Monday, October 15, 2018

I don't know what I don't know (And it really feels like I don't know)

Not sure if it is the time of the year (Because it gets dark early and I have lots of reading time) or if it is the fact that I am getting to mid life but recently I have had my world rocked with new information. It started a couple weeks ago when I was at a conference and heard some new content around Sales And Marketing (Where I have focused my learning for the last 20 years) and this content was great and something completely new to my experiences.

Next I have been working with some of the team where they have attended other conferences and shared content which has sent me down a learning trail of IoT.

Guess it all comes down to the fact that life is constant learning and it is always changing. I am sure glad I am in a industry of constant change and growing is a must.

Some things I recently heard that have been impactful. Not sure who stated this but it was in an article from INK magazine stating something like "If you wouldn't change places with the person giving the advice then don't take that advice" This has given me a good filter to look at advice differently. Now I started running through the people I work with, consultants and others and really the number of people I would change places with is extremely few. Not sure if it is because I really love my life or I need to challenge my contact list more heavily.

Next was KISS (Keep It Simple Stupid) I have been blessed with that skill. Maybe because I am not smart enough to make it complicated or maybe because I see through all the BS. Who knows but it is definitely a filter I use constantly.

Friday, September 28, 2018

Are You Purposeful About Your Customer Experience?

Recently it feels like I am always thinking about my customer experience. Let’s face it, it is not because I am having a good customer experience. When I look at some of the companies that are growing exponentially, they almost always have an amazing customer experience-for example, Zappos. Super fast shipping, free returns and an amazing corporate culture that can be felt through any interaction. Others might include;
Uber (They come to you, no cash requirement and an easy app)
Apple (Easy interface, it just works and their products excel at working with each other)
KTAG (No more stopping, just auto billing)
Google Maps (It still amazes me how many people do not use them!) Just put in where you are going, and it not only gives you some alternative routes, it also shows traffic.
You are probably thinking you can come up with a lot more examples, and trust me, so could I. The issue now is that, through technology, many companies have made the user experience so amazing that I identify an “OK” process as poor. An example I have is with a subscription radio service. Starting the service is easy and available online. When it's time to unsubscribe a radio (I have multiple), it gets quite a bit more difficult. You are required to make a phone call--no exceptions. You then wait on hold, endure multiple sales pitches and finally get them convinced to do what you could have done yourself online in seconds. It has caused me to no longer subscribe any additional radios.
While the radio example is obvious, what I believe is not so obvious is setting the customer’s expectations on interactions your company has. Since you are in the business of delivering your service, the knowledge you take for granted could be unfamiliar to your customers. Recently, I needed some new tires and went to a local, trusted shop and they did a fantastic job. They made recommendations based on my needs, such as where I drive (on road or off road), to warranty options, and they even covered possible road hazards. So I decided on the particular tire I wanted and asked when they could do it. Their response was, "right now!" I thought, “Great let’s do it.”
My expectation was that I would have tires within an hour. However, to be honest, I didn’t ask. I sat down and started to do some work with my mobile device and an hour went by quickly. I looked up and my car hadn’t moved, so I went up to the desk and asked how much longer it would be. They said, “Well, we had to have someone bring the tires from an hour and a half away.” I objected: “You said you could do it right now.” I was shocked by their response. "And we can, but we don’t have the tires.”
Look, I don’t really care about your logistics, processes and problems. What I cared about was when I would have tires on my car and I could drive away. I called for a ride at 10 am. At 4:45 I called the shop to ask if my car was ready and they told me they would get to it tomorrow. I had some choice words.
This all could have been a much better customer experience if expectations would have been set up front. Did I come to the store expecting to have new tires on the same day? No. In fact, I expected them to either call me later when they were ready, or tell me to bring the car in on a specific date. Instead, the “right now” set expectations of RIGHT NOW! So the customer experience was really a failure of being clear.
Setting expectations is the first step in having a good customer experience. I will be providing the next steps in future articles. Meanwhile I will be driving on vacation this year, on my new tires, despite my disappointing experience.

Wednesday, June 20, 2018

A conference Pet Peave?

Recently I feel like I have been to a lot of conferences, industry events or other events that have sessions or keynotes then breaks. At the last three of these events the sessions didn’t start on time! No they didn’t start 30 minutes late it was five to 10 minutes late. One break out I attended the little paper tents that advertised the session had one starting time then the agenda in the event packet had a different time. They started somewhere in the middle. This is frustrating because you are most likely to miss the next session because this one started late.

