Eliminate Objections and Increase Sales

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You close your sales opportunities 100% of the time when you make a
presentation, right? You don’t? Why not?

It’s a simple question with a simple answer: objections! People don’t buy
because they have objections. If, and only if you can overcome all of a
potential customer’s objections can you then close the sale.

I went to the baseball game last fall. My favorite team, the Cardinals,
were playing the Padres. It was a sold out game, and for the first time in a
very long time I went to the stadium without a ticket in hand. We hoped that
someone out front would be selling some extra tickets.

There were people everywhere. Boy was it crowded! But as expected, there were
several people buying and selling tickets, and the professional ticket scalpers
really stood out.

In addition to having a hand full of tickets, the scalpers had something else
that really caught my attention; a laminated seat diagram of the stadium. Can
you believe that?!

When buying a ticket there are two pieces of information that every buyer wants
to know, the price and the location. You can negotiate price all day long if
you like. The ticket will have a printed price and you can pay more or less
based on desire, availability of seats, and whether the game has started yet or

The major objection that the scalper must deal with is location. If he says
the seat is in a good location, are you going to believe him? Maybe, or maybe

By having a laminated seat diagram of the stadium, the scalper totally removes
this possible objection from the table. You can see where the seats are, and
you can immediately decide if you like them. He is now in a position to make
the sale.

Actually, by eliminating the location objection up front the scalper may be in
a stronger position to get a better price and make the sale.

Are you as prepared to eliminate your prospects objections and make the sale?

Here are three steps to better handling objections and closing the sale:

1. Bring Up The Objection First

If you know an objection comes up a lot, you should bring it up before your
prospect can. This will disarm them of this objection, and if you deal with it
properly it will eliminate the issue altogether.

For example, if you are selling a home and there are power lines nearby you
might talk about the fact that the power lines are on an easement and this
extra land behind the house will provide a buffer creating a quieter and more
enjoyable back yard.

No one is going to miss seeing the power lines back there. Beat the prospect
to the punch, and turn the possible objection into an advantage.

2. Know Your Competition

If you know your competition, then you will also know some of the issues that
your prospect will be thinking about.

Let’s say you sell health insurance, and your price is a little higher than
your main competitor. Your health plan includes some Term Life Insurance and
the competition doesn’t. With this information you are prepared to overcome a
possible price objection.

It is not enough to be well versed on the features and benefits of your
products; you must know your competitor’s features and benefits as well.

3. Know the Main Objections and be Prepared

Most sales professionals hear the same objections over and over. You should
know all of the possible objections that you will hear and have a prepared way
of dealing with each one.

Take the time and do your homework. List all possible ways of dealing with
these objections. My clients that are in a Mastermind Group share possible
solutions among themselves so that they are best prepared to deal with all

There is a difference between an objection and a condition. An objection is
based more on opinion. A condition is a situation that can’t be changed in the
short term. The only condition that should keep you from making the sale is if
your prospect doesn’t have any money or doesn’t have a way to get funds or

Some people see objections as barriers or stalls. You should be able to deal
with any objection that comes your way. Work proactively so that you are
prepared, and you will be on your way to closing more sales and Building A
Better Biz!

Give Them a Chance to Buy

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I recently registered a new URL. (It is http://www.samstips.com for those of you who are curious.) I used DomainBuddys.com to handle the transaction. When I purchased the URL, a screen came up that asked if I would like more information on tools that would add value to my new URL. I had the option of saying yes or saying no.

Right before hitting the final submit button there was a “special customer” offer that made one of their services available at greatly reduced prices. After the transaction was completed I was taken to a thank you screen where another offer appeared. This screen thanked me for the order and offered a special “Thank You” discount of 30% off of select additional services if ordered within the next 30 minutes.

There was no pressure. The offers were real, legitimate, and beneficial to me. I ordered two items and then went about my business. They turned a $9.00 sale into a $39.00 sale. Let’s see, that’s a 435% increase in business.

What did they do? They researched my needs. They knew, based on my original purchase that I probably had additional needs based on their prior experiences with other clients. They made offers to me that were very appealing. They let me choose between several offers. The choice presented to me wasn’t “do you want to buy or not” the question instead was “which items would you like to buy”? They gave me a reason to buy, the discount. And, they gave me a reason to buy now, the 30-minute promotion.

These guys are great at what they do. Are you?

In sales, if you are not in front of a customer, then you are unemployed. And, if you are not asking for the order, you are not doing your job. It’s basic, it’s simple, and these are the facts.

Look at your business. What possible add-ons could you offer to your clients? The first sale is the hardest. After that, you have a relationship with your clients and they will be willing and most likely eager to make additional purchases from you. You are not required to wait a long time before asking for the up-sell or to sell additional services and products.

