Tips and Techniques to Manage Difficult People

Posts Tagged ‘Selling’

How to Avoid Alienating Customers

No Comments

I know this may come out as a bit of a whinge. However, it really saddens me to see organisations who talk a good game about customer service, and then make a real hash of it.

The story

Two weeks ago I ordered a sewing machine from a company called Lazada.sewing machine

According to their website – Lazada is Southeast Asia’s number one online shopping and selling destination.

Of course they are number one, because Amazon have no presence there. I suspect that is because there is no delivery or postal system that would meet the Amazon standard.

I ordered the machine for my partner in the Philippines, paid for it by credit card, and was given a delivery date.

However, a few days later, Lazada sent me an email cancelling my order because they had made a mistake with the price. I reckon the price difference was about £5 to £6.

I paid £140 for the machine, plus a transaction charge of £4.

Lazada refunded my credit card £134.

So I’m out of pocket £10 and no machine.

Okay, so this is starting to sound like a whinge, but bear with me.

My questions to people in business are

  1. Do you want customers to come back to your company and buy more products and services?
  1. Do you want customers to talk positively about your company to other people and encourage them to buy from you?
  1. Do you want customers to accept your prices and be happy to pay them?

Or –

  1. Do you want customers to never deal with your company again?
  1. Do you want customers to tell other people never to buy from your company?
  1. Do you want customers to give you hassle about your prices and be slow to pay?

We all make mistakes

In any business, mistakes will be made from time to time, but there is always the opportunity to Recover with the customer.

In this situation, Lazada should have said – ‘We messed up; we got it wrong, but we want the customer to be happy. So we will have to take a loss (if it is a loss bearing in mind the difference is £5) on this transaction. Just as long as the customer is happy and continues to deal with us.’

Business have to run at a profit, but you need customers and more of them.

Lazada send me emails every day trying to sell me more products; I dump them all.

A positive customer service story

I ordered 50 copies of my book, How to be a Motivational Manager, from Amazon in the UK. This was to be delivered to one of my clients in the Philippines.

25 of the books were delivered, but the other 25 disappeared. (What did I say earlier about distribution and postal service in that part of the world?)

I contacted Amazon, and they immediately sent another 25 books to the Philippines at no extra cost. (The missing 25 books eventually turned up back in the UK)

Now that’s what I call Recovery!

Amazon took action immediately, they took the risk that they might lose out on this, but they just wanted to keep the customer happy. As it turned out, they didn’t lose out, other than extra delivery charges, and they made me happy!

Lazada still don’t understand that, hopefully on day they will.

Alienating customers is too costly – you can avoid that by recovering well and building a positive relationship with your customer.



7 Ways To Be a Powerful Persuader

No Comments

I’ll always remember the first sales course I ever attended and the definition of selling that was drummed into my business couple dealbrain.

‘Selling is the art of creating a desire in the mind of a buyer and satisfying that desire so that buyer and seller benefit.’

Now that may seem a bit old fashioned for many of today’s salespeople, but I believe the principle still holds true particularly if we’re attempting to persuade another person; be it a member of our team, a colleague or a customer.

Change the mindset

If you’re going to persuade someone to change their behavior, their viewpoint, their attitude any other aspect of their business or personal life, then you’re talking about changing a mindset.

If anyone is going to change their mindset then they need to envisage benefits for them that outweigh their present circumstances or situation.

If you’re the person doing the persuading, then you need the following skills, qualities and characteristics which make you believable and credible.

1. Belief

Successful persuaders believe in themselves and what they’re talking about. After all, if you don’t believe in what you’re saying, how do you expect anyone else to?

2. Enthusiasm

I’ve known people who totally believe in what they’re saying but fail to communicate with any enthusiasm or passion. Many people find difficulty with this.

If you want to persuade someone, you’d better find a way to get enthusiastic about it.

3. Knowledge

You must know what you’re talking about, so make sure you have all the information, facts, figures and statistics to make your case.

4. Empathy

Put yourself in the other person’s shoes. What do you think is important to them? Consider carefully why they should accept what you’re saying.