I wont harp on the fact that you must end on time. Everyone know that but it just feels like every presenter just has “one more thing before I let you go!” Look, I will show up on time you end on time. That is the contract we (Ok not really) agreed on.

My last area that is on the venue is the fact that you have just set through the keynote, breakout, whatever and of course finished off that large glass of tea during that presentation and nature calls (Strongly). What do you find? The bathroom is being cleaned! Either figure out how to get in sync with the agenda or find men to clean the men’s room and women to clean the women's room. Feels like a simple answer!

I don’t want to be a complainer but these are simple things that can make a big difference in running a successful event.

Thursday, February 23, 2017

The Southwest Airlines Culture and a quick lesson

Recently flew Southwest Airlines from Wichita to Phoenix AZ and checked my baggage and the lady helping me ended the conversation with see you in a little bit at the gate. So pretty soon I did see her at the gate. About 15 minutes till boarding her and another put on some old rock music and turned up the volume for the boarding area. There were some retired couples at the window singing along, a kid in the isle dancing, it was great.

Then, there is always one person. The lady right by me. "It's too loud!" she was motioning to the podium to turn it down and continued this for some time. Not to be detoured the ladies at the gate kept it up and all (But one) had a great time.

Little later in Phoenix I am waiting for my bags and look who it is, the music Grinch. Her and someone who came to pick her up were having a conversation. The pick up person made a comment to the tune of "I love flying SW" and the response of the music Grinch was "Yea, me too. They put on some music before we left and it was great"

Remember there are fun haters everywhere, sometimes the real trouble is not letting them control you.

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Brian Millers Lessons of Wisdom

1. Don't be dismissive
2. Mergers & Acquisitions (CAN) muddy the water
3. Inspect what you expect
4. Leverage this team (HTG)

He left his last HTG 3 meeting with some strong wisdom to the group. I had to share.

I have one more

5. Don't speed with Steve in the back seat of your car, he will take the picture!

Friday, November 4, 2016

HTG Q4 2016 in the books

What an exhausting week. Arrived on Sunday night and had only a little time for dinner and to get my clothes ready for the week.

Monday and Tuesday was off to HTG 3 meetings.. It is great to catch up with this crew.

Wednesday delivered content for the Building A Sales Engine content. I really enjoy presenting with Nate Austin. Finished the day with the vendor content and heard a motivational presentation.

Thursday and Friday was facilitating HTG 20.

Don't forget the gluttony of 3 hour dinners each night!

After Friday facilitating I had a chance to take a walk around the Hotel

I gave me time to reflect on the week. I learn so much from this week. From leadership skills to business and even accounting. I have pages of documents and notes that reflect this learning.

Thursday, October 27, 2016

What I learned Golfing

I picked up golfing just under ten years ago. I gave up boating due to I no longer could just leave for the weekends with kids at home and with the price of gas it was becoming problematic filling the boat up. So I did what every good sales person does, pick up golf. Sure it would be good socializing and meeting new people (Sometimes after saying “Fore!”). I never expected to learn good business lessons.

Over the last decade I shaved some 20 strokes off my game. Not to worry, par is still not in jeopardy. In the beginning it was all about striking the ball consistently, square and with the right club. Over the last few years that became less of a worry. I had mastered the “basics” now what I was finding was that my game was inconsistent at best. I would have a round in the low 80’s then the next round on the same course was nearing 100! What was going on?

It is all mental. I would get bad shots in my head then proceed to repeating that bad shot because that is what I was thinking about when hitting the ball. I did a little reading on golf and decided what most professionals have is a process they go through.

First is consistent setup. How you approach the ball, looking to where you are going to hit the ball and what club to choose. Next and most importantly for me is visualizing the shot. How it was going to come off the club to where it was going to land and how it was going to bounce. These are the images I have before my best shots. Not to worry, I still get the bad ones in my brain and follow with another bad shot.

I think in business we do the same things. Sometimes we focus on the negatives. From the bad culture, to bad decisions and finally to not holding ourselves or people around accountable simply not being authentic with our communication. What we need to spend more time on as leaders is visualizing the future, paint a verbal picture of exactly what it looks like and giving that image to all the people involved so they know what to do on a daily basis to align with that vision.

Don’t under estimate the impact that vision can have on both your golf game or your business.

Caden is about to turn 14. While many kids that age have vision of driving real soon and so does he, he also has another vision. That is to own his own business. Really he already does. He talked about it visualized it so well it has just happened. While a 14 year old may not understand all the items needed for a successful business, he could teach us all a lesson (Which his mom is constantly trying to take back) and that is to fake it till you make it, push yourself daily and don’t be afraid to fail.