GREG’S BUSINESS GROWTH NEWSLETTER #340
Quick notes to help you grow your business in less time with less effort. . . sometime next week.
In this issue:
– Thinking about Momentum
– Being Human
– Random Stuff
Thinking about Momentum
- A friend tells his kids, “Sleep right, eat right, and exercise. Everything else take care of itself.” He’s right. His mantra’s power keeps you level, helps keeps your emotions in check.
- Intellect isn’t set in stone. We are natural learners but need a spark to get the synapses firing. Once the spark takes hold, however, intellectual curiosity seeps into everything. For this reason, encourage your team to learn new things, even if the new thing doesn’t directly relate to your business.
- With so much information it’s easy to get overwhelmed. One hack to deal with phones is to turn the screen colors to grayscale. It works. Maybe too well. After trying it for a week my phone got boring. I missed it and put the colors back on. I can always disconnect later. (I think)
- Help your people get business emotions in check by practicing giving equal weight to opposite points of view. If X is true, 1/X will be true too.
Being Human – Reactive
“I’ll be here waiting.” – me to the customer service agent
The news if full of negative customer service stories. It’s crept into the small talk in my meetings too. Horrific stories of car buying, or contractors not returning calls, or big box retailers treating someone badly. Listening to everyone I’m sensing a theme.
When a vendor gets reactive it pisses the customer off.
In the past I’ve mentioned one of my early mentors, Mr.Carl. He was always quick with a witticism and when it came to customer service he said, “Gregory, return the customer’s call before you have to.”
I knew what he meant because in that business being a sales rep meant getting stuck between the customer, our company, and our vendors. We were always waiting on someone. A customer would ask a question, I’d have to relay that question to a colleague, and they’d have to get an answer from a vendor. We were always waiting for someone to tell us something.
Mr. Carl was advising me to call the customer back, even when I didn’t have an answer. I needed to call them before they called me. Taken further, he would say the customer should never call me asking for anything because a true pro would anticipate any and all problems. Later I heard someone explain known wait feels shorter than an unknown wait. Disney figured this out. The sign telling you “it’s a 90-minute wait from this point” kept people in line and happy-ish. Disney’s signs answered a question before it was asked. They were returning the customer’s call before they had to. If the car dealer, the contractor, and the big box retailer focused on being proactive I’m guessing my friends would have something else to talk about.
While we wait for them, we can do something. Start with questions like this: Are your people being reactive to customers? What needs to happen for them to get a step ahead of problems? How will you know if they’re being proactive?
“Our reality is an infinite battle between what happened and what we want to remember.” – Haruki Murakami
I should be reading more books. I took a Zoom call in our bedroom because workers were banging around the house and part of my preparation included moving a bookcase my wife uses. You know how it is, the laptop camera needs to be slightly above eye level with a light source behind it. A bookcase with a couple of books lifting the laptop makes the magic happen. I look at the spine of the books under my computer during the call. They look interesting. I didn’t even know we had these in the house. I need to read more.
Instead of reading I’ve been cruising social media. It’s a time suck, but I enjoy looking at friends getting the most from life while I cocoon in my living room. One friend is at the top of a 14,000 ft. mountain in my home state. He has a great picture with his beautiful family, the caption mentioning feeling woozy in the altitude.
Back when my babies were small I took them to the top of a different mountain. The drive was treacherous, and my lovely bride didn’t enjoy it much. Especially when I’d point to something like a mountain goat and take my eyes off the road. My assurances that getting to the top of big hills was old hat to a mountain boy like me didn’t calm her. I hadn’t lived in Colorado for years at that point and wasn’t acclimated to altitude anymore, so she was right to have doubts.
We got to the snow packed peak and got out to take in the views. We were dressed for summer and the air was very cold compared to the city. The kids weren’t impressed, but it was picture time. I am not in many pictures with the kids at that age because I am the camera man. This is pre-digital cameras. My tool of choice is the Pentax K-1000. A very manual 35mm. As I line the kids up a woman asks to take our picture. She assures me she knows what she’s doing but is acting a little spacey in the altitude. We are all a little spacey. We need to get back down the hill to oxygen.
I’m a foot taller than my lovely bride and at least twice as heavy. Moreso in late 90s. Back then she was at least a foot taller than the tallest child. I notice it when I look at the old pictures. When we got our mountain vacation film developed I expected one photo to include the rare sight of me hulking behind my little family.
Instead, I have a picture of a lot of dirt and the bottom half of my kids. You can see my hairy legs and the smallest ones faces, but the altitude impaired woman cut off the top of the photo at my daughter’s ball-cap. She even managed to cut my lovely bride’s head off. Not easy to do.
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