Dear Waste Management: Your product might be garbage, but your customer service shouldn’t be.

My family just bought a new house – and we’ve had the pleasure (and sometimes, sadly, the displeasure) of calling to sign up for new service with a myriad of service providers. New cable, new phone, new electric service, new landscaping, new everything. It’s not our first time moving (my wife and I have lived in five houses in our ten years of marriage), but we’re hoping this will be the last move for a long time.

In all of our moves, though, this was the only time I needed to sign up for garbage collection. Where we now live, the city does not provide garbage or recycling services so homeowners are left to set up waste removal on their own. There are pretty much only two companies in my area – Waste Management and Veolia Environmental Services. This story was just too good (or, in reality, too bad) not to share.

When we moved in, we received postcards from both companies. Their pricing was very similar. Their terms were very similar. They both pick up once per week. Basically, I perceived little differentiation – in fact, the only difference I noted is that one picks up on Tuesday and the other picks up on Friday.

I asked my wife, “Which would you prefer? Tuesday or Friday?”

“Friday,” she replied.

So, that’s how I decided to hire Waste Management.

The first time I called I very carefully made my way through menu upon submenu on Waste Management’s phone system, only to be directed to voicemail greeting letting me know nobody could take my call. That took about three minutes to get to the voicemail, so I figured I’d leave a message. I never received a call back.

I tried them the next day two or three times to no avail.

Two days later, I tried calling again. I spent about ten minutes on hold before I hung up in frustration.

I often find that I receive better service by using a company’s website, so I went over to and filled out their “request quote” form. I gave them my address (which was already in their system because the former homeowner used Waste Management for eleven years), full name, phone number, and email address. About 24 hours later, I received an email from someone in their customer service department telling me that I should call (are you ready for this?) the exact same number I’ve been calling for days.

At that point, I decided that I really didn’t care on which day my garbage gets picked up – as long as it would get picked up soon! I came up with a plan. I would call Waste Management and Veolia one more time each, leave a message, and whoever called me back first would get the business.

Here’s what I happened: I called and left a message (again) for Waste Management. I then dialed Veolia prepared to leave a message when something amazing happened – they answered the phone! I was so surprised I almost left a message anyway. The guy was friendly, helpful, informative, and efficient. Three days later, I had new garbage and recycling containers at my house with Veolia’s name all over them.

I know I’m not a big customer. This service costs less than $40 a month. But there are hundreds of homeowners in my subdivision that base their buying decisions on the experiences of their neighbors. I now have a yellow-lidded garbage can on my driveway once a week. Two neighbors have asked me why I chose Veolia. When I told them my story one replied, “Yeah, Waste Management’s customer service is garbage. I think I’ll try that Veolia instead.”

So why share my story? Why gripe (a bit) and spend this time discussing something as miniscule as garbage?

Because it’s really not that miniscule. Waste Management is a $13B company. All that garbage adds up to a lot of money. But it makes me wonder how much they’re leaving on the table by not being easy to do business with.

I am always perplexed by the fact that companies spend millions of dollars on advertising to get you to call them but then treat you like crap when you do. Don’t be like Waste Management.

Here’s what they (and you) should do:

1. When a customer or prospect calls you, answer the phone. Quickly. Yes, it costs money to staff your phones appropriately. Deal with it. Or, charge more for your products and services to cover the costs. Look at the recent success of Time Warner’s Signature Home Service, in which consumers gladly pay about $50 a month more to have high-touch customer service.

2. When a customer or prospect leaves you a message, call them back. Quickly. There’s an inverse relationship between the amount of time it takes to call someone back and their excitement level for product. The sooner you call them, the better your chances are to make the sale.

3. When a customer or prospect uses your online forms to express interest in your company, reply with helpful information…not blanket form letters. If you really need to talk to your prospect before you can answer all of their questions – call them! Or email asking for more info and allow your prospect to reply via their preferred method of communication.

4. Use your brain. If the customer service rep who emailed me had looked up my address in her computer system, she would have seen that they’d already serviced my address for over a decade. I’m sure they had enough info to give me a quote and start service again the following week. But she didn’t. Instead, she asked all sorts of irrelevant questions and told me to call in with the answers. Think before you communicate.