Do you really know your clients needs? Great organizations know their clients current needs based on past experience, and because they go to the trouble to ask their clients. Don’t think you know everything. Once a year, ask your clients in a formal survey what their needs are, and you will be amazed.

Predict the future and you’ll most certainly be rich. If you know your industry and your clients, then work to understanding what their future needs might be. The better you can anticipate those needs, the better you will be able to beat your competition, take market share, and grow the value of your existing clients.

Know what your clients and potential clients need and desire, work to filling those needs, and ask for the order — you will be on the road to Building a Better Biz.

Synergistic Sales Growth™

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At the beginning of the year, many business professionals set sales goals as a way of building their business.  They might say, “I’m going to increase sales by 10% this year.”  If you want to make significant strides in your business this year I would suggest a different approach.

There are only four ways to increase sales.
1. You can increase the number of clients that you serve.
2. You can increase the average sale per client.
3. You can increase the number of sales or transactions per client per year.
4. You can increase your prices.

Instead of setting a goal to just increase sales, I would like to suggest a focused synergistic approach to your business growth.  Set a goal to increase all of the four areas by 10%.  The difference between these two models is astronomical!

Let’s say for example that your metrics look as follows:

200 clients
$1000.00 average sale per client
1 sale per year per client

Your annual sales would be $200,000.00.  If you increased sales by 10%, that would mean   your sales this year would increase by $20,000.00 for a total of $220,000.00.

Now let’s look at Synergistic Sales Growth (SSG).  Say that you increase each of the three major components listed above by 10%.  Your metrics would look like this:

220 clients
$1100.00 average sale per client
1.1 sales per year per client

This is where it gets exciting!  Your annual sales would be 230 x $1,100.00 x 1.1 or a total of $266,200.00.  That is an increase in sales of $66,200.00!

The SSG approach has you focus on all three components of your sales story.  By not focusing specifically on “sales” but rather the components that make it up, you will be able to create a far greater opportunity to accelerate the growth of your business.

First of all, let’s look at your clients.  You need to continually think about how you can increase the number of clients you serve.  Do you have a good referral program?  Are you prospecting enough?  Are your marketing efforts and investments supporting your growth desires?

Increasing your clients by 10% will allow you to reach the original sales goal you set for yourself in the first example.  But this is only the beginning.  Now analyze the average sale per client.  Are there ways of increasing how much you sell on an average order?  Are there add-on possibilities?

McDonalds asks you if you want fries or an apple pie with your order.  They also ask you if you want to “super size” the order.  Their additional costs are minimal compared to the additional revenues they generate.  Look at your products and services.  What additions can you add on?  What could your client use that would make what they have already invested in even better?

If you track how many times a year your clients make a purchase, (and you should), then you are taking a step in the right direction.  Now I want you to think about ways to increase that number.

I go to get my hair cut every four or five weeks.  If I go every five weeks that translates into 10.4 hair cuts a year.  If I go every four weeks, then that translates into 13.0 cuts a year.  The difference is 1.6 cuts a year.  This doesn’t seem like much, but if a stylist has 200 clients and charges $30.00 a cut, not counting any possible additional services such as manicures, color, perms, etc. then the additional revenue of making sure their clients get their hair cut every four weeks would equal $8,400.00 per year!

Instead of waiting for the clients call to make an appointment to get a hair cut, the stylist should be calling and setting appointments based on the optimal length of time that each client prefers.  This means more money for the stylist and even better service provided for the client.  Everyone wins!

So you see how SSG can have an incredible impact on your bottom line.  There is one factor that I left out, –the raising of prices.

Most business people that I know hate to raise prices.  They are worried about their competition, what their clients will think, or what the market will bear.  Although all of these concerns are valid, I find that most business people are just scared.

When they finally do get around to raising prices, they have lost months and even years of additional profits and opportunities.  Also, by waiting a long time to raise prices you sometimes have to raise them so much to get them back in line that you upset your client with this huge increase.

Your quality and service must always justify your price.  If in the above example we raised prices by just 5% then the total sales figure would be $279,510.00.  Now that is a year worth having!

Look at the four areas you can increase your business.  Work diligently on all f of them, and you will be on the road to Building a Better Business.

Staying Focused In A Fragmented World

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A recent Gallop poll revealed that 71 percent of workers are “not engaged” in their work. The longer a worker stays with a company the more disengaged they become. They begin to sabotage the company’s efforts, look for ways to hide out rather than produce, and lose interest in the organization’s success.

Here are five ways for you to stay focused and to keep those working with you engaged as well.