If someone is frightened of flying, then there’s no point in telling them not to be silly and to stop behaving like a baby. You need to think about how you might feel in these circumstances and what might persuade you to change your mind; you need to outweigh the fear with benefits relevant to the individual.

5. Persistence

If you want to persuade someone, don’t give up on the first ‘no’ or rejection of what you say. Persist and persist – but do it nicely!

People wont necessarily react in a negative way to your persistence when they realise you really believe what you’re saying.

There’s a fine line between being persistent and being a nuisance.

Watch the other person’s reactions and if it looks like you’re persisting too much – stop!

6. Energy

Put energy into all your interactions with other people. Energy fuels enthusiasm; we are persuaded by people with energy.

Many TV presenters use their energy to sell us their ideas. Think of the celebrity chefs on TV persuading us to produce fabulous meals or other presenters who get us all excited about re-modelling our homes or gardens.

7. Consistency

Everything you do or say is important, everything counts. If you want to be a powerful persuader then you must be consistent. If you’re trying to persuade someone to keep their promises, then you must always keep yours.

If you say, ‘I’ll phone you back in ten minutes,’ then phone them back in nine minutes.


To be a powerful persuader you need many skills, qualities and characteristics. Even with them all in place, there is still no guarantee of success.


People are more likely to be persuaded by people they trust, they like and have a good relationship with.

Sell yourself and change a mindset.

Excerpt from How to Manage Difficult People How to Manage Difficult People

Enhanced by Zemanta

Successful Managers Sell They Don’t Tell

No Comments

I’ll always remember the first sales course I ever attended and the definition of selling that was drummed into my Fotolia_11355208_S1brain.

‘Selling is the art of creating a desire in the mind of a buyer and satisfying that desire so that buyer and seller benefit.’

Now that may seem a bit old fashioned for many of today’s salespeople and this isn’t an article about selling, but I believe the principle still holds true.

Don’t make the job harder

If you want to get one of your team to do something, then you need to communicate your instructions to them. Of course you could just ‘tell’ them to do what ever it is you want, and lots of managers do just that. However that’s not what being a Motivational Manager is all about and telling just makes your job a lot harder.

There’s sometimes a case for telling, however it’s harder work for you because no one will continue to do what you want unless you keep telling them.

It’s all about customers

Your team members are your internal customers and you need them to “buy” from you in order to get the job done. And in order to get them to buy; you need to be a good sales person. I’m sure you’ve heard the phrase – you need to get peoples buy in.

It’s all about sales

You also need good sales and persuasion skills when you’re dealing with your colleagues and even your boss.

Now you’ve no doubt noticed that I’ve started to talk about sales people and buyers. It’s because I believe that we’re all sales people and buyers from the moment we enter this world till the moment we leave it.

And according to my Scottish countryman and author, Robert Louis Stevenson, Everyone lives by selling something

A baby crying for food, attention or a change of nappy is trying to persuade you to take action. If you don’t respond to this initial “request” then they step up the volume until you do.

Because we love that child, because we care, we are very open to their persuasion. So, it follows throughout our life; if people care about us, if they respect us, if they have good rapport with us, then they’re more likely to respond to our persuasion.

The sales or persuasion process is very much part of our world, and it’s far better to sell than to tell.

Make your life easier

A manager will get much further with the people who work for him or her by selling rather than telling. If people understand the benefits for them, then they’re more likely to respond in a positive manner to those who supervise them.

In any sales or persuasion situation, you should be looking for a win-win outcome. This is when you obviously benefit as much as the other person.

If this isn’t the case and it’s a win-lose situation, then instead of the words selling or persuasion, we may be talking about manipulation, control or coercion.

However, as any good salesperson or negotiator knows, a win-win outcome is what you should always be aiming for. It follows, that if you want one of your team to do something and they see a benefit for them or they’re just happy to do it, then you have a win-win situation.

So whether we like it or not, selling and persuasion is going on all the time and you need to utilise these skills if you are to be a successful Motivational Manager.

You can get everything you want in life if you just help enough other people to get what they want”Zig Ziglar


Enhanced by Zemanta

How to Get Your Message Across – Show How You Feel

No Comments

Do you ever get the impression that people are not really listening to you or understanding what you’re saying? It Managerdoesn’t matter if it’s face to face or in a more formal speech or presentation.

