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Author Archives: Caruso Admin

Worry: An Effective Parent, But A Terrible Teacher

Why Worry? Success Strategy #14: At least 90% of everything you’ve ever worried about never even happened.

We waste so much energy worrying about things that we not only cannot control, but will never even happen. Think about it…even if they do happen, will worrying about it prevent it from happening or make things any better?

When we let our ‘fear fantasies’ win out against ‘raw realities’ we usually come out the loser. When we worry about what might happen, we put fear in the driver seat.  Remember that concern is valuable, worry is debilitating. Concern pulls our focus from the fear fantasy of future doom and instead puts it on what we can or should do in the current moment. Concern is a natural and important context for channeling our energy so we can appropriately confront and address the best course of action to deal with or mitigate our fears.

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What’s Wrong With This Picture? At least ask and find out…

You may be tuning in to the Winter Olympics in the evenings, which of course are taking place in Canada this year. Living in Grosse Ile, my proximity to Canada gives me occasion to visit our lovely neighbors to the north from time to time.

On one such visit, I saw a sign as I came out of a car wash that said, “If you are not satisfied…we will rewash your vehicle. No questions asked.”

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What’s Wrong With This Picture? Don’t slip…

How many times have you been in a place where they had a yellow plastic cone in an area of high foot-traffic with the words, “Caution, wet floor…Cuidado, piso mojado,” and the floor was perfectly dry? It happens often enough that we walk right through the “wet area” without thinking about it.

More often than not, the only hazard is the one the cone creates as you try to maneuver around it. How many times have you taken an exit ramp at a speed above the caution speed and lived to tell the tale? In fact, how many times do you even consider that you’re doing it?

Our disregard for warning signs is part of our make-up. Most times, it doesn’t create much of a problem. However, sometimes it creates big problems. I’m not suggesting we heed every sign. I am suggesting we raise our awareness about when we’re ignoring them because while all shouldn’t be believed, some shouldn’t be ignored.
Send us your pictures of signs!

Mountains, Molehills, and The Value of Good Advisors

How we define our circumstances can help us either solve problems or exacerbate them.

In January of 2002, Robert McNamara, who was the Secretary of Defense for John F. Kennedy, said that the decision to enter Vietnam was based on an incorrect appraisal.

Think about it. It’s estimated that over one million people lost their lives in the Vietnam Wa—all because of an “incorrect appraisal.”

I’m not making a statement about politics or peace here. That’s not what I do. I’m simply using this example to illustrate that we as human beings assess problems and potential problems, threats and potential threats, numerous times nearly every day of our lives. We then base decisions and actions on those assessments. As a result one of two things can happen: problems get solved and threats are averted; OR we create even bigger problems—problems that can cost millions of lives, millions of dollars, or millions of jobs. Or they just make us miserable.

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What’s Wrong With This Picture?

Why are we so dismissive of the signs around us?

Contrary to what we’d like to believe, most of us don’t behave congruently to what is shown to us. In fact we often disregard or even completely ignore what we see. For example, the picture above shows boxes containing stained glass, clearly something that shouldn’t be stacked, hence the “Do Not Stack” warning printed prominently on the box.

Why do we do this? Part of the reason is advertising. As buyers, we have been conditioned to disregard the claim of the product or service being promoted. Consider the Big Mac, a sandwich served millions of times a day around the world, and promoted through advertising just as often.

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A New Message for the New Year

For those of you that know me or have read or listened to my work, you know that the core of my work is about focusing in on how individuals and organizations define themselves in relations to others. I focus on self-definitions, and the stories we tell ourselves about ourselves—again, both individually and organizationally.

It has always been difficult for me to explain to those who aren’t familiar with my work how what I do is different from how most consultants work. While my processes are fairly consistent, each client is unique and therefore must be approached differently.

I have finally culled the essential and critical aspects of the process I bring to my clients in the simplest manner yet. I’m excited to share this with everyone who is interested, as I believe it is the reason my consulting work has succeeded so consistently with so many different clients regardless of their respective challenges.