1. Have a mission that is bigger than you

It is easy to fall into the trap of driving a business by and for the bottom line. “We need to increase profitability,” is the battle cry of many a manager or owner. The truth is that most people do not care about the company’s profits unless they are part of a profit sharing program, or have heavy incentives.

The mission needs to be bigger than money. Providing the most unbelievable customer service in the industry, providing the highest return on investment, or creating the reputation for being the best in the class all provide a cause that people can rally around.

People want and need a cause. They want to excel and earn more, but most of the time money alone is not enough. If your mission is big enough, you will attract others to it and your road to success will become immensely easier.

2. Create short-term goals

Short-term success can be a real boost to morale. By having weekly, daily, and sometimes even hourly goals we can measure and gauge our success. Do you know what you want to accomplish this week? Do you know what you want to get done by the end of the day?

Think back over the past year. What are the two or three most productive days you’ve had? Were they “Mondays” when you were trying to dig out from a weekend off and a list of phone calls to make? Did those days come mid-week as things were cruising along? Were they “Fridays” as your week came to a close?

If you are like most people, I would be willing to bet a lot of money that your most productive days were the single days that fell right before you left your office for vacation. The reason that those specific days are so productive is because you have defined tasks and defined deadlines. Those defined deadlines become your short-term goals. If you have to return five phone calls, submit a report, and finish a proposal for a major account before you can leave town, you get it done.

This Herculean effort is possible because you have such specific goals with specific deadlines that force you to ignore anything going on around you. You stay focused. This is the mind set that you should work toward achieving on a regular basis.

3. Reward successes

Whether you are dealing with employees or just yourself, it is great to reward your successful endeavors. Determine the reward ahead of time, and then use the reward as an additional motivator.

What do you really want? What is a realistic and appropriate level of performance that will justify a specific reward? A reward may be as simple as a half-day off, or buying yourself a small gadget that you’ve been wanting. If you are dealing with a major project that may have significant bottom line impact, your reward could be larger.

If you reward your successes and celebrate them you will find that your energy and attention will grow for your next project.

4. Be accountable to others

It is real easy to procrastinate or to have good intentions but never quite get the job done. Share your goals with others. Now you are in a position to have to work towards them. It is great to be accountable to yourself, but it is even more powerful with you are accountable to others.

Sometimes I share goals with my wife, children, or other professionals. I am a member of a mastermind group. We meet monthly and share our business plans and goals. This creates a high level of accountability. If you have a business coach, you may find accountability there that will help keep you focused and on track.

5. Focus on “why” not just “how”

Too often we just focus on the “what’s” and the “how’s.” When someone knows the true reason why something is being done, a whole new light is shed on the issue.

A job may seem boring or a waste of time. Once you understand why you are doing something, a new significance to it is born. A meaningless task becomes important when you find out it leads to someone’s success or well-being.

If you are in business and you are dealing with your activities, remind yourself why you are doing what you are doing. If the “why” is not good enough to keep you focused, then maybe it is time for some new “why’s” in your life.

Don’t let your employees or yourself slowly slip away from the focus and excitement of your business. Stay engaged. Work on all five techniques, and you will be on the road to being accountable for your organizations success.

Change… The Order Of The Universe

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In a theology class at a major university a professor told her students that each week they would study a different piece of ancient text. On Monday, the professor would give her interpretation of the text, and on Wednesday, one of the students would give their interpretation of the same text.The professor would then drill the student unmercifully. Students began to panic with the thought of being chosen. One Monday the professor presented her ideas and thoughts on the weekly text assignment. One of the students, Joe, took copious notes. On Wednesday Joe was called on to discuss the text. Joe presented the exact same interpretation on Wednesday as the professor had given on Monday. When Joe was finished the professor stood up and said, “That is the worst interpretation of this passage that I have ever heard!” Joe was bewildered. He said, “How could my interpretation be so bad? It was exactly the same as yours was on Monday.” “Yes,” said the professor, “but I have changed since Monday. I have grown.”

To be competitive today we cannot continue to do things the way we did them last year, last month, and in some cases, last Monday. Scientists have shown that our universe is constantly expanding. If the universe in which we live is growing, expanding, and changing, it would be naive to think that we can just sit still. Change is the essence of progress. Not only must we change to progress, but because so much is changing around us, we must change just to maintain.

So, we know that we need to change and change at a more rapid pace. The question becomes, how do we face change? How do we deal with change and use it as an ally? Below are six steps that will help you better manage the changes that are thrust upon you, and also help you create your own changes that will lead to significant growth and achievement.

