June 8th, 2012
Have you ever gone into your Vice President’s office to obtain approval for the latest convention type trinket? Something spongy, a character on a key chain, can opener or a source code that can be redeemed for a music download for a song that no body cares about? Yeah come on, we have all been that desperate searching for the newest and latest thing to motivate prospects, employees and members for under $10.00 a pop. I don’t know about you but the response that I received from my V.P. was “I am not approving an expense for trinkets and trash because that is just where they wind up, in the trash.”
What a dilema, you must increase sales, memberships or your team’s production and you have a small budget. The first thing I recommend is look in the mirror and identify your own motivations then round up the troops for a fun kick off meeting with balloons, music and food. It does not have to be anything fancy but it does have to be action packed.
What to do in no particulat order
- Identification of a logo/mascot or tag line for your sales or membership campaign.
- Appoint a team leader, Project Manager
- Wanting more sales or members for the sake of numbers is not enough. You must have a compelling reason for your sales or membership drive in order to generate excitement. There is more to it than just money, what are long term gains?
- Once a plan is developed communicate it enthusiastically and frequently via Fun Friday potlucks, ice cream socials, emails, newsletters and handouts at member networking events and membership drives.
- Ask others if they would buy into your sales or membership campaign and what would it take in order for them to act immediately.
- Listen to your current members and customers, does your price match your value? You may need to change this up and refresh your services with something more suitable to this years trends.
- Do you offer incentives? If you do, don’t forget the opportunity to offer incentives for referrals, purchases of other products and for signing up early for campaign offers. You should always have multiple membership levels and perks.
- Blog, blog, blog about the newest industry develops, special offers and about customers and incentives that are accomplishing great things. If your blog has not been touched since 2009 what makes you thing you will be interesting and exciting to others?
- Help them, help you. Ask questions about how they view your business, go the extra mile and be in front of your prospect at least once a quarter in one way or another. If you are not doing so, someone else would love to be.
- Offer a perk on top of an incentive. What? Yes, a perk that will be added for participating in a membership or customer rewards program. Many of these reward programs are point based programs tracked on a software program.
- Provide a chance for people to share their experience and insights with others. This is one of the most flattering invitations of all for existing customers and members.
- Give to receive. It is the thought that counts, ALWAYS. Remember when you were dating? Your girl friend or boy friend would bring over your favorite pie, flowers or record a song that reminded them of you? At that moment, it meant the world to you and you never forgot about it.
Marketing is not selling, it is promoting!
April 20th, 2012
To start with what do you look like from the outside? Is your message clear within the first 30 seconds, do you offer a readily available robust calendar of events for your members?
- Your brand should be replicated throughout your website, advertisements and be part of each touch point with your members.
- Pepper your website with your words such as “New”, ”Improved” or “Over whelming response to announce new services, informative laws or game changing trends.
- Add your telephone number is not available on just about every page so you don’t loose propective members.
- Create a press release and contest to build momentum to relaunch your brand every season.
- Provide rewards that reflect your brand and amp up your relaunch! Treat the launch as if it were your grand opening and make sure you keep the cameras ready to capture those great shots to add to your website.
- Collaborate with other non-competitve organizations to come up with benefits and incentives to create a fun campaign.
- Add charities to your list of strategic partners and contribute to a good cause.
- Provide affordable health benefits to members who may not normally be part of a group plan or wish to use other insurance to help pay for high dedictibles.
- Offer gift cards, travel and other incentives that can be enjoyed by the entire family.
- Know your demographic. Survey, survey, survey to learn more about your members and prospects. Be mold and ask them why they did not join and what would make them want to join if it was offered at your membership organization.
Why should you care about how you might look compared to other membership organizations? Over the past few years more associations and not for-profit memberships are becoming more aggressive in expanding their reach into traditional association areas. While this may not have affected your association yet, you might want to go on the offensive now to build superior association benefits that will be difficult for others to compete with later.
