July 31, 2011

Appreciation Marketing – Respect and Courtesy

In our dealings with other people, no matter who they may be, we should show everyone respect and courtesy.  Last week a friend of mine, Jodi Blackwood, pointed this out in her weekly newsletter, Etiquette Awareness.  Jodi customizes her work for her customers, but she always stresses that respect and courtesy should be paramount in all our relations.

It doesn’t matter the situation, you must remain in control of your emotions and your feelings.  You cannot let your temper, or your frustrations, become paramount in your mind.  There are always clients, prospects, and even friends who stress our feelings, who demand more and more, and who push our buttons, sometimes intentionally.

We must not let these people get the better of us; we do not need their behavior to destroy what we have built with our hard work and time.  No matter what life brings our way, we must treat everyone with respect and courtesy, as equals, and as we would want to be treated.  It is the right thing to do; it is appreciation marketing.

Does this mean that you should let others run over you, making you sacrifice your scruples and maybe your integrity?  Of course not; it means that you stand by your principles and your structure for your company’s products or services and pricing.  It doesn’t do any good to roll over and let someone make you change your values for them.  It is the manner in which you operate your business that counts.

Respect and courtesy are parts of a 2 way street; this street works both ways.  While you should always endeavor to be professional in your business, showing respect and courtesy to others, you should expect, even demand, the same treatment from others.  No matter the environment, no matter the communication tool, let these two traits be primary in your life.

In meetings, on the telephone, in emails, in cards, in public, or in private, whenever or wherever you are with others, or even by yourself, follow this plan.  Respect and courtesy must be part of you and what you do, say, and think.  If you do not treat yourself with respect and courtesy, no one else will.  It will be evident to others how you feel about yourself, and they will respond in kind.

I have been in meetings where disrespect for others was in evidence for all to see.  No one wants to be anywhere close to those types of people.  If someone is discourteous to someone else in public, how would you like to be on the receiving end of those actions?  How would you feel toward those who treated you in that manner?

We have stated it repeatedly: people do business with, and pass referrals to, those that they know, like, and trust.  You would not do business with, or pass referrals to, someone who treated you with disrespect or was discourteous to you.  What about the person who treats others with disrespect and is discourteous?  Would you want to be associated with those people?

How do you feel about these thoughts?  What do they mean in relation to the principles of karma?  Leave me your comments, call me at 360-314-8691, or email me at Jim@SOC4Now.com.  I would be glad to hear from you no matter how you think, and perhaps we can all help each other be better people.

July 24, 2011

Appreciation Marketing – Be a Product of Your Product

We should always endeavor to be professional in our business, passionate about our business, and personable with our clients and prospects.  One of the ways that we can exhibit professionalism is to be a product of our product, use our service to represent the service, and share our knowledge with others.

Have you ever met a person who represents a company and does not use the products or services of the company?  Have you ever met someone who is not a shining example of what they tell others?  We meet these people each and every day, and they pepper us with wonderful stories about how their product or service is the one we should use, but they don’t.

A professional business person is one who has a valid product or service for a valid price, and they do not present their company’s product or service in a way that evades explanation.  They are direct and straight forward in their presentations and in answering questions.  They also present pricing information in the same manner, without misrepresentation.

A professional business person is also someone who uses the product or service of their company in their business and/or personal life.  If they sell trucks, they use trucks in their business; if they are a realtor, they do not live in an apartment.  If they are a financial planner, their life is financially stable; if they are a personal trainer, they are physically fit.

How can anyone present themselves as an example of their company’s product or service but not be a product of the product and still have credibility?  I realize that there may be some situations where your product or service might be combined with some other product or service for a valid reason, but your main emphasis should be on your example to others.

It has been said that a cobbler’s children will go shoeless.  What type of example is that?  If you are a seamstress, your clothes cannot be in need of repair.  If you are a house painter, your home should not need painting.  You are your own best advertisement, and you work for a reasonable price.  You need to represent yourself and your company in the best light.

Business coaches who cannot give professional presentations, accountants who do not keep accurate financial records, doctors who smoke, dentists with bad teeth, and police officers who have a disregard for the law are all people who are not products of their product.  They have very little credibility, if any, with their clients and prospects.

