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Lisbiz strategies: Expanding your client base can reap rewards

October 29/November 5, 2018: Volume 34, Issue 10

By Lisbeth Calandrino

 

Everyone says they need new customers. The question is, where do you find them? Looking for individual customers is really the hard way. Instead of looking for one or two new customer, it’s easier and more efficient if you look for “industry partners” who use your products. After attending the Remodeling and Deck Expo in Baltimore (FCNews, Oct 15/22), I’m thoroughly convinced flooring owners should be networking with people in the building industry and attending this conference. Why just connect with one or two builders or remodelers in your area? Why not look for ways to connect on a larger scale?

Let’s talk about the real estate industry. Realtors are always interested in new customers. Who do you know that has more connections with consumers than those in the real estate business? I think this is a winning group for you, but you’ve got to “work it,” as they say.

Through the years, I have spoken at real estate offices about flooring products and trends. Usually these meetings are small (about 10-15 agents). Regardless, they are always excited to learn about new products.

This past year I was invited to be the keynote speaker at the Greater Capital Association of Realtors (GCAR). As one of the largest realtor associations in the U.S., the group represents more than 10,000 members from Washington, D.C., and Montgomery County, Md., as well as industry-related professionals who follow the real estate business. Frankly, I never thought this would be anything more than a one-time speaking opportunity. After the event, Debbie Isom, director of professional development, spoke with me about becoming certified to teach. I started thinking, would this industry be interested in flooring on a larger scale?

The certification was quite a process. You are required to have a certain number of points that support your expertise and ability to teach. You get additional points for being in the real estate business. Our first class was filled. In fact, we had to turn people away at the door. Who would have thought so many people would be interested in flooring? They actually thought it was fascinating. Attendees received continuing education credits.

We are about to offer our second class— Nov. 7–9, in Malta, N.Y., and Mohawk Industries has agreed to sponsor our event. Why am I telling you this? This is a huge opportunity for you to build some great connections. I’m not suggesting you get certified to teach an event, although this is an option. The requirements for certification are different for each state. You can probably connect with instructors in your state and talk with them about a flooring class and all you have to do is help them write a course in flooring.

Furthermore, you can host this event in your business, invite builders, interior designers, kitchen designers, home inspectors or anyone in the real estate industry and consumers. Imagine the event you can hold; you will be able to fill your showroom with lots of new faces and potential customers. FYI, several of our participants in my last class were consumers who were considering purchasing new flooring.

Why not use this as an opportunity to start your own networking group? It’s a great chance for a flooring dealer to get connected in the building industry. Furthermore, why not include your local flooring association and the World Floor Covering Association? Think big!

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Lisbiz strategies: Finding new customers in unlikely places

October 15/22, 2018: Volume 34, Issue 9

By Lisbeth Calandrino

 

I have a therapist friend whose favorite expression is, “You can’t get chocolate milk in a turnip field.” It may sound silly, but if you’re looking for something specific, you had better know where to find it.

Looking for new business should be on the top of everyone’s list, but I realize it takes some time and effort. Like many retail owners, I’m time-starved so I get it. But this year I’ve been reintroduced to opportunities in the building and remodeling industry. This is an industry that directly connects to the flooring business. For many of you, it’s your bread and butter business.

I recently spoke at the Leading Suppliers Conference (LSC) in Portland, Ore. The LSC was established by the National Association of Home Builders in 1964. The conference serves as a multifaceted supplier resource for the building industry that represents the business interests of its members through advocacy, education and networking. I understood how important this connection was when I realized how many of their members operate in the flooring space.

In addition, I presented a talk on coaching at the Remodeling and Deck Expo in Baltimore earlier this month. The show is managed by Informa Exhibitions, the same folks behind TISE. If you’ve attended this event, you know Informa Exhibitions understands how to put on a great show. While preparing my seminars, I thought, “I don’t come from the remodeling or decking industry. What could I teach them about their business?”

I decided to tell them that no matter what the industry, all businesses have three things in common: How do we make money? How do we hire good people to help us make money? How do we keep them?

Following the seminar, several business owners came up to talk to me about their companies. I felt accepted and that my information was useful to them. The lesson learned here is, if you can establish commonalities with people you’re on the road to building connections.

