It's that time of the year again. The holiday season is upon us and it seems that we are stressing out and just trying to get it over with. A good number of people I know don't really enjoy preparing for the holidays as much as our TV commercials want to make us believe we do.
So, my question is: What are we chasing? Happiness? Well, that’s probably not going to arrive in a box.
The same holds true for business success. We are always chasing the numbers, increased revenue, and KPIs. What if our measures included human aspects? After all, every company is only as good as their customers, and adding the human touch can only increase brand equity. Maybe if we go back to the basics of human interaction, money will follow.
What if our KPIs included the following measures of human success?
I deeply believe that being grateful is essential in my personal and my professional life. I am always grateful for my clients because they provide me with invigorating and challenging work and my financial health.
It seems to me that some people lack gratitude, and so feel they don't have enough; they keep looking for things rather than appreciating what they have. How many times have you actually expressed gratitude to your clients and employees?
Why not show your gratitude by sending a little something that is meaningful (and if we are following a consultative sales approach we know a little bit about our clients, right?). It's the little acts of kindness that really go a long way.
2) Paying attention
I’ve observed of late that there is a tendency for people to become superficial. Perhaps it's a side effect of technological change and our fast moving times. We all have so much on our plates that we often feel that we are on a treadmill of instant gratification.
How many times do you actually listen to your clients by honestly paying attention? How many times have you discovered an opportunity to help a client by listened carefully to what they are saying? Try it, it's magical. Instead of thinking of other things, start to listen more often and you will discover many areas of opportunities.
Focusing on what’s really important also means being authentic. Being authentic means that we have strong beliefs and that our decisions, whether they are on a personal or professional level, come from a place of truth. For example, one of my former clients refused to work with tobacco companies, regardless of the money they wanted to pay him. He was authentic in his business approach and, while he missed out on the tobacco business, his other clients respected him for his strong beliefs.
How many times have you listened to your princlples recently? How many times have you made a business decision not based solely on numbers, but based on what you think is ethical? You can actually increase revenue while being authentic. Put your stake in the ground, develop your own yardstick!
The less respectful we are, the higher the probability that we will lose clients. Being respectful is essential when doing business and there are many ways to show it. How often have you not returned a phone call? How many times have you been ill prepared for a meeting? By paying attention to our behavior and being aware of it, we can all increase our level of respect when we interact with people, whether it's employees, clients, the receptionist, or the janitor.
There is nothing wrong with being humble and acknowledging that we are human. We make mistakes. All of us, bar none. They can be a valuable first step to learning something new. When is the last time you admitted a mistake, and then celebrated learning from it? When is the last time you incouraged humility in your employees by cheerfully encouraging them to accept and learn from their mistakes? Admitting mistakes, being vulnerable, and maybe even having a sense of humor about it makes us more attractive, not less. It's a simple formula: Humility = Success.
Part of my personal success derives from my determination to show up, and to show up on time. It sounds very simple -- and it really is when you are a professional. My motto is to under-promise and over-deliver. The more times we are on-time, prepared, and deliver what we promise, the higher our chances of winning or keeping a client. How many times have you successfully kept a committment recently? How many times have you been late, or otherwise failed to keep a committment?
Last, but not least, let's talk about honesty. There are some sales practitioners (and their management) who feel that it is all right to be a bit dishonest. It happens in other business areas too, but it's more accepted in sales. There are companies that wholeheartedly encourage their sales people to tell some white lies in order to get business.
I feel deeply that this is just plain wrong. Not only does dishonesty reflect badly on you as a person, it leaves a horrible impression of your company. Every successful relationship needs to be based on honesty and every single time we are being honest we are doing the right thing. When we do the right thing we are better business people.
How many times recently have you been honest when the temptation was strong to not be so? How many times have you encouraged or rewarded your employees for their honesty? In how many instances recently has honesty proved to be the best policy?
So, going forward, build these seven human ways to measure your success into your KPIs and you will see that not only will business thrive but you and your clients will feel better and your company will be highly respected.
Wishing you happy holidays, and a 2013 in which our clients are happier than they were in 2012!
(Thanks for the image to A Good Idea.)
(This post was previously published in a similar form by Consultative Sales Academy.)
Monika D'Agostino is the Chief Consultative Sales Officer of the Consultative Sales Academy. Her goal is to help companies and individuals grow their business through a mindful, consultative sales approach. The secret to her success is humor, tenacity and perseverance. Email Monika here.