May 2012 | Click links (>>) below to read articles

  • When You Can't Find Perfect People by Barry Maher >>
  • How To Lose A New Customer For Lifetime by Jim Meisenheimer >>


When You Can't Find Perfect People
by Barry Maher

A few minutes before I was scheduled to begin a keynote presentation, an attendee who introduced himself as Mr. Lansdorf asked me, "What can I do about working for a corporation full of stiffs?" In spite of the fact that the company paid quite well, Mr. Lansdorf's people never performed the way he hoped they would when he hired them. His co-workers weren't much better. As for his boss, "He couldn't care less about my problems. He'd like to be able to forget about my whole department."

"So what exactly do you want?" I asked.

"What I'd like is for people to do the job they're supposed to do, the way they're supposed to do it."

"Which means?" I asked.

"To do something beyond the minimum: to go the extra mile for the company. Everybody expects something for nothing."

"Don't you?"

"Hey, I earn my money," Mr. Lansdorf insisted. "I go way beyond the minimum."

"And it gets you?"

"Nothing, that's the point. It gets me nothing."

"So how long are you going to keep doing that?"

"Not much longer, believe me."

"But you want others to go beyond the minimum: without putting something it in for them? Aren't you the one who's expecting for something for nothing?"

"I want people to do what they should do."

"So what we're talking about is morality and ethics? What people should do?"

"Exactly." he said.

"So as a manager, your ability to manage is based upon people doing what they should do? Otherwise you can't get the results you want?"

"No of course not. Nobody does what they should. At least nobody in my company."

"So wouldn't you be better off trying to find a way to get the results you need with the people you've got rather than the perfect people who do what they should and apparently don't exist. Or at least don't exist in your company?"


Obviously. Bingo! I thought. I felt like Socrates: elucidating my point with just the right questions. Of course later someone reminded me of the famous report given by a third-grader: "Socrates was a Greek philosopher who went around giving people advice. They poisoned him." So much for the Socratic method.

Obviously, Lansdorf said. If it was so obvious why had he been asking his people to go the extra mile when there was really no advantage in it for them? Even if they went along in order to stay on his good side, how enthusiastic would they be?

You Can't Sell an Empty Glass

Why do we all so frequently act like Mr. Lansdorf? Trish asks her boss to go out of his way for her and help get her promoted. There's nothing in it for him. If anything, losing Trish will make his job more difficult. He's a nice guy. He may help her. But wouldn't he go along far more willingly if he was doing it to gain another ally in management; or to earn points with the company for having developed another manager; or to free up Trish's spot so he can reward and keep from losing that great new talent he's been grooming on the rung below hers.

It's obvious: you can't sell anybody anything if you don't offer them some benefit. You can't motivate anyone by offering them an empty glass. It's obvious: and we all forget it. Constantly. We hope ethics or morality or religion or character will make up for the lack of incentive.

Does your idea of character tell you that when there's little or nothing in it for you that you should devote yourself unstintingly to providing for someone else's welfare? If so please call, I've got a job for you.

Tip: If I believe that playing by your rules, systems, procedures, traditions or morality guarantees that I'm going to lose, do not expect me to play by them.

Bosses who tell you they can't hire good workers are usually telling you they're poor bosses. They're telling you they aren't providing sufficient incentive for people to meet their standards. Or if they have provided the incentive, they haven’t provided sufficient nuts and bolts, real-world training and direction, leaving their people wanting to climb the mountain but without a clear enough trail to follow.

To mix metaphors a bit, they aren’t adding enough water to the glass.

About The Author:

Selling Power magazine says, “To his powerful and famous clients, Barry Maher is simply the best sales trainer in the business. Barry speaks, writes and consults on sales, sales management, leadership and communication. A highly regarded keynote speaker, motivational speaker and trainer, he is also the author of No Lie: Truth Is the Ultimate Sales Tool which has been translated around the world. Contact him and/or sign up for a monthly article by email at The original of this article appears at

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How To Lose A New Customer For Lifetime
by Jim Meisenheimer

Losing a new customer for a lifetime is a terrible way to run a business.

Yet just last week that's what happened to my wife and me.

There's a new restaurant in Lakewood Ranch.

Lakewood Ranch is where we call home. The name of the restaurant is "The Ranch Grill."

The restaurant is about 2 miles door to door from our home.

It was Friday night and we arrived at the restaurant at 6 PM. The place was mobbed. When I asked how long the wait was, I was told 20 to 25 minutes.