Another way to make your membership more attractive and retain members is the promise of celebrating their anniversaries and awards on your website. Whether it’s commemorating their business’ 25th anniversary or celebrating another store location, milestones, recognitions are prime opportunities to promote your member’s business. Help your members by supporting their business in a public setting. No one appreciates a business relationship more than when they feel supported and are provded with incentives. These are the same people that will return their appreciation with referrals and testimonals.
- Blog and use press release as an incentive for silver and gold members as an added service.
- Offer special benefits and incentives for bigger events.
- Take this opportunity to promote your membership offering discounts to sign up.
- Ask others to participate in the celebration by offering disounts to celebrate their fellow member’s milestones.
- Engage your members asking them how they can help you help them.
- Create a flash mob support event at their new stores.
- Place their celebration videos on your website.
- Help your member host a special commemorative event to show your appreciation. Theier clients, employees, and local community all have played a role in making their company a success.
Your members have paid you the greatest compliment by joining your organization. The relationship you foster will be the one that helps you grow your membership.
Ask members and others to visit your website during updates, when you add benefits and incentives.
November 9th, 2011
This article has been excerpted from The Power of Loyalty by Roger L. Brooks, available from Entrepreneur Press.
Reward your customers — they’ll reward you with repeat business
The best way to motivate customer behavior is to provide an incentive or reward for that motivation. Rewarding your customers for a specific purchasing behavior is not much different than training your puppy. With enough repetition and positive reinforcement, your pup can be motivated to act upon instruction. That’s because the pup knows if he listens to your command, he’ll receive his reward.
Human nature isn’t much different. People can be motivated to take specific actions that accomplish their buying goals while also accomplishing your goals to increase their spending, frequency of visits or combination purchases (or comparative goals relevant to your line of business).
The question then is how do you motivate behavior? Below are five ideas that will get you thinking.
- Offer soft benefits that provide value such as special access limited only to members.
- Offer relevant promotions through various lines of communication, for example: e-mail, SMS text, receipt messages, statement inserts, RSS feeds, Twitter, Facebook, etc.
- Up-sell complimentary products or services at the associate level.
- Offer sweepstakes, random rewards or special offers for a limited time frame, keep your strategy fresh and exciting:
- Strategically place messages (via signage, web banners, etc.) that will trigger motivating actions.
Motivate, But Don’t Mislead
Once you decide how you’ll motivate, always do so in an honorable way. Your customers won’t want to be misled into thinking they are receiving something greater in value that what they’ll actually receive as the reward.
Abraham Lincoln put it best when he said, “You may fool all the people some of the time, you can even fool some of the people all of the time, but you cannot fool all of the people all the time.”
Of course, the statement was made some 150 years ago and the President was referring to politicians attempting to fool their constituents; however, the quote resonates with me every time I see a program that offers empty loyalty. Such programs offer an elaborate program on the outside when, indeed, it’s only a facade to increase business. In time, savvy customers will see through the facade. Your promotional strategy to motivate behavior must be phony proof. Once your customers lift the hood and kick the tires, the promotions must stand on their own and offer real value, not empty promises.
Remember, whatever you do, don’t try to fool the customer! Loyal customers will catch on if the loyalty program does not have true value. This can also backfire and cause disloyalty amongst your customers and defeat the entire purpose of implementing your strategy in the first place.
There are two reasons why your rewards offerings should be upstanding:
- Loyal customers have earned the right to receive a valid reward. If they weren’t enrolled in your program, they may have taken their business elsewhere.
- Customers can see through transparent rewards.
If you want to be in the loyalty game, you have to offer attractive redemption items that are achievable for your customers to earn. If customers are willing to change their purchasing behavior and provide you with their loyalty, they will expect the same in return from you in the form of a relevant reward.