As a retailer, if you’re seriously looking for new business, consider partnering up with some of your customers. Look for those businesses that are in a position to help you get more business and you can reciprocate. In my mind, the remodeling sector represents a great fit. Findings reported by Metrostudy—a firm that provides market insights to help builders, developers, financial institutions, manufacturers and retailers make informed strategic business decisions, deploy investment capital and improve risk management—predicts this coming year will be great for anyone in the remodeling and building trades.

As a recent market summary showed: “The strong economy and increased demand because of 2017’s natural disasters led Metrostudy, a sister company to Remodeling, to boost its 2018 prediction from the 4.7% rise in activity it forecast three months ago. Metrostudy now predicts there will be 12.57 million projects launched in 2018 that are worth at least $1,000. That’s up from 11.96 million last year.” (As I sat down to write this article, Hurricane Michael had just made landfall in Florida. There may be more business than some retailers can handle.)

Bottom line: Remodelers and builders are your customers; they need your help. Why not start calling builders to attend one of their meetings and find out what they need? Think of how excited your customers will be when they see you’re networking with their builders and understanding the trends in ‘their ‘worlds.

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Lisbiz strategies: Info-based dialogue sets sales process in motion

September 3/10, 2018: Volume 34, Issue 6

By Lisbeth Calandrino

There are various types of conversations we all use to function in everyday life. When attempting to converse, whether person to person or in a group or organization, it is essential to understand the different types of conversations and how each type functions.

Informational conversation is what most people would define as conversing. It is the type of conversation that “gets beyond the gate keeper,” and this is important when it comes to establishing a level of trust or rapport before making a sale.

Informational conversation concentrates on exchanging facts and/or pieces of common information. These facts can be correct or incorrect but, most importantly, they are free of opinion or feeling from either of the participants. It is a low-risk conversation in that it reveals little or nothing about those involved.

The basic, informal “hello” gives a clear invitation to begin an informational conversation. It acknowledges that someone is responding on the other end of the phone in a polite and direct way. If the person smiles when saying “hello,” the person on the other end will hear the friendliness in the speaker’s voice.

A more formal greeting could do more to orient the caller into the conversation. Saying the company name first gives the caller a better idea of whom she is speaking to—for example, “Discount Carpet, Hillcrest branch, this is Juan, the manager speaking.” The caller is able to confirm she is calling the correct place and speaking to the person who can effectively deal with her problem.

If the caller requests to speak with someone else within the organization, the person answering the phone should reply courteously, “I can get them on the line in just a minute if you are willing to hold.” He then should wait for a response. If the caller agrees to hold, the employee should set the phone down with the speaker directed away from any noise and quietly get the person the caller is waiting for. If the business has phone extensions, he can easily transfer the call to the correct person and thank the caller for waiting.

Advising your sales associate to stop talking may seem counterintuitive to making a sale, but many salespeople often talk excessively and fail to listen to the customer. We often feel that we need to control the conversation, or we will lose the sale. However, the problem with constantly talking is you are unable to truly understand the underlying needs of the customer.

When qualifying a prospect, you are evaluating whether or not she is in a position to decide to buy your product. If you are talking to someone in an organization, it is important to speak only to the person who has the authority to finalize a purchase. If the person is not authorized to make a deal with you, then find out when the person who can close the deal is available and call back. 

Once you have the person with authority on the line, inquire if he or she has the means to close the deal. This may involve finding out information about available funds on credit cards, lines of credit and monthly budget. Informational conversation is a great way to get the ball rolling.

Lisbeth Calandrino has been promoting retail strategies for the last 20 years. To have her speak at your business or to schedule a consultation, contact her at lcalandrino@nycap.rr.com.

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Lisbiz strategies: Micromanaging can kill your business

August 6/13, 2018: Volume 34, Issue 4

By Lisbeth Calandrino

Did your mom ever tell you if you wanted something done right, then you have to do it yourself? If so, you’re probably still doing it and everything else. Sure, sometimes it’s easy to do it yourself, but you’re setting yourself up for a lifetime of aggravation.

Are you wondering why you can’t seem to grow a team or why employees quit? If you are attempting to grow a team, each person needs to be involved in setting goals for your organization. If your team isn’t growing, you can blame at least part of it on your micromanaging. Instead of nurturing your employees, you are driving a wedge between you and them and adding to their stress.

