Start Over

There are those who predict the demise of mankind at precisely 11:11AM on December 12, 2012 in accordance with the Mayan Calendar. If you subscribe to this theory, stop wasting time reading and go spend your time with family and friends. However, if you believe you and your business will continue through 2012 and beyond, you need to keep reading.
Business owners often ask me: Which social media platform will help me and my team leverage social media the most? There are many options and platforms business leaders can use to help grow their brand and build relationships with current and potential customers.
If your organization has a successful social media strategy, we hope to provide a few tips to help this strategy become more successful. If you haven’t yet created a strategy, it’s time to “Start Over.” That’s correct, start over!
Starting over? Look, there are a few small businesses which are doing a great job with their social media strategy. Our objective is to help you ROCK the social media world. But, it won’t be easy. Being social isn’t something you can, or should outsource. Start over by outlining three objectives you want to accomplish regarding your current and future customers. Do you want to enhance two way communications, increase awareness, expand coverage, or maybe recognize clients, reward employees, improve name/brand recognition? Think about it! Simply define three things you would like to improve in the area of customer relationships.
Social Media is about being social. It’s all about building relationships with your co-workers, community and customers. Starting with strategy is the best way to optimize your time and effectiveness in social media. Social media is like every other element of your business, if you fail to plan, you plan to fail. Contrary to what many social media experts recommend, it’s not best to jump in and “play around” with Facebook, Twitter, YouTube or any other social media platform.
Get started, or start over, and craft a specific strategy for you social media efforts. If you’re on Facebook, please join our “Getting Social” group and tell us your three objectives.

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Are Your Connections Mutualistic or Parasitic?

Scientists and biologists have talked about symbiosis, a word derived from the ancient Greek meaning syn- “with” and biosis-“living” since Plato was a pup. In the late 18 hundreds, social scientists began using the term in connection with people living together in mutual relationships. In nature, there are three common types of symbiotic relationships, mutualistic, commensalistic and parasitic. It is my assertion that these three relationships are also present in our social media world. Which relationship type are you?

Clownfish/ Anemone

Mutualistic relationships are described as a relationship wherein both parties benefit. A great example from nature of this type is the Clown Fish and the sea anemone. A sea anemone has hundreds of poisonous tentacles to ward off predators, but the clown fish is immune to the poison. He hides from his enemies in the tentacles, eats small invertebrates and his waste feeds the anemone. Let’s not take this analogy too far, but the best types of relationships in the social media world are mutualistic, where both parties benefit. There are many great examples of fan pages who share educational and entertaining posts which enhance the lives of their fans. In turn, they remain loyal to your brand, store or biz. Moreover, they recommend your biz products and services.

Commensalistic relationships are recognized as those in which one party benefits and the other is not harmed or helped in any way. Birds follow cattle or horses as they graze in an effort to feed off the insects which are stirred by the movement of the cattle. The four legged creatures are not affected in any way. There are few example of commensalism in nature and in social media, but I think a good example is my photograph of the General Motors concept car, Miray, from the NAIAS which several dealerships have “borrowed” for their Facebook cover picture. They benefit by having a striking cover picture and I, in no way am harmed nor will I benefit in any way.

The last one exits, unfortunately, in many relationships, not simply in social media. Parasitic relationships exist when one party benefits and the other is harmed. We all know people who behave in a parasitic fashion. The best thing about social media is, when that happens, you can block or delete them. For what it’s worth, don’t be a social media parasite and don’t accept them in your life connections. When fans feel you are “parasitic” they will unlike your page and quite likely your biz.

Social media is based on people “living with” and relating to each other. To build healthy social media relationships, focus on becoming more mutualistic. Healthy relationships between people, on social media and in life, are connections wherein both parties benefit…remember this in your social media efforts.

Recipe for Highly Effective Teams

All too often, companies waste their hard earned profits on team building efforts that result in little, or no, improvement in performance. If the only results the leadership wants to see are to have fun and spend some cash, then that is perfectly fine. However, if the leadership desires highly effective teams, then they will need to follow the recipe for teamwork.

As with most recipes, it is recommended you adhere to each step at first. After getting some experience, it will be safe to adjust ingredients to the team’s personal taste.

Step 1:

Pre-condition the environment for the changes in team operating principles. It is important that the environment is set just right, or the team will not reach its optimal performance. This collection of people will, from this point forward, be known as a team. The team will be expected to accomplish certain things and achieve specified results.
The environment, also known a culture, should be generously and evenly coated with leadership. The leader must set the tone for a collaborative and cooperative culture. Although there have been cases where highly effective teams exist in an environment with the boss rules with fear and intimidation, it is very rare.

Step 2:

Add equal and significant amounts of Missionand Values to the organization and each individual person on the team. It is widely known, that people cannot operate effectively if they don’t know where they are going. The more people understand the mission, the more likely they are to be effective. The more they believe and live by the values, the more likely they are to be engaged.
Add a good dose of understanding individual roles and responsibilities.
Team members must be aware of how everything they do supports the mission and how they are expected to relate to others. People on poor performing teams often do not understand how their efforts affect the overall mission.