It’s the Little Things That Matter Most
If you put on your consumer hat, you’ll understand that it’s the little things that matter most. One component you should incorporate is providing feel-good loyalty. Feel-good loyalty is just what it sounds like, providing something that the customer will feel good about. Offering feel-good-loyalty incentives should be part of your overall strategy and will require some clever and creative thinking. Some companies offer free Wi-Fi, others offer free shipping. Whatever you decide, brainstorm hard, even hold an employee contest. but find your niche and add feel-good loyalty to the mix.
Photofiddle.com is an internet company that offers a service to turn your photographs into art. Simply upload a photo and you can instantly transform that image into pop art, impasto, a black and white sketch and even more. Once you create your personal masterpiece you then have many options for the type of surface the image is printed on (glossy photo paper, canvas, etc.). Finally, you can choose from a number of print sizes and framing choices.
Although Photofiddle doesn’t have a recognizable rewards program they do provide various levels of feel-good loyalty. Upon opening your order, customers see each piece is carefully packaged and accompanied with a pair of white cotton gloves. The label attached to the gloves reads, “All fine artwork should be handled with care. Please use white cotton gloves. Oils from your hands and fingers can leave finger prints. Jewelry on your fingers and wrist can leave markings.”
That’s a personal touch and that’s feel-good-loyalty. It’s doing the little things that matter most with customers. It’s thinking outside the box so that your brand motivates your customers and resonates in their mind. Providing the white cotton gloves with each order sends both a literal message and subliminal message. It reinforces the need to treat your artwork with care and that they treat all of their customers with care.
Roger L. Brooks is a respected loyalty strategist with more than 15 years of experience in developing, supporting, and implementing customer loyalty and rewards programs.
October 27th, 2011
A manager has evolved from being a time keeper and making sure things get done into a coach, counselor and driver of corporate strategies. Since managers are the closest to front line staff and have more direct customer contact they are a wonderful source of information that provides leads regarding the need for future development and can more easily influence employees during times of change.
If you are a manager, you know you are not only sandwiched between executive level people with big requirments, you are also surrounded by employees who look to you for guidance, advancement opportunities, motivation and at times a friend. Being a manager on almost any playing field is one that may require you to walk gingerly through political land mines while keep things calm on the home front, your department.
Managers know that it can be a challenge to keep valuable skilled employee who are grateful but still keep an eye out for new and improved opportunities. After all, in today’s job market if you don’t see thing happening within 2 1/2 to 3 years at your company, it is time to move. The days of moving up in your own company are often limited because many executives and directors bring in their own teams for their own job security limiting advancement for mid-level managers and front line staff. Managers must keep nuturing their staff providing an environment that fosters cross-training in other departments, involvement in decisions and direction of the department and incentives to stay.
Regardless of our lovely economy, recent surveys reflect that over 80% of workers hope to change jobs in the near future. Job satisifaction is at a low. People need to feel valuable and appreciated and I don’t just mean during the holidays. One time in a job interview someone asked me “Why aren’t employees more loyal?” I almost burst out with a “Are you kidding?” Employees have felt since the 1980′s that companies are not loyal to them. Employees watched their mom and dad’s pension diminish or evaporate, we had Enron then we also began to see many mergers and buyouts. Company raises began to shrink from the once robust 10% increase down to a ceiling of 5% to 7%. Health benefits were beginning to shift into a more of a cost sharing type of thing.
As a manager, it is up to you and not just your employer to provide an valued incentive to stay interested in their job. If most people feel that their boss is doing what they can to keep the job and environment productive and interesting, they will invest added time. Also, if their manager sincerely cares about them as a human being and meets with them on a one on one basis once a month to hear about the family and the manager gives of themselves a bit, an employee will feel appreciated and enthusiasm will soar! As it has been for years, employees leave their jobs first and foremost because of their boss, the job itself and then, because of dissatisfaction with pay.
Going back in time we learn about how our roles changed over the decades contributing to our jobs today:
Training focused primarily on discrimination, racism, and management by objectives.
Popular training topics were behavior modeling, the first real push towards teamwork, empowerment, diversity, feedback, quality and employee incentives.