In 2016, a study at the Kelly School of Business, Indiana University, measured the level of stress of 2,362 employees with a micromanager and highly demanding jobs. The outcome was associated with a 15.4% increased chance of death. (The entire study by Heather R. Huhman is in “Entrepreneur, Voices on Strategic Management.”)

When people are part of the goal setting, they need to be held accountable for the outcome of the goals. You want them to see themselves as part of the solution and empowered, not failures.

Why do people micromanage? Oftentimes, it’s lack of trust or not really understanding how to manage or be a coach. They also tend to be perfectionists—in a negative sense of the term. No one measures up to their standards or can do the job as well as they can.

How do you stop micromanaging? Stop nitpicking and focus on the big picture instead. What are you trying to achieve? The more you focus on the big picture and results, the quicker you will get there.

The main goal is to create an atmosphere where people can express their ideas without repercussions. Not everyone has the right answer all the time—nor does the person doing the micromanaging.

Case in point: When I first went into business, I felt I needed to micromanage. I worried constantly. Suppose things went wrong, what would my partners think of me? What would I think of myself? I was more worried about these things than building a team of successful salespeople who could make money.

I began to realize I was both shortsighted and self-centered. I had to show everyone how good I was. I quickly realized people didn’t like me that much, and it was only getting worse. My ego was in the way. I had to get used to taking pride for the people who worked for me and developing them.

If you’re guilty of micromanaging, sign up for coaching and managing-skill classes. You might benefit from hiring your own coach to help you set some goals and hold you accountable.

Let’s say you’re not the manager; perhaps you’re the CEO. Micromanaging your organization is the kiss of death. The job of the CEO is to develop a vision for your organization. How much business do you need to show a profit? Where will the business come from? What ideas and skills do you have?

What is an executive’s job? He or she should constantly search for ways to improve profitability and growth by understanding the marketplace and its changes. As the executive, your job is to develop the vision for your group and motivate them to want to work their hearts out for the team.

Lisbeth Calandrino has been promoting retail strategies for the last 20 years. To have her speak at your business or to schedule a consultation, contact her at lcalandrino@nycap.rr.com.

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Lisbiz strategies: Is your call center the weakest link?

July 9/16, 2018: Volume 34, Issue 2

By Lisbeth Calandrino

 

Every business has someone answering the phone; technically, this is your call center. Your call center is a crucial personal connection your customers have with your business. There’s a company I often do business with called Harry and David. They are an American-owned, premium food and gift producer and retailer. Their employees are so well-trained, they almost act as your party planner. They even go back into old catalogues and look up specials for you. Nice, huh?

How many times have you called a business but were frustrated by the person who answered? Did you have to ask them their name? Did they sound like they were put out by your call? Did you feel they were multitasking and you weren’t part of their important conversation? You might have felt you were actually being rude by interrupting their day.

What I’m reporting is way too common and it’s a huge financial drain on business, maybe even your business. Unless you are actually monitoring the calls, the only feedback you ever get from your employees is someone called and needed information. You don’t get a sense of the emotions between the caller and your staff. It’s just as important to know what’s not said.

It’s because we believe everyone inherently knows what to say on the phone that the call center gets overlooked. However, phone skills are a highly valuable tool to have in your employees’ skill set. Call-center training will give your employees these skills.

Teaching your employees these valuable skills will make them more confident, improve sales and help gain new customers while retaining your current clientele. A more confident employee is also one who is happier, and happier employees will produce more happy customers. This will lead to higher productivity throughout your organization. A business needs to gain customers, not lose them.

So, what is a good call-center strategy? As the owner, it’s your responsibility to determine how you want your phones answered and to make sure it gets done through your management-coaching system. I suggest using my SMARTER system, which is an updated version of the SMART system. As a refresher, SMART is commonly attributed to Peter Drucker’s Management by Objectives concept. I have improved the SMART acronym to include “Evaluation” and “Review.” Having metrics you can evaluate and review with your employees will ensure they reach their highest potential.