Expand Your Knowledge Base

One reason that so many people have difficulties with change is fear. We fear the unknown. We fear what we are not familiar with. It is only natural to want to continue to do what we have always done. To address our fears it is critical to strive for continual education. As we learn and grow we will be best able to face our fears and try new things.

My daughter, Allison, loves to play soccer. At first she was reluctant to play with some of the older girls. After several weeks of soccer camp and intense training Allison developed excellent skills. Once Allison realized how proficient she was, Allison was willing to try competing against girls that were several years older then her.

By expanding your knowledge base you will gain new skills and techniques. You will naturally find applications for these skills over time. You will also gain an inner strength and confidence that will allow you to face and implement the changes you need and want to make.

Study Change In Others

Vicarious learning is the easiest and fastest way to learn anything. Learning from other people and their experiences is a trait of many very successful people. You can learn in many ways from studying changes that other companies make. You can see how change has worked for them. If it has been positive, you learn about the benefits that change brings. If they have struggled, you can learn what to avoid and increase the chances of your success.

When McDonalds went from only serving lunch and dinner to offering breakfast, that was a big change. McDonalds changed a significant portion of their business model. Due to that change their business had significant growth. Companies create new market niches with their changes. Sometimes, a completely new industry is born out of change. As you continue to study how other companies have changed you will be less adverse to change, and you will also gain insights and ideas that will make your changes results oriented and successful.

Seek Excellence Not Perfection

Some people are caught up in the trap of trying to be perfect. Since there is always some risk associated with change these individuals are less likely to try anything new and take the chance of being less then perfect. We can never be perfect. Even great baseball players strike out a significant amount of the time. But, great baseball players continually strive to improve, to be the best they can be, and to achieve great things. Excellence is achievable. Excellence is born out of a desire to grow and achieve. Change is a natural component of reaching for excellence.

Examine your activities. Are they structured to move you towards excellence? What one thing can you do today that will move you closer to the picture of excellence that you have for yourself? Try and put one activity on your daily planner that will help you achieve excellence. You may not notice any changes today or even this week, but over time you will see tremendous growth and many positive results.

Ask The Question

The question that you should be continually asking yourself is, “How can I do this differently?” You notice that I didn’t say, “How can I do this better?” I want you to create as many possible ideas for change as possible. After you create the ideas, then you can evaluate them for feasibility, potential of success, and significance to the growth and well being of your organization.

By continually asking yourself “How can I do this differently?” your mind will always be seeking the answers to that question. You will be amazed at the amount of creative change ideas you generate. Take the best ideas and look for ways to make them happen.


Communication is where so many organizations fall short. Environmental change, change that comes from outside of us, change that we don’t initiate ourselves, is the most difficult to deal with. Frustration comes from not being in control. Your team members need to be informed on what is happening. Everyone on the team should be educated as to the challenges the organization is facing, changes that are being forced on you, and changes that you are initiating. Get their input. Ask for their ideas. Train everyone around you to create and suggest ideas for change, and give them the responsibility, and the safe environment, to implement those ideas.

Nobody likes surprises. By working hard at keeping all the channels of communication open your team members will feel a greater sense of belonging on the team, and your challenge of change will be easier.

Start Small But Think Big

Infants crawl before they walk, and they walk before they run. Treat change the same way. As you look to implement change into your daily routine, look for small areas you can tackle first. Successfully implement small changes first and then move forward to larger and larger projects. As you discover the power change creates, you will find yourself actually seeking change ideas and people that can both create these ideas and implement them.

Sometimes we create change internally in order to establish a competitive advantage. Sometimes we face environmental change, changes forced on us by government, our competition, or other uncontrollable sources. When faced with environmental change, the key is to focus on our reaction, our response. Since we cannot control the source in that situation, focusing on it will only cause frustration and anxiety. Focus on what you can control. You can control your attitude towards change. You can control the changes you create and implement in order to deal with changes forced on you.

Just like the eternal expansion of our universe, change is a constant. Do you fight it, accept it, or seek it? Those who seek change create amazing futures, futures filled with opportunity for growth and amazing results. Be a change seeker.

Smarketing™ – Creativity Counts

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The American Heritage Dictionary defines marketing as: The commercial functions involved in transferring goods from producer to consumer. Simple enough. As marketers, we know it goes much deeper than that. To be successful, one must find ways to surpass just transferring goods. What adjective could accompany marketing to define what it takes to make marketing actually work?

The American Heritage Dictionary defines smart as follows: 1.a. Characterized by sharp, quick thought; bright. See Synonyms at intelligent. b. Amusingly clever; witty: a smart quip; a lively, smart conversation. 2. Energetic or quick in movement.