Lots of manager training to become visionaries, learning groups, performance management, sexual harassment, re-engineering, fun incentives incorporating company executives and the evolvement of balancing work and life.
A time when our employers want us to learn how to protect the company by attending training on topics such as employment law, computer security, workplace violence and prevention, stress management, differences between men and women managers and employee motivation to help with mergers and/or rightsizing.
Fun Ways to Provide that Added Incentive:
- Fun Fridays
- Funny Sock Fall Contest
- Outdoor Meetings under the Trees
- Host a surprise Un-Meeting
- Bring a Treat Friday
- Manic Monday Casual Day
- Scavenger Hunt Thursday
- College a Coupon for a Good Deed for a Prize
Being a manager is rewarding. The more you involve your team and keep them motivated, the better it is for you. Your team will help you meet your goals and your involvement with them will help them grow and feel valuable. Those at the executive level will quickly see that you can easily motivate your team to move ahead through change.
Here is to being a manager, enjoy!
October 11th, 2011
Find out how giving praise is the key to getting it
Happiness Thought for October: Praise early and often. As St. Therese of Lisieux wrote, “When one loves, one does not calculate.”
I’m a real gold-star junkie. One of my worst qualities is my insatiable need for credit; I always want the recognition, the praise, that gold star stuck on my homework. Recently, I was grumbling to my mother about the fact that some extraordinarily praiseworthy effort on my part had gone unremarked upon. My mother wisely responded, “Most people probably don’t get the appreciation they deserve.” That’s right, I realized – for instance, my mother herself! I certainly don’t give her enough praise for everything she has done for me. Our conversation started me thinking about the importance of praise, and how to praise effectively.
1. Be specific Vague praise doesn’t make much of an impression. Parenting experts often express this point of view: Praising a child means more when it’s specific than when it’s general. “What a beautiful painting!” is less gratifying than “Look at all the colors you’ve included! And I see you’ve used all your fingers with the finger paints. You’ve really made your picture look like a spring garden!” This is true for adults, too. “Great job!” is less satisfying than an enumeration of what, exactly, was done well. General praise sounds perfunctory and meaningless; specific praise seems heartfelt.
2. Never offer praise and ask for a favor within the same conversation It makes the praise seem like a setup for whatever you’re asking for.
3. Look for something less obvious to praise Highlighting a quality that a person hasn’t heard praised many times before shows that you’re really paying attention, not just repeating what other people have said.
4.Praise people behind their backs The person you’re lauding usually hears about it, and behind-the-back praise seems more sincere than face-to-face praise. That’s why I make an effort to repeat any behind-the-back compliments I hear.
5. Match the quality of the praise to the difficulty of the task If a job was quick and easy, a hasty “Looks great!” will do; if it was protracted and challenging, be more lengthy and descriptive.
6. Remember the negativity bias The “negativity bias” is a psychological phenomenon: People react to the bad more strongly and persistently than to the comparable good. For example, within a marriage, it takes at least five good acts to repair the damage of one critical or destructive act. So when I praise someone, I remember that one critical comment will be far more memorable than several positive ones. If I want someone to walk away feeling great, I skip any negative remarks.
7. Praise the everyday as well as the exceptional When people do something unusual, it’s easy to remember to give praise. But what about the things they do well all the time without any recognition? I try to point out how much I appreciate the small services and tasks that someone unfailingly performs. Something like, “You know what? In three years, I don’t think you’ve ever been even an hour late with the weekly report.” After all, we never forget to make a comment when someone screws up.
Praise is gratifying to the person getting praised, of course, but it also boosts the happiness of the praiser – at least I’ve found that true of myself. Still, what about the opposite problem? I find it fun and easy to give gold stars, but so often I’m craving them myself. I struggle (admittedly with only moderate success) to master my need for gold stars. I’ve repeatedly asked my husband to give me more of them: “Manipulate me! Lavish me with praise, and you could have me jumping through hoops like a tiger at the circus! Just give me my gold stars!” He laughs, and he understands my nature, but he still doesn’t do it.