If turnover is keeping you awake at night, getting your call center up to speed will fix that. The use of a monthly service to monitor your calls may be a profitable consideration. Oftentimes, it’s important to have another way to look at your problems. Call-center monitoring gives you another avenue to keep up on the vital signs of the health of your business. I had a client in New Jersey who set up a monitoring system to listen to her calls. We would discuss the content and the emotional consequence of the conversations. She said listening to the calls exposed what was going on between her employees and customers.

These are things I have in my bag of tricks gained over decades of fruitful experiences from business owners like you. I’ve worked with the best and the worst and, like you, I know the difference.

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Lisbiz strategies: Incivility can lead to a hostile environment

June 11/18, 2018: Volume 33, Issue 26

By Lisbeth Calandrino

 

While a training program on workplace manners and courtesy may seem like overkill, the reality is this: Rudeness is an epidemic costing industries millions a year. For nearly two decades, Christine Porath, acclaimed business professor at Georgetown University, has studied and observed a sharp rise in rudeness, emotional harassment, bullying and other toxic behaviors that can cost companies financially and employees their health and well-being.

Civility represents social norms and rules that must be followed to positively and productively relate to others. More than ever before, people are feeling disrespected at work. Employees feel they’re working in a toxic culture with insensitive managers and being treated disrespectfully based on gender, race or religion.

Oftentimes, this incivility leads to more serious forms of harassment. All incidents of harassment require employers or managers to respond quickly and appropriately. If issues are left unaddressed, a hostile work environment can develop, which can expose employers to further complaints and lawsuits. What society seems to be gaining in terms of both knowledge and technological advancement, it’s losing out on basic social values that directly impact the bottom line.

To address the growing problem of incivility, a company must make it a top priority. Everyone must understand the concept of civility, its importance to a company as well as its typical causes and effects.

Skills needed to effectively practice civil behavior, as well as different ways organizations can systematize civility in the workplace, need to be discussed. The benefits to civility in the workplace are countless and will pay off immensely in every aspect.

When Porath asked people in one survey why they were uncivil, more than 25% blamed their organization for not providing them with the basic skills they needed, such as listening and giving feedback. If your employees aren’t behaving well, and you’ve already gone through the trouble of hammering home the organization’s civility message, ask yourself, “Have I also equipped them to succeed?”

Don’t assume everyone instinctively knows how to be civil. When coaching employees, focus on helping them learn to listen, give and receive feedback, work across differences and deal with difficult people. Don’t just impart information; be explicit about your organization’s values.

Make civility a part of your mission statement, posting it somewhere visible. Engage your team in a dialogue about what your norms should be, then make it clear to your employees they need to hold their managers and colleagues accountable for living up to your norms of civility. Be explicit about your organization’s values.

One great reason to practice civility, you’ve heard this before—no man is an island. No matter how talented or indispensable you are to your business, you need to rely on suppliers and other people to get things done.

It’s worth noting—civility goes beyond good manners.

Lisbeth Calandrino has been promoting retail strategies for the last 20 years. To have her speak at your business or to schedule a consultation, contact her at lcalandrino@nycap.rr.com.

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Lisbiz strategies: Build relationships, get the sale

May 28/June 4, 2018: Volume 33, Issue 25

By Lisbeth Calandrino

 

Last week a retailer emailed me with a problem: “Some members of my sales team are losing sales at the last moment. I’ve been in business 20 years, and nothing ticks me off more than when I watch a salesperson lose what appears to be an easy sale. In my head, it’s a slam dunk. What’s up with these people? Have they forgotten how to close?”

I give this retailer a lot of credit for not jumping into the middle of the sale; it must have taken a lot of discipline. If it were me, I would have been on my feet, selling and yelling, in hopes I could save the sale. If the sale seems imminent, ready to close and then vanishes, it sounds like there’s a failure to ask for the sale.

Salespeople are often obsessed with closing a sale. They push features and benefits in hopes that they will make it happen. By presenting features and benefits, we are also assuming that buying decisions are all logical. Research tells us that not engaging the emotional part of the brain is a huge mistake. For example, think about the last time you bought a car. You were interested in the car, gas mileage or service schedule, etc., but it’s likely when you got in the car you were more engaged with the new car’s look and smell.

With today’s consumer, the key is to open the sale with conversation not a sales pitch. Customers have plenty of information from the Internet. If they are in your store, they are looking more for a patient friend than an aggressive salesperson. There’s no need to rush the customer. It’s important to be where the customer is, not where you want them to be.

