not allowing their salespeople to spend time online with customers. They say it’s a “waste of time and money.” It’s actually quite the opposite: If your salespeople are still sitting waiting for customers to show up at your door, you’re wasting time, money and talent.

Old marketing venues are less effective and starting to diminish. Newspapers are struggling as are television and magazines. What does this mean? It means salespeople need to spend more time online getting to know customers and finding new ways to connect. The key is to decide how to use these connections.

To get started, look at the venues most used by your customers and develop a strategy with your salespeople to infiltrate these venues and make them work for you.

Lisbeth Calandrino has been doing business consulting for the past 20 years. To schedule a consultation or have her speak with your employees, call her at 518-495-5380 or email at Lcalandrino@nycap.rr.com.

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Do You Know Where You’re Going?

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Take a riskI hope this article is timely for you; it is for me.  For many of us the  economy is still moping along and we’re trying to figure out what to do next. Consumers are changing their buying habits, myself included. Friends are downsizing their lifestyles and examining their life choices. The recession may be over, but the landscape has changed.  In many ways it’s unfamiliar; at least it is to me.   I’m in a different place too. It’s not a bad place, it’s just a different place and different doesn’t always feel right–especially in the beginning.

Change is good. Well, change is interesting but it’s more interesting if it’s happening to you rather than me. In my case, I find when it’s time  for a change I put more hours in at the health club! Somehow I know it’s a safe place for my mind and my body. I feel less stressed after my workout and  feel I’ve done something good for me.

Each of us is building new roads, repairing our highways and hopefully avoiding serious pitfalls.  I’m convinced that sharing this journey with positive friends who have good intentions will make our journey more pleasant and safe. It’s time to re-cultivate your the garden and  get rid of the weeds that might be choking you from making new decisions. Sometimes, these weeds come in surprising forms–forms we call “friends.”

Just as I’m writing this article, I received this from Kevin Clancey a Realtor in Albany, New York from his Monday Morning Mojo:

The biggest obstacle to creating a wonderful life is self-limiting beliefs. A self-limiting belief is an idea you have that you are limited in some way, in terms of time, talent, intelligence, money, ability, or opportunity. Brian Tracy

At times we all have limiting beliefs, and there’s nothing to fear except fear itself and fear can be defined with the acronym “false evidence appearing real”. So, now what, where do you begin? It’s time for you to become your own coach, a good coach.

Speaking of coaches, one of my guests on Red Hot Customer Service Show was John Stahl from The Growth Coach of New York  serving business owners throughout the Northeast. John talks about limiting beliefs. Of course, beliefs simplify our lives but limiting beleifs dis-empower and hold us back. John talks about “getting comfortable with being uncomfortable” while making changes. If you’re talking about business challenges, Johns says the biggest challenge is between the ears of the business owner. I think this is a problem that many of us share.

Coach Vincent Lombardi once said that the difference between a good coach and a bad coach is the good coach always knew what the end would look like. If you don’t know where your want to go, how will you get there? If you get wherever “there” is, how will you know it’s the right place? In Warren Bennis’s book, “View from the Top“, he examines ninety leaders and found that one of key strategies was “attention through vision.”

What’s vision you ask? Vision can be a simple act or a thought; what do I really want out of life?

What makes me happy?

What are my dreams, my goals or my purpose? What would I like more of in my life?

I know I want more time at the lake.

Sometimes visions are statement for the future, a destination that you want to achieve. Last year I joined Toastmasters. I have competed in several events and recently joined the advanced Toastmasters Group. My goal is to continue to advance my speaking craft–I love speaking. The club gives me the opportunity to test new topics, get feedback and make changes. It’s a way to continually focus on something that’s important in my life.

Your vision may be simple. If you are invested in the outcome and feel ownership over your vision, then the happiness is in the journey– the appreciation of the uniqueness of the components it takes to get there.

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Blogging Ain’t All the Same but Some Blogs Are Better Than Others

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I have looked through many blogs and read about many blogs; now I have my own ideas about what makes a good blog. Here are some ideas for you to consider as you determine how to build your blog.

  • A blog is not simply a commercial for your business. If this is your format then you probably won’t have many takers. Why, you ask? Blogging is part of the new Web world — commonly called 2.0 — which is the conversation with the customer, not the one where you tell them or show them why they should buy from you. Your customers will get the idea from your blog. Are you writing things that are of interest? Will they comment or send you notes? The blog provides the means for conversation.
  • Ask your readers what they would like from your articles. This is a good time to consider how well you know your customers and what you can be doing to build relationships.
  • Take a look in your industry. What are others writing, talking and blogging about? Call them and talk with them. Add comments on their blogs or ask if you can be a guest blogger. This will get you some experience and ideas as to how blogs work. Send a blog link to all of your friends and ask what they think. This will get you some good feedback.
  • Make a long list of topics that you can write about. I say long because you want to write because you love it not because you hate it and now you have another job! Check other blogs in your industry and see how you can make yours different or what can you build on.
  • When you write your posts, add links to other blogs, articles on the subject, videos and photos. Remember, the reader should come to you because you add value — not only from your writings but from other places when they can get ideas. Start collecting information, sign yourself up for RSS feeds on topics of interest. This way, you'll get info all during the day and will get the latest scoops on your topics.

Don’t forget to make it easy and have fun!

Need a format, information, and a push to get going or just don’t want to do it yourself? Call me at 518-495-5380 or email Lcalandrino@nycap.rr.com.
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By |2017-03-03T12:07:17+00:00April 20th, 2009|Blogging|0 Comments

Want to Build Your Business? Try Blogging

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According to Technorati, there are 150,000 new blogs created each day. There must be some reason. Blogging is an economical way to build your business by interacting with your clients in a world wide forum. What better way for people to become familiar with you, your skills and to build your branding message than an online forum?

Let's not mix up blogging with Facebook and other social networking media; business blogging is not about your life – it's about what  makes your business powerful.

Customers who sign up get automatic updates and can interact with you and give you feedback on your ideas. According to Steve Broback, in his article The Business of Blogging, "Google loves blogs and they rank high in search results. Google has become every company's de facto homepage. Research shows most new visitors to a given company's site come through links from Google so your blog can greatly amplify your site's search engine results."

Many businesses have Web sites that are static and just sit. A blog will wake up your site, your customers and your employees, a place where, if the content is right, people will keep coming back for more. If you're saying the right thing you will be building your business and you will be in control of the content. Too many have their Web sites built and don't have any way or any know how to change the content or "fix" little glitches. If the site builders leave, We have a dead Web site with outdated information and graphics.

Want to get started but don't know how? Remarkablogger has helpful hints daily on how and what to write as well as new developments in the blogging field.

Go out and look at other blogs in your blogsphere; what are your competitors doing? What are other bloggers saying? Take a look at Christine Whittemore's Flooring the Consumer for a great example of a full-blown blog. Check out Talkfloor for some industry blogs.

Write about your industry, new products, your experience with products and installation. Ask your customers to comment on your products, what do they think? Eventually you will have a network of people who will be singing the praises of your business. Don't worry about negative comments, it happens to everyone, just fix whatever it is and vow to get better. A blog is like having a world wide consumer panel without the costs.

Ask an architect to comment on a product you recently recommended or a general contractor and his experience with your work crew or your salespeople. Blog about the price of raw materials and have your manufacturers comment.

Blogs are like a form of public relations for your business, one that you can easily control and use to your advantage.

Keep them short, to the point and give them good titles.

Let me know what you think. Will any of you out there be blogging tonight?

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By |2017-03-03T12:07:19+00:00November 6th, 2008|Blogging|2 Comments