Some of my happiness-project resolutions are aimed at this desire, and I tell myself, Don’t expect praise or appreciation. Nevertheless, for all my efforts, I have to admit that I still crave those gold stars. It helps if I tell people I’d like gold stars. If you give a gentle reminder, they might happily shower you with praise. Here are some other strategies I use to try to curb my neediness:
1. Do things “for myself” For a long time, I self-righteously told myself that I made certain efforts “for the team” or “out of love for my family.” While this sounds generous, it led to a bad result, because I sulked when my husband or whoever was involved didn’t appreciate my efforts. Now I tell myself, I’m doing this for myself. This is what I want. I want to send out holiday cards. I want to organize the cabinets. This means I’m not waiting for a gold star. No one else has to even notice what I’ve done.
2. Find ways to reward myself Maybe other people aren’t giving me credit, but I can give myself credit. I keep a chart of my daily resolutions, and I get a little jolt of satisfaction when I reward myself with a check mark next to a resolution. I give myself gold stars!
3. Express your appreciation for what other people do One good happiness rule is that if I wish people would act a certain way toward me, I should act that way toward them. If I wish people would be freer with praise, I should make sure I’m ladling it out myself. Also, I’ve found, when I push myself to feel grateful for what others are doing, I remind myself of how much they do for me – and that eases resentment.
4. Remember that being taken for granted is a form of praise It’s ironic: The more reliable you are, the more likely you are to be taken for granted. If you always meet deadlines, if you never lose your temper, if you’re always prepared, people can overlook your efforts. And really, that’s a compliment. My only clear childhood memory of being picked up from school is the one day that my mother was late. Every other day – year in, year out – she was on time. As a child, did I ever say, “Hey, Mom, I really appreciate the fact that you’re never late”? Nope. But it mattered. How about you? Have you found effective ways to give or get praise?
September 13th, 2011
2011 Incentive Sales IQ Survey: Budgets Grow
By Leo Jakobson
June 7, 2011
market is improving, according to Incentive’s
annual Sales IQ survey. Compared to last year, we saw more than a 40 percent increase in the number of respondents who said their companies have increased their overall sales incentive budgets—from 29.8 percent in 2010 to 42.7 percent in 2011. Also, more than two-thirds of the respondents said they are spending more per recipient in 2011, compared to fewer than half in 2010.
The survey was conducted between March 23 and May 23 via e-mail. Exactly 500 readers of Incentive magazine and its e-newsletters responded.
How well those companies are spending their money was another survey question. We asked the respondents to rate their sales incentive programs, and just over half answered “extremely effective” or “very effective.” Around 40 percent said “somewhat effective,” and seven percent called their sales incentives “not at all effective.”
A number of reasons were mentioned for the lack of effectiveness, but there were a couple of recurring themes. Lack of funding was cited by many. One respondent commented, “We do not have enough funds to offer a big enough incentive to motivate high-volume salespeople.” Issues with program design also were noted. Another respondent pointed out a “need to correlate incentives to performance more effectively,” while a third person noted, “It can be difficult to purchase incentive rewards that are well liked by everyone equally.”
June 14th, 2011
Summer usually does not always equal rain in the forecast for non-profit organizations but blood centers and others are going to make it rain! Summer season is usually the time that families every where take off for vacation and barbecues keeping the coffers of a non-profit dry. Marketing Managers have to work harder at least 3 months before summer begins picking up momentum in September to their keep organizations in the black. These managers use their creativity and marketing budgets to reach as many as possible to get the word out that charitable donations are not just Christmas thing.
Summer is the time to reach out to others and join forces stretching your marketing dollars through collaborative projects. Organizations like the Boy or Girl Scouts are wonderful for a Community Project Day and blood donation drives. Donors can immediately see the benefits of a cleaned up park or beach while being reminded by t-shirts worn by blood donor recipients who participated in the day’s events that blood donations are crucial to saving someone’s life. An organization can really find many non-competive partners that compliment each other while getting the word out. These partnerships also provided an added interest for advertisers donating their time or space attracting donors who hold mulitiple charities close to their heart.