Savvy salespeople know that closing the sale relies on a series of sales conversations with the customer. Closing doesn’t happen by itself and its doubtful the customer will say, “I’ll take it,” as soon as you show her the flooring she asks for. Everything the salesperson says on the front end of the sale is in preparation for the closing. The Internet has changed the salesperson’s role in the sale, but if the customer is in the store, he needs help from the salesperson.

Successful salespeople work to develop a trusting relationship with their customers. Without one, the customer is not going to buy no matter what. The goal is to connect with the customer on a personal level. You may have friends in common, kids who attend the same school or you might like the same sports team.

The only place where a relationship may be unwanted is at The Dollar Store or any other off-price store. In these places, the salesperson’s main job is making sure the merchandise is on the shelves.

Building a solid relationship is the key to the sales process. Closing a sale is natural—providing you have done the right preparation. During the sale, it’s smart to check in with the customer, ask if she is getting the information she needs and how you’re doing. When the customer is satisfied, and you are confident, ask for the sale.

Enjoy your time with the customer. There’s no need to increase the pressure, in fact, that method can backfire big-time. Be yourself and engage her. You want the customer to have a positive feeling about you—she will be your connection to your next customer.

Lisbeth Calandrino has been promoting retail strategies for the last 20 years. To have her speak at your business or to schedule a consultation, contact her at lcalandrino@nycap.rr.com.

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Lisbiz strategies: Improving the customer experience is job No. 1

May 14/21, 2018: Volume 33, Issue 24

By Lisbeth Calandrino

I was recently at my yearly cardiologist visit and noticed that everyone was so friendly, funny and helpful. This is in contrast to my primary care physician’s office where everyone is aloof and looks down at the patients.

It’s a very interesting contrast. I love my cardiologist and dislike my primary care physician. I’ve researched both practices, and everyone loves the CEO of the cardiology department—the love is “not so much” at my primary care physician.

Changing the customer experience can be costly and time consuming, but it ultimately starts at the top. The CEO sets the tone for the entire company.

If the CEO rages when things go wrong, he/she is setting the tone for the company’s culture. This tone trickles down to the employees, who treat the customers the same way they’re being treated. Unless the CEO makes the customer experience a priority, the customer experience will not improve.

Think about what is at the top of your customer’s list: saving time and personalization. Amazon Prime has taught us that at the click of a mouse, our order will be delivered the next day. Need food? Blue Apron and Hello Fresh will have delicious, pre-measured ingredients and simple, chef-made recipes delivered to your door.

If you aren’t interested in saving the customer precious time, someone else will. While Macy’s is dying a slow death, Stich Fix—an online retailer that offers personalized styling services—had a powerful IPO this year. Let’s face it, Macy’s comes from a model that would be described as “old retail.” Paring down sales staff and closing stores to become more efficient will not help them with customers who want something different. What happened to the “wow” factor? Can’t a department store be fun and entertaining? They should look outside their own box and take an idea or two from the Mall of America, which has invested in becoming a destination.

These days, personalization is more demanding. In the 1980s, my friend Ruth worked for a department store that catered to high-end customers. She knew what her customers wore, and she would pick out clothes for them four times a year and just ship them. It was pretty simple.

Sephora has also done a great job of creating personalized experiences for customers by marrying online and offline engagement strategies. All of this takes augmented reality and other tools that many retailers are not ready for. Sephora’s technology allows customers to try on different looks via their phone.

So why aren’t we there? By 2020, it’s estimated we’ll produce 44 zettabytes every day. That’s equal to 44 trillion gigabytes. That’s a lot of data—and most companies cannot process fast enough to keep up with it. Frontline employees are generally operating with data that’s “too little, too late.”

No, we can’t taste food over the phone yet. Online is still not the same as connecting with a real person—yet. However, some brands are making it possible for customers to shop a clothing store and virtually try on items.

The solutions to growing a better customer experience are becoming more sophisticated. It’s obvious that technology will be improving the customer experience, but first we have to take it seriously. The store culture has to make the experience a priority. Maybe your artificial intelligence isn’t there yet, but it doesn’t matter. What matters is that you are willing to change when the tools are available.

