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“If Benjamin Franklin had picked someone to teach the lessons in self-mastery that he used in his life, he would have picked Bob Burg.”

~ Vic Johnson, Founder AsAManThinketh.net

Archive for the ‘Influence’ Category

There Will Be Some Tethering. Huh?

Thursday, November 2nd, 2017

Alan Alda bookImagine sitting in your dentist’s chair, the sharp end of a blade hovering just above your face, mere inches away from making contact. At that moment you hear the dentist utter the following five words: “There will be some tethering.”

The patient — wondering as to any potential relationship between said sharp instrument and his mouth — nervously asks what he means by “tethering.” The dentist is curt, impatient, and both his words and mannerisms hardly reassuring. (“Tethering, tethering!”) Well, that explains it. Thank you.

This turns out to cause an effect that will make it very difficult from this time on for the patient to smile — whether spontaneously or on cue — without it looking like a sneer.

For most of us, this would simply be annoying. For a professional actor it could be disastrous.

This is what happened many years ago to seven-time Emmy-winning actor, writer, and director Alan Alda, and it became the catalyst for his deep scientific search to better understand the process of effective communication.

In his new book, If I Understood You, Would I Have This Look on My Face? — My Adventures in the Art and Science of Relating and Communicating, Mr. Alda demonstrates not only that this study and research worked for him, but also how much it has benefitted countless others, including many whom we simply do not think of as great communicators … such as scientists.

Yes, scientists, those men and women who must be able to communicate to the rest of us non-scientists the significance of some of the most important aspects of our universe.*

Mr. Alda, who helped found the Alan Alda Center for Communicating Science at Stony Brook University in New York, writes, “The key, the fundamental ingredient without which real communication can’t happen [is] developing empathy and learning to recognize what the other person is thinking…In acting we call it relating.”… [and] “relating is everything.”

Wait a minute. Did that passage really equate empathy with “recognizing what the other person is thinking”? Isn’t that like reading someone’s mind? But I often say that because we all operate from different belief systems, we can’t really know what the other person is thinking, thus, we can’t read minds. Right?

Or am I wrong? Read the book and find out. You might just have your belief system expanded!

Oh, and just in case you can’t read my mind…I highly recommend reading this book. It’s a Masters Degree in Communication.

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*Would probably also help tethering-oriented dentists to more effectively communicate with their patients.

Cole Slaw, Carrots, and Limiting Beliefs

Wednesday, September 20th, 2017

We’ve often explored the concept of Belief Systems and how our personal way of understanding and relating to the world — typically on an unconscious level — directs our behaviors.

Recently I heard what was perhaps the perfect example of how these unconscious beliefs manifest and affect everyone whose lives we touch.

Last month I was cordially, errr… invited to serve on jury duty. During voir dire Thomas Berger, a long-time successful South Florida attorney, related a personal story to help us understand how our personal belief systems (what he termed, “prejudices”) could potentially affect our judgement.

He’d been in a restaurant with a fellow lawyer and was ordering his side dishes from the gentleman directly serving him the food. After requesting cole slaw and carrots, the server gave him a tiny bit of cole slaw and a large amount of carrots. As Mr. Berger noticed this his colleague immediately said to the server, “You hate cole slaw but you love carrots!”

The server immediately replied, “Yes, how did you know?”

Of course, what the server did was unconsciously impose his beliefs on his customer. “If I hate cole slaw but love carrots then it makes sense that everyone else does, too.”

Mr. Berger’s story was right on the mark. As human beings we tend to believe that the way we see the world is not only correct, but that pretty much everyone else sees the world the same way we do. How could it be any different? That’s all we know; the way we understand it.

This is why I define a belief as a “subjective truth.” In other words, the truth as one understands the truth to be.

In reality, Truth just is. The way it’s understood, however, is as varied as there are human beings.

Unfortunately, when we don’t recognize this we can trip ourselves up, such as the sales professional who had difficulty calling referraled prospects because she didn’t like receiving calls from salespeople referred to her. Like the above server, if she didn’t like it then her prospective customers wouldn’t either.

As leaders; as sales professionals; as friends and family members, do we assume that what we like or don’t like is exactly what others like or don’t like, as well?

