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1 06, 2012

Is it Possible We Think Too Much?

By |2017-03-03T12:07:06-05:00June 1st, 2012|Categories: Blog, Motivation|Tags: , , , , , |1 Comment

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Is thinking good?A friend of mine said that I thought a lot. I didn’t ask what he meant I just thought everyone did. Maybe they don’t .

Could it be that most people don’t think?  Spending time thinking is one of the great past times of life, isn’t it?

I had a therapist who once said you can’t get chocolate milk from a turnip field. Now, she was talking about relationships — but the rest of life is like that too.

Think about business; it doesn’t happen from your living room or your showroom. It comes from you thinking about it and then making it happen. Wondering how everyone is getting business won’t help you unless you go talk to them and find out what they know that you don’t. Relationships don’t happen in your living room either.

Thinking everyone knows more than you won’t help either.  Don’t you remember friends from your school who were smarter than you and didn’t become much? I have a better story about Jim Deitz; I’ve changed his name to protect him from all of us trying to find him. Remember when they asked you in high school what you wanted to be when you grew up? Well, Jim said he didn’t want to work and wasn’t planning to. That didn’t make him very popular with the girls or the teachers. Well, the short of the long story is he didn’t work, or at least not like the rest of us, and he became a millionaire.  Winning was his plan and he bought lottery tickets every day. It was his plan for 10 years. It looks like he thought about it.

What motivates us? Could it be thinking? Here’s a good blog post from the Harvard Business Review about motivation.

Maybe it’s better you think alone. And sure as heck, don’t discuss your hair-brained schemes with others. What’s hair-brained to one is a fortune to another? When I was breaking up with a boyfriend some time ago he reminded me of my hair-brained schemes; somehow he forgot I was supporting myself with those schemes!  A scheme to one is a plan to another.

Remember Mark Victor Hansen, and Chicken Soup for the Soul? As the rumor goes, his book was turned down 63 times before it was published.  So he went out and asked all those who contributed stories to his book to commit to buying a bunch of books prior to publication. By the time he was done, he had enough prior sales that he was into his second publication! What publisher wouldn’t want that deal?

I took a class on book publishing and the first thing the instructor said was, if you have a following it doesn’t matter how bad the book is — they’ll buy it because it’s yours.

Don’t ask what other people think, who cares what they think? Could it be we spend too much time worrying about what other people think and not enough about what we think? As they say in North Dakota, and recently in Alaska, “you betcha.”

Excuse me while I go back and think some more. I’m not sure about what but I’m sure I’ll find something.

Lisbeth Calandrino helps businesses build loyal relationships with their customers through customer service and sales training. Need a speaker? She can be reached at [email protected]. Lis is also the co-author of CONTAGIOUS OPTIMISM!  Learn more at (publisher: Viva Editions).  


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20 09, 2011

None Of Us Want To Come In Second Place

By |2017-03-03T12:07:08-05:00September 20th, 2011|Categories: beliefs, Blog|Tags: , , , , , , , , , , |Comments Off on None Of Us Want To Come In Second Place

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Nobody wants to be second best!It seems that   General Motors Co. wants to tie their union-represented workers  pay to their work performance. This will be a major shift in how generations of  how  auto workers have been compensated.

We are trying  to give hourly workers the same metrics as salaried workers,” GM Vice Chairman Stephen Girsky said Tuesday at the Detroit auto show. “There is a big pay-for-performance element going through the company and there is going to be more of it.”GM wants more flexible pay levels for workers as a way to encourage better performance and avoid locking the company into handing out big raises when the company isn’t performing well, company executives say.

If they change the system they will be able to measure their employees success immediately. I believe they will also build more productive employees.

Does this work ?

The Federal Government tries it on and deals with the conflicts,

You can use pay or other incentives to increase output,

Incentives can be customized for employees,

Linking employees pay to output does more than affect the bottom line of a business, it affects how an employee feels about his performance. Getting a pay check at the end of the week has more meaning when you actually see what you produce. Imagine how farmers feel when their seeds actually produce fruit?

Conceptually one and one make two but if you actually put two  penny’s in a child’s hand, it brings it to reality. Many children are taught at a young age that if they take out the garbage they will receive an allowance, this is linking pay to performance. When I realized the value of money I was enthralled with taking out the garbage and kept asking if there was something else I could do to get paid. I couldn’t wait until I was 14 to start baby sitting. As I “earned from doing” I realized that producing had value and I was capable of producing. I bet that many of you had the same experience. It was all good!

Why don’t more retail stores adopt the policy of performance based pay? I often hear   there will be more competition and  the customer will suffer–why would a salesperson wait on a customer if they weren’t being paid?  I would say it’s part of their job! It’s not easy devising a commission based sales structure but it has a big pay off for the store and the salesperson.

Having had both commissioned and non-commissioned jobs I vote for commission.