Lisbeth Calandrino has been promoting retail strategies for the last 20 years. To have her speak at your business or to schedule a consultation, contact her at lcalandrino@nycap.rr.com.

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Lisbiz strategies: Managers should be trained to ‘coach’

April 16/23, 2018: Volume 33, Issue 22

By Lisbeth Calandrino

Every team looks to hire superstars. However, extremely talented people are hard to find and recruit—and did I mention expensive? Just look at major league sports teams and what they spend to bring in superstars. If you really want great talent, why not coach the ones you already have? Take those Clark Kents and turn them into supermen and superwomen.

If you aren’t already building superstars, consider the idea that your managers may just be managing and not coaching. Those who don’t coach aren’t necessarily bad managers, but if they don’t coach they are overlooking an important tool to develop talent. A good manager can kick your butt when it’s needed and help you focus on what you’ve been avoiding.

The coaching statistics are pretty impressive. According to a recent study by Knowledge Tree, sales representatives receiving at least three hours of coaching per month exceed their selling goals by 7%, increase revenue by 25% and improve closing rates by 70%. Who wouldn’t want those statistics?

Teams are how things get done in most businesses. Think about your own company—what jobs do you have that don’t depend on several people to get it done right? We usually don’t think about how we can coach individual members to make them even better. For example, if you owned a major league franchise, you would try to figure out how to get your investment to pay off.

Interestingly, you actually have a major league franchise and have a lot invested in the people who work for you. Think about how much you have invested in your showroom to keep it looking clean and up to date as well as your trucks and vans.

Things are good, you say, why change anything? This is often called the complacency of success and could be the beginning of the end. The more we want things to stay the same the quicker they are changing in the real world. They say hindsight is 20/20; it can also bite you in a place you can’t reach. You may be wasting a whole lot of time and money not doing anything. Here are somethings a coach can do for you:

Make your team more functional. You know those stupid jokes your employees play on each other when there’s nothing to do? Once they start building goals and questioning their values, they will have plenty to do. They will also begin to understand their team members and start working together. Tasks will get executed more efficiently when there’s something in it for everyone.

Help the team adjust to any changes. A good coach can act as a consultant and teach the team skills that will help them adjust. The coach can also teach problem-solving skills.

Help you see employee patterns. Good coaches look at nonverbal cues, the language people use when they speak about themselves and others. Do they say they feel powerful and then use “wimpy” or tentative language, such as “maybe” or “I should do that” instead of “I will?” These things take away from their power. Do they see themselves as team players but always use “I” instead of “we” when talking about how a task got done? Do they sit with their arms crossed while leaning back in their chairs? A coach can pay attention to these telling cues.

To learn more about coaching, join me at The Remodeling Show in Baltimore, Oct. 9-11, at the Baltimore Convention Center, where I will be speaking on, “The Coaching Edge, Building a Successful Team.” You can also call me at 518.495.5380.

Lisbeth Calandrino has been promoting retail strategies for the last 20 years. To have her speak at your business or to schedule a consultation, contact her at lcalandrino@nycap.rr.com.

Lisbiz Strategies

Lisbiz strategies: Expanding your client base can reap rewards

November 2, 2018 | Comments Off on Lisbiz strategies: Expanding your client base can reap rewards

October 29/November 5, 2018: Volume 34, Issue 10 By Lisbeth Calandrino   Everyone says they need new customers. The question is, where do you find them? Looking for individual customers is really the hard way. Instead of looking for one or two new customer, it’s easier and more efficient if you look for “industry partners” who use your products. After attending the Remodeling and Deck Expo in Baltimore (FCNews, Oct 15/22), I’m thoroughly convinced flooring...

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Lisbiz strategies: Finding new customers in unlikely places

October 22, 2018 | Comments Off on Lisbiz strategies: Finding new customers in unlikely places

October 15/22, 2018: Volume 34, Issue 9 By Lisbeth Calandrino   I have a therapist friend whose favorite expression is, “You can’t get chocolate milk in a turnip field.” It may sound silly, but if you’re looking for something specific, you had better know where to find it. Looking for new business should be on the top of everyone’s list, but I realize it takes some time and effort. Like many retail owners, I’m time-starved...