Alone, these words represent two different ideas. Together, they are a very powerful and useful business tool. Smarketing kicks the proverbial box that we’re always asked to think outside of to the curb and forces us to change the way we think about transferring goods to consumers. With the introduction of electronic media and the Internet into the business community, it is safe to say a billboard isn’t going to cut it anymore.

Smarketing, as I define it, is the creative application of organizational resources designed to produce dynamic marketing results. These resources are:

  • Technology
  • Time
  • Money
  • People
  • Information (Knowledge)
  • Fixed Assets

Below are two powerful Smarketing concepts.

Enterprising is a smarketing term for leveraging your database to generate passive bottom line dollars. In other words you can use the information you know about your customers to have other people and companies generate you profits!

Let’s say that you are in the remodeling business. You sell replacement windows and siding. You don’t install new roofs, or do interior work such as kitchens. You can arrange a strategic marketing alliance with a roofing company and an interior remodeling company. These companies would market their products and services to your customers and you would receive a commission for every sale they made to one of your customers.

Your customer list contains valuable avenues for business that maybe outside the products and services you offer. For example, if you are in the plumbing supply business and your customers are plumbers what other products or service do your customers need? The answers to this question would point you toward possible organizations that you can partner with to generate enterprising dollars that take little or no effort on your part to create!

Cycle Timing is a smarketing term for anticipating your customers regular product or service needs and then contacting them in advance to secure the business.

I get a hair cut every four or five weeks yet I have never received a phone call from by stylist to set an appointment. He waits for my call. The difference between my getting my hair cut every 5 weeks, 10 times a year, and every 4 week, 13 times a year, is $75.00 revenue to the stylist. If the stylist has 200 clients that would be a loss of revenue equal to $15,000.00 a year!

Some automobile dealers do a fair job of cycle timing by sending out service reminder cards. The only problem is they don’t accurately account for your specific driving milage history and sometimes a postcard just isn’t enough. A call would cement the process and garner a service appointment on their behalf. If the average dealer has 1000 service customers that drive an average of 15,000 miles a year the difference between getting an oil change every 3,000 miles, on a timely basis, or going 1000 miles over the recommended service interval is the difference between selling five oil changes a year and four oil changes a year. That translates into $20,000 lost revenue! This figure doesn’t include the additional service that would be sold when a customer brings their car in for the standard oil change.

Cycle Timing and Enterprising are just two smarketing techniques that will help you build your business and add profitability. Most companies have a limited amount of resources. It is critical that we leverage these resources, that we stretch our marketing dollars until they scream! Sure, if you have an unlimited advertising budget you can buy TV time during the Superbowl but most companies are not in that position. Ask yourself the question, “How can I more effectively use my existing resources to generate the results I desire?” This question will begin the process of leading you into the creative world of Smarketing.

A recent casino advertisement promoting their frequent guest card was giving away valuable gifts and bonus credits if you signed up for their free card and gave them your frequent guest card from the competing casino. The new casino was building their customer base and eliminating the competition. That’s Smarketing!


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Knowing exactly what business you are in may be the single most important factor in jump starting your marketing efforts. So often, companies see themselves as selling specific products or providing specific services. These specificities, in effect, become blinders on their vision and greatly limit the potential growth of their businesses.

Smarketing is all about creative marketing and leveraging organizational resources. In order to maximize every marketing dollar you invest, it is critical to fully understand what you do and for whom you do it. Marketing then becomes the process of transferring that knowledge to the market place and converting this knowledge, along with customers needs, into profitable business.

The knowledge of your core business activity can best be summarized in a Memorable Marketing Message™. This statement is comprised of two pieces of information:

  • What do you do.
  • For whom do you do it.

The memorable marketing message does not deal with how. The how can change over time as new opportunities present themselves. You don’t sell cosmetics. You help people enhance their appearance. You don’t sell software. You work with companies that want to increase operating efficiencies. You don’t book speakers. You work with organizations that want greater education opportunities for their employees and with companies that need assistance creating the best convention ever!

Most companies get trapped into the mistake of only dealing with the how. In analyzing your business, you should determine where your potential customer’s greatest pain is and then determine what you do to deal with or ease that pain. Removal of that pain, filling a need, is what people and companies invest in.

There are three critical reasons for developing your own memorable marketing message.

1. A memorable marketing message enables you to maximize your marketing dollars. — By thoroughly understanding what you do and for whom you do it, you are best able to get maximum impact for every dollar invested in marketing. Knowing your specific target enables you to advertise directly to people and organizations that can buy! Your direct mail pieces, TV ads, newspaper ads and other advertising vehicles are all focused on your specific what and who. This marketing focus or power will greatly enhance your bottom line results.

