Tips and Techniques to Manage Difficult People

Posts Tagged ‘Business’

BRANDING – The Key to Success

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How YouTube can be a Marketing Tool for Small Business

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If you want more customers and more sales, then you need to get your business on

It doesn’t cost anything and you don’t need expensive equipment. You can make your video using most compact cameras or your phone.

Check out this Guest Blog for more information:

YouTube becomes the go-to source for everything from music to sports highlights to kitten videos, it’s important for small business owners to get their marketing message in visual form. Yet though YouTube’s popularity has exploded, few entrepreneurs are taking full advantage.

Cynthia Nevels, who runs a marketing firm, taught a class at Mountain View College in Dallas on small business marketing, and  knows firsthand how few entrepreneurs are fully utilizing video. “The women in my class were 27 to 60 years old, and 100% of them were business owners. Yet over 50% of them had never visited YouTube for small business purposes.”

Read more at:


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Keep the Team Focussed on Outcomes

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It’s very important to focus on outcomes as far as your team are concerned.  Sometimes the people in your team will beMulti-ethnic business group


only too happy to do other little jobs and tasks that distract them from their outcomes.


I’ve had salespeople say – ‘Oh, I’ll deliver that to the customer, it’s on my way.’


Customer service people will say – ‘I’ll go and talk to distribution or finance department about that.’


You have to keep asking yourself the question: ‘Is what they’re doing helping me to achieve my outcomes?’ If the answer is ‘no’ then don’t let them do it. If the answer is yes, then let them continue.


Make it clear to your team what the outcomes are, but don’t concern yourself too much about how they get there.


Now that doesn’t mean that you encourage a salesman to get a sale at any cost, or a chef to use inferior ingredients. And you obviously don’t want a maintenance engineer cutting corners that could jeopardize safety.


However it does mean using the thinking part of your brain, and listening to your inbuilt programs. Your people may not do a job the way you would do it but that doesn’t necessarily mean it’s wrong.


I’ve often listened to a salesperson speaking to a customer and found myself thinking – ‘That’s not the way I’d do it.’ The temptation then, is to jump into the conversation or speak to the salesperson afterwards.


However I’ve learned to keep my mouth shut, because many times the salesperson closed the business, the customer was happy and it probably was better than I would do it.


I checked into a hotel recently and as I signed the paperwork the bubbly receptionist complimented me on my cologne. She asked what kind it was so that she might buy some for her boyfriend.


Now I know this hotel chain and this isn’t part of the welcoming speech. I also know that some managers would discourage this level of familiarity between staff and customers.


But I’ll tell you something as a customer – I loved it, she certainly brightened my day! Her response was far better than some of the stuffy robotic greetings you get from most receptionists at the major hotel chains.


This receptionist had made me a happy customer and if I owned this hotel that’s an outcome I would want.


Southwest Airlines has consistently won awards for the fewest complaints, best baggage handling, and best on-time performance. However everything at Southwest is focused on fun.


Obviously safety is important and all employees follow FAA regulations. However the whole purpose of the company is to have fun.


I’ve flown with airlines who continually tell you that their focus is my safety, I don’t really want to know that; I take it as a given.


Stop telling me how safe I am, you’re scaring me – I want fun.


Southwest issue guidelines to flight attendants in their training courses. They hand out joke books and give them ideas and tools for having fun. They then leave it up to the individual flight attendant to create fun for the customer, as they say – ‘They don’t want clones.’


The successful manager defines the outcomes to the team members and then lets each person find their way of getting there. That doesn’t mean you walk away or have no idea what’s going on. You are constantly getting out there with the team, watching and listening and supporting what they’re doing.


There are two characteristics of successful business owners and managers:


  1. They get the job done and
  2. They do it in the easiest and least stressful way.


I’m just reminding you of that because to try and control your team’s activities and get them to do things the way you want them done, is extremely stressful. It can also mean that you de-motivate the team, and then it’ll be much harder to achieve your outcomes.




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Stop Treating Difficult Customers Like Idiots

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Do you think you ever treat your customers like idiots? What do you mean, they’re all idiots? I know you don’t mean to Difficult customersdo it, however perhaps you or your staff inadvertently make a customer feel stupid. And that in turn will create a difficult customer.

Let me give you and example:

I was booked into a hotel recently and I was issued with the usual key card. The card had to be used in the lift and of course, to enter my room.

This card gave all sorts of problems. It didn’t always work in the lift. I ended up going to other floors with people whose card did work. And it took all sorts of messing about to get the room door open.

So, I spoke to the young man at the reception desk. He took the card from me, stuck it in his machine, and told me, ‘It seems to be working okay sir.’

He then goes on to tell me how to insert the card and slide it slowly through the slot. At this point, I was thinking about inserting the card in his “slot”.

I spend a great deal of my life in hotels, and I’ve used key cards for years in hotels all over the world. And I certainly don’t need an instruction course on how to use them.