5. If I have to call you, give me an easy way to reach you. I would have still called if the customer service rep had given me a direct number or an extension. I put my cell phone number on my business cards. Here’s a shocker: I want my customers to call me. Don’t you?

6. Don’t judge the prospect by the amount of money they’re looking to spend right now. There are additional opportunities hiding just below the surface. How did Waste Management know that I’m not a decision maker at a manufacturing company that uses a half-dozen roll-off dumpsters a month (which I am)? How did they know that I’m not the president of my homeowner’s association that is considering a group buying decision (which I am not)?

This might seem like common sense, but it seems common sense is not so common anymore (hat tip to Voltaire on that one). If you put these common sense tips into practice, you’ll become an uncommon success in your industry.

Oh, and by the way, Waste Management still has not returned my call.

Don’t Ask, Don’t Sell

Salespeople often tell me that their biggest frustration is with the seemingly unnecessary time it takes to close a sale. Some salespeople complain that their prospects are “indecisive,” or that their prospects “lead salespeople on, give all the buying signals, but fail to pull the trigger for months and months.” I have yet to meet a single salesperson that does not want to speed up his/her sales cycle.

Customers today are guarding their cash. They’re slower to react than they used to be. And they expect more of you than ever. In today’s economy, all of the power has returned to the customer—and the customer has become impervious to closing techniques. If you’re still “selling through telling,” and you’re finding that your words are not as persuasive as they used to be—you might want to try using your ears.

I ask salespeople regularly, “What’s the most powerful question in sales?” The common response is, “The most powerful question is when you ask for the sale.” Dead wrong. Asking for the sale is the most avoided question in sales, but it is not the most powerful. Salespeople elude asking for the sale out of fear of rejection, out of what they perceive as being polite, out of wishful thinking, out of negligence, but mostly because they’re unprepared.

Actually, there is no one most powerful question in sales. There are, however, specific characteristics of what makes up the most powerful question for your specific sales situation, or a particular sales call. For example, during one call you may use a question to answer a customer’s question. “When can you deliver?” the customer asks. “When do you require delivery?” the perceptive salesperson responds.

On another call, you may choose to use a powerful question to begin the conversation. “Mr. Prospect, how did you get started in this business?” I have yet to meet a single businessperson who does not like to talk about him/herself. If you can get your prospect talking, you will find all the opportunities you need to uncover buying motives.

Uncovering buying motives is best accomplished by asking powerful questions, which must be prepared in advance to be effective. Here are five tips to help you prepare powerful questions for your next sales call:

1. Questions must be open-ended. Anything that would result in a “yes” or “no” answer leaves you doing most of the talking. The goal is to get the customer talking so you can listen for opportunities.

2. Start with friendly, personal questions. Most salespeople foolishly begin with small talk: “How’s the weather? How about those Yankees? How are the kids?” Save the small talk and ask something that will allow your prospect to connect to something on an emotional level. My mentor always begins with “Where did you grow up?”. Take a moment and think about where you grew up. Where was it? I’ve been there! Remember that great restaurant on Main St…? Got it?

3. Facts and figures often go unheard, but questions require thought. There’s a significant difference between the statement, “83.7% of all business professionals fail to properly save for their children’s college education,” and the question, “What are you doing to ensure your child will be able to attend the college of his/her choice?”

4. There is such a thing as a dumb question. Your elementary school teacher lied to you. Actually, she didn’t lie—she simply forgot to qualify the statement. What she should have said is, “There’s no such thing as a dumb question IN SCHOOL. In real life, however, you will be judged by the questions you ask.”

5. Don’t look to uncover the pain; find the opportunity. Instead of asking questions about problems, pains, or challenges, focus on your prospect’s dreams, hopes, and aspirations. Get your prospects to connect with what life would be like if and when they do business with you. “How would my product help you to achieve your goal? How would our software increase your productivity, your efficiency, your profit? What will you do with the additional cash flow my company will provide?”

Here’s the lesson: Invest your time preparing powerful questions, and your customers will spend their money with you. It all boils down to these four words: Don’t Ask, Don’t Sell.

Now it’s your turn: Share your best questions in the comments below. Or, ask for help developing powerful questions for your specific situation and I’ll be happy to respond.

Do You Follow-Up or Follow-Through?

