– Posted on Jul 23, 2012 by Margie Albert
Meetings over lunch (or at a bar) can be challenging and unproductive. Lots of distractions, hard to get on topic, casual environment, etc.
Here are 10 suggestions if this is challenging for you:
- Act as if you are not in a restaurant – behave as if you are meeting in their office. The restaurant is just a place where there are a lot of people there to bring you things like food and beverage.
- Respect the hostess, server, valet, etc. They are your assistants in this situation!
- Arrive before the client(s) and make sure you get a table away from the center of restaurant.
- Do not sit at the bar unless there are just 2 of you. Even then do everything you can to not sit at the bar.
- Don’t hesitate while ordering anything. Know the menu before you arrive and don’t waste time ordering (you wouldn’t waste precious time if you were in the client’s conference room selecting water or Coke).
- Keep your eyes on the client. Do not allow them to wonder.
- Sit up straight and face your client head on. You will appear serious, interested and focused completely on them – just as you would in their conference room.
- If in a bar situation, drink in moderation or less! Know your limits and don’t get close to your boundary line. If you can get by without drinking at all do it.
- Order your own drink – don’t let the client order for you or say “I’ll have what she’s having.” That statement makes you appear weak plus you know what you can handle and her drink may not be it!
- Focus on their business and their success – it is a business lunch even if it doesn’t feel like it.
Take notes on a napkin, have a productive lunch meeting and make every minute remark-able.
– Posted on Jun 13, 2012 by Margie Albert
Listening may be the hardest thing we do. There is so much inner noise. Noise to determine how we can win, noise to say something clever in return, noise to ask the next question, noise to solve problems quickly, noise that distracts us constantly from listening.
How do we quiet the noise? Here are a few methods I am practicing:
- Stop thinking – just focus on the other person, customer.
- Look directly at the person talking. No eye wondering.
- When I feel like I’m wondering I literally pinch my wrist. Sounds crazy but try it.
- No note taking while someone is talking. If I have to write something it must be only a word or two and I force myself not to look at the paper or my iPad. Eyes fixed on them at all times.
- Repeat what they said…if you can’t you weren’t listening.
- Stop needing to win or be first.
- Stop needing to solve immediately. Take time to think. Seems like I come up with much better ideas when I do this (what a surprise!).
- If it is an interview or fact finding meeting with a client I am prepared and know my stuff. No pre-written questions, they are in my head. Keeps me from referring away from the person talking. Yes, that takes work and preparation.
- Practice, practice, practice!
When you are prepared and able to focus on customer success (or whomever you are conversing with) the internal noise calms and we are open to actively listening. I’m working on this every day. Join me? It is amazing what we can learn from each other to make us even more remark-able.
– Posted on Jul 05, 2011 by Margie Albert
How often do you call a client and get their voice mail? 80-90% of the time, yes? So why do we keep delivering voice mails that ramble on letting everyone know how unprepared you were to leave a voice mail?!
Here are some really simple things you can do to increase callbacks and decrease “message skipped/deleted”:
- Be prepared to leave a voice mail on every call
- Talk slow so they can understand you – especially when leaving your callback number
- Keep it short and to the point – please don’t deliver your sales pitch in an vmail
- Say something that makes them want to call you back – Focus on Customer Success
- Leave a message about them, not you (hard to accept but they don’t care about you, they care about themselves!)
- Leave your callback number at the beginning and end of your message – speak clearly both times
- Smile when leaving the message – your tone will automatically be friendlier
- If unprepared don’t “wing it.” If you go to vmail hang up before your recording would have started, get prepared and callback.
Voice mails are similar to emails – easy to delete, take up too much of our time and good ones are responded to. They also are left/sent and the recipient has complete control over what they do with them. Therefore, make them compelling and of interest to the recipient because you only have seconds to gain their approval and get a response.