Thursday, 28 April 2016

Perfectionists Just Can't Measure Up


I’m sure you can think of someone you know who you would describe as a perfectionist.

While that person may justify or rationalise their behaviour by saying that they want “the best” or they want everything to be “right”, what they’re actually experiencing is a fear of failure, or more likely, a fear of being judged as a failure by a significant person in their lives, usually a parent, sometimes a teacher.
People learn to be perfectionists when their parents show disappointment, so as a child, the perfectionist learns that whatever they do, it’s not enough, or it’s not good enough.

The problem is that the child has no idea what would be good enough, so the child learns to keep trying in the hope that, one day, they will hear those magic words... “Well done”.

Those words never come, and they never will come. As the child becomes an adult, they internalise the sense of disappointment and the need to do more, to do better. If anyone else says, “Well done”, it doesn’t satisfy the need because it’s not coming from the significant person, and if the significant person says, “Well done”, then it doesn’t count because they’re only saying it, they don’t really mean it, and in any case, the perfectionist made them say it, so it wasn’t genuine.
For the rest of their life, the perfectionist is trapped in a constant cycle of trying to prove that they’re good enough to people who didn’t ask and don’t care, as a substitute for praise from the one person who matters most.

Tuesday, 12 April 2016

Stop Using Coaching Models

A coaching model is not a coaching session. GROW, or whatever else you might use, is not a substitute for a coaching interaction any more than scaffolding is a substitute for a building.

Scaffolding provides a safe structure within which the building can be constructed, but once the building can stand on its own foundations, the scaffolding is taken away. It’s only put back when the building needs major work or expansion.

You are that building. The scaffolding is your coaching model.
The purpose of the coaching model is to teach you how to coach in a particular way. You’re not supposed to carry on using the model. You’re supposed to learn an approach and then forget the approach.

If you carry on using a coaching model, you are not paying attention to your client. Your primary focus is on your model, and fitting your client into it.
This isn’t what the creators of coaching models intended, but for most clients and most coaches, it’s good enough, so why change it?

Friday, 1 April 2016

You've Had a Bad Month? Tough...


So you've had a tough month? Or a bad quarter?

Awwww. Shame. Terrible state of the economy. Customers not signing their contracts on time. Not paying their invoices. Your best salesperson left.

How sad. Get over it.

Here's the bad news for you:

EVERYONE HAD A BAD MONTH

It's not just you. Everyone screwed up. But that's no excuse for you to make the same mistake as they will inevitably make.

Their mistake will be that they fail to learn from it, and here's why.

We're so obsessed with success that we become fixated on winning. We have to hit sales targets, close deals, sign contracts. And when we do, what happens?

Nothing.

Nothing happens because success was what you expected. And it's what you got. Big deal.

You learn nothing from success. Hitting your target only shows you that you were right. And we would all rather be right than be happy. We would rather be right about the terrible state of the world than be happy by changing it.

And because you are so focused on success, when you're faced with failure, your natural inclination is to make excuses. It wasn't your fault. It's a tough time. The economy. China. Steel. The EU referendum. The Presidential election.

As K said in the film Men in Black, "There's always an Arquillian Battle Cruiser, or a Corillian Death Ray, or an intergalactic plague that is about to wipe out all life on this miserable little planet, and the only way these people can get on with their happy lives is that they DO NOT KNOW ABOUT IT! "

Missing your target is tough. But scrabbling around for 'low hanging fruit' means that you're actually at greater risk. Where do you think your competitors are looking? Where do you think the greatest threat is? And why do you think the fruit is 'low hanging'?

You're in this situation for one reason only: Because six months ago, you weren't prospecting enough. That's all there is to it. You can't recover from that by scratching around in the dirt. You have to start prospecting and tighten your belt for the next six months.

You will only learn from failure. When you step back from your desperation and realise what you're doing, you might learn enough to not repeat your mistakes next time.

Instead, you'll make a whole new bunch of as yet undiscovered mistakes.

Which is great news. More learning.

The Service Chain

I mentioned in a previous post that sales performance is not a measure of sales behaviour, it is a measure of customer service behaviour, however it is not a direct measure, because of the Service Chain.


Research from the Association for Consumer Research on “Market Orientation and Customer Service” found a very strong connection between five links in the chain of events that connect service to profit, as illustrated above.

However, other studies have found no significant connection between service and profit!
The answer to this might be found in another research study from the University of Maryland, entitled, “Linkages between customer service, customer satisfaction and performance in the airline industry”

This research found that the connection between service and profit is ‘non-linear’, in other words, it’s not a direct connection, where more customer service = more profit.


Better service leads to increased profits up to a certain point, and then it doesn’t matter how much better your service is, your profits decline because the customer doesn’t care and that extra service costs money.

Can you think of instances where a supplier did something that they thought was good for customer service, but which made absolutely no difference to you? Perhaps you were offered a discount when you didn’t ask for one? Or you were given free drinks in a restaurant because of a delay in serving you, when you were actually glad of not being rushed? Of course, you’re happy to take the discounts and free drinks, but they didn’t make you a more loyal customer.

Research in 2013 from the Miller Heiman Research Institute found that companies that measured customer-focused behaviours had an average increase in profitability of 13% compared with other companies.

This performance gap increased to 25% when combined with measurements of best practices in selling and sales management.

Examples of the customer-focused behaviours measured include:


  • We consistently use a formal process for measuring customer satisfaction and loyalty
  • Our salespeople have a solid understanding of our customers' business needs
  • We clearly understand our customers' issues before we propose a solution
  • We have relationships at the highest levels with all our most important accounts
  • In an average week, our sales force definitely spends sufficient time with customers


It’s very important to note that this is relative to the customer’s expectations of service. The ‘optimum service level’ depends on the company’s brand image which in turn creates those customer expectations. Clearly, Harrods’ customers expect something different than Lidl’s customers, but the same trade-off applies to both; once that optimum level is achieved, doing more for your customers adds no value at all, and may even be counter-productive on top of being a waste of time and money.

This connection between expectation and delivery could perhaps be summed up with:

Your customers are happiest when you do what you say you’re going to do