We have decided to devote an entire page on the website to explain the intricate and inextricable human sequence that drives all individual and organizational behavior. It is the key to changing outcomes because it focuses first on meaning and definition, literally changing hearts and minds, before it provides solutions and recommends changes.

This is the key: Self-definition drives perception. Perception helps create what something means. We then behave to what we’ve defined, the way we define it.

My work starts in the beginning of this sequence, which I believe distinguishes it from what most consultants provide. Once definitions and meaning shift, people naturally behave according to the new understanding. Trying to change people’s behavior without changing the way they understand things will only bring a modicum of success, or more likely continuing frustration.

To learn more, feel free to check out the page on the Caruso Leadership website: http://www.carusoleadership.com/about/

I am opening up comments for this blog post, as I hope to constantly improve the message. I wish all of you a very happy 2010 – make it an undeniable year!

Sales Tips: Switch to warm calling.

Most sales people I know hate making cold calls as much as any of us hate receiving them. Every year, companies invest millions of dollars on adopting better ways to prospect and sell in a cold calling model. I see cold calling as inefficient, ineffective and outdated.

Tip #5: If you want more bang for your buck on the front end of the sales process, then convert cold calling to warm calling. This is more than just a cute play on words. It is a critical distinction that can yield more business per 100 calls by more than you might believe.

For the sake of simplicity, I will use business-to-business rather than business-to-individuals as examples. The process of cold calling goes something like this: a low-paid phone jockey is given a script and a list of potential customers. They plow through the names and numbers racking up a very small number of successful calls. This is more expensive than most businesses realize because the list of names and numbers the caller was given have often already been vetted and identified to have a high potential for a need for their particular product or service. What a waste of opportunity!

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Sales Tips: Create Sales Opportunities

Tip #4: Turn customer service into sales opportunities.

If you compare the cost of obtaining new customers to the cost of maintaining existing customers, you probably know that it pays to work for a high customer retention rate. If you are pro-actively measuring customer satisfaction and using the information to make improvements and keep clients happy, then I applaud your foresight.

More often than not, however, companies lose more customers due to poor customer service than they gain, which is completely backwards.It reflects a reactive Customer Service team and is frankly bad business.Customer Service Managers should be trained on up-sell and cross-sell opportunities, and should be remunerated for their efforts.They should also be highly aligned with the marketing team to be asking the right questions of their customers and collecting feedback for new product or service opportunities.

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Psychology of the Sale: It’s All About Them

Tip #3: Don’t let your personality get in the way of profit.  The sale is all about them, not you, so tune in to your customer.

What do I mean by this? First of all, it is important to understand that a highly trained sales person tunes into the three elements that occur during the sales process:

  •  Obvious elements: spoken words, body language
  •  Nuanced elements: word choices, the sequence of the process
  •  Invisible elements: the conscious strategies or feelings that drive the verbal and emotional aspects of the communication. I also call this the “why behind the what.”

This heightened awareness of the customer allows the sales person to go beyond creating the rapport that the potential buyer dictates, but further, to sense the fears, attractions, or proclivities that are steering the buyer’s behavior. Armed with this information, the sales person lays out a roadmap, a path of least resistance, to closing the deal: what to sell, how to sell it, and when and how to close it. So a sales person who checks their ego and tunes into the customer gleans powerful knowledge from obvious, nuanced and invisible elements.

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The One That Got Away: Understanding the Psychology of the Sale

Now, more than ever, we have to maximize our sales costs and efforts by doing everything we can to land the sales opportunities we get. Believe it or not, most sales people today are insufficiently trained to do so. It’s not enough to merely know your market, your product and services, and a few sales techniques. Before I will call a salesperson “highly trained”, they have to be able to read the personality style of the potential customer within the first minute of meeting them. Yes,this is possible! Learning how to read and react to the psychology of the sale is the most important training a sales person can have to be highly effective in any economic climate.

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