2. A memorable marketing message enables you to maximize networking opportunities. — Most people want help eliminating their pain and will be interested in hearing how you go about doing that. Let’s examine the printing industry. What would be your response when someone asks you, “What do you do?” Do you say, “I am a printer” or “I work with business people looking to increase their marketing exposure and earn more dollars from their marketing investment?” Which phrase is more limiting? Stay away from limits. All business people want greater market exposure and increased profits. Now you can tell this prospect the how. Your printing services enable you to deliver on this promise.

3. A memorable marketing message enables you to maximize possible revenue opportunities. — Take, for example, the railroad industry earlier this century. What business were they in? If you asked them, they would tell you that they were in the railroad business. They should have said the transportation business. Because railroad business was their mind set, when airplanes came along, the railroad companies ignored an opportunity. Airplanes have become the market dominate force in transporting people and are also incremental in mail and express delivery.

I would say that the railroads worked with businesses that needed to transport products to and from the market place and they worked with people who needed to travel. With this memorable marketing message, the what they did would drive their marketing and planning instead of the how they did it. The railroad companies are still a factor in today’s transportation business, but not to the extent they used to be or could be.

In our printing business example earlier, you can see that by not being tied into a specific how, you would recognize that printing is not all that you can do to increase your clients’ exposure. Maybe you sell web sites, either produced through your company or through a joint venture. The internet can increase market exposure and boost the bottom line. You see, now your creativity is freed to develop many hows to take to market.

By understanding what you do and for whom you do it, you create a powerful base on which to build your entire marketing program. Smarketing necessitates efficiency. Your memorable marketing message will help you create an efficient, yet powerful marketing attack as you begin to implement other Smarketing techniques.

I am Sam Silverstein. I work with business professionals who want to sell more, build their business, and increase income.

Quality Requires Measures

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Quality is required. There is no longer a question of whether or not to implement a quality program. You must have one to survive. Yet, many are failures. The question is why?

Quality is like any other business process. It must be managed to be successful. Too often, a business will spend all of its resources on the quality program (TQM, CIP, and other three letter acronyms) and nothing on managing for results. Management is where the good ideas get implemented. Management makes change happen.

Quality requires a process of change. Change is disruptive and therefore, humans will resist change except to reduce pain, in response to fear or for ego and greed. Measurement and rewards are the easiest tools we have to accomplish productive change.

The basic role of management is to move numbers. It does not matter if the numbers are customer complaints, return shipments or lost sales. Good managers move numbers by encouraging people to do the right things.

The first thing a manager needs to succeed is an understanding of “where we are” and “where we want to be.” The company’s leadership must establish the vision and supply support for management. Without clear direction, even the best managers will fail.

Next, it is possible to define what is to be measured and how? Given a quality goal, it is necessary to define how we can measure progress toward that goal. For example, one measure of quality purchasing may be the number of return material authorizations (RMAs) approved due to shipped product which does not meet our customer’s quality specifications. Now that we know what to measure, the next question is how?

Where is the best place to capture the information? Is it when the returned goods hit our dock? Or is it when the customer service organization issues the RMA?

Timing may be critical. Old numbers, long after the fact, are impossible to use meaningfully. Numbers must be available in real time if they are to support active management. Most numbers need to be available every work day.

The time must not only be fast, but it must be consistent if we are to measure our ability to move them. If we normally measure in the morning, and then suddenly switch to the afternoon, it will may skew the results and lead to mismanagement.

Next, a starting point is required. In many cases, starting numbers will be unknown until we attempt to capture them for the first time. The initial results require careful monitoring and analysis. It is important that the measurement and corresponding results are understood. Otherwise, decisions will be made where the results can not be predicted.

Finally, it is possible to set goals. Provide some leeway for the first actual measured period. It may take some experience to understand how fast the numbers can be moved and their consequences. Without guideposts, we might cause change without direction.

As a base of experience is developed, the managers need to have flexibility in establishing rewards and recognitions to encourage staff to make the goals.

For example, there might be rewards for any “picking team” with zero errors. This is important. It should not be for the team with the least errors, as that might imply that in a tie, everyone looses. It could also set up some unproductive competition to force other teams to have errors. Be careful. Improper rewards will cause harm. People learn to win within the systems that are given to them. Set your measurements and rewards carefully. They will affect the way people work and what they produce. Do not get surprised by the results of carelessly established policies.

Rewards for change must be made in public and be considered valuable. Some changes will require risk on the part of your employees. They need to know that their effort will be valued by the company before they are willing to risk anything.