Seek out Incentive Brokers who understand your donors and know how to answer their “What’s in it for me” question. An incentive is not an incentive if it is the wrong one, at the wrong price. The newest incentives combine benefits and rewards for the entire family at a deep discount that only Incentive Brokers can provide. An organization should also incentivize their marketing staff, telemarketers and blood donor appointment setters with a program that provides prescription discounts, fitness, doctors online, theme parks, nationwide golf and travel to enhance their medical benefits at a fraction of the cost. Each program offers a selection of 70 different benefits and incentives to choose from to create your own customized donor incentive program.
Make it as fun for your employees as it is for your donors with energetic Fun Fridays, BBQ’s, Bring Your Dog to Work Day, staff meetings in the sun and contests. Don’t forget to share your amped up energy on your website with beach scenes and summer themed games for the entire family. Games that are fun for the entire family will help you develop an interest in your organization for the next generation and many summers of giving ahead. Dedicate a section or entire page to helpful summer time menus, tips, community events and lots of pictures of donor fun.
Reach donors at the beach, park or in the parking lot with SMS text messages containing coupon codes for movies, restaurants and more! Thrill your young donors by delivering incentives in modern unique ways using technology and create delivery. Send popcorn by mail and ask them to make an appointment receiving a movie ticket for their donation.
This summer get those creative juices going so you too can have a more carefree vacation.
May 31st, 2011
When I was a little girl with pig tails and freckles my dad would tell me he was proud of me when I accomplished something or I helped him in the yard. There was nothing more important to me than making my dad proud and seeing his smile on his face. I immediately felt like I could do anything when my daddy complimented me. I could work with great passion in the yard or help him paint my bedroom for hours just on the encouragement that he provided me. The benefit to me was truly just the reward of his pride.
Your employees succeed more often on stretch assignments when they are encouraged and provided with an incentive. While these types of assignments provide great opportunity for growth and notoriety they can be perceived as risky. It is uncomfortable to step out beyond the normal day-to-day responsibilities of our position. Your employees must plan, step up their courage and carefully jump into the challenge. Employees should seek out Expert Advisors, corporate resources and research the risks. They should be made to feel supported by you and that the assignment is well worth their efforts.
Don’t forget that stretch assignments are not only for your shinning star employees, they are for those on the fringes of greatness. Not everyone is meant to be a leader however you may just have your next Vice President amongst your team. Most high potential employees are eager to learn, are savvy, have a strong work ethic, are decisiveness, accountable, passionate and possess a pioneering spirit. These employees appreciate some level of uncertainty, excitement, view differences in people as an asset and foster relationships within all levels in your organization to accomplish the task at hand.
Some of the phrases that may help you motivate and encourage employees as they work to succeed on their stretch assignment are:
“I’m impressed with your actions on …”
“You got everyone’s attention with…”
“One of the things I admired most about you is…”
“You can be proud of yourself for…”
“You really made a difference by…”
To keep your employee on track acknowledge them in person as soon as you become aware of progress and development. Award them with gift incentives or public recognition for a job well done. Ask your employee to share their experiences and strategies along the way with other employees to stimulate your team later finding others for future stretch assignments. While outlining the expectation of the employee’s strech assignment be sure to underline the positive benefits when they need to be motivated.
Working together with an Incentives Broker they can help you design a program right for your team. You set the goals, they will help you create the motivation that builds interests helping your team reach stretch across the finish line. From seamless point reward programs to benefits and incentives, your employee’s “What’s in it for me” questions will be answered with attractive incentives to keep them moving forward. Their incentives, your benefit.