If so, we are letting our beliefs hinder us from best serving others, as well as ourselves.

Remember, “Value is always in the eyes of the beholder.”

Value is in the eye of the beholder

We can only know what another person needs, wants, or desires by asking and then listening; without — as Mr. Berger would call it — prejudice.

Sometimes this results in making a huge difference in another person’s life.

Other times it simply means we give them more cole slaw.

Both are important.

Communicating the Vision

Saturday, August 26th, 2017

Speaking with a client about an ongoing issue with his sales team, I brought up a particular concept. When he heard it, he loved it. He saw exactly how it applied to his situation. He also expressed amazement that he had never heard this before.

Except, he had. He’d heard about it numerous times. I know this for a fact since I’m the one from whom he’d heard it numerous times.

Now, lest you think my point is to boast about my great idea, the idea was hardly mine. In fact, the idea is so old there’s no one to even credit for it.

My point is that people can hear an idea but not actually grasp it because they’re not ready to. But, if we don’t continue to repeat it (not obnoxiously, of course, but appropriately, as part of an ongoing message) then even when they are ready they still won’t hear it, because we’ve stopped saying it.

Same for Teams and Organizations

As leaders, as teachers, as influencers, we can—we must—cast a vision. That’s the easy part. Then not only must we hold that vision but continue to communicate it.

Bob-Burg-Communicating-the-Vision

Eventually, when they do get it, and ask you why you never told them that before, rather than calling them a dummy or yelling at them for not listening, simply smile and give them credit for grabbing on to it.

The same goes for when you’ve been telling them something forever and then they suddenly hear it from a third-party, and then report back to you with the brilliant piece of advice they just heard. Simply smile and give them credit for being open to new ideas.

Because a true leader doesn’t care who gets the credit. They just want the ideas to be received and their people to benefit.

And, the more you put the right message in front of them—whether directly from you or from a third-party authority—repetition is critical to effective leadership and influence.

Make Yourself DiscountProof

Thursday, July 6th, 2017

Make Yourself Discount-Proof - Bob BurgAre you often asked to discount your fee or price?

Typically, when a prospective customer or client balks at your price, it’s because they believe that the value of your offering is less than what they are being asked to pay.

But, not always. There IS another reason. It’s this…

They subscribe to the theory that one should never accept the first price; that every price is negotiable.

In other words, yes, they absolutely believe the value of your product or service exceeds the price. They want to buy. They just want to get the lowest price they can.

We believe that if the fee you charge is appropriate then there is no need to discount it. You are providing absolutely exceptional value and should be making a very healthy profit.

As the first of the Five Laws of Stratospheric Success in The Go-Giver, the Law of Value states:

Your true worth is determined by how much more you give in value
than you take in payment.

But They Still Want You To Discount

This can be unnerving, right? After all, you’ve worked hard for this sale. You’ve already invested so much time, research and sweat. You don’t want to lose it. (By the way, all of this is exactly what that person is counting on you feeling.)

Good news: You can maintain your fee.

3 things must be in place:

  1. You know you are, without question, worth what you are charging.
  2. You have effectively communicated value that exceeds the price.
  3. You phrase your response respectfully, confidently, and tactfully.

One of our clients who we’ll call “Brenda” owns a private-duty nursing company. She recently received a call from someone who’d seen her advertisement. It was a woman who — along with her siblings — felt it was time their 90-year-old Mother had a professional nurse with her throughout the day.

Brenda did the discovery, quoted her fee of $30 per hour, and provided a number of references. Her fee is a bit higher than many of her competitors, which Brenda let her know.

Two days later she received a text from the prospective client saying:

“I discussed this with my brother and sister. We’d love to hire you. If you would agree to $25 we’ll go ahead and sign the contract with you right now.”

What Did Brenda Do? What Would You Do?

While $5 per hour might not sound like much, it actually has two effects:

  1. Over time it is significantly less money.
  2. More importantly, it tells you — and the marketplace — that your market value is $25 per hour, not $30.

Brenda texted back a very nice message that said:

“Good morning, Sue! Thank you and I completely understand if my fee is not in your budget. Your Mom sounds lovely and it would be my pleasure to help out if circumstances change.”