In cases where reengineering has led to layoffs, it is difficult to get cooperation from a second department. Why should anyone risk their future by helping to eliminate their job? The only way around this is to reward those who helped with promotions or other tangible benefits that will encourage others to do the same.

The rewards and measurement must work together to invite actions which support the direction of the company and the expected results. Poor definitions in these two areas can have disastrous consequences for any organization where quality must be improved to survive.

Include front line employees in setting up goals, guidelines, and rewards. Everyone will buy into the program and have a higher level of commitment. Change is the essence of progress. Only with meaningful change can we improve as companies and grow into the future. New systems, better performance and accurate measurement of progress will ensure that quality change is positive and long lasting.

When All Goes Wrong In Paradise

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It looks great on paper. Tomorrow’s annual convention in Scottsdale is opening with a keynote speaker and all the fanfare of a Hollywood movie premier. One thousand of your association’s finest members have arrived. They are excited and chomping at the bit to get underway. Then you get a call in your room at 7:00 in the evening. It’s your speaker. She’s in Kalamazoo and can’t get out because of snow. What now?

We all have challenges, but when the ramifications effect hundreds or even thousands it’s enough to turn hair grey in a hurry. Seasoned meeting planners have the experience to deal with these challenges and you can learn these same skills.

Karen Climo, of the American Movers Conference, arrived on site at the hotel only to find out it had been sold and was now under new managment, begining that morning. “The entire sales staff was gone. The new management team was marching the former employees out the front door and had a trailer at the back door where they were hiring an entire new staff,” says Climo. “We wanted to go through a dry run of our program and no one at the hotel knew what was going on. Everyone we had worked with ahead of time had vanished. Lucky for us, everything was documented. I made sure that the new team had the latest version of what was supposed to happen at our convention and then went through the plan, step-by-step. There was no way they could fall out of it. Every minute was staged.”
Luck wasn’t really involved here. Karen not only had the foresight to stage the entire event, but made sure everything was documented. She also knew to arrive with copies of the entire plan. It is critical to always have copies of all contracts and correspondence with you on site. You never know when you will need to create a quick solution to a problem caused by miscommunication or a hotel staffperson’s short memory.

Cynthia Huheey, of the American Resort Development Association, created the ultimate closing awards banquet for her members. The banquet hall was divided into two sections and used a large curtain to conceal the surprise entertainment that would follow dinner and the awards presentation. When the production crew started to remove the curtain halfway through dinner instead of waiting until after the awards were given Cynthia went into action. “The crew chief just wouldn’t listen so I called his manager at home,” Huheey said. Cynthia went on to say, “most of the times that things go awry it’s because of miscommunication. I’ve enough experience over the years to know there is a way to fix everything. Sometimes you just have to do it a different way.”

Cynthia knew the value of having the home phone numbers of all the important players. She also had the confidence to know that there is always a solution. Don’t be married to the program or the process. Instead, be married to the results. If you keep that in mind, you won’t be too upset when you have to change something to solve a problem, as long as your atendees still get the great time you planned for them. If the cheese cake doesn’t show up and you have to substitute chocolate moose at the last minute, that’s okay. Remember, most of the time, the attendees never know the details anyway.
Marsha Rhea, of the American Society of Association Executives, has had challenges with speakers and their lack of preparation with using new, high-tech equipment. “Speakers don’t come early to test out high-tech equipment that they are using to show how ‘with it’ they are.” One time, Marsha had a speaker show up at 12:00 for a 12:30 program. He had a computer and a Power Point presentation only to find out that he didn’t have a copy of Power Point on the computer to run the show with. Quick work by Marsha produced a portable computer with the correct software. Then it turned out that the file wasn’t a Power Point file after all. The speaker happened to also have a video with him. Along with using the video, Marsha manually placed the overheads on the projector, which wasn’t on the stage. All was saved. “We now are thinking about requiring our speakers to show up a specific amount of time ahead of the program to test the equipment,” said Rhea.

There is no replacement for trial runs and testing out all the variables. Professional speakers, for the most part, know to arrive early to check out the room and equipment. Sometimes, industry experts need a little extra reminder about rehearsals.

By planning to the finest detail and then documenting everything, you will lay the foundation for a great program. Arrive early with your file of documentation in hand and an open mind. Changes may need to be made. Have back ups or sources for backup for your speakers and equipment. Things go wrong from time to time. It’s usually “when” not “if.” Seasoned meeting planners know there is always a way out and that paradise can be just around the corner.