It turned out to be closer to 50 to 60 minutes - the wait time was doubled. During our wait I ordered two glasses of Kendall Jackson Chardonnay. They delivered two glasses of Kendall Jackson Sauvignon Blanc. My wife's favorite glass of wine is the Kendall Jackson Chardonnay.

After a taste we called the server over to explain what happened. After a couple of, "I'm so sorry's" my wife, B, finally got her favorite Chardonnay.

My advice is "Be slow to commit and quick to deliver."

No one has ever accused B. and me of being very patient when it comes to poor service.

We were sitting outside and were soon overwhelmed with "Love bugs." They hang around for 30 days and then they're gone. So we found a place to sit inside the restaurant.

Bernadette walked over to the woman who was handling reservations and seating and asked her where we were in the queue. Her response was, "I don't know because I don't have a computer here."

Bernadette asked, "Where is the computer?" The woman responded and pointed to the other end of the bar about 25 feet.

Now let me digress for a moment. We shop at the Publix supermarket. Ask any clerk where something is and they will take you to the product no matter where it is in the store.

Here's my advice, "Be helpful, not helpless."

Finally, we get a table after waiting almost an hour.

We ordered two more glasses of wine. What are the odds of the same bartender screwing up an order of Kendall Jackson Chardonnay two times in one night to the same couple? Well, you're right he did it again.
The server kept saying, "I'm so sorry, I'm so sorry." Well I'm sorry that she's sorry, but being sorry didn't solve anything.

The server then volunteers, "The bartender is new."
We ordered dinner. B orders the Pulled Pork special. I ordered a salad wedge and the fish and chips.

The place is buzzing with busboys, servers, managers, and even a general manager. They're all wearing headsets. We spoke to everybody after waiting for dinner another 35 minutes.

And there it was, a chorus of "I'm sorry, I'm so sorry, I'm so very sorry."

Still no dinner. And then miraculously my wife's dinner arrives.

Not mine though. No salad and certainly no fish and chips.

My wife finishes her dinner. 15 minutes later my salad wedge arrives. I finished eating the salad.

The top of my head is about to explode. I asked the server, who keeps on repeating "I'm so sorry" to put my dinner in a box and I'll take it home with me.

The general manager came over for the third time to talk with us and said, "We're doing the best we can!"

Look, nobody in the world is doing the best he can. Three geniuses, Einstein, Schweitzer, and Edison once said they never worked to more than 20% of their human potential.

So I doubt very much the general manager and his minions are doing the best they can.

When we got home and after I had my long overdue dinner I took a pencil to a sheet of paper. Did some quick math and since we eat out several times every week and go to our favorite restaurants every month I estimate the lifetime value of our business is about $15,000 during the next 20 years.

The only good thing about our restaurant experience is that I got a customer service story out of it.

When a new restaurant opens it's usually pretty crowded. But guess what happens? If the dining experience was excellent the customers will be back. On the other hand, if the dining experience was worse than horrible they'll never be back.

Why do so many restaurants keep going out of business? It's because they all make the same mistakes.

Here's my advice to anyone who is thinking about opening a new restaurant.

Hire and train your new staff.

For the first 30 days only fill 50% of the seats in your restaurant. Now see what happens. The full staff is now working to create a memorable dining experience for all of your customers. In the process your staff would gain invaluable experience and not be so over worked and challenged by the mass of humanity that they would have to say, "I'm sorry, I'm so sorry, I'm so very sorry!"

If you want a good reputation unleash good food and great service from day one. Otherwise you might lose your new customer for a lifetime.

Obviously, this is easy to say and very hard to do.

About The Author:

Make sure you check out Jim's Sales Trailblazer program:

Jim is a Sales Strategist and is the creator of No-Brainer Selling Skills. He shows salespeople and entrepreneurs how to increase sales, earn more money, have more fun, and how to do it all in less time. His focus is on practical ideas that get immediate results. He offers Advanced Sales Management Workshops, Sales Coaching, Consulting, In-house Sales Training Programs, and a wide variety of Learning Tools i.e. books, special reports, sales manuals, and CDs.Jim Meisenheimer is a member of The National Speakers Association, where he earned the C.S.P. designation, Certified Speaking Professional. He has authored five books including, "The 12 Best Questions To Ask Customers," and the recently published “57 Ways To Take Control Of Your Time And Your Life”.




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