As you will realize, I also didn’t like being patronized by this receptionist.

Okay, so you may think he was just trying to be helpful, but he was not really listening to the customer, and all he was doing was irritating me. This young man will generate his own difficult customers.

It would have been far better to say, ‘I’m sorry to hear you’ve had a problem with the card Mr Fairweather. Allow me to issue another one and please let me know if you have any other problems.

I’m sure you can identify with this kind of treatment, and it isn’t the first time it’s happened to me. It happens a lot particularly with anything kind of technical such as a motor car. Ask any woman car owner and they’ll tell you customer service stories of how they’ve been treated like an idiot particularly by a man

Of course there are customers who are a bit slow and not familiar with key cards, or motor cars or how your plumbing system works. But if you want happy customers, who come back to your business and tell other people, then make them feel special and valued and not like a complete idiot.

Let me know what you think.

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Give Me the Bottom Line

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Do you like something for free or at a much lower cost than expected? The answer has to be yes, most of us love a salesbargain.

But don’t you just get a little bit suspicious sometimes when presented with such great offers. ‘What’s the catch?’ is the question.

Have you ever booked a flight online with one of the budget airlines? How come an airfare that starts at 38 pounds, dollars or whatever, seems to end up at around 75 pounds or dollars.

You start off with a price for the flight that seems like a good deal and end up paying twice that. Okay, so there are taxes to be paid, and a booking fee, and a credit card fee, and a landing fee, and a take off fee, and a fee if you want a seat, or to put a case in the hold.

Okay, so I’m getting a bit carried away. However one budget airline in the UK was proposing a couple of years ago, to charge passengers £1 to use the toilets. It was either a publicity stunt or they took fright when they thought of all the passengers who did “their business’ while still in their seats.

I don’t care what the marketing experts tell me, as a customer, I just want the bottom line. I want to know up front, the full cost of whatever it is I’m buying.

If it’s going to cost £100, tell me that, and I’ll be a really happy customer.

I don’t think I’m alone in this, so I’m suggesting that if you want happy customers; give them the bottom line whatever it is you’re selling.

And if you want me to speak at your next conference or meeting or run a training session, it’ll cost you $4750 bottom line.

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Become a Customer Detective

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By Alan Fairweather

Would you like to know a lot more about a potential customer or client before you meet or make contact with them? JustLittle question ignore this if you’ve already thought of it, but it’s something I do all the time.

You’re probably going to look at their company’s website to find out all you can about their products or service.

But what about them as individuals?

Check them out on Facebook, LinkedIn and all the other social media sites. You could even Google them; it’s amazing the various bits of information you can pick up about an individual.

LinkedIn will give you various bits of business information. Such as, how long they’ve been in their present job, where they worked before and perhaps, what other people have said about them. You will also be able to see who they are connected to and that may also be useful. And if you find something you think is suspicious, you can even improve the information you have with the services of a private investigator, which you can find in sites like investigationhotline site online.

Facebook could give you a lot more personal information. Such as: are they married, in a relationship, do they have kids, and all sorts of other stuff. Have a look at their photographs, if they’re not private, and that’ll give you lots of other information. Again, you can check out who they are connected to.

I’m not saying you should mention any of this when you speak to your prospect. Telling them you know they have three kids, a husband and two dogs may get you thrown straight out the door!

And always remember; they may just be checking up on you. So if you have any drunken photos taken on last year’s vacation, get rid of them!

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10 Tips to increase your productivity

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In this TED Talk, David Pogue gives 10 quick technology tips that will increase your productivity.



Pogue is a technology columnist for the New York Times and author of more than 60 books.

People Buy From People – 6 tips for success

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1 Don’t rely on logic20130413-092631.jpg

Many people who sell a technical product or service often find this hard to understand. They seem to believe that all the customer is interested in are the facts and figures. Perhaps they are, but what happens if they don’t particularly like the salesperson?

2 People sell to people

Before accepting what you say, people need to buy you first. If you find this hard to accept, think about people who have tried to sell you something. Even a politician or a religious leader on television. If you don’t particularly like the person then you’ll find it so much harder to accept what they’re saying.

3 People like people who are just like themselves

It’s important to build rapport, to establish mutual areas of interest, to show you understand and care about the other person’s needs.

4 People are different

Everyone on earth is different; we are all as different as our fingerprints. You may have similar interests, but aspects of your product or service may not be as important to your customer or client as you believe.

5 Don’t stereotype

Always keep an open mind when dealing with the other person. They may not think or behave as you’d expect.

6 Adapt your behaviour to different people

Learn to mirror the other person’s words, tone of voice and body language. This doesn’t mean mimicking the other person; it’s about communicating with them in their style and language. For example – if your customer spoke quietly and slowly; then it would build rapport if you spoke quietly and slowly. Subconsciously, the customer is getting the message that – you are just like them.