V3 … the Power of Synergistic Leadership

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Values, veneration and vision are the three elements of quality leadership. Used individually, your organization can expect to see a minor impact. Used together, these concepts create a powerful synergistic force that can turn failing organizational environments into profitable and marketable companies. This synergistic force is the difference between the organization that will be going out of business and the one that will dominate and lead the industry into the next millennium. Using values, veneration and vision, you can create a synergy within your company that will enable your employees to achieve higher levels of productivity, better morale, improved customer service and increased profits.

To effectively implement synergistic leadership, a strong foundation must be laid. This foundation is based on understanding and mastering the concept of change.

Change is the essence of progress. Without a commitment to change, you cannot have any meaningful improvement in your life or organization. A great many people appear to resist change, but they’re really just disheartened by previously unfulfilled promises of change. What seems to be resistance is really fear of another disappointment. Improvement comes through altering, modifying and transforming. Old thinking will not yield new solutions. If you have limited thinking, you will have limited plans. Change involves an expansion in thinking. A commitment to change means opening your mind, realizing the need to make improvements in your habits and behaviors and being able to consider new concepts so you can have the creative plans necessary to achieve your vision. By opening up to change, all members of your team will be able to create the new solutions necessary to transform your organization into a market leader


Values are the cornerstone of all individuals and of any organization. It is critical that you first look to define and understand your own values, then look to define the organizational values. What is it that you really stand for? What are you willing to do to get new business? What are you not willing to do to get that new account? These questions must be answered before personal and organizational leadership can progress.

Quality organizations don’t change their values over time. They look for ways to change the application of a time proven set of core values. As industries evolve, product lines change, markets may change, customers may change, but a consistent core organizational value system will be your foundation of strength and long term success. Your values are the rules by which you play the game. It’s much easier to make a decision when you have a well defined value system on which to base your decisions.

Define your personal values and your organizations values. Dig deep inside and seek out what means the most. You will find a basis for strength and a foundation for implementation of synergistic leadership.


Andrew Carnegie once said, “You must capture and keep the heart of the original and supremely able man before his brain can do its best.” By first understanding what is at the core of the team members around you, you will be able to serve them and allow them to reach their fullest potential. You should not only recognize that there are differences among your team members, but also value those differences.

In many organizations, employees (your internal customers) don’t feel like they are part of a team. They don’t feel valued. They feel as if no one understands their goals, desires or ambitions.

The Council of Communication Management surveyed 705 employees in 70 companies of all sizes and industries. Here is what they found:

  • Sixty-four percent don’t believe what management says.
  • Sixty-one percent feel management doesn’t inform them well about company plans.
  • Fifty-four percent feel management doesn’t explain decisions very well.

Understanding each individual team member’s needs and values will enable you to serve them and create an atmosphere of trust and common cause. It’s really very simple … if you help your employees achieve their goals, they will help you achieve yours. Team members help other team members. It’s an unwritten universal law. Serve your team. They will feel the team spirit and help everyone on that team achieve higher levels of performance.

Veneration also means shaping the right work atmosphere. It is critical that we create a work environment that promotes creative thinking, an openness to change and rewards good effort. All fear must be driven from the workplace. Team members must feel as if they can try new ideas without the risk of persecution if they don’t achieve success. Only then will you unleash the power of all individuals and create an atmosphere that promotes growth.


Just as individuals need goals and a personal vision, every organization needs a vision. This is a unified picture of what everyone on the team is striving to achieve. The clearer the concept, the more likely your team will achieve their goal.

There are three elements inherent in a good vision. To create your company’s own vision, have your entire team answer the following questions. Then, begin boiling the answers down until you create your own organizational vision.

  • What do you do?
  • How do you do it?
  • For whom do you do it?

If you use these guidelines, you will be able to create a meaningful vision statement that will serve as the guiding light for your organization.

While on a fishing trip to Canada with my son Geoffrey, an interesting thing happened. Geoff and I were on our way forty miles down river to a base cabin to spend the night. On the way down, our guide pointed out a nest in the top of a tree and standing proud over the nest was a beautiful bald eagle. What a sight!

Upon arriving at the cabin, I mentioned the eagle to others in our group. One fellow stated that he saw forty-seven eagles on the way down the river. He was looking for eagles and found them. We were watching the shore and looking for animals visiting the stream for water.

More often than not, if you are looking for something, you will find it. If you are looking up, you’ll see eagles. If you are looking for something else, you will see that. Know what it is you desire. Look for it. Work for it. In the end, you will achieve your goals.

Values, veneration and vision do not achieve results. You do. It is your responsibility to take these concepts and apply them to your organization. The difference between management and leadership is this: Management administers past ideas, implements existing systems and maintains existing relationships. Leadership creates the future, with and through people.

So, the question I ask you now is: Do you want to be a manager and be in charge of the past or do you want to lead and create the future?