Follow-Up or Follow-Through?When I moved to Charlotte, North Carolina to work with Jeffrey Gitomer, I worked my tail off to connect with influential business and community leaders, to build a local reputation as a person of value, and to fill my sales pipeline with people with whom I have already established a friendly rapport. I attended somewhere between five and ten business networking functions per week. Sometimes three on the same day. Yes, it was a big commitment. Yes, it took a ton of time. But it beat cold-calling any day.

As a result of putting myself out there, I had the pleasure of meeting new people on a daily basis. That pleasure also comes with a challenge: I left each function with a stack of business cards, often as many as fifty, and often struggled to keep up with follow-up. That is, I struggled until I created a process.

Through trial and error, defining and refining a process, and observation of how others follow-up, I created a best practices list that I now follow. Before I share that list with you, however, you should know there are two major considerations with regard to successful follow-up.

The opportunity for impactful follow-up is limited by only two factors: The time between the meeting and the follow-up – and your creativity.

Quite simply, the more creative your and the sooner you follow-up, the more impactful the impression you make on your new contact will be. There’s an old cliché, “Out of sight, out of mind.” It’s old and it’s a cliché because it’s true. Your greatest opportunity for impactful, memorable, and effective follow-up is within the first 24 hours after your meeting. And, the more creativity you employ, the more likely it is that you will stand out from the other 49 people your new contact met yesterday.

I have developed a 7-Step Process for follow-up that is not only impactful, but it is efficient and organized. I challenge you to adopt it, master it, and then modify my process to fit your own personal style.

1. I get the contact’s business card, double check for an email address, and tell the contact that I will be in touch shortly.

2. I write something on the back of the card that will jog my memory about my conversation with my new contact. Sports fan? Grew up in Milwaukee? Really loved the appetizers? Interested in new technologies? Something personal and relevant.

3. I scan the business card into my address book with CardScan. I find that if I scan the card, I can often trigger a specific memory when I look at that image in the future. As I’m scanning the cards, I put aside the few that I want to build a relationship with. Although I want to stay connected to everyone, I can only be personal with a few.

4. I then import the entire batch of scans I just completed into Ace of Sales. I’ll send the majority of contacts a “Branded Email” with a few comments about the networking function and a call to action to connect with me via any of my social media profiles.

5. For the contacts that I am interested in building a deeper relationship with I create an “Email Greeting” that I personalize for each recipient. I use the stock images from the Ace of Sales gallery, or pictures I snapped at the event (a photo of your contact ALWAYS gets his/her attention), or even something relevant from Google Images.

6. In that “Email Greeting” I always ask for an appointment or a commitment to meet for coffee. But not before I deliver value first. If I had an interesting conversation with the contact, I’ll attach an article that discusses something relevant. If I know someone who would be a good prospect for my contact, I’ll introduce that prospect right in the email. I give my contact a reason to want to connect with me beyond what I may have established the day prior at the event.

7. My inbox gets flooded, my phone rings, and I fill my calendar with appointments and my pipeline with prospects.

There’s one more secret I want to share with you, and it is the key to maximizing the opportunities you encounter after a first meeting. Lots of people follow-up. The call or the email sounds something like, “Hi, Noah, this is Joe. We met at the networking function last week. I just wanted to follow-up and say that it was great to meet you. If you ever need anything, just call!” Nice, right? Joe took the time to reach out to me. But Joe also failed to stand out from every other contact I made last week.

I have found that the secret to successful follow-up is all about follow-through. Look at the difference in the power of the following two opening lines of an email:

“I’m just following up to say that I enjoyed meeting you and look forward to seeing if there’s a way we can work together.”

“I just mentioned your name to a friend of mine that would be a perfect customer for you…let’s meet for lunch.”

Which one gets a reply? Which one gets the appointment? Which one leads to the sale?

One final tip: Remember to bring your business cards to the event! I cannot tell you how many times I failed to bring enough cards (or any cards at all, on occasion) and how frustrating it is to have to tell a new contact that I “forgot my cards at the office.” When you forget your cards, you look unprepared and uninterested in connecting. I know this is a weakness of mine, so I took a proactive, creative approach to ensure I would always be ready to connect—anytime, anywhere. I bought a domain name for $8 and built a simple one page website in less than an hour. Now when I forget my business cards, I tell people to visit If you want directions on how you can create your own online business card, visit IMetNoah, connect with me on LinkedIn, Facebook, or Twitter and send me a note. I’ll be sure to follow-through on my offer to help!