Most people are not particularly good listeners. They are easily distracted and interrupted by other stuff going on in their brain.

They might be tired, in a hurry, confused, physically uncomfortable, don’t understand your jargon, or maybe just thinking about what they will say next.

So if you want to get your message across, then it’s important to take into account all of these points. And it’s also important to ensure you are making the best of your speaking skills.

The problem is that, the words you use, although essential, can be contradicted by your tone of voice and your body language.

Many people are now familiar with the results of research conducted by Dr Albert Mehrabian. This tell us that the impact of a message is dependent 7% on the words we use, 38% on tone and a whacking great 55% on body language.

I’ve read articles that take issue with these figures, suggesting that words are more important and have greater impact than Dr Mehrabian suggests.

I wouldn’t be prepared to put any figures on these three aspects of communication, however, I am totally convinced that how you look and how you sound are far more important than what you say.

Recently I conducted a one to one training session in selling skills for a director of a small computer software company. A video camera was used to record this director’s sale pitch to a potential customer, a role played by me.

When I replayed this recording, my director client was horrified to watch his presentation. In his pitch he used words such as, ‘Young exciting company – staff with lots of enthusiasm for their product – lots of energy and passion for what they are doing.’

The only thing was that he, the person in the video, had about as much excitement, enthusiasm, energy and passion as a plate of cold porridge.

He was saying the words but they just weren’t convincing. He was dull monotone and boring, and he knew it. The good thing was, that once he’d realized it, he could do something about it.

On occasion people say to me. ‘I am as I am; I’m a quieter sort of person. I can’t leap up and down and get excited about something even though I feel it inside.’

My answer to these people is, ‘Don’t change your personality but do make a slight change to your behavior. Turn up the energy a little bit, put a bit more power in the enthusiasm, and warm up the passion just a tad more.

If you were to ask these same people about their football team, their children or their hobby, then just watch them get fired up or at least get a little bit warmer.

One quiet unassuming chap held me spellbound one day telling me about his hobby of beekeeping. It wasn’t so much what he was saying but how he was describing it. His eyes were shining, he was speaking quickly and he was using his hands to describe this subject which he had now made very interesting.

So if you want to get your message across to your employees, your customers or your colleagues, then show more of how you feel.

Other people will respond more to your feelings than to what you actually say.

Enhanced by Zemanta

Don’t Spend Time with Your Employees

No Comments

That is if you want employees who are demotivated and don’t produce results.

Lack of time is one of the main reasons cited by managers for not spending time with their people.Bureau

This is really a bit of a red herring. A manager will say that they don’t have the time to spend with their people mainly because they don’t see the value in it.

Can you imagine a top sports coach saying that he doesn’t have much time to spend with his team? I don’t think that team will win the championship!

Your objective should be to achieve your business goals, targets, outcomes, or whatever is required from you, and make your life easier. If you spend more quality time with your people then that’s what will happen.

All of us can find that bit more time. Successful managers run their own minds; they don’t let anyone else do it for them.

I know the challenges you face particularly with your own manager. I’ve seen me about to leave the office to visit one of my team at another location. My boss stops me and says – ‘I need to talk to you Alan, can you come into my office?’

I’m sure you’ve been in this situation or something similar; your boss is making demands on you which keep you from working with your team.

It’s all about courage; you need to communicate to your manager that what you’re doing is for the good of the team and ultimately the good of the business.

Ask the boss if you can reschedule the meeting. I’m sure you’ve experienced, these “meetings” with the boss and they’re often not about anything too important.

In the situation above I suggested to my boss that we could talk on my hands-free phone as I drove to meet my team member. I let the boss know that this visit was important to the success of the team and would contribute to an increase in sales.

What you’re trying to get across is that if you go into the boss’s office it’s detrimental to the success of the business.

You won’t win them all, but the Motivational Manager never gives up.


Enhanced by Zemanta

Focus on Outcomes For Business Success

No Comments

Are you absolutely clear as a business owner or manager, what outcomes you want?focus on success magnifying glass

Whether you call them goals, objectives or targets, these are the factors that you’re ultimately judged on.

Outcomes determine whether you have business success or you fail.