I am presently working for SodaStream as a brand ambassador. The product is super, I love doing the presentations and although I am asked to sell at least two machines, I’m not paid for performance. At first I worked very hard to sell the machines and then I realized it really didn’t matter. I decided I needed an incentive so I asked if I could put an affiliate link on my site for  customers. If someone clicks on my link they receive a $10.00 coupon and I receive a few cents. Does it make a difference? It does to me; I know what I do makes a difference, to me and my company and it’s fun. I like being part of the success of a company.

I think salespeople pay more attention to their jobs and their company if they were paid for what they produce. I realize I’m really part of my company’s success.

Selling (and money) is about an exchange. An exchange of value for value. The mere act of selling is a service and can provide value to a potential customer even if the customer doesn’t buy. But, if the customer doesn’t buy, the company goes out of business.

If you want to stay in business my suggestion is you find a way to compensate your employees for actually getting the product in the hands of your customers. By compensating them for what they sell they can actually see that what they do makes a difference to their company.

I didn’t realize that The Home Depot gives quotas to sales people and Lowe’s Companies pay commission in some departments. These are stores that started out by not paying commission and later turned to commission.

More than anything commission builds self-esteem and gives people experience with taking risks. Success is built on risk; why not help your employees learn the principles of success while building your business?

Remember, most of us prefer to be first. There are more kids on Halloween who want to be dressed as Batman than Robin.

I love this quote from Tom J. Watson of IBM:

“Would you like me to give you a formula for success? It’s quite simple, really. Double your rate of failure. You are thinking of failure as the enemy of success. But it isn’t at all. You can be discouraged by failure or you can learn from it, So go ahead and make mistakes. Make all you can. Because remember that’s where you will find success.”

Lisbeth Calandrino is an award winning trainer, author, and blogger. She is  author of the book, Red Hot Customer Service, 35 ways to heat up your business and ignite your sales. In her book Lisbeth outlines the steps for building a successful business with customer service techniques. Lisbeth has been providing custom marketing and sales programs for the past 20 years.


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17 10, 2010

How Much Money Are You Leaving On the Table?

By |2017-03-03T12:07:12-05:00October 17th, 2010|Categories: Advertising, Blog, Building a Brand, Competitive Advantage, Customer Satisfaction, Customer Service|Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , |Comments Off on How Much Money Are You Leaving On the Table?

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Can you give it away and make more money?

The other day I took my video camera to Best Buy. I was looking for a microphone to add to it as well as a stand. By the way, I didn’t buy it at Best Buy but you can always find an associate that will help. I usually ask, “Who’s the  best electronic person in the store?” and someone comes running. Being confident is at least 1/2 the sales game. A confident and friendly sales person is what most customers are looking for when they shop. He booted up his computer to tell me that a microphone wasn’t available for my camera , but he offered to print me out the instruction book, which was, of course, long gone. I asked about my flip camera, which I carry with me all the time just in case. We talked about it’s resolution as well as the  new wireless flips. As a side note, if you’re doing a closeup interview the flip is great; it also takes still photos which are better than your phone photos. If you’re taking serious videoing, it should be  done with a high definition Camcorder. I asked if there were classes available, so people like me can learn how to use what they buy.  He said they tried. They even offered to let the customers shop before the store opened and gave them the employee discount. The problem? No one came for the classes.   I see different types of training in various Best Buy stores  but nothing live in  Crossgate Mall, in Guilderland, New York. Maybe they didn’t try it long enough or put out enough publicity?

The other night I awakened at 4am and turned on the television. I started watching the Home Channel Shopping and there was the best pitch man selling my flip camera. I got up, grabbed my camera and watched while they walked me through every phase of the camera; it was so close up I thought I was on the show. They also shot a video, played the sound and showed the final  so I could see how it sounded and looked. I actually bought my nine inch Dell mini computer during one 3AM show!  I love it and by the time I received it I knew about it’s idiosyncrasies.

When you call the Home Shopping Network they make you feel like family; they encourage calls and ask if you’re a “regular”. Now you know you’re family.

What does this mean for your business? Is there a market for the “do-it-your-selfer?” Can you show the customer how to do simple installations of your products?

If you’re selling kitchen appliances, can you hold a cooking demonstration show to sell your wares?

How about a design clinic for your floors, walls and window treatments?

Are you a mechanic? How about a clinic on “car noises”, what to look out for like the Click and Clack the Tappet Brothers?

If you’re in the floral business, how about teaching the customer to design a simple holiday wreath?

There’s an interesting concept called “Freemium”. The Freemium model works off the premise that you give a way big stuff.  To some extent, The Freemium business model goes against what many of us have been taught. We’ve been taught to give away “little stuff” in hopes that the customer will come back for the “big stuff.” (Skype) is the best example of this business model, connecting millions of us with online video telephone connections  around the world. The site also offers a “premium service” at a fairly low rate. This is truly a great service. How many people use Skype? According to WikiAnswers , there are approximately 480 million people using Skype and 42 million making daily phone calls! Skye sells video cameras, phones, computer-to-land minutes and tons of other stuff. They make a ton of profit just from offering part of their basic service for free!

If you get a minute check out the Freemium model and see if it can help your business.  Remember giving customers what they want is true red hot customer service and great customer service is how you  build your competitive advantage. Why not make money too?

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