6 Easy Steps to Reducing or Eliminating Your But

“I would, BUT…”

“Right, BUT…”

“I know, BUT…”

“I could, BUT…”

“I understand that, BUT…”

“I should, BUT…”

Those big buts above are the precursors to statements like “I’m really busy this month” or “the economy is too uncertain” or “my boss won’t let me.”

The word “but” is the introduction to every rationalization for mediocre performance, inaction, and self-pity I have ever heard.

Most people allow their environment to direct their actions. If you work for a boss who is not interested in your new ideas, you stop creating new ideas. If your coworker avoids teamwork, you retreat to your cubicle. If your spouse fails to uphold his/her end of the bargain, you stop trying.

That little three-letter word—”but”—creates big problems. Big but problems.

Your big but is a symptom. It’s a symptom not of what others do to you, but of a poor attitude. Your poor attitude. Your poor belief system.

The Problem: When your buts are bigger than your accomplishments, you will find your wallet a little thin.

The Solution: Get your butt in gear!

Here are six steps to getting your big BUT back in line:

1. Start moving. The hardest part of any task is starting. Once you get moving, you will find that inertia will keep you motivated.

2. Allow yourself to succeed. If you give up a task or project at the first sign of adversity, eventually you will convince yourself that your next project is not worth starting. Instead, focus all of your energy on completing the task at hand—NO MATTER WHAT.

3. Build your belief system. Big belief will beat big buts anytime. The bigger your own self-belief, the more likely you are to overcome your inner-skeptic.

4. Don’t ask for permission. You don’t ever need permission to do what you know in your heart is best for your company. Try walking into your boss’s office after implementing your new idea with proof of success. “Hey, boss, I just did something a little ‘out-of-the-box’ and our customers loved it. Here’s a purchase order for $10,000.”

5. Exercise your freedom. Freedom to succeed implies freedom to fail. The best baseball players strike out two out of three times. But the runs they score when they do hit far outnumber the runs they score while sitting in the dugout.

6. Know when to quit. Sometimes you will fail. Don’t blame your but. Instead, understand that sometimes you must choose to cease working toward a goal. Quitting is a choice—and sometimes it’s the best choice. Practice saying “I chose not to complete this project so that I can focus my time on a higher-priority task.”

The bottom line is this (yes, that’s a pun): Your biggest but is in your head.

I Hate Email.

OK, truth be told, I don’t hate email. I do, however, hate that I allow email to distract me. I hate that many people do not know how to use email appropriately. I hate that I can never seem to get to the bottom of my inbox. I hate that people expect me to reply to email within minutes. I hate that I can rarely work uninterrupted. I hate that for every one email I am able to send, I seem to get three in return. I hate that I spend hours each day writing emails but can’t seem to find the time to write a blog post. And, if that’s not enough, I hate that I find myself checking email on my iPhone pretty much everywhere.

I Hate Email

You see, email in and of itself is not the problem.

The problem is that we have become slaves to Outlook (or Apple Mail if you’re a Mac like me, or Gmail – which is a close third by now). Email is actually a great tool. It’s one of the most effective forms of marketing, it’s one of the easiest ways to stay in touch, it’s a savior when communicating complex or detailed information, it’s great for reminders, it’s fast, it’s free, and it’s, well, I could go on and on. My point here is that email has become an ever-present and necessary part of business. And, it’s not going anywhere soon. So the trick is figuring out how to leverage the strength of email as a platform without falling victim to it’s many time wasters.

Here is a list of the best practices that I have developed and do my best to follow:

Touch it once. This is a hard but important point. If you can train yourself to only touch each email once you’ll cut down on nearly 50% of the time it takes to empty your inbox. The moment you read the email for the first time, make a decision about what you’re going to do with it and then…DO IT RIGHT THEN. File it, archive it, respond to it, forward it, whatever. Some emails do require a more detailed response and/or deeper reflection. In those cases flag the email for later follow-up or put it in a follow-up folder. Whatever you do, don’t keep reading the email every time you scroll past it in your inbox.

