Today I thought I’d share the two top-10 rules that I have saved and posted in my office. One is from The Daily Beast on Steve Job’s rules for business. The other is a speech attributed to Bill Gates but was actually an op-ed letter by Charles J. Sykes written to college graduates.
Does your company do performance reviews? Is there anyone out there who likes them? Most employees like to receive them. Most managers hate to do them. And even employees don’t like to do them when it’s the 360 peer review. Regardless of how you feel about performance reviews, if you are a manager at a company that requires them, then they’re just part of the job.
But should they just part of the job? Are your team members apprehensive when it’s time for you to deliver your review of them? Do you think there will be any surprises for them?
Good managers will never surprise a team member with a bad performance review. Why? Because communication between manager and team member should be happening throughout the year and not only during an annual performance review. I don’t like surprises from my salesreps, especially during forecast time, and I know they don’t like surprises like this as well.
If you are not surprising your team during performance reviews, then how are you communicating to them during the year? Via one-on-one meetings? Team meetings? Hallway conversations? Email? Ideally, you are communicating (and listening) on a consistent and frequent basis. Which will make writing and delivering performance reviews easier for you and less stressful for your team.
(photo credit: jokemail)
How do you treat long-time customers when the economy is this challenging? Are you tightening the rules to manage costs or are you more liberal in your policies?
I went to a business that I had purchased from for many years but not over the last year. They greeted me warmly as if I had just talked with them yesterday, with no hint of criticism or complaint in their voice.
Later that day, I went to another business that I also frequent often. They know me well enough to recommend new products they think I’d like. And they know I’ve referred other customers to them. I was 90 minutes late in returning an item I had rented and they wanted to charge me another full day. It’s their policy and it’s posted. When I asked for leniency, the owner’s reply was, “It’s our policy and you need to pay.”
The next day I received a rather large bill. I had made a mistake in understanding the rules so the bill was correct if unwelcome. When I asked the Accounts Payable person for some flexibility, I was flatly turned down. When I asked to speak to the owner, I was told that he refused to discuss these issues with anyone. “Even customers who’ve purchased from him for 20 years?” I asked. The answer was, “Yes.”
The economy is going to get better. I will spend more money. I will continue to make referrals to my vendors. Which vendor mentioned above will continue getting my business and my referrals?
Tom Cafarella, Inquisix member, owner of accounting firm CMB Accounting and host of “Minding Your Money” on TV, interviewed Michael Kreppein of Inquisix recently. Tom and Michael spoke about the challenges facing small businesses, specifically how they can find new business.
I wrote about NetParty‘s Business Networking event last August 2008. Well, they’re back and hosting a new party in Boston on Tuesday, March 24th. Their parties combine Business with Social Networking. First h0ur or so is business networking with just light music in the background. Then the social networking kicks off and the music gets turned up.
Will you attend? Get your free invite here by March 23rd.
Boston not local to you? They have other cities to choose from. Wonder what the party in Buenos Aires looks like?
I was invited to a local business networking party. It’s only for “…young business professionals…” so I’m not sure I qualify anymore! The events are hosted by NetParty and they promise (and I quote):
- The first two hours of our events are like an extended “cocktail hour” with passed hors d’oeuvres at many events, drink specials, and low music conducive to business networking and making new connections.
- Later, our events take on a more social atmosphere, with great music, dancing and conversation.
- Our events are held at the hippest and most interesting venues. However, the music is never so loud that you cannot talk and our crowd is generally comprised entirely of young professionals.
- We do request “business” or “business casual” dress for our events. With that and a fun spirit, you’re good to go
Well, I wonder how much networking will be business and how much will be social. Guess I’ll have to go! If you’re interested in the Boston Event, it’s next Tue August 26th at The Estate in Boston.
Here’s a free invitation. They also hold networking events across the United States so check out the location near you. If you’re coming to the Boston event, come say, “Hi!” But find me early, I’m not much of a dancer!
With 15+ years of sales experience, often working for small companies with no brand recognition or large marketing budgets, I’ve learned that a repeatable process for selling is a must. At the beginning of the sales cycle, giving and getting referrals is key to my business. Cold calling is a necessary evil in sales but it’s less and less effective every day with caller-id and spam filters.
Many sales reps want to GET referrals or will only GIVE a referral if they get one in return. But the most successful referral-based sales reps, business owners and rainmakers know that giving referrals without expectation of one in return is the best course of action in the long term.
My Karma Keys to a Referral-based Business are -
* It’s better to give then receive
Yes, this seems counterintuitive for a sales person but try to give referrals without the expectation you’ll get one in return. That doesn’t preclude you from remembering who behaves the same way you do and networking with them more than others.
* Give referrals to enhance your reputation
Don’t give referrals just as a favor to the person asking for one. Instead, give a referral to enhance your reputation and trust with your colleague that you are making the referral TO. (Often known as the Giver’s Gain theory)
* Get referrals from Customers, Vendors & Sales Colleagues
Don’t limit asking for referrals from customers as your vendors and sales colleagues often have great connections they’d be happy to introduce you to.
* Reputation Matters
No surprise but the better your reputation, the more likely you are to get referrals and be asked for referrals. If you say you can give a referral, make sure that you follow through with that warm introduction. If you get a referral, treat your colleague’s contact with the utmost respect.
How long do companies survive when they are difficult to do business with? Even worse, how long will they survive when they were innovative and easy to do business with and then decide to be difficult?
My favorite airline is American Airlines. My dad flew for them for almost 25 years so I naturally prefer to fly them. They have decent airfares and they’ve been first with some big marketing programs, like frequent flyers. They even developed the 800lb gorilla of ticketing software, SABRE. Their website is pretty decent to pick flights from, especially if you’re trying to use those frequent flyer miles. I have over 1M miles on American and no more than 50K on any other airline.
So then why the decision to make it difficult for Kayak customers to purchase AA tickets? They sent me the email yesterday telling me that they’re ending their association with Kayak. But they don’t tell me why it’s good news for ME. Just some marketing blather as they try to spin this as good for me. Ridiculous. Especially when Kayak shows the AA and Orbitz fares side by side and the Orbitz fares are the more expenive one.
So, Kayak makes it really easy for me to find the flights I want and then shows me that the AA flights I want are cheaper on AA then elsewhere. But AA is concerned that I might choose Orbitz and a more expensive ticket for the same flight? So not only are they difficult to do business with but they think I’m stupid. Thanks for the memories, AA.