Monday Mornings with Madison


Dan Sullivan, the founder of The Strategic Coach, says that in order for people to feel comfortable enough to refer you to others, you need four habits. These habits may sound simple and basic, but you would be surprised how few people actually follow them.

The four habits are:
1. Show up on time.
When you have a meeting at 10 in the morning, be there at 9:55 not 10:05. This is very basic, but unfortunately some people just don’t show up on time. According to Dan for every minute you are late, your prospect or client loses a certain percentage of trust and respect for you as a professional, regardless of how good your excuse may be.

People often use ‘traffic’ as an excuse for being late. But this excuse has been used so much that people just don’t accept it anymore — even though it may be true. Even if your client or prospect tells you, “It’s okay,” the truth is you have still lost a certain amount of credibility with them, and subconsciously they will not refer you to others because they are afraid that their friends will get upset waiting for you. So be on time – all the time.

2. Do what you say you will do.
Do I have to explain this one?

3. Finish what you start.
Most of us have very good intentions when we get started with a new client. But somewhere along the way things get complicated — there is more research to be done on our part, we have to follow up with the client and occasionally with others as well, and then we lose our confidence in this opportunity. So, we move on to the next opportunity (hoping that this time no challenges will come up, but most of the time they do). One of the unasked questions that a lot of our clients have is, “Are you ready to stick with me, until we finish this project or job so I can get the benefit of working with you?”

4. Say please and thank you.
This one shocks some people and even angers them, “This is what my mother told me when I was 4 years old. How is this related to business?” It is true that most of us say please and thank you when someone gives us something or when we get a favor from a friend. The question is do we take the time to go back and thank people who help us along the way?

Let me share a little story with you. About two months ago I gave a recommendation to one of the people I work with. It was a very simple idea that didn’t take any effort from my side. It was just an idea that I thought might help her. 

Last week I was surprised to get an email from her thanking me for the idea. In the email she explained in detail how my idea helped her, and how her work has become much easier as a result. I kept re-reading the email to find out what she wanted. I thought maybe she wants another favor and is just giving me the compliment to justify asking, but then I realized that she is one of the few people in the world who takes the time to thank people for helping her.  

The reason why this email meant so much to me is that it was very specific. Most of the time we just say “thank you” at the end of a conversation, or we reply to an email with “thanks.” The problem is that this kind of “thanks” is so generic that it has lost its meaning. A real compliment or thank you is specific — it means you took the time to think about and express how someone helped you and made a difference in your life. That means something to people.

I sat at my desk gazing at the email and thinking to myself, can you imagine what the world would look like if more people took the time to do this? So I emailed her back thanking her for thanking me, and here is her reply:

“Most of us take the time to complain, the least we can do is take as much time to thank and be grateful”…

Isn’t she right? Doesn’t it make sense to take as much time thanking others as we do complaining or criticizing? But somehow we think that complaining and criticizing is our duty as human beings. We feel obligated to tell others how they should improve, but we don’t feel we should thank them for doing something that’s normal.

We are all in sales, no matter what our actual occupation may be, and the most important thing in sales is to build up your network of people who know you and like you. And, there is no better way to do that than to add value to people’s lives. One of the best ways to do that is to thank them, which makes them feel good, and since you are the one that gave them this good feeling, you build instant rapport with them.
Thank you

Each day call, write or email someone to thank them. Be as specific as you can. This could be someone who gave you a referral or someone that gave you an idea or encouragement. It could even be someone that you don’t know — someone’s whose CD or book or article helped you. You will be surprised at the results.

“If you can read this, thank a teacher.” Anonymous teacher

Could I thank myself today, for being myself?

© 2008 – 2011, Written by Keren Peters-Atkinson, CMO, Madison Commercial Real Estate Services. All rights reserved.

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