Push delete! You don’t need to read every email. Once you realize that the email is junk, spam, irrelevant, unimportant, duplicative, or distracting DELETE IT right away. I’ve found the secret to reducing workload and time spent in your email program is ruthlessness with the delete button. If you’re worried that you might need that email one day set up an archive folder that you move these lesser important emails to.

Use filters. If you create email filters and rules that automatically sort and store incoming messages you’ll cut down on the time required to clean out your inbox each day. For instance, I receive about a hundred emails daily that are carbon copied to me for informational purposes only. It’s information that I rarely need, so I created a rule that moves those emails upon receipt to a folder for storage. If I ever need to go look at them, I can do that easily. You’d be surprised at how much of the “FYI” email you receive is actually not needed.

Sign up for Sanebox. This is a service that I cannot recommend highly enough. I pay $4.95 each month (which Sanebox says gives me “sanity for the price of a latte) and I get back hours of time each week. Sanebox filters my email automatically so I don’t have to. Basically, Sanebox moves unimportant emails to another folder called “SaneLater” that I peruse nightly but leaves important emails in my inbox. You don’t have to do anything to get it work. It just works. You can train it to be smarter, but you don’t really have to. Sanebox includes a host of other features for email management that I’ve found useful – and I’m sure you will as well.

Set aside email hours. One of the biggest distractions throughout the day is leaving your inbox open and attempting to reply to every email as it comes in. I have found far greater success with taking an hour in the morning, and then again in the late afternoon, to do nothing but email. It’s tough to hold yourself to that schedule but it does wonders for your productivity.

Create expectations with your signature. Include language that explains what senders should expect with a statement like, “I reply to all email within 24 hours. If you’d like an immediate response please call me direct at 414-555-1212.”

Set your download frequency to longer intervals. I used to have mine set for one minute. Then I changed it to 15. Now I’m on 30 minutes. I know people who set theirs to an hour – and still others who leave it on manual download only. I’m not quite that ready to let go, but I have really appreciated the ability to work on responding to email without the fear of another four or five pouring in at the same time.

Turn off notifications. Dings, beeps, counters, bells, chimes, badges, and even the old-school “You’ve got mail!” announcement were all created to do two things – divert your attention and distract you. Turn them all off. You don’t need them. When you open your email program, you’ll know if you have new mail.

Forward with care. Email unto others as you would like them to email unto you. Nobody really needs to see another email about cats. Or dogs. Or anything that says, “Forward this to 12 of your friends today and you will have good luck.” The way to stop the insanity is to stop the spread of stupid email by refusing to forward anything you would not appreciate receiving yourself. I’ve even responded to emails from my colleagues and friends within the industry with “Hey, pal, don’t send me crap like this. Please.” Now I only get the REALLY funny stuff.

What steps do you take to help you keep your inbox under control?

A Layover from Heaven

I flew almost 150,000 miles in 2011 and it took until the very end of the year for something positive (and worthy of writing about) to happen to me. Yes, I could have written an article at least once a week about what not to do, based on the crappy service and frequent lies most airlines dish out, but I’d been on the lookout for something great to happen – something worth sharing.

After a week long family trip to Park City, Utah, my family and I returned to the Salt Lake City airport, eager to get back home for the holidays. (There were four of us, seven bags, and a connecting flight through Denver, to be exact). Sure enough, our flight was delayed. Not to worry, though – it was only delayed forty-five minutes and, with a two-hour layover in Denver, we’d be OK. And then the announcements started. Every once in awhile an announcement would let us know the flight was going to be a little later than expected. In the end, we took off almost ninety minutes late. That’s pretty normal.

Except that it wasn’t.

For a change, the gate agents told the truth. Instead of keeping us in the dark like most airlines, the women at the counter gave us frequent updates about what was happening. For a change, the gate agents were empathetic, understanding, and helpful. They made announcements specific to those people with connecting flights and explained what the options were. They calculated the revised layover times, and showed passengers how far their next departure gate was from our Denver arrival gate. For a change, they put four people at the gate to answer our questions, rather than leaving the counter empty. I was pretty impressed with what I was witnessing.

And then things got really interesting.

