The Granny Lesson

My mom and dad have seven grandchildren. Three live in the US and four live in Ireland. The ones who live in the US live relatively close to my parents so they see each other often. The grandkids in Ireland, however, don’t have the benefit of being with my parents much. But, that hasn’t affected their relationship. The kids Skype with my parents on a weekly basis so that they can see and speak with each other. It’s as good as living down the street.

One of the last times my mom went to Ireland, my youngest nephew, who was three at the time, saw her in the airport and went running up to her and gave her a huge hug. He knew who she was and was thrilled to know that his granny was going to spoil him for the next week or so.

I have channel partners all over the Americas. We email often and have good, productive, email exchanges. However, it’s the phone calls and in person meetings that are the best. We can relate to each other and there’s something about sitting in a room with someone and hearing their voice that changes a relationship. Words written in an email can be taken so many different ways so if you don’t have an established relationship, then words can easily be taken the wrong way. When you sit face to face or hear a voice over the phone, you can get the tone of the voice and can really get a better understanding of what the person with whom you’re speaking, really means.

I’ve been fortunate enough to have built strong relationships with my channel partners over the phone, and of course email, that when we meet face to face, it’s like we’ve know each other for years, understand each other and give each other hugs. (For the record, I don’t suggest hugging people you don’t have a relationship with and if you’re unsure about it. A smile and handshake will work just as well.)

My challenge to you,  get out of the email rut, stop texting, walk over to someone’s desk, pick up the phone or hop on a plane and meet someone face to face. The bond that you build can be as strong as my nephew’s and my mom’s.

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Start With Turning on the Faucet

I have all sorts of blog ideas stuck in my head and some I’ve even put in draft form, but I just haven’t written a full one in a while. I have time blocked out every evening to write, but every evening I find something else to do and move the calendar slot to the next night. I love writing but for some reason, I am fantastic at procrastinating when it comes to writing.

I just got an email from IMPACT and it was a list of quotes to get someone past the writers block. This one in particular, got me motivated enough to writing something. “Start writing, no matter what. The water does not flow until the faucet is turned on.” – Louis L’Amour, Author.

Everything I write doesn’t have to be perfect, ground breaking or even interesting to everyone. I have to accept that and move on. As I write this, I realized that the same thing applies to my relationships to my partners, coworkers, friend and family. You don’t have to have a reason to talk to someone, just talk. Start by saying “Hi, how are you?” or “Hi, how was your weekend?” and the water will flow.

We get so caught up in our daily to do list that sometimes we forget to be human. I have to talk to this person about this, and that person about that. How about talking to someone just because you want to, not because you need to? Crazy concept, but when you go to someone for the heck of it and not because you need something, you might actually build a two-way relationship and get a lot more out of the conversation than you ever thought you would. Stop thinking about what you need from someone and start thinking about him or her. People aren’t action items, so make sure not to always treat them that way.

Turn the faucet on and the water will flow, relationships will build and in the end you’ll get all the water you need.

Check out the IMPACT blog here which will give you some quotes to get you writing…it worked for me.

Why should Sales bother helping out the customer reference program?

I just realized it’s been about a month since I’ve written. I’ve spent the past three weeks or so absolutely swallowed up in customer references. Between the one sales guy who needs 15 for an RFP, updating the Fortune 1000 and Global 500 list by confirming who’s a customer and who’s not and about 10 requests for critical analyst meetings I feel like I’m struggling to stay afloat. I’ve been so focused on these that I’ve barely had time to do any of my general work such as weeding out, interviewing and writing customer press release and case studies. The customer information sheets and one page customer .ppt slides will just have to wait another week.

So with all these reference requests how do I make sure that Sales sees the value in them helping me? Yeah, they all know how important references are but why would they help me rather than their having their teammate help me? I think that there is a pretty simple answer. Granted, not all the Sales people care, but once you (the CRP professional) prove yourself, you should be all set. So back to the question of why a Sales person would bother helping you out if they only get measured against their quota? Recognition! It’s that simple. Here’s how I do it.

A Sales person sends me contact information for a customer so that I can chase them for a press release or case study. The Sales person is then generally out of the loop (by their request) so the next time they hear from me it’s in an email to all Sales or the regional Sales team (this includes the C-level execs at the company and all the Sales management) saying that we’ve issued a press release on customer XYZ and it wouldn’t have been possible without the help of Joe Shmoe! And, to top it off, if it’s a Fortune customer then I send the Sales person money (aren’t all Sales people motivated by money?) and if it’s not a Fortune customer I send them cake. Yup, I send them cake and they love it.

Just this morning I ordered a cake for a Sales guy and he’s super excited. It’s going to be delivered to his house on Friday and say “Happy Birthday!” Yes, it really is his birthday on Friday. I even had one wife email me to order the cake for her sons’ birthday. It might sound like a small thing, but I’m telling you the Sales team loves it! (I wish I could take credit for the cake idea but I can’t)

All in all, let everyone know when a Sales person has helped you. Everyone likes a little recognition and there’s no harm done to you because you then look more like a cross-functional team player who gives kudos to those around you J

I’ll be at the Net Promoter conference in San Francisco next week and am excited to report on it! Stay tuned.