Every individual on the team must have their own goals. They must have one or two primary and several secondary goals. When they achieve these goals, the mission will be accomplished. The individual goals should come from the person and not the boss. They can and should work together on identifying the goal, but the individual must make a personal commitment to attaining the goal. This commitment to performance will only come about, if the individual believes the changes are important to them personally.

Step 3:

Now fold in a clearly defined operating process for team members to follow. Every successful team has established rules and guidelines for members to follow. These processes should include how team members should communicate internally and externally. They should tell members how they should resolve conflict and encourage each other. Problem solving mechanisms are also included in these processes. Effective operating processes also help build the “chemistry” among the team players. This chemistry comes from every team member having the just the right amount of attitude and engagement.

An attitude of cooperation, collaboration, and compromise will go a long way in creating an effective team.

This is where a good deal of trust is folded into the mixture. Every team process is based on trust. Team members must trust the leader and each other. Team members cannot take individual credit for team accomplishments. As the old saying goes; there is no “I” in team. It is true however, that a team consists of a number of “I”ndividuals.

Step4:

Just a dash of attention must be given to the way team members interact with each other.
They must respect and assist each other if the team is expected to excel. Team members and leaders must reinforce positive team behaviors and deal with team behavioral issues. Just the right blend of people, doing the right jobs, will make for great team results. A sprinkle of attention should be directed to how team members interact with others outside the team. All too often, a highly performing team can alienate outsiders and find their mission is compromised because of external factors. A team can never be more important than the overall company mission and objectives.

Step5:

Finally, sprinkle in rewards to taste. Rewards must be appropriate for the team and it is most effective if the entire team receives the reward. The fastest way to make a good team go bad, is to select one or two team members and recognize the team efforts trough them. If everyone achieved their individual goals, then everyone should share accordingly. Ask the team members, they will tell you if it’s fair.

That is, if the environment is right in the first place.

The mix of these ingredients will make a high performance team. The secret is how to adjust the quantities of each and just the right blend for your company and group of individuals. Through years of experience with building high performance teams, Terry “TJ” Wisner, has developed an effective process to inspire leaders and teams to make the necessary changes to achieve higher levels of performance. Cook up the right recipe for highly effective teams and become more successful.

10 Key Behaviors to Build Relationships

Based on the interactions between the newly wedded couple, I couldn’t help but place the odds of their “marital bliss” lasting more than 2 years at much less than 50/50.
Now look, I’m a relationship expert in selling…not marriage. That being said, I do believe that the same behaviors or traits that build strong relationships with co-workers, communities and customers, will also work with couples.
With the help of literally thousands of small business owners and dealership personnel, I have identified these as the top 10 behaviors that help create and maintain healthy strong relationships. These are listed in no particular order of importance:
 
1. Care for the other’s well-being
This actually is number one
2. Be reliable, do what you say you will do
Follow through is so important
3. Collaborate toward mutual success or “win-win”
Try to fully understand their needs and goals
4. Generate a feeling of fairness
Being fair isn’t enough…they must feel it
5. Maintain a friendly-respectful mindset
Throughout the selling cycle…be nice
6. Give and take without a “balance sheet”
But don’t “give away the store”
7. Display a genuine, but appropriate, commitment to the relationship
Think long term
8. Engender open and honest communication
Never lie or stretch the truth
9. Be empathetic…not sympathetic
Remember it’s all about them
10. Always believe “Relationships are more important than the deal”
Many people who didn’t get this…aren’t around anymore
 
As I watched the wedding events unfold, it was apparent that the young newlyweds didn’t “score” to well in the aforementioned behaviors. How do you rate in these relationship building attributes? How well do your sales team members score? I’ll bet your strongest sales team members embody these skills very well.
 
Do you think these behaviors would build strong relationships?
They do, and they lead to a healthier and less stressful life. Oh and by the way, they lead to…more sales!

Selling Tip #94- Don’t Upsell

Day 94 of 101 – Don’t upsell!!!

That’s right…don’t upsell! Nobody likes being “upsold.”

Think about how often you have “turned-off” by an overly aggressive salesperson.

Just after making my purchase decision on a new laptop computer last week, the salesperson began to “upsell” me into a $179 carrying case. When I explained that I already had a fine leather shoulder bag to carry it in, he then tried to convince me to buy a very cool backpack to carry it in. After assuring him I had no need for a carrying case, he then tried to sell me a sleeve to protect my new investment. It was clear that I needed a sleeve to protect my laptop, but by now, after his earlier attempts to “upsell” me, I was about to walk out and buy my sleeve elsewhere. However, since I was excited to get home and begin using my new piece of technology…I bought the sleeve for a mere $17.

Then we get to the register and the “Upsell” for their “Service Agreement” began.

Following the “Upsell” attempts with the carrying cases, it wasn’t difficult to say NO to the purchase of an extended warranty…even though I know I probably will need one.

Look, nobody likes being “upsold” when making a purchasing decision. Fact is, we enjoy it when a sales professional asks appropriate questions to clarify our needs, probes for understanding and offers solutions for us to choose from.

The concept of “Upselling” sounds good from the sales managers perspective because they generally make more profit on the sale, but it NEVER sounds good to the customer unless there is a significant discount on the bundled products or services.

When building solid customer relationships, sell them what they need, but never “upsell”!