The gate agents proactively began making announcements with timesaving ideas. First, they made it known that we had five passengers destined for New York that would have the tightest connection. They asked that when we land, all passengers remain seated until these five passengers got off. It’s not the first time I’ve heard of that concept, but is the first time I’ve seen it happen prior to boarding the flight.

Then, the gate agents asked for anyone willing to gate-check bags to come forward and turn them in right away (this was 30 minutes before our plane had even arrived in Salt Lake City). The agents explained that anyone willing to do this would still get their bags on the jet bridge when we landed, but this process would speed up boarding by approximately ten minutes because less people would be trying to jam their carry-ons into the overhead bins. People lined up with pleasure.

When we boarded the plane, the flight attendants greeted us with smiles and expedited the takeoff by helping with bags and seat assignments. We were in the air before we knew it. The pilot came on and apologized for the delay with a compassionate tone and delivered a little something unexpected. “Because of the inconvenience, folks,” he said, “we’re going to go ahead and allow everyone to enjoy all twenty-four channels of DIRECTV with our compliments.” This might not seem like a big deal, but to the 150 passengers onboard it was pure gold.

Just before our initial descent, a flight attendant made an announcement reinforcing the earlier request to let the New York-bound passengers off the plane first. She even had those five passengers raise their hands and asked the rest of us to look around and find the five – so that we knew to let them pass. Guess what? The folks headed to New York made their flight.

So did we.

Let’s review what just happened here and make it repeatable for your company. In other words, when things don’t go as planned (maybe you don’t fly airplanes for a living, but I’ll bet you’ve had to tell your customers about a late delivery at some point), here’s what to do:

1. Be pleasant. You’re already delivering bad news; there is no need to deliver it with a bad attitude. In fact, being friendly will go a long way to earning the understanding of your inconvenienced customers.

2. Be empathetic. If you don’t care about your customer, they’re certainly not going to care about your explanations (er, excuses). Put yourself in their shoes – imagine that what’s happening to your customer is actually happening to you. Once you know how your customer feels you’ll be better prepared to help them. Which leads me to my next point…

3. Be helpful. Your customer needs your help. Your customer is depending on your help. Your customer wants your help. So…help them! Even a little bit. Your mission is to help them the best (and the most) that you can.

4. Be solution-oriented. Nobody wants to hear what you can’t do. Nobody wants to hear that “there’s nothing anyone can do.” There’s always something. Always. So focus on what can be done and deliver that right away.

5. Be consistent. Be sure that everyone on your team knows what’s happening and how you’re solving the problem. Your customer will automatically feel better if the entire company is on the same page. Just think of my story above…the gate agents, the flight attendants, the pilots were ALL focused on making things right.

6. Be thankful. Thank your customers. Thank them for their understanding. Thank them for their cooperation. Thank them for their business. Thank them for trusting you. Thank them. Thank them. Thank them. Oh, but don’t just say it. Do it. Show them that you’re thankful by serving them well and by doing your best. Go above and beyond to make them feel your gratitude.

7. Be better next time. There are two ways to be better – either by preventing the problem from happening in the future, or by being better prepared to react and respond to the problem in the future. I suggest you work on both strategies.

That’s a lot to learn on a layover, no? Put this one down in the history books, folks. An airline gave great service. They just might be on to something here!

Just in case you’re wondering what airline I flew – it was Frontier Airlines. And the crew working the flight both on the ground and in the air were top notch. If you’re planning a trip, give Frontier a try. I hope your experience is just as remarkable as mine.

Fish Stink from the Head

My father-in-law, Sam, is known within his industry for his many insightful and pithy statements. In fact, we’ve come to dub his statements “Sam-isms.”

One of Sam’s most frequent reminders to leaders is that “fish stink from the head.” What Sam means is that the worst smelling part of a dead fish is its head. But what Sam really means is that most problems within a company can be traced back to its leadership. Since you’re reading this, odds are that you’re a leader within your company. Odds are, I’m talking about (and to) YOU.

When you’re evaluating a problem within your business, it’s easy to blame everyone around you. It’s easy to point your finger at your peer, at your manager, at your assistant…pretty much at anyone. The hardest thing is to ask (and answer) why the problem truly exists. Often, your employees’ actions are a symptom of a greater problem. And, often, that greater problem is, well, you.