Read More

Lisbiz strategies: Info-based dialogue sets sales process in motion

September 10, 2018 | Comments Off on Lisbiz strategies: Info-based dialogue sets sales process in motion

September 3/10, 2018: Volume 34, Issue 6 By Lisbeth Calandrino There are various types of conversations we all use to function in everyday life. When attempting to converse, whether person to person or in a group or organization, it is essential to understand the different types of conversations and how each type functions. Informational conversation is what most people would define as conversing. It is the type of conversation that “gets beyond the gate keeper,”...

Read More

Lisbiz strategies: Micromanaging can kill your business

August 10, 2018 | Comments Off on Lisbiz strategies: Micromanaging can kill your business

August 6/13, 2018: Volume 34, Issue 4 By Lisbeth Calandrino Did your mom ever tell you if you wanted something done right, then you have to do it yourself? If so, you’re probably still doing it and everything else. Sure, sometimes it’s easy to do it yourself, but you’re setting yourself up for a lifetime of aggravation. Are you wondering why you can’t seem to grow a team or why employees quit? If you are...

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Lisbiz strategies: Is your call center the weakest link?

July 13, 2018 | Comments Off on Lisbiz strategies: Is your call center the weakest link?

July 9/16, 2018: Volume 34, Issue 2 By Lisbeth Calandrino   Every business has someone answering the phone; technically, this is your call center. Your call center is a crucial personal connection your customers have with your business. There’s a company I often do business with called Harry and David. They are an American-owned, premium food and gift producer and retailer. Their employees are so well-trained, they almost act as your party planner. They even...

Read More

Lisbiz strategies: Incivility can lead to a hostile environment

June 18, 2018 | Comments Off on Lisbiz strategies: Incivility can lead to a hostile environment

June 11/18, 2018: Volume 33, Issue 26 By Lisbeth Calandrino   While a training program on workplace manners and courtesy may seem like overkill, the reality is this: Rudeness is an epidemic costing industries millions a year. For nearly two decades, Christine Porath, acclaimed business professor at Georgetown University, has studied and observed a sharp rise in rudeness, emotional harassment, bullying and other toxic behaviors that can cost companies financially and employees their health and...

Read More

Lisbiz strategies: Build relationships, get the sale

June 1, 2018 | Comments Off on Lisbiz strategies: Build relationships, get the sale

May 28/June 4, 2018: Volume 33, Issue 25 By Lisbeth Calandrino   Last week a retailer emailed me with a problem: “Some members of my sales team are losing sales at the last moment. I’ve been in business 20 years, and nothing ticks me off more than when I watch a salesperson lose what appears to be an easy sale. In my head, it’s a slam dunk. What’s up with these people? Have they forgotten...

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Lisbiz strategies: Improving the customer experience is job No. 1

May 18, 2018 | Comments Off on Lisbiz strategies: Improving the customer experience is job No. 1

May 14/21, 2018: Volume 33, Issue 24 By Lisbeth Calandrino I was recently at my yearly cardiologist visit and noticed that everyone was so friendly, funny and helpful. This is in contrast to my primary care physician’s office where everyone is aloof and looks down at the patients. It’s a very interesting contrast. I love my cardiologist and dislike my primary care physician. I’ve researched both practices, and everyone loves the CEO of the cardiology...

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Lisbiz strategies: Managers should be trained to ‘coach’

May 3, 2018 | Comments Off on Lisbiz strategies: Managers should be trained to ‘coach’

April 16/23, 2018: Volume 33, Issue 22 By Lisbeth Calandrino Every team looks to hire superstars. However, extremely talented people are hard to find and recruit—and did I mention expensive? Just look at major league sports teams and what they spend to bring in superstars. If you really want great talent, why not coach the ones you already have? Take those Clark Kents and turn them into supermen and superwomen. If you aren’t already building...

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Lisbiz strategies: Complacency is the enemy of business

March 27, 2018 | Comments Off on Lisbiz strategies: Complacency is the enemy of business

March 19/26, 2018: Volume 33, Issue 20 By Lisbeth Calandrino   When things are good, we have a tendency to sit back. However, complacency is the silent killer and it can attack both big and small businesses. It reminds me of a memorable quote from Roger Babson, entrepreneur and founder of Babson College: “Neither success nor failure is ever final.” This quote made me think of Howard Brodsky, cofounder and co-CEO of CCA Global Partners...

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