“What an effective way to…”
May 18th, 2011
Back in the 80′s hair was big and so were the perks. Employees were used to working hard and receiving double digit increases, bonuses and a Christmas Party to talk about all year long. Recently, a hiring manager asked a prospective employee in an interview why they felt that employees were no longer loyal to their employers. The prospect was shocked but was frank in stating that perhaps employers were no longer loyal to employees. After all the prospect shared, salaries and benefits have shrunk, bonuses have been eliminated and more is demanded by employers. The hiring manager agreed by gently shaking his head in support of her comment.
At all levels of within Corporate America there is a feeling of discontent and wonder for the future. Everyday business is challenged to make money also trying to get by with less while consumers demand more from them. One case in point is the battle of the banks, one bank charges a fees then all of a sudden everyone is charging a fee. After a long hard lesson from the recent banking crisis consumers are wounded and are no longer being patient putting up with less than average service while being charged a fee. The winner in the game? The winner is always the bank with the best service ratings, ease of day-to-day business transactions and most importantly, customer edification and incentives.
Benefits and incentives should be obvious and attractive demonstrating the company’s interest in your customers. Within the first few pages of a website, a savvy company will pepper deals and incentives throughout knowing that it will peak interest extending visits to the site. These companies know that within the first 30 to 40 seconds, a customer makes a quick decision to continue shopping or move on. Below are a few tips that you may find beneficial to your company’s Internet storefront:
- Display your telephone number frequently on each page of your website for customer convenience
- List discounts and coupons on your home page and contact page
- Provide buyer and referral incentives that build motivation with bigger rewards
- Update your website using search words found on Google Adwords reporting the most popular words used
- Contextual targeting displays your advertisement to consumers on sites featuring content related to your business type
- Behavioral targeting specifically displays your ad to consumers who have shown recent online behaviors and interests that are relevant to your business type
- Blog about interesting topics at least once a week attracting more visitors who will become followers. Those site owners who have not blogged in months or sometimes even years, may appear to not concentrate fully on their business
- Manage wholesale & retail customers in one convenienet online store that serves both their needs of product pricing and availability
- Use SMS messaging sending text messages from one cell phone to another about your featured product or service
- Make coupon code promotions avaiable providing instant discounts or free items
- Don’t be shy. You are a benefit to your customers, make it known throughout your website
- Survey your customers and sales staff every quarter looking for trends and customer desires
Demonstrate appreciation while making an impact continually ask for business, you are the customer’s Expert Advisor.
May 4th, 2011
Get employees and customers to do what you want by giving them what they want.
When I am feeling especially honest, I admit that success in business depends in large measure on one’s ability to influence others-to get them to do what we want. Customers need to be convinced to make a purchase. Employees need to be convinced to make a sale or build a product or whatever their job may be in order to make that sale possible. They may even need to be convinced to pack up their things and leave peaceably when a termination or layoff is appropriate.
As a business leader, you often find yourself in a position of having to exert influence over others. Businesses succeed by getting hundreds, thousands, even millions of people to behave in desired ways in order to help accomplish the business’s goals. And this means the owners and managers are in the wholesale business of modifying human behavior.
A scary thought on a number of levels. First, changing human behavior is a difficult thing to do, and second, it carries with it considerable responsibilities. In my book Motivating & Rewarding Employees, I include a chart that shows a range of ways of motivating people to do what you want them to-from coercive, nasty methods at one end of the spectrum, to friendly, mutually beneficial ones at the other. It is easy to use coercive methods if you think about it. Trickery, sheer force or the threat of physical violence do influence others-but not for good and not in ways that build business or retain employees and customers over the long haul. So for practical as well as ethical reasons, businesses need to be in the business of aligning their interests with those of customers, employees and suppliers.
Alignment is the first step in successful efforts to influence, and it comes from leaders and their insight into what other people may want and need. It is always a good idea to check on your alignment now and again. Are we doing things that give our customers and employees opportunities to achieve their own worthy goals? Are they better off for working with us? If not, business is going to be a lot harder than it ought to be, and nobody is going to profit substantially from your operations.