I’ll clarify:
Your people are a reflection of you.
Your people are a reflection of your work ethic.
Your people are a reflection of your attitude.
Your people are a reflection of your encouragement (or discouragement).
Your people are a reflection of your example.

You may not realize it, but you’re being watched. Your employees look at you, they look to you, and (sometimes) they look up to you. No matter how they feel about you, however, they emulate you. You set the standard.

Don’t tell them what to do, show them how it’s done.

Ask yourself:
▪ “How’s my attitude?”
▪ “How do I react to stressful situations?”
▪ “How do I treat customers?”
▪ “Do I always get to work on time?”
▪ “Do I follow my own rules and policies?”
▪ “How often do I praise my employees for doing things right?”
▪ “Do I always deliver on my promises?”
▪ “How well do I listen to my employees?”
▪ “Have I provided my employees with adequate training – both in technical skills and personal development skills?”
▪ “Am I living (and leading) by example?”

Those are tough questions. Well, actually they’re easy questions that result in tough answers and tough work should you need to make changes in yourself.

But the results are worth it.

The bottom line: Be who and what you want your employees to be.

Bonus questions: If you were your own employee, how would you stack up? Would you hire you? Would you fire you?

Why I Didn’t Hire You

I’m an easy interview, but a tough judge. I don’t use personality or behavioral tests – I’ve tried them all, and I do see some value there, but I’ve also relied on them for hiring decisions, which I later came to regret.

I don’t call your references. It’s a waste of my time and theirs. You’d never give me a reference that would say anything other than the most amazing and wonderful things about you anyway.Why I Didn't Hire You

I do call your customers. I can count on them to tell me what I need to know about you.

I ask you unique and powerful questions that give me an understanding of your thought process and your philosophies.

I give you a tour of our offices, and I introduce you to everyone. How you engage and interact with my people means everything to me.

I give you every opportunity to ask me smart questions and to uncover how you can help us the most.

I laugh a lot and I have fun. I expect you to do the same.

I make quick decisions.

If I like you and I think you’ll win here, I’ll call you quickly and I’ll set up a time for you to come in and shadow some of my people for a few hours. I want you to see what it’s like here from the inside out. I want you to meet people and to decide for yourself if you’re a good fit.

If I don’t ask you to come back, I won’t send you a letter.

I just won’t call. Sorry in advance if that frustrates you.

Perhaps you would have appreciated the letter below, as this is the letter I’ve always wanted to send to applicants who I did not hire:

Dear Applicant,

If you are reading this letter it is because I have decided against hiring you. You deserve to know the truth. You deserve to know so that you can:
a. Stop wondering if I’m ever going to call you back.
b. Focus on your other opportunities.
c. Improve yourself before your next interview.

Basically, I didn’t hire you because some or all of the following are true:
• You dressed poorly.
• You came late.
• You showed up empty-handed.
• You didn’t send me a follow-up note or email.
• You didn’t fit in or you didn’t stand out.
• You didn’t take notes.
• You were rude or aloof with my people.
• You failed to bring me an idea or a question that demonstrated you were prepared for the interview in terms of me.
• You asked me about vacation time, holiday pay, or other cushy benefits way too early in the process.
• You have never visited my company website, Facebook page, or YouTube channel.
• You spent $500 creating your resume, you can recite your accomplishments line-for-line, but can’t tell me one thing you learned during your previous employment.
• You said or did something that made me question your honesty, your integrity, or your character.
• You do not have a single ounce of Google-juice.
• Your Facebook account is full of hundreds of pictures of you drinking beer, smoking dope, and wearing nothing but a jock strap.
• You told me, quite emphatically, that you left your last three jobs because your boss was an idiot, the people you worked with had the worst attitudes, and/or because you were treated unfairly.
• I asked you about the last business book you read and you couldn’t remember the name.
• You did not ask me a single question.
• You reeked of “what’s in it for me?” rather than “how can we win together?”

Don’t feel bad. That’s not my intention. You’re going to be a big success. You’ll just need to be successful somewhere else.

It’s possible, though unlikely, that I am wrong about you. You may be the best thing for our business. You may be the answer to all of our prayers.

If you are, and you believe in your heart that you can help us and that you will be fulfilled and happy doing so, then prove me wrong.

Show me the real you, and I’ll show you a real opportunity.

Sales Blog