If you’re an employed manager, you’ll find them in your job description or contract and I’m sure your boss will concentrate on them at your next performance review.

Outcomes are what you’re paid to achieve.

Don’t get distracted

Many business owners and managers allow themselves to be distracted and diverted from their outcomes. They get involved in all sorts of situations that take their eye off the ball.

I regularly run a workshop for managers called Managing Your Priorities. At the start of the workshop I ask the managers to draw a map on a large sheet of flip chart paper of all the things they do in their job. They almost inevitably fill that page with all sorts of tasks and activities. More often than not they surprise themselves with what’s on the page.

I then ask them to identify and mark with a large cross, their real priorities, and the outcomes that they’re ultimately judged on. Out of all the tasks and activities on the page they usually cross only five or six priorities and sometimes less. (You might want to try this exercise yourself sometime).

It’s not my fault

What we do find however is that the priorities that they cross are not allocated the time they deserve on a day to day basis. The managers will often blame their senior manager for many of the tasks which divert them from their priorities, which is perfectly fair.

However there are many tasks that a manager takes on because –

  1. They don’t like to say ‘no’
  2. They don’t trust anyone else to do it
  3. They just like to do it themselves.

I then spend time in the workshop showing managers how to communicate with their senior manager and their other colleagues in order to minimize the number of tasks that don’t contribute to their outcomes.

You have to ask yourself. ‘Who runs your mind; is it you or is it somebody else?’

My manager will understand

Many managers fall into the trap of believing that their manager will understand why they haven’t hit their target or quota. They seem to think that because the senior manager has handed out all sorts of other tasks, then they’ll accept your failure to achieve your target.

Well let me tell you now – they won’t!

Some business owners believe that their bank manager or investors will understand all the reasons why they haven’t achieved their business outcomes.

However, as I’m sure you know, bank managers and investors only want to hear that you have achieved what you said you’d do.

The successful business owner or manager keeps totally focused on outcomes and doesn’t allow anyone or anything to divert them without good reason.



Enhanced by Zemanta

Help People To Like Themselves

No Comments

Jane, who was recently married, explained to a friend why she had married Bill instead of Bob.

‘Bob is everything; handsome, well educated, extremely intelligent, clever and has a successful career. I felt that when I was with Bob I was with the the most wonderful person in the world.

When I’m with Bill, I feel that I’m the most important person in the world!’

Help people to like themselves and they will love you!

Give Me the Bottom Line

No Comments

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.

[contact-form subject=’Questions and queries’][contact-field label=’Name’ type=’name’ required=’1’/][contact-field label=’Email’ type=’email’ required=’1’/][contact-field label=’Website’ type=’url’/][contact-field label=’Comment’ type=’textarea’ required=’1’/][/contact-form]

Enhanced by Zemanta

Become a Customer Detective

No Comments

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!

Enhanced by Zemanta

If You Want More Customers, Move Your Ass

No Comments

Do you remember the last time you moved house? Well I’ve just been through that experience, and you’ll know how Dog Tired of Phone Callschallenging and stressful that can be.

We needed new suppliers for telephone, electricity, internet and all the other services required to sustain life. And of course, the most important for the kids; cable TV.

The first cable TV company I approached called ‘We want to make it as difficult as possible TV Company’. Okay, so they weren’t called that, but the amount of hassle I had to go through just to get signed up was unbelievable.

Anyway, a few days later two technicians, Dopey and Grumpy, showed up to do the installation. Ten minutes later, they went away again.

The previous owner of our house used this particular cable company and the cables were all still in place. But apparently they were the wrong kind of cables for the service we wanted. So off went Dopey and Grumpy and we never heard from them again. No follow up phone call to say when they were coming back or what they were going to do for us.

So the following day I went to another TV company called ‘Yes we can do it and we want your business TV Company’. And the following day an eager technician arrived dead on time. Within half an hour we were connected, although the technician said it would be twelve hours before the account would be activated.

However, that evening, six hours later, I turned on the TV just to check and ‘voila’ we were now connected in full HDD.

Business is as tough nowadays as it’s always been. And if you want more customers, more sales and more profits, you need to make it as easy and as quick as possible for your customers to buy your product or service.