To be professional in your business or personal life you must practice what you preach to others, you must have credibility in your dealings with others.  People do business with, and refer business to, those who they know, like and trust.  If you have no credibility, others will not like or trust you.  Therefore, they will not do business with, or refer others to, you.

If you want to be successful in your business and get, and keep, clients and receive referrals from others, be a product of your product or service.  You must be an example of what you want others to use that your company has for sale.  Have some thoughts on the subject?  Leave me a comment or call me at 360-314-8691, or email me at Jim@SOC4Now.com so we can share.

July 17, 2011

Appreciation Marketing – Positive Attitudes Revisited

Two weeks ago we discussed positive attitudes versus negative ones.  I received several emails and comments regarding this subject, so let’s see how we create positive attitudes in spite of negative vibes from others.  It is our life, and what we make of it is up to us.

Every day, throughout the day, we need to look at everything that we do and how it influences our day and that of others.  We do not have business lives which do not reflect our personal lives, and we do not have personal lives that do not impact our business ones.  One influences the other, and both are inter-meshed.

If you want your life to be positive, that decision is up to you.  If others make you negative, change your circle of associates.  If you have hostile influences in your life, change your environment and the influences therein.  If your attitude negatively impacts your own life and that of others, change your behavior.  You have the power.

Let’s start out simple.  Today, and everyday, start speaking positively to everyone that you meet.  Say hello to others, tell them to have a good day, and smile at them.  Thank them for whatever they do, tell them that they have a great smile, and recognize that they exist in a positive manner.  You will improve their day and attitude and conversely, yours.

Open a door for someone else, let someone go ahead of you in a line, let someone ahead of you in traffic, slow down and smell the flowers (and then tell someone else to do so), and compliment the person that planted those same flowers.  Compliment someone on their clothing, their smile, and their laughter.  They will smile more and laugh more, and so will you.

If you belong to a group that has a negative person in attendance each and every time you meet; smile at that person and get to know them.  Maybe you can help change whatever makes them negative.  Maybe you can refer someone to them that will help them.  They may never have thought about how their situation affects their outward appearance or attitude.

We have a tendency to shy away from those people with whom we disagree.  We tend to not want to associate with negative people.  Do you ever wonder why they are that way?  Did you ever meet with them and get to know them?  Maybe you have something in common or there’s something with which you can help each other.  You will never know until you try.

I said to change your circle of associates or change your environment and the influences therein.  Take some action to try to alter the negativity and create positive energy and alter the attitudes and energy of others.  Your life will be better if you make the lives of others better.  Your business will be better if you make the businesses of others better.

You cannot undertake to improve the lives, attitudes, or business of others unless you find out what their current situation may be.  You find out by getting to know them and determining what makes them the way that they are.  Otherwise it is like a physician who operates on someone without knowing what their problem is or where the problem is located.

So get out of your shell and help make someone else a more positive person.  If you have a favorite way you try to do this, leave me your suggestions and I’ll try to share them.  Call me at 360-314-8691 or email me at Jim@SOC4Now.com so we can all help each other.

July 10, 2011

Appreciation Marketing – If I Had Known Then What I Know Now?

How many times in our lives have we all said “If I had known then what I know now”?  We all envision the differences that would now be true if we had had the experience that we have now while in our youth, or at some other time in our lives.  The vision is that our lives would be so much better given that we would have all the experience and knowledge of maturity instead of gaining it the hard way.

Of course, we also could put that vast wealth of knowledge to use not making the mistakes that we made in our lives, making our current situation so much the better, or so we believe.  By applying the knowledge that we acquire throughout our lives, we believe that we would achieve more than we have achieved or we will not make the mistakes that we have made.

First, there is no way that we can turn back the clock to any past point in our lives.  Second, there is also no way that we could take the present knowledge that we have acquired back to some mythical point in out lives from which we would start our new life, free from the mistakes of our past.  Plus, we would probably just make new mistakes in this new life.

This pipe dream is just that, an impossibility that cannot be achieved.  If we could accomplish this rollback in time, what makes us believe that we would be able to correct our mistakes or improve what we accomplished?  Life is not simple, nor would a replay be simple to enact.  There are too many ways that we can mess up our lives, in actuality and in fantasy.

We are a product of our actions and those of our acquaintances.  We cannot change what we have done in our past; just like we cannot undo meeting people once we have met them and interacted with them.  What is in the past is in the past, and we cannot change it, no matter how much we would like to do so.