Not All customer Service People are in the Office

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By Alan Fairweather

Who are your most important customer service people?ebbetslunch

Let me explain; a few years ago I was running customer service training workshops for a large telecommunications company in the UK. It had become apparent to certain managers that the people most in contact with their customers were the engineers and technicians. These were the guys who visited the customers in their home or place of business, to install telephones or carry out repairs.

The engineers had the potential to make or break the relationship with the customer depending on how they interacted with them. This was most important with business clients.

Another company I did similar training for, were in the beer business. Every week, their delivery drivers, turned up at a pub, bar or hotel to deliver the beer and other drinks.

Again, the relationship between the delivery people and the customer could have a huge influence on the business. A surly or unhelpful delivery guy could influence the customer to change suppliers. Bar owners are always under pressure from other companies to switch suppliers. On the positive side, good delivery people help cement the relationship between the brewery and the customer.

Everybody in your business is a ‘customer service person’; whether they work in sales, technical services, accounts or delivery services. I’m not saying that you should run customer service training for all of them. (Although that would be a good idea for your business and for people like me).

I’m only suggesting that you be aware that everyone in the business has the ability to make or break it, and remember the saying of Karl Albrecht:

The way you treat your staff is the way they’ll treat your customers.


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If You Want to be a Leader You Need to Look Like a Leader

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By Alan Fairweather with thanks to Sylvia Ann Hewlett and Jenna GoudreauBusinessmen

Think about the last time you met someone for the first time. It could have been in business or your personal life. Were you aware that they made eleven major decisions about you in the first seven seconds of your meeting? And of course, you were probably doing the same with them

This isn’t a conscious thing to do, it’s a program built into your brain to help you survive.

When your ancestors decided to get out of the cave and go for a stroll, they often met some other little caveperson for the first time. And in those days they had to make some fast decisions. This was something hardwired into their brain as a prehistoric survival mechanism. Was this friend or foe, should they strike up a conversation, or just bash them with their club?

Well, you don’t have to do any bashing, but you still make decisions about other people very quickly.

If you’re a leader then you need to look like one

‘Looking like a leader is the first step to becoming one. In order to portray “executive presence ,” superiors must perceive you as having gravitas, excellent communication skills and a polished appearance.’

This is according to Sylvia Ann Hewlett , an economist and the founding president of the Center for Talent Innovation (CTI) in New York 

She conducted a year-long study of over 4,000 college-educated professionals and 268 senior executives, conducted by CTI and in partnership with Marie Claire magazine, looking like a leader is the first step to becoming one.

So how do you look the part?

No. 1: Grooming

Appearance is the first thing people see. And they will always make an emotional decision. So a major grooming mistake can instantly undermine your chances of showing just how good you really are.

According to the research, good grooming habits, looking “polished” or “pulled together” is a leader’s most important physical asset.  Women’s professional polish includes tasteful accessories, manicured nails and a hairstyle rather than a haircut. Whereas, a man’s polished look is based on clean nails, shiny shoes, a clean shave and manicured facial hair, according to the report.

No. 2: Posture

Sitting and standing tall is considered the second-most important leadership signifier, no matter what type of office environment you work in. Good posture means planted feet, shoulders back and head straight; that reflects confidence and authority.

No. 3: Physical Attractiveness

Studies show that attractive people are more likely to be viewed as smart, happy, interesting and successful. Among the executives surveyed, 16% said physical attractiveness contributes to a woman’s executive presence and 14% said the same for men. It’s less about being stereotypically pretty and more about consciously highlighting your best attributes and features and taking the time to appear well groomed.

No. 4: Slimness

Being fit may help you climb the ladder; in more ways than one. In the study, 21% of executives said being overweight looks bad for a woman and 17% said it hurts a man. Those numbers more than doubled when it came to obesity (45% and 43%, respectively).

No. 5: Height

While women are judged more critically by their weight, men are more likely to be sized up by their height. Of those surveyed, 16% said it’s important for men to be tall, compared to just 6% for women.

No. 6: Expensive Clothing

Perhaps unsurprisingly, wearing expensive, or at least expensive looking, clothing was rated as more important for those who work in formal business cultures. Executives said that signature accessories such as good shoes or a nice watch, go a long way, but flashy jewelry undermines your appearance. Similarly, they said brand names suggest stature, but too many labels are distracting.

No. 7: Youthful Appearance

Ironically, women are judged for looking too young and for looking too old, but more critically for the latter. Junior women confided that they secretly hoped for a couple gray hairs to look more experienced, and women in focus groups agreed there is only a small window for not looking too old or too young. “If reminding a client of his grandmother or mother can make you seem outdated or tired, reminding a client of his granddaughter or daughter also has pitfalls,” write the researchers.

Whether you like it or not, other people will make initial judgements about your leadership skills based on how you look and how you carry yourself.

Who you are speaks so loudly, I can’t hear what you’re saying

Ralph Waldo Emerson 

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