Just moments later Brenda received a return text that said:

“Please don’t walk away. We will pay $30 an hour and we’re so excited to have found you. We will make it work. Please reconsider.”

As Brenda Suspected

It simply was a matter of their instinctively trying to get a better price.

Notice what Brenda did:

  1. Knowing her value she made the decision to stand by her fee.
  2. Rather than react with disgust, disappointment, or indignation she responded with respect, confidence, and tact.
  3. She thanked the person, complimented their Mom, and shared that it would be her pleasure to work with them if circumstances change.

Again, because she had done a thorough discovery of what the family was looking for and communicated her value accordingly, plus backed it up further with a number of testimonials, she was very confident that the only reason for the price negotiation tactic being used by the children was because they felt that’s what they were supposed to do.

With that in mind Brenda’s job was to handle the objection correctly, which she did. And the family will benefit greatly, as will Brenda’s company.

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We’re always delighted to know that our clients have benefitted from the principles we teach in order to have more lucrative and more enjoyable businesses. Would you like to work on your business in-depth and in person with Kathy Tagenel and me over a very special two days?

Registration is open for our final Go-Giver Sales Academy Live Workshop in 2017. It will be held in Orlando, Florida, and it is limited to just 10 people as we go deep into helping you accelerate your business. Special early registration pricing ends July 12th or until we are filled up (whichever comes first). Check out the rave review from past attendees. I hope you can join Kathy Tagenel and me, and up to nine other successful entrepreneurs and salespeople. Visit gogiversalesacademy.com

Theo Epstein and the Trust Factor in Leadership

Monday, March 13th, 2017

Theo EpsteinDoes trust really matter when it comes to leadership? After all, leaders pay people to do their jobs. Trust is somewhat beside the point, right?

Actually, not by a long shot. Research both formal and anecdotal proves that organizations run as such suffer in big ways, including the bottom line.

On the other hand, leaders who treat their people with respect and who’ve earned the trust of their people tend to have an entirely different result. These organizations are happier, healthier, more profitable, and sometimes even win world championships after 86 years and 108 years respectively.

Last week I received a very excited email from my great friend and brother, Randy Stelter, a veteran professional educator and Athletic Director of Wheeler High School (and without question a long-time loyal Chicago Cubs fan). Randy is also the coauthor of A Teacher’s Guide to The Go-Giver, a curriculum for High School students.

He wrote:

“I was coming home today from an Athletic Director’s meeting and ESPN Radio was interviewing Cubs President, Theo Epstein. They asked him about the ‘trust factor’ he has with the players. He shared a story about sitting on the bench with a player in 1995. The player made a statement about the fact that no MLB (Major League Baseball) players ever trust management. Theo said the lightbulb went off and he vowed he would never lie to a player and that all contracts and conversations with agents would be on the up-and-up. He has never deceived a player during negotiations. He went on about ‘trusting and knowing’ the players and meeting their needs in the contract periods. Very refreshing and no wonder he has turned two programs around that had such world series droughts.”

No wonder, indeed. Of course he brought a lot of knowledge and talent to the equation. But, lots of baseball executives have knowledge and talent. That’s simply the baseline (no pun intended). Trust was a key factor for the man who brought the Boston Red Sox their first World Series championship since 1918 and the Chicago Cubs their first one since 1908.

It was the trust he focused so hard on earning that allowed him to operate without the — as Stephen M.R. Covey, author of The Speed of Trust puts it — “low-trust tax” that affects so many organizations.  After all, when your team-members know you care about them, they’ll not only negotiate in good faith; they’ll be committed to a team goal that is bigger than themselves.

As Simon Sinek, author of Leaders Eat Last so eloquently stated it, “Trust is a biological reaction to the belief that someone has our well-being at heart.”

Trust comes not by being demanded but by being earned, in small part by what one says, in greater part through what one does, but in greatest part…through who one is!

Mr. Epstein, as a public figure, is a fantastic ambassador of this message. But he’s just the latest in an ever-growing line of leaders who understand this simple truth: when leaders earn trust, they are nine steps ahead of the game…in a ten-step game.