So, why don’t we just take the information that we gain each and everyday and apply it to improving our future?  Why not start today to change what we are, what we think, and what we do?  We have all this knowledge; let’s just get on with applying it.  Why do we wait until something happens that forces us to try to change our future?

We have all these acquaintances and experiences that we can use as a basis for improvement; why don’t we use that knowledge instead of wishing on a star?  All we have to do is make the changes that we know we want, and we would be better for them.  We cannot apply them to our past, only to our now and future.  So why don’t we do it?

Don’t put it off; don’t let yourself be talking next week about what you should have done or what you could have done today.  Don’t be saying next month how much better you could be if you had changed your life this week.  Think of the customers, referrals, and success that you could attain if you take the steps towards those changes today.

When you do what you have always done, don’t be surprised that you get what you have always gotten.  Try something new; think outside of the box; be imaginative.  Look at your marketing plan and think how you can change it, mixing in some inventive, new aspects so that you may accomplish some new results.

Why are you afraid to try anything new?  Are you scared that it may not work, or that it will not work as well as what you are already doing?  If you fail to accomplish what you seek, then change your plan again, and try something else until you get better results.  You just have to be able to bring yourself to make the attempts to get better.

So, how open are you to change?  Give me your thoughts, either by commenting here or by emailing me at Jim@SOC4Now.com.   You can also call me at 360-314-8691.  I always appreciate your thoughts and comments.

July 3, 2011

Appreciation Marketing – Is Your Attitude Positive or Negative?

In our past, we have all heard about the importance of having a positive attitude.  We have been told that we are a reflection of our attitudes and that the others we meet will see our attitudes in our behavior.  Of course, negative attitudes will cause our behavior to be negative, not something that we want in our networking activities.

So, how do we keep a positive attitude when those around us are drowning in negativity?  First, maybe we need some new acquaintances, people who have a positive outlook in life.  Second, maybe we need to not become mired in the negative outlooks that others foster to the public.

Years ago, I lived in the San Francisco Bay Area and rode BART to work every day.  Anyone who did this daily knows what a negative impact that would make on someone’s day, from getting to the station before daybreak to get a parking space, to ticket machines that did not work, to waiting for trains in the rain, to standing for the trip to work.   Then you did the reverse trip after work.

A positive attitude could literally make this experience more bearable.  Sometimes I just had to smile at the behavior of my fellow passengers; sometimes I just could not understand the logic behind their actions.  I rode trains before daybreak, midday, and after midnight, and I never ceased to be amazed by what some people did on trains.  You name it; I saw it.

My best remembrance of BART however came from a train operator who was on the first train to San Francisco from the East Bay every weekday.  When he announced the stops in Oakland and San Francisco, he always added the phrase “Have a nice day, but that is entirely up to you”.  It came to me one day that he was so right, it was entirely up to me.

My day, and my attitude, was completely up to me.  I could let the problems of each day make me swim in negativity, or I could just project a positive attitude and look at the good side of every day.  I could be glad that I could get out of bed that morning, stand up straight, see myself in the mirror, get myself dressed, have breakfast, and speak to whomever I met.

I had a job; I was reasonably successful; I had food in my refrigerator.  Sure there were some parts of my life that could have been better, but overall, I was reasonably happy and content.  Looking back, I just didn’t know that I could do so much more toward making myself, and others, feel more positive.

Take control of your own life.  Change your negative, or neutral, attitude into a positive one.  Make it your mission to change the attitude of someone else.  Project positive thoughts and feelings to others; literally see how many people’s attitude you can make positive, or more positive, each and every day.  Try just making them smile by being positive toward them.

For weeks, we have discussed how to make appreciation marketing your habit, both in your business and personal lives.  Saying thank you without asking for more business, giving valid and appropriate referrals, helping others celebrate birthdays and anniversaries, and showing appreciation in general all show a positive attitude.  This helps others see the positive aspects of life, enriching their own attitudes.

Please leave me your comments with your experiences with positive, or negative, attitudes.  Maybe we can learn from each other how to enrich everyone’s lives.  You can email me at Jim@SOC4Now.com or you can call me at 360-314-8691.  I always enjoy an interesting conversation.